poultrykeeper logo

Dominique Chickens

Dominique Chicken
No. of Eggs
Easy to Keep?

Uses: Utility – meat and eggs. Rare breed conservation.
Eggs: 160-200 brown eggs per year.
Origin: America.
Weight: Cock: 2.72-3.17Kg, Hen: 1.81-2.26Kg.
Bantam Cock: 793g Bantam Hen: 566g
Colour: Barred. Slate and White. Male slightly lighter than the female.
Useful to Know: One of the oldest American pure breeds. A good utility bird and now very rare in the UK.
Photo: A male Dominique from North America

Dominique chickens are one of the oldest recorded American breeds and one of the first to become established in the country. They first appeared in print in the early 1820’s but were probably around even earlier than this, with the Dominique Club of America saying they were well-known in the United States in 1750 although I have not found evidence of this yet.

There were four breeders exhibiting Dominiques at the first poultry show that was held in Boston, Massachusetts in November 1849. Dominiques were a very popular breed until other imported breeds started to become more fashionable with farms and breeders. There was added confusion between the Dominique and the Barred Plymouth Rock which was being shown in large numbers in the early 1900’s and by the 1950’s the breed was almost extinct in the US. The breed owes its survival to a handful of extremely dedicated breeders who brought the breed back to life.

By the 1970’s, more breeders started to take on the breed and at the time of writing, there were around 200 members in the Dominique Club of America.

The Dominique was first standardised in the American Standard of Perfection in 1874. There have been several breed clubs in the US coming and going over the years. The current Dominique Club of America was formed in 1973.

Whilst it is unclear of their exact origins, some authors of early books on poultry speculate that the birds were from Dominica, brought to America by French settlers however there are many other theories on how they got their name and where they originated since the name “Dominiker” was often used to describe the barred pattern, not just the breed.


The Dominique reached Germany in 1880 where it is called ‘Dominikaner’. These birds are distinctly different to the old American breed as (according to Rare Poultry Breeds by D. Scrivener) the Germans wanted a smaller bird with longer fanned tails and tighter feathers to distinguish them from Barred Wyandottes which were created from a Dominique cross in Germany.

Whilst the breed has survived well in Germany, their Standard is of course different to the American standard.


Head of Dominique ChickenIn the UK, Dominique chickens first arrived in 1870 at the Birmingham show where a pen of birds were sold. Further importations took place soon after and the great poultry author Lewis Wright wrote about the abilities of these later imports in 1872 saying these birds were superior to Scotch Grey and Cuckoo Dorking in laying qualities and hardiness but their yellow legs were against it as a market fowl. He went on to praise it as “..one of the most generally useful ‘all round’ fowls we know,”  It is interesting to note that he says “…and we hear from our many American correspondents that it would have been far easier to procure first class specimens ten years ago than now, many of the old strains having been allowed to become crossed and tainted in blood.”  and comments about the colours of offspring from the imported breeds and careless breeding.
The breed was lost from the UK (date unknown) and was re-imported from America in 1984 and later from Germany. The UK standard is very similar to the American Standard of Perfection. There are currently very few Dominique chickens in the UK and need all the help they can get if they are to survive.



The following books are available. Links take you to the Amazon or other sellers’ pages for the books.

Breed Clubs

These are the breed clubs for Dominiques are:

Related Posts:

On this page:

You might also enjoy:

Housing Geese
Keeping Geese
Housing Geese

Providing you can give sufficient space, adequate ventilation and security from nighttime predators, a goose house need not be complicated. In this article, Mo provides the low-down on housing geese.  

Read More »
Orpington Chickens
Chicken Breeds
Orpington Chickens

The Orpington fowl is more impressive in the flesh than in photographs that accompany the various books on pure breeds of poultry. 

With its abundance of feathers, the large fowl Orpingtons fill their show pens and are a sight to behold. The bantams – a miniature version of this magnificent breed – are still relatively big birds and equally eye-catching and impressive.

Read More »
Hatchability of Chicken Eggs
Incubating, Hatching & Brooding Chicks
Hatchability of Chicken Eggs

The hatchability of chicken eggs is as essential for backyard chicken keepers as it is for commercial flocks, especially when you have a limited number of eggs from a rare breed or breed in numbers to produce a small number of birds for the show pen.

Read More »
A poultry orchard with geese
Keeping Geese
Creating an Orchard for Poultry

Traditionally, in Europe, people kept poultry in orchards. Chickens and waterfowl would eat insects and fallen fruit, and geese would keep the grass short. Droppings helped provide nutrients for the trees, and the trees provided shade, shelter and safety.

Read More »