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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Origin: Nova Scotia

AKC Group: Sporting

Height: 17 inches (Male)

Weight: 37 pounds (Male)

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Nova Scotia
Male height: 
17 inches
Male weight: 
37 pounds
Double coat is of medium length and water repellant, with soft, dense undercoat.
Red, from a deep golden red to a dark coppery red, with small white markings typically on their feet, chest, tail tip and face.

In the Little River district of Yarmouth County in southwestern Nova Scotia, hunters have used tolling dogs for more than 100 years. Tolling dogs are used to draw water birds toward the shore - usually by retrieving an object thrown into the water with tremendous animation, twirling and prancing as they do so. Duck and geese eventually move closer to the shore, where the hunter is waiting behind a blind. Once the hunter does his job, the dogs retrieve the game. Tolling dogs have been hunting like this for hundreds of years, but they were only registered with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) in 1945, at which time their name was changed from the Little River Duck Dog or Yarmouth Toller to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR). He was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 2001, and so that his hunting instincts would be preserved, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (NSDTRC) encourages all owners to have their dogs pass a field trial test.

Although he is the smallest of the retrievers in overall size, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (often called "Toller" by his admirers) is certainly not "shorter" of natural talent. So keen is his desire to work that owners say that he bears a sad expression on his face until he can participate in a retrieving game or a real hunt, during which he is animated and exceptionally in tune to the task at hand. Tolling is a natural ability, and while it needs to be trained so that the dog can master certain idiosyncrasies of the style, it cannot be taught. It comes completely naturally to the Toller, who is described as a "retrieving fool." He loves his family and is completely devoted to them.
At home: 
Like most retrievers, the Toller is extremely adaptable, and his compact size means that he can get along in the city and the country - as long as he is sufficiently exercised. He is an all-weather dog - he can do well in just about any climate, from hot and humid to cold and rainy.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever must get enough exercise on a daily basis. He is an athletic and energetic dog who can animatedly retrieve in and out of the water for hours at a time. His favorite pastime, besides real-life tolling, is to play retrieving games in a pond, lake or even the ocean.
NSDTRs are enthusiastic eaters who will usually devour whatever is fed to them. Because of this, it is important to monitor their food intake to prevent obesity. They need the highest-quality diet to ensure that they are getting the nutrition they require. Feeding twice a day is preferred.
The NSDTR is responsive and eager when engaged in his favorite pursuit - retrieving. With positive and motivational training methods, he is also a quick learner of basic household manners and other activities, like canine sports.
Tollers are gentle and get along well with children. They are usually standoffish with strangers but will warm up after proper "introductions." They are curious around other dogs and pets but can coexist peacefully with them.
The average life span of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is 13 to 16 years. Breed health problems may include Addison's disease; autoimmune thyroiditis; Collie eye anomaly (CEA); and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

NSDTRs were the result of various retriever crosses, estimated as Golden, Chesapeake, Labrador, and Flat-Coat, with speculation of a dash of Cocker, Irish Setter (for his beautiful red coat), and various small farm collies and/or spitz-like dogs.

Grooming blurb: 
He is an average shedder, but the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a dense undercoat that needs regular brushing with a bristle brush to keep it tangle- and dirt-free. His is a waterproof coat, and he shouldn't be bathed often, as this depletes its natural oils. With his love of the water and hanging ears, they should be kept clean and dry to stave off infection.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.