Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breed Guide

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are medium sized dogs with medium-length, water-repellant double coats. These dogs come in any shade of red, from golden red through the darkest of copper reds. They have lighter feathering on the body, underside of the tail, and pantaloons. The coat often has white markings, and the undercoat is dense and soft. There may be a gentle wave on the back. These dogs have almond-shaped eyes, hanging triangular ears, a deep chest, and a broad, wedge-shaped head. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers measure 17 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 35 to 50 pounds.

Outgoing, intelligent, and affectionate, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers get along well with children and love to play fetch and other games outdoors.

This breed is the smallest of the retriever breeds, and Tollers (as they're often called) are always ready for action. They are happiest when they have a job to do. These dogs are affectionate and loving and make great family pets. They get along especially well with children. Tollers also make good watchdogs.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are a unique breed. Their orange or red coat gives them a definite foxlike appearance and has led to speculation over the years that these dogs are a cross between a retriever and a fox. Of course, this is a genetic impossibility.

Tollers are known for their boundless energy, and these dogs often have a great sense of humor and an upbeat attitude. They make excellent companion animals and are highly adaptable and able to easily move from one environment to another. This makes them a good choice for people who like to travel.

Outgoing, intelligent, and affectionate, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers get along well with children and love to play fetch and other games outdoors. These dogs are not usually shy, although some individuals may be reserved, especially when meeting new people. They are an active breed and are happiest when busy. They do well in most living situations, including small apartments, provided they are given lots of attention and are taken for a walk at least twice daily.

The breed's alert nature and loud voice makes it a great watchdog, but these traits can also annoy neighbors if barking is not kept under control. Regular mental and physical stimulation should make these dogs less reactive to strange noises and unfamiliar people.

Tollers are generally healthy dogs and are not known to suffer from a great number of serious genetic diseases. However, this is not a guarantee that individual dogs will be free of health problems. Purchasing or adopting one of these dogs from a reputable source is important.

Congenital hip dysphasia, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, and Addison's disease are some conditions seen in this breed. Additionally, these dogs are prone to certain eye diseases, including progressive retinal atrophy, a condition that leads to blindness.

With routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, a balanced diet, and regular exercise, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers typically live a full life of up to 14 years.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are very smart and easy to train. However, they are also very independent and prefer to do things in their own way and time. To ensure training success, it's important to establish firm rules, be consistent, and keep training sessions short and fun to prevent boredom.

Positive reinforcement techniques are especially effective when training this breed. Play, praise, and food rewards will provide much needed motivation and keep these dogs interested during training sessions. Tollers do not respond well to harsh criticism or unjust rules, and they will shut down and refuse commands if their feelings are hurt. Additionally, these dogs learn a lot through example. If their owner is untrusting of strangers, these dogs will tend to be suspicious, as well.

Regular mental and physical stimulation will go a long way toward preventing boredom and destructive behavior in this breed. If left alone for long periods, these dogs tend to act out and may bark, dig, chew, or otherwise cause damage. If human family members cannot be around most of the time, another dog can provide companionship and prevent loneliness and boredom. It will also help prevent aggressiveness and overly suspicious behavior caused by a lack of socialization.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are fairly easy to groom. Regular combing with a wire brush will keep their thick, double coat healthy and manageable. Mats and tangles should not be a problem, provided the coat is groomed at least twice weekly. Daily brushing may be necessary during spring and fall shedding seasons to keep loose hair under control and prevent it from accumulating on clothing and along baseboards.

The breed's water-repellent coat should only be shampooed when absolutely necessary. Frequent use of soap will dry the coat and reduce its waterproofing properties. The ears should be dried after bathing to prevent ear infections.

These dogs need their nails trimmed every couple of weeks to prevent snagging and tearing, and the foot pads should be cleaned regularly and checked for damage. Ear cleaning should be done weekly; signs of excess wax accumulation or infection must be reported to a veterinary right away so that treatment can begin. Daily tooth brushing is important to protect the teeth and gums and prevent periodontal disease.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were developed in the early 1800s to toll, lure, and retrieve various waterfowl. "Tolling" is a type of hunting method in which a dog "dances" on the shoreline to attract curious ducks. When the ducks come within range of the hunter, they're shot by the hunter and then retrieved by the dog.

Although there's no genuine record of the Toller's development, most experts believe the breed was created from a mix of Red Decoy Dogs, spaniels, retrievers, setters, and Farm Collies. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was originally known by the names Little River Duck Dog and Yarmouth Toller because of its origin in Yarmouth County in Nova Scotia's Little River district.

Today, these dogs are popular companion animals and watchdogs in Canada and the United States.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever in 2003.