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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Posted June 06, 2014 in Dog Breeds

Background
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is unlike most any other hunting dog. Instead of chasing ducks, these dogs actually lure them closer by “dancing” along the shore. This graceful dancing technique is known as “tolling,” thus the breed name.

“Tolling” is a Middle English word and implies that the game is being tempted to come closer. The breed was taught how to do it by Canada’s Micmac Indians, who were impressed by the way foxes were able to entice prey in a similar fashion. They were originally called Little River Duck Dogs. 

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

Sizing up

  • Weight: 35 to 50 lbs.
  • Height: 17 to 21 inches
  • Coat: Double, water-repellent coat, medium in length
  • Color: Red, fawn and red-gold all with white markings
  • Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years

What’s the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever like?
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an active, independent and spunky little redhead with an admiration of children and a fierce love of his family. They also have the natural skills of a trustworthy watchdog.

The Toller is definitely a breed needing regular human companionship. When left alone for too long he can get a bit destructive. The best way to protect your possessions is to exercise him frequently.

He can be a howler and the littlest thing, like a bird flying by the window, can get him excited. Neighbors in close quarters may not appreciate this.

The Toller is a smart little dog, and will learn quickly, but you’ll definitely need to show him you’re the boss. Otherwise he could use his intelligence against you. Always begin training the day you bring him home and use firm and consistent techniques as well as praises and food rewards when he’s done something correctly. Socializing should begin at an early age, he’ll have a great time at a dog park or at doggie daycare.

Grooming your Toller is pretty easy. You’ll need to give him a good brushing about twice a week or as needed to keep his coat free of tangles and mats. Brushing also helps keep his shedding down.

Health
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is generally a healthy breed with a few concerns to watch for:

Hip dysplasia

  • One of the most common diseases seen in dogs, with larger breeds being the most affected.

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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.