Yellow Labrador Retriever Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

November 8, 2013 – 05:15 am

Most people are quite curious the first time they see my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. "What breed of dog is that?" they'll ask, as my hairy rusty-brown and white canine companion furiously wags his tail, ever hopeful of getting a treat.

"Is it a miniature Golden Retriever? A Border Collie cross? A Brittany Spaniel?"

I respond by saying the name slowly-"It's a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever." I annunciate my words carefully, for more often than not, the person will reply, "Um... That's interesting... A Troller, you say?"

"No, " I laugh, "Trolling is a way of fishing and most dogs can't hold fishing rods! This is a Toller." And then I begin to relate their story.

While many people think this is a new breed, the origins of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR, or "Toller") run deeper than many of today's better known and more established breeds. One of only four truly Canadian breeds-the other three being the Labrador Retriever, the Newfoundland and the Canadian Eskimo or "Inuit" dog-its roots can be traced back to a time when the Canadian Maritime provinces and parts of the state of Maine were still known as Acadia. The earliest documented reference to the type and its use dates back to about 1630. By the early 1900s, the area around Little River in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, was being credited with having produced a unique type medium-sized, rusty-brown dog that bred "true" (i.e., offspring reliably resembled their parents)-hence the dog's first unofficial name, "Little River Duck Dog."

It is believed that the NSDTR was developed through crosses between the Chesapeake Bay Retriever and the Brittany Spaniel (the American Kennel Club's "Brittany")-with, perhaps, a little farmyard collie thrown in for good measure. Folklore maintains that the Toller resulted from a fox-dog mating, but as romantic as that theory sounds, science tells us it is genetically impossible. However there is a slight possibility of some coyote genes having entered the mix early on. (Coyotes are more closely related to domestic dogs than foxes are and can, in fact, interbreed with them.) Only God and Mother Nature know for sure!

In 1945 the breed was officially recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club, but up until the mid-1960s, it remained one of Nova Scotia's best-kept secrets. Since then, however, Tollers have become increasingly popular across Canada and the United States, as well as in England, Belgium and Australia. In 1995 the breed was officially declared the Provincial Dog of Nova Scotia-the first and only breed to be awarded this distinction. And in 2003, on July 1 (Canada Day), the breed was fully recognized by the American Kennel Club-a fitting salute to a true Canadian dog.

Tollers have become popular partly due to their size (which is small, compared to any of the other retriever breeds), combined with their beauty, intelligence, versatility, strong working drive and friendly nature. But size and visual appeal should not be the determining factor in selecting a Toller (or any other breed of dog, for that matter) as a canine companion. A responsible breeder will warn you that this is not the best choice of dog for sedentary people! The Toller is a high-energy, high-maintenance breed that needs lots of mental stimulation and exercise. And for people who don't like dog hair, be forewarned: these dogs shed. In fact, they shed a great deal. To minimize "snowdrifts" around the house, regular brushing is a must.


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She's a labrador retriever then?

That's not exactly rare. She's technically a "yellow" labrador retriever though some refer to them as "vanilla"
From the AKC standard: Yellow--Yellows may range in color from fox-red to light cream, with variations in shading on the ears, back, and underparts of the dog.
So light cream.
I'm sure she's beautiful though :-)

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