The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (NSDTR) is known for its happy-go-lucky nature, and for being a dog that you can depend upon. Unlike some dogs, this breed makes a perfect pet which is suitable for even the most inexperienced of dog owners. It has a gentle and toned-down nature even though it is energetic and happy all the time.
This breed was used since the 1800s to lure and entice duck and other fowl, and get them close to the shore so that the hunter could shoot them. It was particularly used in Little River District, Yarmouth County, southwest Nova Scotia, from where it gets its name. This dog would run, jump, and prance around at the water's edge and attract the attention of the fowl. When the birds would near the shore, the hunter would suddenly come towards them and startle them. This would cause the birds to fly and the hunter would then shoot them. The dog would be sent to retrieve the downed birds.
This breed is said to have originated by crossing various breeds such as Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, farm Collies, and some spitz breeds with other dogs like the Chesapeake, the Labrador Retriever, Golden retriever, and the Flat-coated retriever. Breed standards for this dog were issued in 1945, and it was accepted into the AKC sporting group in 2003. It became a member of the AKC in 2005.
This is the smallest of the retriever breed. Its head is wedge-shaped and its ears are dropped. Its eye color should ideally match the coat color or should be darker. Same goes for the eye rims, they can be either of the coat color or can be black. It has feathering at the tail. Also, since this breed swims, it has webbed feet. The coat color can be any shade of red or orange, with white patches on the tip of the tail, the paws, the chest, and on the face.
The average height for males is 18 to 21 inches and females is 17 to 20 inches. Average weight for males is 45 to 51 pounds and for females is 27 to 42 pounds. The length of this dog is slightly more than its height. The coat is water resistant, which makes this a suitable retriever breed for colder climates.
This breed is a light shedder, and hence grooming or brushing the coat a couple of times a week is sufficient. This is simply to prevent the hair from matting. Its ears need to be cleaned on a regular basis to prevent infections. However, do not use a cotton swab in your dog's ear. Use the ear cleaner that is recommended by your vet. Baths can be given as and when required. The teeth should be brushed regularly to prevent buildup of tartar and to maintain gum health. Toenails must be clipped if they grow too much and are not filed naturally by the dog's outdoor activities.
This is an extremely active dog that needs constant mental and physical stimulation. It is very well-suited for active families. It is easy-going, friendly, loving, and gets along excellent with children. This dog needs rigorous activity everyday. Simply walking is not enough. It needs to run or hike for a few hours daily. You can take your dog with you for a jog. It has excellent endurance and very high stamina.
However, this breed loves to chew. You must be very careful because if your dog gets bored and does not have an outlet for its pent-up energy, it will start chewing things around the house. Although this dog is not difficult to train, its boisterous nature requires a bit of patience. Always use gentleness while training. Never use harsh tones or methods, and never yell at your dog. This is a very loving breed which may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long.
This dog lives from 13 to 16 years. The health issues that may affect this breed are cataract, progressive retinal atrophy, Addison's disease, and autoimmune thyroiditis.
All in all, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a wonderful, loving, entertaining, friendly, and loyal dog. It will make a very good house pet.