Breed Spotlight – Feel free to share

For the last while, the staff at Snelgrove Veterinary Services in Brampton has been sharing their Breed Spotlights with breeds that we have had the pleasure of sharing our lives with. Now is the time to share your opinion of different breeds of dogs. We are asking all who read this blog to pitch in and share their Breed Spotlight.

It’s easy, write a story about a dog you have shared your life with and the experiences you had with them and then email it to us at Don’t forget to attach a picture or two or three.

Even if it’s about a breed we have already written about, we would love to hear your version.

Breed Spotlight: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Rennik Camping

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also known as a Toller, is one of the few canine breeds that originates from Canada (they are 11 recognized Canadian breeds in total). It is a sporting dog that was bred to aid duck hunters and is the smallest of the retrievers, weighing in around 35-50 lbs. They are red and white in colour, closely resembling a fox. They have a water-repellent double-coat which regulates their temperature in the summer and keeps them toasty warm in the winter. They shed moderately and blow their coats a couple of times a year, but with weekly brushing, their coats are easily manageable. One of the interesting things about this breed, as far as their appearance is concerned, is that there is a wide variation in colour – from light orange to a deep red coat, a liver coloured or black nose, as well as the amount of white found on their paws, chest and tails.

Tollers are extremely active dogs that require a lot of stimulation, both physically and mentally. It is not enough to take them for a walk around the block, they need a good run every day, and also to engage in play time with puzzles and games to help keep them sane. They can otherwise become bored and very destructive. They are also highly alert and quite smart (sometimes too smart for their own good!), so they learn very quickly and excel at dog sports. They also love the water!

While Tollers can sometimes be cautious around strangers, they are very sociable with other dogs. It is important to socialize them well at an early age and expose them to lots of stimuli. It should be noted that they do have a high prey drive, so any small animals (ie. cats) that they are not raised around have the potential to become fun things to chase. The only other trait that is a big consideration with this breed is the so-called “Toller Scream.” When playful and excited, they tend to let out high-pitched yelping noises that can be somewhat piercing to our human ears.

While they are a genetically diverse and therefore hardy breed, there are a few health concerns that should be noted when it comes to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Some can suffer from hip dysplasia, which is a fairly common concern among any highly active breed. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is another health concern – luckily, most breeders will test to see if their dogs are carriers and, if they are, a responsible breeder will not use that dog for future litters. There is also a genetic mutation that has come to light in recent years that is currently being studied by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia’s College of Veterinary Medicine called Degenerative Encephalopathy (DE), which is a brain disease that is often symptomatic when the dog is sleeping. Luckily, all of these issues are not very common and, again, a responsible breeder will test for and avoid using dogs that are affected for breeding.

Overall, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an excellent choice for a canine companion. I chose a Toller as my first-ever dog because I liked how active they are, their intelligence and willingness to learn, and I also liked that they were a smaller/compact breed. And, of course, they are the cutest dogs that ever lived, not that I’m bias or anything… My boy Rennik is now coming up to his 2nd birthday and it is like he has been with me my entire life. He is a wonderful addition to our family and I love him more everyday!

10 Things New Puppy Owners Will Come to Learn

I have always been a huge animal lover. I’ve grown up with cats, but always wanted a dog. Unfortunately, I was never in a position to own one until last year when my fiance and I bought our first home. One of our top priorities after signing on the dotted line was to find the best breeder we could for our new addition! We had decided on our breed of choice years ago (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever), and we were very excited when the breeder we chose e-mailed us late one night in January to say that our puppy had entered the world, along with 4 other brothers and sisters! It was a long 8 weeks waiting to take him home, but we finally did at the end of March. As I said, I’ve never owned a dog before. It is now four weeks later, and this is what I have so far learned that I will share with all new puppy owners:

1. Your floors will never be clean again. Whether it’s pawprints or tongue marks from licking up non-existent crumbs, your floors will forever be marked, no matter how often you wash them.

2. Puppies are dumb, or maybe just slightly blind. In the most loving way possible, I have to say that my puppy is not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to spacial awareness. He runs into walls and tables and the glass door and chair legs and our legs…

3. Crate training takes time. Natural “denning instinct” or not, you will be in for many sleepless nights full of crying puppy. And I don’t mean 15 minutes of crying and then settling down, I mean hours of puppy style freak out.

4. Dogs don’t purr. I know, it’s an obvious one, but I found this strangely off-putting at first. Having only owned cats my entire life, I’m used to purring during cuddle time.

5. You will learn what nose prints are. Your puppy will decorate your car windows with lovely personalized artwork consisting of nose smudges and slobber marks.

6. It takes time for puppies to “find their feet.” Sometimes it can take up to a year or more for puppies to stop running awkwardly sideways – but it’s pretty darn cute while it lasts!

7. Everything is very exciting, all the time! Whether it’s meeting a new “friend,” meal time, a leaf blowing across the lawn, or a new toy, everything is just so exciting for a puppy. They go nuts over the oddest things.

8. Poop bags are an integral part of life. You will learn that you need to carry them with you wherever you go, and you’ll also find that they are suddenly stashed in every coat pocket, purse, and vehicle you own.

9. Silence is not golden. Silence means mischief is afoot.

10. Puppy ownership is an extremely rewarding experience. Teaching your puppy commands and seeing in their little face how excited they are when you walk through the door – there is nothing better!

We love our boy to pieces, and we are very excited for our first summer together. He is currently attending puppy classes, and doing very well! We couldn’t be happier 🙂

– Kait.

On behalf of Snelgrove Vet Services, Thanks for reading 🙂