The Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the retriever breeds but possesses the high energy and power expected of retrievers. The head is slightly wedge shaped and the muzzle is tapered. The jaw is strong, but the mouth soft and teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The triangular, drop ears are set high atop the head and have rounded tips. The ears should reach the inner corner of the eye. The eye color should match the color of the coat, or be lightly darker. The eye rims are either black or match the coat color. The lips and nose should match the eye rims in color. The feet are oval in shape and webbed for swimming. The tail is feathered and carried below the topline when relaxed. Then alert, it is carried high and curved, so as to be seen at a distance by hunters. The Toller's expression when relaxed is a bit sad, but when excited, or at work in the hunting field, his expression changes to one of intense concentration.
Size and Weight
Males stand from 18 to 21 inches at the withers, with the ideal height being 19. Females stand from 17 to 20, with the ideal height being 18. The weight should be proportionate to the height of the dog, and males generally weigh 45 to 51 pounds while females generally weigh 27 to 43. The dog is slightly longer than tall, with a ratio of 10:9.
Coat and Color
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever sports a medium-length double coat that is water-repellent to keep him dry and warm out in the elements. The hair may be slightly wavy on the back, but should otherwise be straight. In the winter time, some dogs will have a curl at the throat. Having white on the tip of the tail is an extremely desirable trait, as it allows a hunter to see the dog from a distance.
Keeping a Toller looking good is a breeze. They are light year round shedders and only need to be brushed once per week to remove loose and dead hair and prevent tangles or mats. In the Spring and Fall months, however, brushing may need to occur daily. Baths are only required as needed, depending on the activity level of the individual dog. During puppyhood, some Toller's ears fold back instead of forward, framing the face. For show dogs, the ears will need to be taped to regain the correct position. Family dogs don't need to have the proper ear fold.
The ears should be checked on a regular basis for signs of wax buildup, irritation or infection. Clean them with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved cleanser; never use a cotton swab in a dog's ear canal. Teeth should be brushed on a weekly basis to prevent tartar buildup, promote gum health and keep bad breath at bay. Trim nails monthly if the dog does not wear the toenails down naturally outdoors.