Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
As described by the American Kennel Club, the smallest of the retrievers, Tollers are "...upbeat athletes who require outlets for their boundless vigor: hunting, hiking, camping, and, of course, swimming (for which they are ideally suited, down to their webbed feet). Tollers are smart, handsome, affectionate companions, but these red tornadoes can be recommended only to those with enough time and energy to keep them usefully occupied. The Toller’s trademark is a coat of stunning crimson, ranging from golden red to a dark coppery color, with white markings. Strong and agile, Tollers are medium dogs: medium in size, bone, and coat length."
Originally known as "the little river dog", Tollers were first developed in the Little River community of Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, Canada sometime in the early 1800s. Inspired by the way in which ducks were lured closer to the shore by the playful actions of wild foxes, hunters developed a small, agile breed with a playful manner to mimic the foxes' actions along the shoreline as they retrieved sticks or rocks thrown by the hunter hidden in a blind. Curious over the running, jumping, and disappearing of the dogs and the flitting of their well-feathered tails held high and in constant motion, the ducks are lured within gunshot range, and the dog is then sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds. This is what is referenced when we talk about "tolling".
above: Kelly and Avery practice tolling
TOP 10 REASONS NOT TO GET A TOLLER
|10. Shedding and Mess
Tollers do blow their coat seasonally, and they are dogs who like to swim and roll and wallow. They are not a dog for the fastidious or the allergic.
|5. Not everyone's best friend
Most Tollers will greet strangers, but generally reserve true enthusiasm for their family and special people.
|9. Prey Drive
If you don't want your cat chased, this may not be the dog for you. The chasing will be all in fun, but it is likely to happen.
|4. Did you say no?
Tollers are generally too smart to engage in out and out dominance battles. Instead they sense power vacuums, and exploit them. If you are unable to be firm (kind, but firm) about the rules of your household, and to enforce them consistently, you will find that the ruler of your house has four legs and is red.
|8. Not Guard Dogs
Tollers are generally wary of strangers and will not stand up to them. They will not guard you or your house.
Tollers are physically and emotionally sensitive. You have to be careful with how much pressure you apply in training.
|7. The "Scream!"
Tollers have a penetrating scream which they produce to indicate excitement and eagerness. To the uninitiated, this can sound like the dog is being fed into a wood chipper; it is high pitched, frantic and loud.
This is a dog with brains to spare. They need to be challenged and engaged by their work, or they get bored and stop paying attention. Keeping all that intelligence focused and busy is a big challenge. All Toller owners must be willing to do basic obedience training. Most are involved in advanced training activities: hunting/field, agility, flyball, tracking, etc.
Tollers are a hunting breed, and are bred to be working dogs. They have a fanatical drive to work, and will retrieve until your arm is ready to fall off.
|1. High Maintenance
The Toller is an energetic dog, and needs plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. A bored Toller with excess energy will find another outlet for their drive, and the results are often destructive. If you don't have time to give this breed at least an hour of exercise a day, every day, with plenty of swimming and fetching, look elsewhere.
We recommend prospective Toller owners read both the Top 10 Reasons TO GET and NOT TO get a Toller courtesy of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of the United States of America (NSTDRC-USA)!
We cannot emphasize enough that Tollers are not a breed for everyone, although we love every minute with ours.
Prospective owners should be certain to do their research to see if Tollers will be a good fit for their lifestyle and household!
German Wirehaired Pointer
Check out GWP breed information from our mentors and friends at Claddagh Kennel - they've put it better than we ever could!
Some information we'd like to highlight from the link above: "It is important to remember this is primarily a hunting dog, bred for a purpose, and needs to be able to channel that energy, or they will easily bore if lacking attention needed to stimulate the mind... GWPs are naturally very intelligent and are eager to please. They make excellent companions for people who want to spend time with their dogs because of the alert and affectionate nature of GWPs, but they do not make good kennel dogs because of a strong desire to be included in all activities."
And don't forget to read through the FAQs from Claddagh Kennel!