German or Pomeranian Geese probably originated in the Pomeran or Pomorze region of eastern Germany between the rivers Oder and Vistula. They are widely distributed in Germany and Eastern Europe. Historically, the Pomeranians were the second largest group of geese in North America. They are descended from the Eastern Greylag that naturally occurs further East, from Turkey to Northeast China. Like them, true Pomeranians have a single lobe and pink extremities.There are several varieties: Gray, White, Gray Saddlebacks, such as these credited to Laura Kendall and posted on www.feathersite.com, Buff Saddlebacks, and a solid Buff variety known in Germany as the Cellar Goose. Historically, the Gray variety was the most common, but in many areas the Saddlebacks predominate today. As little as 35 years ago, these geese were common where ever Germans had settled in North America. Today, they are nearly gone. However, they turn up in interesting places. I found some living on a lake in San Diego County several years ago, and a reader reported that she found some that were dropped off at a local park on Long Island this past week. She has taken them home and intends to keep them.
Despite more than two centuries in North America, only the Saddleback varieties have been recognized by the American Poultry Association, and those only since 1977. The APA’s standard sizes of 17 lbs. for old ganders and 15 lbs. for old hens are near the upper limit of the breed’s typical size. They are only slightly smaller than Grays and have the same profile, but are single-lobed. Pomeranians should have pink bills and feet, but the APA Standard currently specifies orange-red legs. Historically, Pomeranians and Grays stand out as the most important breeds in North America. Unfortunately, not all modern flocks labeled Pomeranian are genuine. Many birds winning today are much larger, have orange bills and feet and are double-lobed. These changes came about not by selection from Pomeranians but by crossing Buff and Gray geese with Embdens and selecting the desired saddleback pattern. This has led to serious disagreements about the proper standard.