The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also known as the Toller or Little River Duck Dog, is a medium sized retriever that originated in Canada.The Toller is a good pet for a family that enjoys outdoor activity. Tollers are easy to train and adore playing games like fetch. When training a Toller, the handler should attempt to make the training fun, as young dogs can become bored quite easily. Tollers are good with children and other animals, provided they’re socialized at a young age. Tollers are very protective of their family. Many members of the breed have been documented as saving their owner’s life (or attempting to save it in situations the dog viewed as threatening).
Tollers make good watchdogs, as they will sound an alarm as a stranger approaches. However, they are not particularly aggressive and are not good guard dogs. Tollers need lots of exercise and so are best suited for suburban or rural environments. However, they can do well in smaller dwellings if they are exercised enough. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, besides being a great pet, is an excellent hunting companion.
They are known for their tolling ability (‘tolling’ is enticing or luring an animal) and retrieving capacity. When duck hunting, the hunter usually waits from a hidden spot for ducks and other waterfowl to come into view. The Toller helps by playfully retrieving sticks, enticing the curious waterfowl to come ever closer. When the birds are close enough, the hunter calls the dog back. He remains with the hunter until there are birds to retrieve.
Tollers are moderately sized animals, reaching 20 inches in height and weighing as much as 51 pounds, with females weighing significantly less than males. Toller’s coats are double and of medium length. They have a soft, waterproof overcoat and a soft, thick undercoat. For the most part, the coat is straight although a slight wave on the back is permissible. Some feathering around the throat, on the tail and on the legs is common. According to the breed standard, Tollers must be red or orange.
Some white marking is permissible on the face, chest and feet. Toller’s feet are webbed.The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was originally named the Little River Duck Dog, after the Little River District of Nova Scotia, where they originated. The exact origin of the Toller is unknown, although two theories exist. One is that the Toller originated from a 17th century breed used in England to lure waterfowl into nets.
This breed resembled the Toller in appearance, but little else is known about it. The other theory about the origin of the Toller is that it descended from the Lesser St. John’s Water Dog (now extinct), brown Cocker Spaniels, and Irish Setters, with some Golden Retriever, Collie and Chesapeake Bay Retriever blood possible. As mentioned above, the Toller’s main job is luring waterfowl close enough to shoot and then retrieving the birds.
The Continental Kennel Club first recognized the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever in 1945 and by the FCI in 1982. All major kennel clubs now recognize the breed.Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers should be brushed with a firm bristle brush. They should be bathed only when necessary as excessive shampooing can remove the natural oils from the coat and skin that makes the dogs water-resistant.Some common health problems associated with Tollers are hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy and juvenile cataracts.