NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER
(The American Kennel Clubs Standard and Description)
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) was developed in the early 19th
century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller
retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks
offshore. They are lured within gunshot range, and the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds.
This medium sized, powerful, compact, balanced dog is the smallest of the
retrievers. The Toller's attitude and bearing suggest strength with a high degree of
agility. He is alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please.
Many Tollers have a slightly sad or worried expression when they are not working.
The moment the slightest indication is given that retrieving is required, they set
themselves for springy action with an expression of intense concentration and
excitement. The heavily feathered tail is held high in constant motion while working.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) feels strongly that all Tollers
should have these innate abilities, and encourages all Tollers to prove them by
passing an approved Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) field test.
Size, Proportion and Substance
Size: Height at the withers—males, 18-21 inches. The ideal is 19 inches. Females, 17-
20 inches. The ideal is 18 inches. Bone: is medium. Weight is in proportion to
height and bone of the dog. The dog's length should be slightly longer than height,
in a ratio of 10 to 9, but should not give the impression of a long back.
Skull: The head is clean-cut and slightly wedge shaped. The broad skull is only
slightly rounded, giving the appearance of being flat when the ears are alert. The
occiput is not prominent. The cheeks are flat. The length of the skull from the
occiput to the stop is slightly longer than the length of the muzzle from the stop
to the tip of the nose. The head must be in proportion to body size. Expression: The
expression is alert, friendly, and intelligent. Many Tollers have a slightly sad
expression until they go to work, when their aspect changes to intense concentration
and desire. Eyes: The eyes are set well apart, slightly oblique and almond in shape.
Eye color blends with the coat or is darker. Eye rims must be self-colored or black,
matching the nose and lips. Faults: large round eyes. Eye rims and/or eyes not of
prescribed color. Ears: The high set ears are triangular in shape with rounded tips,
set well back on the skull, framing the face, with the base held slightly erect. Ear
length should reach approximately to the inside corners of the eyes. Ears should be
carried in a drop fashion. Ears are short-coated, and well feathered only on the
back of the fold. Stop: The stop is moderate. Muzzle: The muzzle tapers in a clean
line from stop to nose, with the lower jaw not overly prominent. The jaws are strong
enough to carry a sizeable bird, and softness in the mouth is essential. The
underline of the muzzle is strong and clean. Fault: dish face. Nose: The nose is
fairly broad with the nostrils well open, tapering at the tip. The color should
blend with that of the coat, or be black. Fault: bright pink nose. Disqualification:
butterfly nose. Lips & flews: Lips fit fairly tightly, forming a gentle curve in
profile, with no heaviness in the flews. Bite: The correct bite is tight scissors.
Full dentition is required. Disqualifications: Undershot bite. Wry mouth. Overshot by more then 1/8 inch.
Neck, Backline, Body
Neck: The neck is strongly muscled and well set on, of medium length, with no
indication of throatiness. Backline: Level. Faults: roached or sway back. Body: The
body is deep in chest, with good spring of rib, the brisket reaching to the elbow.
Ribs are neither barrel shaped nor flat. The back is strong, short and straight. The
loins are strong and muscular, with moderate tuck-up. Fault: slack loins. Tail: The
tail follows the natural very slight slope of the croup, is broad at the base, and
is luxuriant and well feathered, with the last vertebra reaching at least to the
hock. The tail may be carried below the level of the back except when the dog is
alert, when it is held high in a curve, though never touching the body. Faults: tail
too short, kinked, or curled over touching the back. Tail carried below the level of the back when the dog is gaiting.
The shoulder should be muscular, strong, and well angulated, with the blade roughly
equal in length to the upper arm. The elbows should work close to the body, cleanly
and evenly. When seen from the front, the foreleg's appearance is that of parallel
columns. The pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. Fault: down in the pasterns.
Feet: The feet are strongly webbed, slightly oval medium in size, and tight, with
well-arched toes and thick pads. Front dewclaws may be removed. Faults: splayed or paper feet.
The hindquarters are muscular, broad, and square in appearance. The croup is very
slightly sloped. The rear and front angulation should be in balance. The upper and
lower thighs are very muscular and equal in length. The stifles are well bent. The
hocks are well let down, turning neither in nor out. Rear Dewclaws must not be
present. Disqualification: rear dewclaws.
The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters and must have a water-repellent
double coat of medium length and softness, and a soft dense undercoat. The coat may
have a slight wave on the back, but is otherwise straight. Some winter coats may
form a long loose curl at the throat. Featherings are soft and moderate in length.
The hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Seasonal shedding is to be expected.
Overcoated specimens are not appropriate for a working dog and should be faulted.
While neatening of the feet, ears, and hocks for the show ring is permitted, the
Toller should always appear natural, never barbered. Whiskers must be present.
Faults: coat longer than medium length. Open coat.
Color is any shade of red, ranging from a golden red through dark coppery red, with
lighter featherings on the underside of the tail, pantaloons, and body. Even the
lighter shades of golden red are deeply pigmented and rich in color.
Disqualifications: brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached,
faded, or silvery. Buff may also appear as faded brown with or without silver tips.
Markings: the Toller has usually at least one of the following white markings - tip
of tail, feet (not extending above the pasterns) chest and blaze. A dog of otherwise
high quality is not to be penalized for lack of white. Disqualifications: white on
the shoulders, around the ears, back of neck, or across the flanks.
The Toller combines an impression of power with a springy gait, showing good reach
in front and a strong driving rear. Feet should turn neither in nor out, and legs
travel in a straight line. In its natural gait at increased speeds, the dog's feet
tend to converge towards a center line, with the backline remaining level.
The Toller is highly intelligent, alert, outgoing, and ready for action, though not
to the point of nervousness or hyperactivity. He is affectionate and loving with
family members and is good with children, showing patience. Some individuals may
display reserved behavior in new situations, but this is not to be confused with
shyness. Shyness in adult classes should be penalized. The Toller's strong
retrieving desire coupled with his love of water, endurance and intense birdiness,
is essential for his role as a tolling retriever.
Undershot bite, wry mouth, overshot by more than 1/8 inch.
Brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached, faded or silvery. Buff
may also appear as faded brown, with or without silver tips.
White on the shoulders, around the ears, back of the neck, or across the flanks.
Approved: June 11, 2001
Effective: September 1, 2001
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SPORTING BREEDS CENTRAL
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The NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER Parent Club
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