Ever seen one in the shooting field?
If you know your gundogs, you can no doubt recognise a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever; but it’s unlikely you’ve ever seen one in the shooting field, as very few tollers in the UK work to the gun. Identification is easy, for all tollers come in the same shade of fox-red, usually with a white chest and white-tipped tail.
13 things to know about the Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever
- Novia Scotia duck-tolling retrievers have the potential to do anything from beating to picking-up.
- In temperament, they are much more like spaniels as they are fizzy, busy dogs.
- They’re not as easy to train as Labradors, but they hunt well, have good noses and can retrieve brilliantly.
- They are intelligent dogs, and this can be part of the challenge in training them.
- The breed has its origins in the Canadian province, where it was originally bred as a decoy dog. The hunter, hidden in a blind or hide, would send the foxy-looking toller to trot up and down on the water’s edge, luring the inquisitive duck within range of his gun. Once a duck was shot the toller was expected to retrieve it.
- Originally known as the Little River duck dog, the breed’s bloodlines are thought to include a mix of gundogs, ranging from Chesapeake Bay and golden retrievers to the Brittany type.
- Many people believe that there’s a touch of collie in there too.
- The first Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever arrived in Britain from Canada in 1988, despite having been recognised by Canadian Kennel Club in 1945.
- A trainer from the Toller Club of Great Britain says that the breed is the sort of dog that wants to work for you all day long, but like most spaniels is not happy sitting at the peg as would far rather be doing something.
- They can be sensitive dogs and need careful handling, but the breed’s success in agility competitions demonstrates that they can be trained to a high standard.
- The toller is about the same weight and height as a working springer, standing about 20in at the withers and weighing around 40lb.
- They fit easily into a small house, but are quite happy if kept in an outside kennel.
- They enjoy singing! When two or three tollers get going together, they can make a dreadful racket. This is a fault that has to be stopped at an early age or it will become a habit.