Toller Dogs (Nova Scotian ones) - tell me about them

(20 Posts)
TheCatThatDanced Mon 08-Jul-19 13:11:04

Had a family walk at weekend and met a couple with a 1 year old Toller dog which I'd never seen before - it was gorgeous and we spent 10 minutes chatting to the couple who said it was nice, more intelligent than a labrador, more like a collie but a nice dog.

As a family we have only ever had cats, previous family (when I was a kid/teenager) we had a labrador and before her, an Afghan hound), DH had a Red Setter as a child and dachshunds as a teenager, his DP's still have dachshunds.

So, does everyone have experience with Toller dogs? Good with kids, need lots of walking or not etc?

OP’s posts: |
Wolfiefan Mon 08-Jul-19 13:16:15

I looked into them. High energy. Need lots of mental stimulation. Grooming. Lots! The can make a lot of noise (eg when excited.)
Decided they were not for me. Gorgeous though.

Knitwit99 Mon 08-Jul-19 13:17:21

My aunt had one. He was lovely and friendly but had so much energy. I don't think I ever saw him lying down. She spent ages playing with him, walking him. did all sorts of puzzles and games to keep him occupied. He was hard work but a really beautiful dog.
And also did this weird excited bark that sounded almost like a scream, that scared the life out of he the first time he did it.

TheCatThatDanced Mon 08-Jul-19 13:27:58

ah - thanks both re the energy.

The one we saw yesterday was a girl dog (bitch).

It kept on eyeing up the people playing tennis nearby in the courts nearby - for the balls - the owner said.

Must google the bark!

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PrayingandHoping Mon 08-Jul-19 13:31:35

Lovely dogs! I have 3 friends with one each (in fact one is a pup only collected this weekend)

The 2 adult ones are lovely dogs. No more high energy than a spaniel or my gsps.

They are recommended to have a LOT of health tests and they are also v difficult to get hold of so be prepared to go on a waiting list and be patient

ErrolTheDragon Mon 08-Jul-19 13:40:22

The only one I've really seen was a working dog - luring wildfowl into the duck decoy at Slimbridge.

- very clever dog, she really knew her job.
(That was a few years ago, the current dog doesn't look like a Toller)

Personally I'd be wary of taking on a high energy working breed.

Hoppinggreen Mon 08-Jul-19 14:59:01

Absolutely lovely dogs, we used to holiday sit one
Very active and intelligent so needed to be occupied but this one was very well trained by his owner .
We were very tempted to get one but I’ve always had Goldies and so we went for that
Imagine a sort of collie/Goldie cross


squee123 Mon 08-Jul-19 15:13:46

I know a few. They need a lot of exercise. A minimum of two one hour offlead walks a day, ideally more. Their bark also sounds like someone has put them through a wood chipper. Very annoying for the neighbours

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 08-Jul-19 15:56:00

Lovely very active dogs, lots and lots of health problems. Research thoroughly and if you do go ahead get the best quality insurance there is.

RedRiverHog Mon 08-Jul-19 16:07:10

The noise they make is quite shocking!

BothALarkAndAnOwl Mon 08-Jul-19 16:28:20

I have one - and also have past experience of owning red setters. They're my two favourite breeds but, energy-levels aside, not very alike.

Yes, Tollers are high energy but you can't deal with this solely by exercise. Mine needs and gets a lot of mental stimulation - scent-work, follow me games etc. We also do weekly training, which includes some agility work. They generally also need a LOT of socialising when young to avoid shyness/timidity that can tip over into fear-reactivity against other dogs or, like mine, a blown-over wheelie bin or similar. Mine also has the Toller scream, which he employs when very excited e.g. upon sighting water or another dog he particularly wants to say hello to.

He's a lovely dog and very bonded to me. He's also great with my children and polite to visitors - adult and child alike - in the house. However, he was extremely exuberant and mouthy as a pup and is a work in progress when it comes to barking at the doorbell.

He's my second Toller and I'd own another in a heartbeat but, next time, I'd have even fewer illusions about the work involved.

Oh yes, and the coat shedding is unbelievable. We went through two vacuum cleaners in two years, and both were marketed as specialist pet hair cleaners. I now sweep up as much hair as possible, using a rubber brush on rugs/carpets, before getting the vacuum out!

TheCatThatDanced Mon 08-Jul-19 16:44:04

BothALarkandanOwl - how would you compare Tollers to Red Setters (my other favourite)?

my DM has mentioned offhand that Red Setters are a bit 'mad/scatty'.

I quite like dachshunds too but they have back problems a lot so I've heard from friends that have them.

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TheCatThatDanced Mon 08-Jul-19 16:46:34

RedRiverHog - I googled the bark - it's bad but it's not that bad!

I guess in terms of needy dogs - my DM had an Afghan Hound when we were kids - he would easily escape and scale 6ft and over walls/fences and run away... only to be found at the local police station! He would also chase things he wasn't meant to - sheep etc - yes she had to stop that as he was a hunting dog. He needed a lot of exercise which was great when she lived in the country or lived near a huge London park but less great when she had 2 kids - e.g. me and my brother.

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BothALarkAndAnOwl Mon 08-Jul-19 17:40:29

Yes, red setters can be a bit mad/scatty, especially when young. I think "exuberant" is how I'd describe them although they do calm down as they get older provided they get sufficient exercise. Like Tollers, they also benefit from good and consistent training but, on balance, I'd say they're an easier dog for a first-time owner. Very beautiful and almost aristocratic-looking too (when not wet and muddy), if that's a factor! Lovely dogs and I do hope to have another someday.

BothALarkAndAnOwl Mon 08-Jul-19 17:45:26

Oh yes, seeing your anecdote about the Afghan hound escapee, red setters can JUMP too. When I was a child, we had one (a male) that scaled a 6 foot wall to escape the garden. (Spring was in the air, the sap was rising, he was not castrated....) Their athletic and escapology abilities are part of the reason I don't have one at the moment.

ferretface Mon 08-Jul-19 18:52:21

We have a collie but looked into Tollers, my main reservations were health issues (highly inbred in the UK unfortunately) and difficult to find a breeder - the two issues go together really as there are very few breeders in the UK. Otherwise they look like cracking little dogs if you're happy with one on the high energy/alert side of things.

I was interested because they are supposed to like water and I wanted a dog I could swim with - fortunately our collie is like a fish!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 08-Jul-19 19:07:20

* I quite like dachshunds too but they have back problems a lot so I've heard from friends that have them.*

We're on our second standard dachshund and DHs third - only the current one has had any sort of back problems, he's just had a couple of occurrences of needing a bit of rest and metacam. Doing better than DH so far tbh. Until recently (he's 13) he could do a long hilly walk in the Lake District, but on rainy days be more than happy to stay home - very adaptable.

I'd be quite cautious about getting one at the moment because they seem to have become very popular in the last few years (though more minis than standards) which almost certainly means there are dodgy 'breeders' (i.e puppy farms) or imports around.sadangry

TheCatThatDanced Tue 09-Jul-19 10:55:00

ErroltheDragon - thanks for the info re dachshunds.

The friends who have them have rescue miniature ones and another friend has a miniature - not rescue. All weren't puppy farmed.

BothALarkandAnOwl - interesting about Red Setters scaling walls too - my DM had stories from her DM (my DGM) who would happily agree to walk the Afghan Hound - he would then slip his lead and run off round the corner but would then peek at you from the corner and run off again... as well as scaling walls/fences etc. Not sure if he was neutered. He was descended apparently from a famous line and American champion (Shirkhan of Grandeur) - so famous that an American man in the 60s came up to my DM in Hyde Park and said to DM 'that's a Shirkhan isn't it?' - my DM was like, yeah - but her DH had originally bought the dog and when they broke up she got it! no idea why!

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SlothMama Wed 10-Jul-19 10:00:27

I have a 1 year old toller, she's my first and won't be my last! They are a fantastic breed to live with, she's been very easy to train she picks up things very quickly. However she can get frustrated if she can't work out what I want her to do quickly haha.
She has an off switch, which some don't but I know of a few lines that are known to be more active. She has a quick walk in the morning and a long walk in the evening, but inbetween we play fetch and do some training for mental stimulation.

Health issues in tollers aren't as high as previous posters are claiming, yes there are issues within the breed but you will find the same in other breeds. It can be difficult to find a breeder as there aren't many and on average only 200 tollers are born a year so it can be a long wait for a puppy. Where are you based? As attending a show is the best way to meet up with breeders, and see which tollers you like the look of. Most breeders will want you to come to their home and will grill you to see if you are suitable for one of their puppies.
Is a great resource for breeder lists, and you can see what health tests dogs have had. It also lists the tests you should be looking out for when meeting breeders. As sadly there are more bad breeders out there who don't health test or don't register their litters. I have found out some issues with my girls line after the breeder wasn't truthful with me so I wouldn't go back to them again. She's perfectly healthy, however I will be spaying her as I don't want to continue her lines due to these issues I've since discovered.

However I am looking for another puppy and I have a few breeders in mind who fully health test and are fully truthful with their puppy owners!

twojues Wed 10-Jul-19 11:49:17

I have an 8 year old Toller dog. He is very energetic and I always say he will drop dead before he gives up running for a ball. I have to be very strict on how much I let him do. But, he is equally chilled out too and is quite happy to miss a walk every now and then.
He loves people, but over the years has got less tolerant with dogs, especially puppies in his face. He now goes back on the lead when we are around other dogs.
The 'toller scream' is something you get used to. You do get a few people looking at you wondering whether you are hurting the dog. He doesn't do it too much, usually when we are at the beach with a ball.
He also is very quick to learn. We taught him to ring a bell when he wanted to go outside in 10 minutes.
Ask the breeders lots of questions. Any good breeder won't mind you asking questions and would much prefer you do to make sure they are the right dog for you.

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