Breed standards

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Breed standards are the official guidelines that describe the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential.

Last Updated: 02 Jul 2009

Canadian Kennel Club Standard

Revised August 1998

FCI Standard No 312

Effective in Australia from 1 January 2001

Country of Origin:  Canada

Group 3 (Gundogs)

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.


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.


The Toller is highly intelligent, easy to train and has great endurance. Loving and playful to his family, he can be reserved with strangers, without being aggressive or overly shy. Aggression is not to be tolerated.

Head And Skull:

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.
Lips, Fit fairly tightly forming a gentle curve in profile, with no heaviness in flews.


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.


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.


The correct bite is tight scissors, full dentition is required. Overshot by more than 3 mm (1/8 inch), undershot and wry mouth are highly undesirable.
Jaws, Are strong enough to carry a sizeable bird, and softness in mouth is essential.


Slightly arched, strongly muscled and well set-on, of medium length, with no indication of throatiness.


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.


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 moderately equal in length. Stifles are well bent and hocks well let down, turning neither in nor out. Dewclaws must not be present.


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.


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 joint. 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.


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.


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 penalised 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.


Ideal height
for males over 18 months is 48-51 cms (19-20 ins);
for females over 18 months 45-48 cms (18-19 ins)

3 cms (1 ins) over or under ideal height is allowed.

Weight should be in proportion to the height and bone of the dog.
Guidelines: 20-23 kgs (45-51 lbs) for adult males
17-20 kgs (37-43 lbs) for adult bitches.


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog, and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.

1. Dogs more than 3 cm (one inch) over or under ideal height.
2. Lack of substance in adult dog.
3. Dish or down-faced.
4. Abrupt stop.
5. Nose, eye rims and eyes not of prescribed colour.
6. Bright pink nose.
7. Large, round eyes.
8. Overshot bite.
9. Roached, sway back, slack loins.
10. Splayed or paper feet, down in pasterns.
11. Tail too short, kinked or curled over touching the back.
12. Tail carried below level of back when dog gaiting.
13. Open coat

1. Undershot bite, wry mouth.
2. Overshot by more than 3 mm [1/8 inch]
3. Butterfly nose.
4. Lack of webbing.
5. Any colour other than red or orange shades.
6. White on shoulders, around ears, on back of neck, across back or flanks.
7. Silvery coat, grey in coat, black areas in coat.
8. In Adult classes, any shyness.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.