Showsight Presents the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

RETRIEVER NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING

Let’s Talk Breed Education!

THE TOLLER TEMPERAMENT

BY JENNIFER HOLLIS PUBLIC EDUCATION COORDINATOR NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER CLUB USA T

he standard of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever states: “The Toller is highly intelligent, alert, outgoing, and ready for action, though not to the

point of nervousness or hyperactivity. He is affectionate and loving with family members and is good with children, showing patience. Some individuals may display reserved behavior in new situations, but this is not to be confused with shyness. Shyness in adult classes should be penalized. The Toller’s strong retrieving desire coupled with his love of water, endurance, and intense birdiness, is essential for his role as a Tolling Retriever.” Many Tollers have a slightly sad or worried expres- sion when they are not working. The moment the slight- est indication is given that retrieving is required, they set themselves for springy action with an expression of intense concentration and excitement. The heavily feath- ered tail is held high, in constant motion while working.

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THE TOLLER TEMPERAMENT

They are incredibly fast learners and require creative and mentally stimulating training. A tired dog is a hap- py owner, and bored Tollers will often find something to do that usually involves taking something apart. Toller owners often find it’s best to find their dog a job rather he become self-employed. The resulting self-employment is seldom pleasant. They have been known to do such jobs as peel drywall, de-stuff couches, and shred photo- graphs and important papers. Although energetic, Toll- ers are not known for being neurotic and are less intense than a Border Collie. Toller owners will often find, with some physical and mental tiredness, the Toller is a lov- ing family dog that is happy to cuddle at the end of a day’s work. Since they need to work and take well to training, owners of a Toller often find it’s important to do some sort of training or activity with their dog. The Toller is an extremely versatile breed, able to excel in a wide variety of dog sports and activities. Tollers love to work with people who love to work with them. They can excel in (and be your best friend) doing just about anything from obedience, rally, agility, and field to dock diving, flyball, lure coursing, tracking, nosework, barn hunt, even trick training and more. Of course, they are always up for fetching, hiking, and swimming. They are able to go from couch potato to bounding retriever in mere seconds! They like new experiences and are easy to take traveling. Tollers are physically and emotionally sensitive though, so care does need to be taken with how much pressure is applied in training. They are easily motivat- ed, and food, toys, and anything that moves can be used to engage a Toller. Many are eager to please and all are goal oriented. Using positive reinforcement techniques such as play, praise, and food rewards works well for Tol- lers. With this breed, it’s important to establish rules, be consistent, and above all, prevent the dog from getting bored. Training them requires flexibility and a sense of humor. Tollers tend to put their own spin on things and often ask what’s in it for them. Training sessions are best kept short, upbeat, and challenging. Tollers are highly adaptable and can even fare well in apartments or condos, as long as their humans can keep up with providing them with enough physical and mental activities. A Toller thrives when he lives with a family that is willing to spend plenty of time training and exercising him. Compared to Golden Retrievers, most Tollers are less submissive, less outgoing with strangers, and less adapt- able to low-exercise households. This is a high-energy breed and, while they do have an “off switch,” those who are looking for a casual pet that doesn’t need much exercise and sleeps most of the day may find that the Toller is too much dog. Having a Toller is a mental and physical commitment. A Toller’s love for life is infectious and they try to engage everyone around them in their play. If you are standing near a Toller, they will drop a ball or toy at your feet. They are the world’s best mood-lifter! It is hard not to feel joy in your heart when you see a Toller retrieve. Toller owners will often tell you the best thing about having a Toller is that there is never a dull moment and life is never boring with them!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jennifer Hollis is the Public Education Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club. She is currently owned by two Tollers: “Dodger,” who started it all almost 14 years ago, and his son “DJ.” Jennifer and Dodger and DJ participate in conformation as well as a wide variety of dog sports, including obedience, rally, agility, field, CAT, FAST CAT, dock diving, and barn hunt.

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WHAT’S TOLLING?

BY JENNIFER HOLLIS PUBLIC EDUCATION COORDINATOR NOVA SCOTIA DUCK TOLLING RETRIEVER CLUB USA

T he Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) was developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. So, what is “tolling?” “Tolling” is a Middle English word meaning to entice or pull. For example: “The tollingof thebells drewthe villagers to the town square.” To the hunter, this means to entice or pull the waterfowl within range by using the playful action of a tolling dog, much as a fox will lure ducks within range. In the wild, a fox will play along the shoreline to lure in waterfowl. The birds become curious as they watch the appearance and disappearance of the fox’s playful actions. The waterfowl are enticed to the shore where they become easy prey for the fox. Hunters, inspired by the success of the foxes, trained their dogs to mimic the action of the foxes by throwing sticks and rocks for the dogs to retrieve. The curiosity of the water- fowl as they watch the appearance and disappearance of the red dog’s playful actions along a shoreline causes them to swim in close to shore to more closely observe the dog. In a hunting scenario the tolling dog runs, jumps, and plays along the shoreline in full view of a flock of ducks rafting in the center of the lake. Aided by the hunter (either in a natural blind or a man-made one) the dog appears and disappears, as small sticks or a ball is thrown out into the open. The dog’s playful actions arouse the curiosity of the ducks swimming offshore and they are lured within gunshot range. The Toller is subsequently sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds shot by the hunter.

The Toller becomes a living decoy. Decoy dogs were used in Europe to lure ducks into nets, and as hunting companions since the 17th century, and in Eastern North America from the Chesa- peake Bay to the Maritimes. Tollers, as we know them today, were developed in the community of Little River Harbour in Yar- mouth County, Nova Scotia, around the beginning of the 19th century. The breed was originally known as the Little River Duck Dog or the Yarmouth Toller. The earliest records in Nova Scotia of hunters using dogs for tolling ducks is from the 17th century. The exact breeding origins of the Toller are not known. Possibly, Spaniel & Setter-type dogs, Retriever-type dogs, and farm Collies may have gone into the mix. It is likely that the breed can trace its origins to the now extinct St. John’s Water Dog and the Dutch tolling Kooikerhondje. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) holds the belief that Sporting breed dogs, such as the Toller, should demonstrate the basic instincts and traits necessary to adequately execute the tasks for which they were bred. In the late 1980s, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) instituted its own test designed to evaluate the innate working abilities of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller). The name of this test was the Natural Instinct Test. The purpose of the test was to establish that a dog possessed retrieving instincts; “to reveal the presence or absence of innate ability, not the strength of that ability or the dog’s trainability.” The test was later renamed the Basic Retrieving and Tolling (BRT) test in order to clarify that some training was

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WHAT’S TOLLING?

required, although the purpose of the test remained the same. Most of the entrants would be young dogs with very little training. While the BRT satisfies the field test requirement for obtaining a club championship title, the BRT is, in itself, not a breed title. After the BRT program was placed in operation, the NSDTRC (USA) elected to cre- ate a further program, which included a title. This was the initial Working Certificate pro- gram. This program has now evolved into a three-step program with the titles of Work- ing Certificate (WC), Working Certificate Intermediate (WCI), and Working Certificate Excellent (WCX) awarded to the dogs that successfully complete the requirements at the respective levels. What makes all of these tests unique is that each level—from the basic BRT thru the WCX—includes “Tolling.” In the Basic Retrieving and Tolling (BRT) test, the tolling test is a separate series, which is run before the water series. Dogs in the BRT test do six tolling retrieves of 10 to 20 feet in length, parallel to the shore. For the BRT, handlers are required to be in a blind, but must remain in an area designated by the judges. For the Working Cer- tification (WC) there is a tolling test of four tolling retrieves of 20 to 30 feet, parallel to the shore, before each of the two single water marks with the handler working from a blind. In the Working Certificate Intermediate (WCI) the tolling test is run immediately before the water double and must be run from a blind with the handler seated in the blind. The dog must come into the blind to return the tolling object. There are at least six tolling retrieves of 20 to 30 feet in length, parallel to the shore. In the Working Certificate Excellent (WCX) the tolling test is run immediately after the walk-up and, as in the WCI, must be run from the blind with the handler seated in the blind and, again, the dog must come into the blind to return the tolling object. Also, as in the WCI, there are at least six tolling retrieves of 20 to 30 to feet in length, parallel to the shore. The tolling retrieve is not necessarily a direct retrieve, and the dog may momentarily stop and play with the tolling object, since it is the Toller’s playful and rushing actions that attract the waterfowl. Occasionally, the dog may lose the object, which is acceptable, and the handler may throw a different object, but the handler may not leave the blind. It is also equally acceptable for the dog to make a more conventional direct retrieve. There should be no excessive delays between throws, and the lack of interest or desire after a few throws is a cause for failure. During the tolling test, no whistles or loud voice commands may be used to send or encourage the dog to come in, as in a real tolling situation this would startle the ducks being tolled. The dog may leave with the throw, and hand delivery of the tolling object is not required. The tolling objects may be a bumper, ball or stick. The handler may bring three tolling objects to the line and they can be any combination of those three items. It is up to the handler to know what their dog will be most excited to playfully retrieve during the tolling test. Watching a Toller that is eagerly tolling, and seeing it lure waterfowl to shore, is just magi- cal. It’s very rewarding to see a breed still be able to execute the tasks for which it was bred.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jennifer Hollis is the Public Education Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club. She is currently owned by two Tollers: “Dodger,” who started it all almost 14 years ago, and his son “DJ.” Jennifer and Dodger and DJ participate in conformation as well as a wide variety of dog sports, including obedience, rally, agility, field, CAT, FAST CAT, dock diving, and barn hunt.

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THE STANDARD

NOVASCOTIADUCK TOLLINGRETRIEVER

GENERAL APPEARANCE The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) was developed in the early 19th century to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retriev- ing a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. They are lured within gunshot range, and the dog is sent out to retrieve the dead or wounded birds. This medium sized, powerful, compact, balanced dog is the smallest of the retrievers. The Toller's attitude and bear- ing suggest strength with a high degree of agility. He is alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please. Many Tollers have a slightly sad or worried expression when they are not working. The moment the slightest indi- cation is given that retrieving is required, they set them- selves for springy action with an expression of intense con- centration and excitement. The heavily feathered tail is held high in constant motion while working. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) feels strongly that all Tollers should have these innate abilities, and encourages all Tollers to prove them by passing an approved Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) field test. SIZE Height at the withers - males, 18-21 inches. The ideal is 19 inches. Females, 17-20 inches. The ideal is 18 inches. Bone: is medium. Weight is in proportion to height and bone of the dog. The dog's length should be slightly longer than height, in a ratio of 10 to 9, but should not give the impression of a long back. HEAD Skull: The head is clean-cut and slightly wedge shaped. The broad skull is only slightly rounded, giving the appear- ance of being flat when the ears are alert. The occiput is not prominent. The cheeks are flat. The length of the skull from the occiput to the stop is slightly longer than the length of the muzzle from the stop to the tip of the nose. The head must be in proportion to body size. Expression: The expression is alert, friendly, and intelligent. Many

Tollers have a slightly sad expression until they go to work, when their aspect changes to intense concentration and desire. EYES The eyes are set well apart, slightly oblique and almond in shape. Eye color blends with the coat or is darker. Eye rims must be self-colored or black, matching the nose and lips. Faults: large round eyes. Eye rims and/or eyes not of prescribed color. EARS The high set ears are triangular in shape with rounded tips, set well back on the skull, framing the face, with the base held slightly erect. Ear length should reach approxi- mately to the inside corners of the eyes. Ears should be car- ried in a drop fashion. Ears are short-coated, and well feath- ered only on the back of the fold.

STOR

The stop is moderate.

MUZZLE The muzzle tapers in a clean line from stop to nose, with the lower jaw not overly prominent. The jaws are strong enough to carry a sizeable bird, and softness in the mouth is essential. The underline of the muzzle is strong and clean. Fault: dish face. Nose: The nose is fairly broad with the nostrils well open, tapering at the tip. The color should blend with that of the coat, or be black. Fault: bright pink nose. Disqualification: butterfly nose. Lips and flews: Lips fit fairly tightly, forming a gentle curve in profile, with no heav- iness in the flews. Bite: The correct bite is tight scissors. Full dentition is required. Disqualifications: Undershot bite. Wry mouth. Overshot by more then 1/8 inch. NECK The neck is strongly muscled and well set on, of medium length, with no indication of throatiness.

BACKLINE Level. Faults: roached or sway back.

...CONTINUED

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THE STANDARD

NOVASCOTIADUCK TOLLINGRETRIEVER ...CONTINUED

BODY The body is deep in chest, with good spring of rib, the brisket reaching to the elbow. Ribs are neither barrel shaped nor flat. The back is strong, short and straight. The loins are strong and muscular, with moderate tuck-up. Fault: slack loins. TAIL The tail follows the natural very slight slope of the croup, is broad at the base, and is luxuriant and well feathered, with the last vertebra reaching at least to the hock. The tail may be carried below the level of the back except when the dog is alert, when it is held high in a curve, though never touching the body. Faults: tail too short, kinked, or curled over touching the back. Tail carried below the level of the back when the dog is gaiting. FOREQUARTERS The shoulder should be muscular, strong, and well angu- lated, with the blade roughly equal in length to the upper arm. The elbows should work close to the body, cleanly and evenly. When seen from the front, the foreleg's appear- ance is that of parallel columns. The pasterns are strong and slightly sloping. Fault: down in the pasterns. Feet: The feet are strongly webbed, slightly oval medium in size, and tight, with well-arched toes and thick pads. Front dewclaws may be removed. Faults: splayed or paper feet. HINDQUARTERS The hindquarters are muscular, broad, and square in appearance. The croup is very slightly sloped. The rear and front angulation should be in balance. The upper and lower thighs are very muscular and equal in length. The stifles are well bent. The hocks are well let down, turning neither in nor out. Rear Dewclaws must not be present. Disqualification: rear dewclaws. COAT The Toller was bred to retrieve from icy waters and must have a water-repellent double coat of medium length and softness, and a soft dense undercoat. The coat may have a slight wave on the back, but is otherwise straight. Some winter coats may form a long loose curl at the throat. Featherings are soft and moderate in length. The hair on the muzzle is short and fine. Seasonal shedding is to be expected. Overcoated specimens are not appropriate for a working dog and should be faulted. While neatening of the feet, ears, and hocks for the show ring is permitted, the Toller should always appear natural, never barbered.

Whiskers must be present. Faults: coat longer than medium length. Open coat.

COLORS Color is any shade of red, ranging from a golden red through dark coppery red, with lighter featherings on the underside of the tail, pantaloons, and body. Even the lighter shades of golden red are deeply pigmented and rich in color. Disqualifications: brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached, faded, or silvery. Buff may also appear as faded brown with or without silver tips. MARKINGS the Toller has usually at least one of the following white markings - tip of tail, feet (not extending above the pasterns) chest and blaze. A dog of otherwise high quality is not to be penalized for lack of white. Disqualifications: white on the shoulders, around the ears, back of neck, or across the flanks. GAIT The Toller combines an impression of power with a springy gait, showing good reach in front and a strong dri- ving rear. Feet should turn neither in nor out, and legs trav- el in a straight line. In its natural gait at increased speeds, the dog's feet tend to converge towards a center line, with the backline remaining level. TEMPERAMENT The Toller is highly intelligent, alert, outgoing, and ready for action, though not to the point of nervousness or hyperactivity. He is affectionate and loving with family members and is good with children, showing patience. Some individuals may display reserved behavior in new sit- uations, but this is not to be confused with shyness. Shyness in adult classes should be penalized. The Toller's strong retrieving desire coupled with his love of water, endurance and intense birdiness, is essential for his role as a tolling retriever. DISQUALIFICATIONS : Butter fly nose. Undershot bite, wry mouth, overshot by more than 1/8 inch. Rear dewclaws. Brown coat, black areas in coat, or buff. Buff is bleached, faded or silvery. Buff may also appear as faded brown, with or without sil- ver tips. White on the shoulders, around the ears, back of the neck, or across the flanks.

Approved June 11, 2001 • Effective September 1, 2001

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