The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is one of the most unusual breeds of gundog, at least in terms of how the dog works. The hunter stays hidden in a blind and sends the dog out to romp and play near the water, usually by tossing a ball or stick to be retrieved. The dog's activity and white markings pique the curiosity of waterfowl, who swim over to investigate. The act of enticing or luring game to approach is known as "tolling". When the birds are close, the hunter calls the dog back to the blind, then rises, putting the birds to flight, allowing him a shot. The Toller then retrieves any downed birds.
The breed was developed in the Little River district of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia around the beginning of the 20th Century to toll waterfowl. Its exact origins are not known, but it appears that some Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, and/or Irish Setter may have gone into the mix. It may share origins with the smaller Kooikerhondje, which as a somewhat similar method of work.
The Toller was officially admitted to the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945. 56 years later on June 11, 2001 it was approved for admission into the Miscellaneous Class of the American Kennel Club and was granted full recognition into the Sporting Group on July 1, 2003.
According to the breed standards, the Toller should be athletic, well-muscled, compact, medium boned, balanced and powerful. The chest is deep. Conformation judges require Tollers to be capable of tolling, and physical faults that inhibit working ability are heavily penalized. They should be of moderate build??”a lack of substance or a heavy build are penalized by judges, as both detract from the type and athleticism. The legs are sturdy and solid.
Those who breed Tollers for conformation shows consider the head (clean cut, slightly wedge-shaped) to be an important feature, and believe it should resemble that of a fox and must never be blocky like that of a Golden Retriever. The ears are triangular and set high and well back from the skull.
The tail is well-feathered and held jauntily when the dog is excited or moving.
Coat and colour
Colour is any shade of red, ranging from a golden red through dark coppery red, with lighter featherings on the underside of the tail, pantaloons, and body. Even the lighter shades of golden red are deeply pigmented and rich in colour. The Toller should not be buff or brown.
The Toller has usually at least one of the following white markings - tip of tail, feet (not extending above the pasterns) chest and blaze. Lack of white is not a fault.
The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters and must have a water-repellent double coat of medium length and softness, and a soft dense undercoat. The coat may have a slight wave on the back, but is otherwise straight. Some winter coats may form a long loose curl at the throat. Featherings are soft and moderate in length. The hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Seasonal shedding is to be expected. Over-coated specimens are not appropriate for a working dog.
Size and proportions
Tollers range in height from 17 to 20 inches (43-53 cm) at the withers, and weigh 37 to 51 pounds (17-23 kg); females are slightly shorter and lighter. Tollers are always a medium-sized breed, never large, however there has been a trend towards larger dogs in recent years. Tollers are traditionally the smallest breed of the retriever family.
Tollers should be slightly longer than tall (a ratio of approximately 10 to 9). However, they shouldn't be appear long-backed either.
The Toller is highly intelligent, alert, outgoing, and ready for action, though not to the point of nervousness or hyperactivity. It is affectionate and loving with family members and is good with children, showing patience. Some individuals may display reserved behavior in new situations, but this is not to be confused with shyness. The Toller's strong retrieving desire coupled with his love of water, endurance and intense "birdiness", is essential for its role as a tolling retriever.
Tollers are generally hardy. However, they, like almost all dog breeds, have certain genetic disorders that are prevalent in the breed. This is sometimes blamed on a relatively small gene pool, a problem that is aggravated because some people buying Tollers only want dogs that are bred in Nova Scotia, believing that Nova Scotian dogs are the only "true" Tollers. The Toller's hereditary diseases include:
- Addison's Disease
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Hip dysplasia
|Dogs originating from Canada
||Canadian Eskimo Dog ?· Labrador Retriever ?· Landseer ?· Newfoundland ?· Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever ?· Seppala Siberian Sleddog ?· Valley Bulldog
||Tahltan Bear Dog ?· St. John's Water Dog
|Breeds of gundog
||English Setter ?· Gordon Setter ?· Irish Red and White Setter ?· Irish Setter ?· Pointer
||Ariege Pointer ?· Blue Picardy Spaniel ?· Bracco Italiano ?· Braque du Bourbonnais ?· Braque d'Auvergne ?· Braque Fran?§ais ?· Braque Saint-Germain ?· Brittany ?· Cesky Fousek ?· German Longhaired Pointer ?· German Shorthaired Pointer ?· German Wirehaired Pointer ?· Large M??nsterl?¤nder ?· Old Danish Pointer ?· Old Spanish Pointer ?· Picardy Spaniel ?· Portuguese Pointer ?· Pudelpointer ?· Small M??nsterl?¤nder ?· Spanish Pointer ?· Spinone Italiano ?· Vizsla ?· Weimaraner ?· Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
||Chesapeake Bay Retriever ?· Curly-Coated Retriever ?· Flat-Coated Retriever ?· Golden Retriever ?· Labrador Retriever ?· Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever ?· Standard Poodle
||American Cocker Spaniel ?· Boykin Spaniel ?· Clumber Spaniel ?· English Cocker Spaniel ?· English Springer Spaniel ?· Field Spaniel ?· French Spaniel ?· German Spaniel ?· Pont-Audemer Spaniel ?· Russian Spaniel ?· Sussex Spaniel ?· Welsh Springer Spaniel ?·
||American Water Spaniel ?· Barbet ?· Irish Water Spaniel ?· Lagotto Romagnolo ?· Portuguese Water Dog ?· Spanish Water Dog ?· Wetterhoun