Monday, 12 January 2015

Breeds: The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller)

Please note: This series of breed histories came about quite organically. I have a large archive of images I have taken through my work as a pet photographer - rather than have them sit on my hard drive, I decided to develop the Breeds Series here on the blog.  It is important for me to make clear that I am an advocate of rescue dogs – I do not promote breeders. At the end of each of these articles there is a link to appropriate breed specific rescues. If you are looking for a dog to join your family, please do  consider adoption before searching for a breeder. 

I thought I'd start a series highlighting some of the dogs I photograph - some are registered breeds, some beautiful heinzes - all make me fall in love with them during their photo-sessions...I know, I know it's a bind I have to bear, sharing my days with these gorgeous animals - it's such a hardship (not!)

So, to kick off are Ruari and Quiver the handsome Tollers. I hadn't even heard of a Toller let alone photographed one before I met these two, so when their Mum booked their session, I had a bit of reading to do! This is what I learned.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is classified as a gun dog. An intelligent and easily trainable breed - it is a great choice for families who are active and like to keep busy.

The delightful Ruari with his toothy smile.

Their true origins are not really known; there is an understanding that a small red retriever type dog aided European hunters as far back at the 1600s, but, there is no sufficient evidence to link these to the modern day Toller.

The breed as we now know it though, was first developed in the early 1800s in Little River Harbour, Nova Scotia and given the name Little River Duck Dog or Yarmouth Toller; their job of course was to run the rivers and waterways to toll (lure or entice) waterfowl.

Quiver, Ruari's bro - he was having a more serious day that day

Seen in a range of reds from light golden to deep copper they are often mistaken for a small golden retriever. Most, of course, enjoy water and have the added benefit of webbed feet and a double water-repelling-quick-drying coat.

The Toller was officially recognised as a breed by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945, but didn’t reach our UK shores until the late 1980s. They are clever dogs with a busy streak. They excel and benefit from sports such as agility and flyball to keep their mind and body active – with a proven record in Search and Rescue and as assistance dogs.

My own experience of these two particular Tollers was quickly finding out they were uber friendly (they demanded I sit and cuddle them for the longest time before the session began - who could resist an offer like that?!) They were obedient and happy and a real joy to be around.

To find out more about the breed, its temperament and other characteristics, and to speak with someone about searching for a rescue dog, please take a look at the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of the UK. 


Tomorrow I'll be highlighting the work of one of the hundreds of brilliant rescue groups in the UK, helping dogs that desperately need a second chance of life.

Click here to Subscribe to Pet Chronicles and receive an alert via email each time I post

Come and follow me for tweety snippets or Facebook for more sneak peeks of the animals I photograph.


  1. They really are aren't they - and these two were just a couple of snugglebums :)

  2. There's a third in our household now Cora, nicknamed Shark Dog!!

    1. Ooh the baby with snappy teeth! Gorgeous!

  3. Love the spectacular color that you were able to capture...and the intelligent eyes.

    1. They have that look of 'knowing' don't they - the colour of their eyes are as impressive as the colour of their fur I reckon :)

  4. Those Tollers are gorgeous and your photos amazing!

  5. Toller's are neat dogs!! I've groomed a couple! :D

  6. Those are spectacular photos. I've loved this breed for a long time but my vet discouraged me from getting one. Her experience was that they had lots of health problems. But, there aren't many of them around here so that could have been based on just one or two. Great photos!

  7. We train with a few Tollers. They are sweet and sometimes efficient dogs in the field. Great pictures.


I love to hear from you - ask questions, give your point of view or just meet new people in the comments :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...