Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dog Breed
Aliases: Toller, Little River Duck Dog, Yarmouth Toller
|Life Span:||12-15 years|
|Litter Size:||4-6 puppies|
|Group:||Gun Dog, AKC Sporting|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, UKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||shades of red and orange uniform over the body. White markings on the feet, face, chest and the tip of the tail are acceptable.|
|Male Height:||17-21 inches (43-53 cm)|
|Male Weight:||37-51 pounds (17-23 kg)|
|Female Height:||17-21 inches (43-53 cm)|
|Female Weight:||37-51 pounds (17-23 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Thanks to their intelligence, this breed is highly adaptable to all conditions. Whether living in a small apartment or house, a Toller will need ready access to the outdoors. In a home with a yard, they are likely to be happy spending half their time indoors and half their time out. The opportunity to go out and explore the yard at will can also help keep the Toller from becoming bored.|
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, despite its flawless and utterly unique performance in the field, is one of the lesser known groups of gundog. With a smaller, compact form that is strong and balanced, the breed almost resembles that of a Golden Retriever whose coat has taken on the reddish orange or tawny hue of an Irish Setter. Also known as the Little River Duck Dog or Yarmouth Toller, specimens in this breed are more commonly and simply referred to as \'Tollers\'. As early hunters found, the breed\'s innate temperament and white markings made it perfect for tolling. Tolling is the act of attracting or luring small game such as waterfowl to a certain spot so a hunter can acquire an easier shot when the birds take flight. The Toller then happily retrieves the downed waterfowl or other small game.
At 21-25 inches at the shoulder and weighing in at 45-55 pounds, the dog is of a medium to thick build but never slight. Females may be somewhat smaller but are no less in stature. Along with the orange reddish coat there may be white markings on the head or feet but this is not always the case. The ears give the head somewhat of a triangular shape; wide at the top and smoothly narrowing down to the muzzle. The eyes are set to the side of a noticeable stop and are dark to medium in colaration, very friendly and alert looking in appearance. The muzzle is tapered to the nose and the lips and mouth are very tight, not with the loose lips of many of the gun dog breeds.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is very similar in appearance to a smaller version of the Golden Retriever. The body is muscular and stocky but still agile and very athletic. The body is relatively long, set on strong, solid legs and compact rounded feet. The tail is long and sweeping, with a noticeable curve upwards at the level of about the hocks of the back legs. The chest is deep and wide and the ribcage is well developed and solid in appearance. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a long, sweeping stride and a natural spring or bounce to their step.
One of the most recognized aspects of this breed is its coat that has been described as everything from orange and red to copperish and tawny. The double coat is long, somewhat wavy and coarse on the outer layer, followed by a dense, thick and softer inner layer next to the skin. The coat tends to be most wavy on the back and around the neck, and should be straight on the rest of the body.
Although the breed itself originates from Canada, for the most part it is believed that Tollers had their very beginnings in Belgium sometime in the 17th century. Eventually the breed made its way over from Great Britain to Nova Scotia. As legend has it, after observing the behavior of foxes for whom tolling is a natural method for catching prey, outdoorsmen bred this unique characteristic into dogs for the purpose of catching small game with nets. In all reality, crossing the DNA of a fox with a dog would be genetically impossible. The dogs were likely bred to only look like foxes. Tollers further came about as a breed at or around the turn of the century after being mated with retrievers and working class spaniels in the region of Yarmouth in Nova Scotia.
The temperament of the Toller is one that makes for a good companion when out in the field. They are alert but steady, not to mention ever patient. This also makes them an ideal family dog as well. Households with children do best with a dog that is patient and on the alert for anything suspicious. Tollers are not especially useful as a guard dog and will do much better instead as an attentive watch dog. They can be quite wary of new elements in their environment, giving a good bark or two just as an alert. They are also naturally playful and eager to please. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a good family dog, ready to play with kids and run and romp with the family. Generally not an overly enthusiastic dog the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a pleasant and gentle personality that can become very engage and attentive when they are hunting.
The nature of this breed will always come through and there should be no attempt to ignore or suppress these instinctual habits. Those who choose to use the dog in the vein for which it was bred will find they can start training their water loving Toller quite young using simple retrieving exercises. With the help of a professional trainer, one can have their dog ready to go and out in the field in no time. When given the chance, one should never pass up the opportunity to watch these magnificent animals at work.
The Toller is always eager to get out and has an inherent enthusiasm for performing its hunting duties. It is not unheard of for the Toller to give a look of complete disdain or sigh when a hunter misses a shot, delaying their opportunity to get out and retrieve.
Thyroid Disease - High Risk
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever ranks #8 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. There is a high risk of obtaining a dog that will develop thyroid disease. For this reason you should make sure you, or your breeder, are testing all dogs before breeding. It may even be a good idea to test dogs that you don't plan on breeding so that any instance of disease can be traced back to breeding pairs and eliminated.
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
The Toller is essentially a robust breed that can share many of the same common complaints as any other dog, such as hip dysplasia or heartworms. However, regular vet checkups can help to lessen or keep these problems at bay. There are occasionally serious health conditions found within the breed that include:
- PRA - progressive retinal atrophy that will lead to increasing levels of blindness for the dog.
- Hip Dysplasia - a gradual degeneration of the hip joint, resulting in pain and stiffness.
- Addisons Disease - lack of production of adrenal hormones that causes vomiting, lethargy and heart problems and possible death.