| Retriever (Nova
Scotia Duck Tolling) - as published in Canadian Kennel Club
Official Section, December 1997
Origin and Purpose
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed in Nova Scotia
in the early 19th century to toll (or lure) and retrieve waterfowl.
The tolling dog runs, jumps, and plays along the shoreline in full
view of a flock of ducks,occasionally disappearing from sight and
then quickly reappearing, aided by the hidden hunter, who throws
small sticks or a ball for the dog. The dogs playful actions
lure the curious ducks within gunshot range. The dog is then sent
to retrieve the downed bird.
The Toller is a medium-sized, powerful, compact, balanced,
well-muscled dog; medium to heavy in bone, with a high degree of
agility, alertness, and determination. Many Tollers have a slightly
sad expression until they go to work, when their aspect changes
to intense concentration and excitement. At work, the dog has a
speeding, rushing action, with the head carried out almost level
with the back and heavily-feathered tail in constant motion.
The Toller is highly intelligent, easy to train, and has
great endurance. A strong and able swimmer, he is a natural and
tenacious retriever on land and from water, setting himself for
springy action the moment the slightest indication is given that
retrieving is required. His strong retrieving desire and playfulness
are qualities essential to his tolling ability.
Loving and playful to his family, he
can be reserved with strangers without being aggressive or overly
shy. Aggression is not to be tolerated.
Ideal height for males over 18 months is 19-20 inches (48-51
cm); females over 18 months 18-19 inches (45-48 cm). One inch (3
cm) over or under ideal height is allowed. Weight should be in proportion
to the height and bone of the dog guidelines: 45-51 lb. (20-23 kg)
for adult males; bitches 37-43 lb. (17-20 kg).
Coat and Colour
The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters and must have a
water-repellent double coat of medium length and softness with a
softer, 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 at the throat behind
the ears and at the back of the thighs, and forelegs are moderately
feathered. While neatening of the ears and feet is permitted, the
Toller should always appear natural. Colour is various shades of
red or orange with lighter featherings and underside of tail, and
usually at least one of the following white markings tip
of tail, feet (not exceeding beyond the pasterns), chest, and blaze.
A dog of otherwise high quality is not to be penalized for lack
of white. The pigment of the nose, lips and eye rims should match,
and be flesh coloured, blending with coat, or be black.
Skull: the head, which should be in proportion to the body size,
is clean-cut and slightly wedge-shaped when viewed from above. The
broad skull is only slightly rounded, the occiput not prominent
and the cheeks flat. Length from occiput to stop should roughly
equal that of stop to tip of nose. The stop is moderate. Muzzle:
tapers in a clean line from stop to nose, with the lower jaw strong
but not prominent.
The underline of the muzzle runs almost
in a straight line from the corner of the lip to the corner of the
jawbone, with depth at the stop being greater than at the nose.
Hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Whiskers are not removed.
Nose tapers from bridge to tip, with nostrils well open. Colour
should blend with that of the coat or be black. Mouth: lips fit
fairly tightly, forming a gentle curve in profile, with no heaviness
in flews. The correct bite is tight scissors, full dentition is
required. Overshot by more than 1/8 inch, undershot and wry mouth
are highly undesirable. Jaws are strong enough to carry a sizable
bird, and softness in mouth is essential. Eyes set well apart, almond
shaped, medium-sized. Colour, amber to brown. Expression is friendly,
alert and intelligent. Flesh around the eyes should be the same
colour as the lips.
Ears triangular, rounded at the tips,
medium-sized and carried in a dropped fashion. They are set high
and well back on the skull, with the base held very slightly erect
so that the edge of the ear is carried to the side of the head.
They are well feathered at and behind the fold, with short hair
at the tips.
Slightly arched, strongly muscled and well set-on, of medium
length, with no indication of throatiness.
Shoulders should be muscular, with the blade well laid
back and well laid on giving good withers sloping into the short
back. The blade and upper arm are roughly equal in length with the
upper arm well angled back under the body.
Elbows should be close to the body,
turning neither in nor out, working cleanly and evenly. The forelegs
should appear as parallel columns, straight and strong in bone.
The pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. The strongly-webbed
feet are tight and round, with well-arched toes, thick pads and
strong nails, and are in proportion to the size of the dog. Dewclaws
may be removed.
Deep-chested with good spring of rib, brisket reaching to the elbow.
The back is short and straight, the topline level, the loins strong
and muscular. The ribs are well-sprung, neither barrel shaped nor
flat. Tuck-up is moderate.
Muscular, broad, and square in appearance. Rear and front
angulation should be in balance. Thighs are very muscular, upper
and lower sections being approximately equal in length. Stifles
are well bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out.
Dewclaws must not be present.
Following the natural very slight slope of the croup, broad
at the base, luxuriant and heavily 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 curves high
over, though not touching the back.
The Toller combines an impression of power with a springy,
jaunty gait, showing good reach in front and a strong driving rear.
Feet should turn neither in nor out and the legs travel in a straight
line. As speed increases, the dog should single-track, topline remaining
level, and covering ground with economy of movement.
(To be penalized according to degree)
1. Dogs more than 1 inch (3 cm) over
or under ideal height.
2. Overshot bite.
3. Tail too short, kinked or curled over touching the back.
4. Lack of substance in adult dog.
5. Dish or down-faced.
6. Abrupt stop.
7. Large, round eyes.
8. Nose, eye rims, and eyes not of prescribed colour.
9. Bright pink nose.
10. Splayed or paper feet, down in pasterns.
11. Open coat.
12. Roached, sway back, slack loins.
13. Tail carried below level of back when dog gaiting.
14. Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered
a fault and penalized according to the degree of deviation.
1. White on shoulders, around ears, on back of neck, across
back or flanks.
2. Silvery coat, grey in coat, black areas in coat.
3. Lack of webbing.
4. Undershot bite, wry mouth.
5. In adult classes, any shyness.
6. Butterfly nose.
7. Overshot by more than 1/8 inch.
8. Any colour other than red or orange shades.