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Indian Runner Duck Standards 2008


These standards are from the British Waterfowl Association Indian Runner Standards Review which took place between February and May 2006. The BWA Standards Committee was led by senior representatives from the IRDC.

The Standards are available from the British Waterfowl Association External link image

Indian Runner

Classification: Indian Runner

Origin: East Indies

There are reports of 'Penguin' ducks being imported into Britain as early as 1835. These ducks brought with them brown dilution and also dusky mallard genes, as well as their upright stance and prolific egg-laying capability, as witnessed by Alfred Wallace in Malaya. The term ‘India Runner’ was largely coined by John Donald in about 1890, when he described similar birds imported also some time in the 1830s. These included all-fawns, whites and pied pattern ducks, the latter being the basis of the Poultry Club Standard publication of 1901. The Indian Runner Duck Club’s Standard of 1907 described only the Fawn-&-white; that of 1913 recognized also the White and the whole Fawn.

In spite of the writings of Darwin and Wallace, most British enthusiasts had taken the term ‘Indian’ literally. However, fresh importations from Lombok and Java by Joseph Walton, beginning in 1909, rejuvenated the bloodlines, most of which had become contaminated by ad lib cross-breeding with British ducks. This also returned the more extreme upright carriage of the Malayan birds as well as the all-fawn coloured plumage that had become virtually extinct in Britain. The development was helped by more importations in the 1920s.

Black Runners were developed from an early white import that also had a certain amount of black in its plumage. Crossed with a Black East Indian, it allowed the development of both Black and Chocolate Runners standardized by the Poultry Club in 1930 and the later Cumberland Blue Indian Runner, all three of which have extended black genes.

Trout Runners were the next to be standardized. They have mallard (M+) genes instead of the more common dusky mallard (md). When heterozygous for blue dilution (Bl/bl+), Trouts become Blue Trouts. When homozygous for blue (Bl/Bl) they are Apricot Trouts (Blau-gelb in German). A similar use of blue dilution turns the Fawn-&-white (Pencilled) into the American Fawn-amp;-white.

Colour genotypes:
  • Mallard Wild colour (+).
  • Trout Wild colour except for light phase (li/li).
  • Blue Trout Wild colour except for light phase (li/li); heterozygous for blue dilution (Bl/bl+).
  • Apricot Trout Wild colour except for light phase (li/li); homozygous for blue dilution (Bl/Bl).
  • Fawn Wild colour except for light phase (li/li), dusky mallard (md / md) and sex-linked brown dilution (d/(d)).
  • Black Extended black (E/E).
  • Chocolate Extended black (E/E), brown dilution(d/(d)).
  • Cumberland Blue Extended black (E/E), heterozygous for blue dilution (Bl/bl+).
  • Fawn&white Wild colour (including dark phase Li+/Li+), except for dusky mallard (md / md), the pied Runner gene (R/R) and the brown dilution (d/(d)).
  • American fawn&white Wild colour (including dark phase Li+/Li+), except for dusky mallard (md / md), the pied Runner gene (R/R), homozygous blue dilution (Bl/Bl) and the brown dilution (d/(d)).
  • White Epistatic, recessive white (c/c) gene.
  • Silver Wild colour except for harlequin phase (lih/lih) and dusky mallard (md / md).

Shape: male and female

Carriage: Upright, active, nearly perpendicular when at attention, excited or trained for the show pen. When not alarmed, or when on the move, the body may be inclined between 50-80 degrees above the horizontal. The proper carriage creates a straight line from the back of the head to the tip of the tail. Total length (fully extended in a straight line, measured from bill tip to middle toe tips): drake 65-80 cm and duck 60-70 cm.

Head: Lean and racy looking with a bill definitely wedge-shaped fitting into a skull flat on top, making a clean sweep from the top of the bill to the back of the skull. The eye should be full, alert, bright and so high in the head that the upper part appears almost to project above the line of the skull. The culmen of the bill should be perfectly straight.

Neck: Long, slender, in line with the body. The muscular part should be well marked, rounded and stand out from the windpipe, the extreme hardness of the feather helping to accentuate this. The neck should be neatly fitted to the head. The proportion of neck to body should be 1:2.

Body: Long, narrow and cylindrical its entire length, although very slightly flattened at the shoulders, funnelling gradually from body to neck.

Tail: When the bird is alert the tail should extend towards the ground in a straight line from the back.

Wings: Small in relation to the size of the bird; tightly packed to the body and just crossing at the rump.

Legs and webs: Legs set far back to allow upright carriage. Thighs and shanks medium in length.

Plumage: Tight, smooth and hard.


Drake 1.6–2.3 kg (3 ½ – 5 lb)
Duck 1.4–2.0 kg (3 – 4 ½ lb)

Scale of Points

  • Carriage 20
  • Head, bill and neck 20
  • Body 20
  • Legs and feet 5
  • Condition 10
  • Colour 15
  • Size 10
  • Total 100



In both sexes: Twisted or deformed mandibles. Kinked neck. Low carriage: 'a duck which cannot maintain a natural carriage of at least 40° to the horizontal will not be considered a pure Runner, however good its other points may be.' [Indian Runner Duck Club of Great Britain—a disqualification since 1913]

Major Defects
In both sexes:

  • Domed head—a rounded skull (rather than flattened) rising beyond the line of the culmen.
  • Plump head.
  • Centrally placed eyes—well below the line of the top of the skull.
  • Dished bill—depression in the line of the culmen.
  • Arched neck.
  • Thick or short neck.
  • Long neck—beyond one third of the total length.
  • Neck expansion that distorts the symmetry of the ‘hock bottle’ shape.
  • Prominent shoulders.
  • Hollow back—angular displacement of the neck to the body, which should be 180 degrees when the bird is standing at attention.
  • 'Gutter' back—a long concavity between the shoulders.
  • Pointed breast—prominent sternum.
  • Pigeon breast—prominent chest muscles.
  • Flat back.
  • 'Cricket bat'—broad, shallow body (flat back and front).
  • Body squat or short.
  • Any other major distortion of the narrow, cylindrical shape.
  • Very short stern—well clear of the ground.
  • Long stern—touching the ground.
  • Forward legs—protruding, angular thighs that distort the lines of the body and cause awkward movement or poor carriage.
  • Turned up tail— when the bird is alert or at attention.

Minor Defects

In both sexes: Roman bill. Prominent thighs. Tail between the legs when stressed.

BWA Standards 2008 - 168 pages, fully illustrated - 200 pictures of all the breeds and colours.

Facts about all the Duck and Geese breeds in one pocket-sized volume. 27 pages of Runners, including 32 colour photographs.

Note: When standing in a show pen the maximum height is closer to an extended measure from crown (above the eye) to tail tip. The following is a rough guide.

Bean to Toe cm (in) Crown to Tail cm (in)
60 (24) 50 (20)
65 (26) 54 (21)
70 (28) 58 (23)
75 (30) 62 (24)
80 (32) 66 (26)
85 (34) 70 (28)

Page last updated: 9th October 2023