The Beautiful Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breed explained
The medium sized retriever with it’s long name, beautiful ginger coat, affectionate almond-shaped eyes has an interesting history with an origin that dates back as far as the 17th century.
What is the origin of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?
Long ago these types of bait dogs were used in Europe to lure ducks into a net. Just over a hundred years ago, in the “Little River” district in “Yarmouth County” in southwestern Nova Scotia, Canada, the hunters also used bait dogs that, just like the “MicMac Indian Dog”, lured water wild to the side just like the fox did.
These dogs were the result of crossbreeding with the different retrievers, including probably Liver-colored flat-coated retriever, Golden Retriever, Brown Spaniel, Irish Setters, Labrador Retriever, and yellow Border Collie-like dogs.
However, a story is also told in which the Dutch Kooikerhondje forms an important link in the creation of the Toller.
For example, there are different stories about the exact origin and it may never be possible to say with certainty how it went. Although the unique way of hunting these dogs has existed for more than a hundred years, official registration and written breed standard only existed in 1945.
Originally the breed was called “Little River Duck Dog” or “Yarmouth Toller”, but then the Canadian Kennel Club started registering the breed in the late fifties changed this name to the current “Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever”.
Due to the long name of the breed, the abbreviation “Toller” is commonly used.
The FCI received full international recognition in 1982. A law was passed in the Nova Scotia Parliament in 1995 on the occasion of the fifty-year recognition of the breed by the Canadian Kennel Club, which was submitted by Mr. Allister Surette.
Where does the word “Tolling” come from?
Look at wild foxes. The smart way in which foxes work together intending to get duck on the menu has been observed a lot over the years. While one fox is hiding near the water’s edge, the other runs up and down jumping and jumping along the water, constantly wagging its beautiful feathery tail.
Soon a group of ducks becomes curious and comes closer to see what all the fuss is good for.
The game ends when the ducks are near enough to be jumped by the concealed companion. Indians imitated this smart trick by quickly pulling a fox fur back and forth on a rope along the water, and with varying degrees of success.
Later dogs were taught to take the ducks to the hunter in the same way as the fox did. That whole game is called “Tolling”, after the English “Tollen” which means something like luring or bringing it closer.
Back in 1672, when Nicholas Denys writes the first documented account of Tolling in “The Description and Natural History of the Coasts of North America (Acadia)” which was based on his journals, written while in America and represent the main primary account of North America in the mid 17th Century.
“Tolling is from the Middle English “Tollen”, Old English “Tyllan”, which means: To entice or pull. For example: “The tolling of the bells drew villagers to the town square.”
There’s so much more to learn about this beautiful, smart breed!
More information about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
It is stated that the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was the official Dog of Nova Scotia, Canada. The American kennel club recognized the breed in 2002. There is now a respectable number of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers in Canada, America and Europe.
The Toller shows similarities in behavior and differences with other retriever species. The breed is sensitive and very attached to its pack. The Toller, however, is not always as everyone’s friend as for example the Golden Retriever is. Just like other dogs, a Toller is NOT born socially, lovingly and obediently, the breeder and mother dog have the first share in this. After that, it is up to you to raise and train the dog.
The Toller also stands out in the training for its high level of intelligence. A Toller will not indiscriminately do what his or her boss demands of him or her but will check for himself or herself whether there is no simpler way to achieve the result desired by the boss. This means that good training requires a patient approach. It is this sensitivity that is visible throughout the whole of the Duck Toller and makes training a separate challenge.
Always choose the right breed for your situation: Click here to read a helpful article about what you should know before purchasing a puppy and whether the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the breed you are looking for or read on for more information about this wonderful breed.
How is the character of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is bred as a working dog and owes many of its character traits precisely to the specific work for which it was bred.
In general only the retrieving feature of the Toller on the practical hunt will be used. The Toller is a passionate fancier who must have enough power to land an adult goose.
It goes without saying that not every Toller owner is expected to practice hunting with his dog, other dog sports are also within his reach.
Think of agility, obedience, and obedience. The Toller is a very intelligent dog with great endurance. He is a skilled and strong swimmer and a natural and good retriever on land as well as out of the water, whereby he quickly sets himself in action as soon as an indication is given that fetching is desired.
His strong will to fetch and his playfulness are essential for his “Tolling” trait. Even a task like an assistance dog or rescue dog is written on its body.
The natural will to fetch and its playfulness are necessary for the “tolling” property. As can be said of “advocacy” in standing dogs, the “tolling” trait is hereditary and can hardly be learned.
The dogs have an intense and natural sense of duty. Training needs to be done with puppies, young and adult dogs, but training is also to build a close relationship by letting the children throw away balls that any Duck Tolling Retriever will always be happy to get.
The people in Nova Scotia also speak not of working with the dog but of “playing the dog”. Other owners say that they are fetching maniacs. “If somebody ever throws a ball away, the Toller keeps bringing it back until the arm of this unfortunate one falls off”.
There is a story known of a Toller always taking his ball to the top of a hill to drop him there. Then he runs after it in an attempt to get hold of the ball before it is down. This game could repeat itself for hours.
Is a Duck Tolling retriever the same as a Golden Retriever?
The Toller shows similarities in behavior and also differences with other retriever species.
The Duck Tolling Retriever is sensitive and very attached to its pack. The Toller is not always everyone’s friend as for example the Golden Retriever is in most cases.
The Toller sometimes takes a reserved (but certainly not aggressive) attitude towards strangers.
The Toller also stands out in the training for its high level of intelligence. A Toller will not indiscriminately do what his boss demands of him but will check for himself whether there is no simpler way to achieve the result desired by the boss.
This means that good training requires a patient approach. It is this sensitivity that is visible throughout the whole of the Toller and makes training a separate challenge.
It is therefore highly recommended to walk, train, play, exercise and / or work with the dog. Provided these conditions are met, the Toller can be a nice and quiet “house dog”.
Is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Child Friendly?
In many dog encyclopedias, you can read “child-friendly dog” in the description of the character.
Every dog can be a child-friendly dog, but that depends on socialization, no single dog is born child-friendly, no matter how often they write it in the dog encyclopedias.
Every puppy, regardless of which breed it is, should already have the first positive experiences with children with the breeder and will have to be expanded with the new owner.
What is the Breed Standard for a Duck Tolling Retriever?
Below you will read the full and most common breed standard of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever derived from the Canadian version, as finally adopted by the FCI on November 15, 1992, and revised by the Canadian Kennel Club from January 1, 1998.
The recently made changes are underlined and accompanied by an explanation. The original standard has been drawn up in English. Some descriptions may lose some strength due to the translation, making it wise to use the original when judging dogs.
Size of the Duck Toller Retriever?
The ideal height for males over 18 months is 18 – 21 inches (48-51 cm), for females over 18 months 17 – 20 inches (45-48 cm.)
Deviation from the ideal height up and down to 1 inch (2.5 cm) is permitted. The weight must be in proportion to the height and bone of the dog.
20-23 kg for adult males.
17-20 kg for adult females.
Coat and Color
The Toller is bred to fetch from literally ice-cold water and must have a water-repellent double coat of medium length and softness with a softer, dense undercoat. This fur may be slightly wavy on the back, but it is also stylish. During some winters, long loose curls may appear at the throat.
The feathers are soft at the throat, behind the ears and at the rear of the hind legs, moderately feathered on the front legs. While it is allowed to trim the ears and feet, the Toller must maintain a natural appearance.
The color may vary from red or orange, copper, red golden, ginger with lighter feathering at the bottom of the tail, and usually white markings on tail, legs (not above the wrists), chest and blaze.
A dog with otherwise good qualities cannot be punished for a lack of white. The pigment of the nose, lips and eye rims must match and be flesh-colored to match the coat or be black.
Explanation: The first adjustment has been made because more and more Tollers are being shown whose fur has been put up or blown flat.
This must be prevented because the dog must have a natural appearance. The final addition is intended to emphasize that the pigment must match the coat.
Head and skull
The head, which should be in proportion to the size of the body, is sharply outlined and somewhat wedge-shaped when viewed from the top.
The broad skull is slightly rounded, the occipital bone is not dominant, the cheeks are flat. The distance from the occipital bone to the stop should roughly be as great as the distance from the stop to the tip of the nose. The stop is average.
Explanation: These changes are intended to indicate in more detail what is required in a Toller head.
Tapered from the stop to the nose, with a strong but not prominent lower jaw. The lower line of the muzzle runs almost in a straight line from the corner of the lip to the corner of the jawbone, the depth at the stop being greater than at the nose. The lips close pretty well, giving a soft curve in the profile, without being heavy. The hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Whiskers are not removed.
Explanation: This sentence has been added to emphasize that the Toller is a hunting dog breed and that whiskers are an integral part of the dog’s ability to do its job.
The correct teeth are scary, with all teeth and molars present. Bite over 1/8 inch (3 mm), under-bite and a crooked mouth is highly undesirable.
The jaws are strong enough to support a bird of considerable size and softness in the mouth is essential.
The nose of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever tapers from the onset of the nose bone to the tip, the nostrils are well opened. The color must match that of the fur, or be black.
The eyes are well apart, almond-shaped and medium in size; color ranging from amber to brown. The expression is friendly, alert and intelligent. Eye rims must be of the same color as the lips.
triangular, rounded at the points of medium size and worn in a fallen way. They are set high and far enough behind the skull, with the base slightly raised so that the edge of the ear is worn on the side of the head.
They are well feathered at the back, with short hair on the round points.
Explanation: This addition has been placed to help avoid the common error of articulated ears.
This is because, for example, the pointed ears that are folded in the middle give the dog’s head a completely different, untypical expression.
Slightly bent, strongly muscled and well set. With medium length without a visible hanging throat.
Explanation: Many current Tollers have short thick necks. With the addition to be slightly bent, it is hoped that the length of the neck can be secured without compromising on strength.
Shoulders muscled with the blades well behind and set to give good “withers” rolling in the short back. (Withers is the point between the shoulders where the neck merges into the body.
The blade and upper arm are approximately the same lengths with the upper arm well-angled behind the body.
Explanation: This section has been included to emphasize that the angulation must be good, with a good front chest as a result.
Elbows close to the body, not turning outwards or inwards, working neatly and evenly. The front legs come across as two parallel columns, straight and strong in bone.
The heel is strong and slightly ascending. The strong (non-woven) feet are medium in size, dense and round, with well-angled toes, thick soles of feet and strong nails and are in proportion to the size of the dog.
Explanation: it cannot be emphasized enough that a hunting dog must have strong feet and thick soles to be able to do its work, but they must always be in good proportion to the size of the dog.
Deep chest, following the ribs well, reaching the elbow. Short and straight back. Straight topline. Loin strongly muscled. Ribs neither round nor flat.
Muscular, broad and square in appearance. Hindquarters and hindquarters angles must be in balance.
Thighs very muscular, bottom and top of about the same length. Knee well angled and jumped low enough, not turning in or out. * Hubertus claws do not have to be present.
Following the natural lines of the back, broad at the base, lush and strongly feathered whereby the last bone must at least reach the hock.
The tail may be worn lower than the backline, except when the dog is alert; in that case, he must be high, never hitting his back.
Descent and purpose
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed in Nova Scotia in the early 19th century to “spin” (or lure) and fetch water birds.
The Toller runs, jumps and plays along the water’s edge in the full view of a flight or group of ducks, occasionally disappearing from sight and then reappearing, aided by the hidden hunter, throwing small sticks or a ball at the dog.
The dog’s play activity lures the curious ducks within the hunter’s lap. The dog must then fetch the shot down birds.
Explanation: The word shot was used instead of the dead or the injured birds to emphasize that live or tipsy birds will approach the playing dog.
General appearance of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The Toller is a medium-sized, powerful, compact, well-balanced and well-muscled dog; medium to heavy in bone, with a high degree of zest for work, alertness, and tenacity.
Many Tollers have a somewhat sad expression that turns into an expression of intense concentration and excitement when they work.
While working, the dog is fast, with the head almost carried in line with the back and the heavily feathered tail always moving.
Temperament of the Duck Toller Retriever?
The Toller is very intelligent, easy to train the dog with great endurance. He is a strong and knowledgeable swimmer and a natural and persistent retriever on land as well as from water, making himself up for quick action as long as the smallest indication is given that fetching is expected.
His strong will to fetch and his playfulness are essential for his “Tolling” trait. Loving and playful for his family, he can be reserved for strangers without being aggressive or overly shy. Aggression is not tolerated.
The Toller combines an impression of power with an elastic, elegant movement, reaching well forward and strongly propelling from behind.
Feet should not turn outwards or inwards and the legs move in a straight line.
As the speed increases, where the dog has to walk single tracks, the topline must remain straight and must gain ground with controlled movements.
Explanation: This description simply indicates a way of movement that is good for a hunting dog, although this addition seems to contradict the elastic, elegant movement, the described powerful impression that is combined with it may be sufficient to eliminate the apparent contradiction.
Depending on the seriousness of the error.
- Nose, eye rims and eyes, not the right color;
- Bright pink nose;
- Long or spread feet, sagged midfoot, jumped down;
- Open coat;
- Curved or sagging back, sagging loins;
- Tail is worn below the line of the back while going;
- Any deviation from the aforementioned points must be penalized as an error to the extent of the error.
- White on the shoulders, around the ears, at the back of the neck, flanks or back.
- Silver-colored coat, gray in the coat, black areas in the coat.
- Any color other than red and all variants of orange.
- No flippers.
- Subsidiary; In adult class any kind of embarrassment.
- Butterfly nose (Spotted nose).
- Overbite with more than 3 mm.