What’s a Duck Tolling Retriever, and why are they so cute?

It turns out that the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is meant to be cute.  So cute, in fact, that they’re used to lure ducks closer to their duck hunting owners.

In the early 19th century (and probably earlier), hunters in Nova Scotia noticed that the little foxes in the area were very successful duck hunters.  These clever foxes would dance around the shoreline and jump and play to their heart’s content.  Meanwhile, the curious ducks would come closer for a look at the silly show.  It sounds a little bit like an Aesop’s fable come to life . . . the curious ducks get a little too close, and the clever fox gets a delicious supper.

The Duck Tolling Retriever was developed in the 19th century in order to help duck hunters toll (or lure) waterfowl.  As their name suggests, they also retrieve.  I love that the official job of the “Toller” is to splash and play along the shoreline.  It makes me think that they must have an exceptional personality.  The Toller that I met at the show was beautiful and sweet.  I loved his red coloring, and small size!

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16 Responses to What’s a Duck Tolling Retriever, and why are they so cute?

  1. Benny & Lily says:

    They are mighty cute!
    Benny & Lily

  2. Kristen says:

    This post makes me want a duck tolling retriever. If I was a duck, they would definitely lure me.

  3. So cute! I squealed! 😀

  4. Funny…cuteness to get food. Some things never change 🙂

  5. Hmm, splashing about in the water and looking cute while at it… sounds like a tough job 😉 All in a day’s work for the Toller!

  6. I didn’t know this about the duck tolling retriever – they are a gorgeous breed, though, so it makes sense.

    Beautiful photos!

  7. Kas says:

    Justin (my OH) has wanted a NSDTR forever! They are beautiful dogs.

  8. Anna says:

    I almost got one of these dogs… Back when I was doing research for the “perfect” breed for me, but there were not many at all in the country… and the coat and NEED for so much play stopped me. I have met them at shows before, this one seems to have much more of a Golden’s coat, longer and more feathers than what i have seen with the shows. The ones I have met are very sweet and one owner said the coat actually doesn’t take much maintenance (but I’m not convinced, low maintenance is my Vizsla’s coat). Maybe I will get one for my next dog.

    • furfilled says:

      It’s interesting that you and at least one other reader know about this breed, despite their rarity. I guess I didn’t think about the fact that these guys require play like a husky requires a good run… : )

  9. Shauna says:

    I have a duck toller , she is EXTREMELY energetic and can play fetch for hours. They are a high energy breed and not for people who want a relazed dog, they are also prone to whining a high pitched whistle if they aren’t the centre of attention. think twice. ..

    • furfilled says:

      : ) Thanks for the advice! It may sound fun to have a dog who is born to PLAY, but it’s good to think things through. They are definitely not for couch potatoes!

  10. grace says:

    Do you have the contact information for this breeder?

    • furfilled says:

      Shoot – I don’t have that information. The pet expo where I ran into them was last year and my notes from that event are long gone. However – if you’re in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, you should go to this year’s expo (http://petexpooc.org/) April 20-22. They have a duck tolling retriever booth where you can connect with breeders. You could also try contacting the pet expo directly to inquire about the contact information for the duck tolling retriever exhibitors. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  11. Kristin says:

    Guess what! I believe I have a Duck Tolling Retriever that I adopted from the SPCA! He looks EXACTLY like the dog in this picture! He is the sweetest dog you will ever meet!

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