Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) was developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. They are lured within gunshot range, and the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds. Their water-repellant double coat is any shade of red, often with white markings.
This medium sized, powerful, compact, balanced dog is the smallest of the retrievers. The Toller's attitude and bearing suggest strength with a high degree of agility. He is alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please.
Many Tollers have a slightly sad or worried expression when they are not working. The moment the slightest indication is given that
retrieving is required, they set themselves for springy action with an expression of intense concentration and excitement. The heavily
feathered tail is held high in constant motion while working.
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.