Origin : France
Status : Watch, Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the US
Toulouse Goose : Named after the city in southwestern France where these birds were first bred, Toulouse geese are very large with striking grey plumage and distinctive dewlaps (smooth, crescent-shaped flaps of skin hanging from the lower jaw). Records of Toulouse geese in France date as far back as the 16th century, but it wasn’t until the mid-1800’s when Lord Derby, who was also the President of the Zoological Society of London, began importing them into England, making them more widely available in Europe and the U.S. The Toulouse goose was admitted into the American Poultry Association’s Standard of Perfection in 1874.
The Toulouse is a favorite of farmers for its mild manner and placid demeanor, and a top choice for diners due to its large size and full flavor. The first goose to be bred specifically for foie gras production, the rich and succulent meat is cloaked in a layer of luscious, buttery fat that bastes the bird as it roasts.
Origin : Germany
Status : Heritage
Embden Goose : Dating back at least 200 years, Embden Geese originated in—and take their name from—the Embden region of northwestern Germany. In 1821, this breed made its way to Boston and quickly became one of the most popular domesticated geese breeds.
Embden geese may be best known for their above-average size, most reaching about 3.3 feet in height and 20-30lbs in weight at full maturity. This large size points to a possible relation with the Toulouse breed. The Embden boasts brilliant white plumage, a bright orange bill and vivid blue eyes.
Similar to the Toulouse, Embden are rich and fatty birds, ideal for a festive holiday meal. Because these birds are active and athletic, known to enjoy a diet supplemented by kale and other leafy greens, the meat has a much subtler, more nuanced flavor with a less greasy texture than that of a commercial goose.
American Buff Goose
Origin : North America
Status : Critical, Fewer than 500 breeding birds in the US
American Buff Goose : The American Buff goose was developed in North America and is descended from the wild Greylag goose, which is found in Europe and Northern Asia. It was admitted to the American Poultry Association's Standard of Perfection in 1947.
The American Buff is a lovely apricot-fawn color. The buff colored feathers on its back and sides are edged with creamy white. Its abdomen is nearly all white. Its bill and feet are orange to reddish orange, and the hard "nail" at the tip of the bill is a pale pink.
This breed is the largest of the medium-weight class goose with mature ganders weighing about 18 pounds and mature geese weighing about 16 pounds. The body conformation of the American Buff is typically European in style.