AKC Dog Breeds: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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Sporting Group
Height 17-21 inches  Weight 37-51 pounds Color shades of red and orange

Medium sized, powerful and compact, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the retrievers. He developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. There is no authentic record of the development of the Toller, but present day thinking is that the basic stock was the red decoy dog, probably brought to Nova Scotia with the early settlers from Europe. Crosses with other breeds, possibly spaniel and setter-type dogs, retriever-type dogs, and farm collie, produced today’s Toller. Originally known as the Little River Duck Dog after the district of Yarmouth County, or as a Yarmouth Toller, the Toller has now bred true for generations. The breed is thought to go back over a century, and was registered with the AKC in 2001.

General Appearance

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever looks somewhat like a small Golden Retriever. It is a well-muscled dog that is medium to heavy boned. It has a deep chest that is well-insulated for swimming in cold water. The coat is dense, and comes in various shades of red and orange. It usually has small white markings on the feet, chest, tail tip and sometimes face and may have a slight wave on its back, but the coat is otherwise straight. The ears are triangular and set high and are well back from the skull. The head is clean-cut and slightly wedge-shaped. The powerful, compact, well-muscled body is on sturdy, solid legs.

One of the smallest retrievers around, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a reliable, enthusiastic, and cheerful dog. These dogs make great companions and pets, and are well suited to the more inexperienced dog owner as well as those with experience. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a mild manner and a gentle nature. He is a spirited and energetic dog, and enjoys plenty of exercise and play - his favorite activities include playing fetch and swimming. Early socialization to avoid timidity is important with this breed, and plenty of mental and physical stimulation is required to keep him alert and interested. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever does have a tendency to chew, which needs to be kept under control, and some can be strong headed and dominant. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a playful and happy creature, and is always eager to please his owner. He is an intelligent dog and quick to learn, but boredom and distraction can sometimes make training a challenge - owners need to be confident and assertive, whilst always using positive reward-based training methods for best results. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can whine when he gets excited, and most enjoy digging up the garden. This is a sociable and friendly breed, and gets along well with gentle children, as well as with other pets. Most will be a little wary of strangers at first. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will bark, and this means that he can be an effective watchdog, but he is too gentle and good natured to make it as a guard dog. These dogs will fare well with a family that is active and has plenty of time to dedicate to a pet.

The double coat on the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever should be brushed all the way down to the undercoat to ensure a healthy and smooth coat. Dry shampooing works best on the coat of this breed, and should not be bathed regularly as this removes the oils from the skin and coat, which gives it the ability to be water resistant.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is around 12-14 years. He is generally a healthy breed, but there are a few health issues to look out for. This includes HD, PRA, heart defects, and thyroid problems.

Activity Level

Fetch is a favorite of this retrieving breed. This will keep the dog sufficiently exercised and happy. However, this dog would do best with a fenced in yard, as this dog is rambunctious and lively. They are also a dog that loves water and will not hesitate to at least indulge in getting their paws wet when given the chance. Regular exercise for the Toller that includes being walked or run through parks, along beaches and in more crowded environments will also help to socialize the breed with new people and places. In addition the Toller is a natural retriever, so making exercise, training and fun time combine into one longer session is an ideal to provide physical and mental exercise for the dog.


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