A foxy little number
IWANT to draw peoples’ attention to the smallest and most intelligent retriever breed: the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever (above). The dogs are collie-sized and shaped, red with white on their face, tail-tip and paws, athletic, full of drive and efficient at their job. They’ve been bred to look like foxes and, when their owner is duck hunting, they use their bushy tail to lure the ducks in.
Basically, the ducks think that the dog is a fox and draw near the shore to protect their young. Then, with the ducks within range, the hunter shoots and his dog retrieves the bird.
In the UK, only 200 puppies are born each year. It’s a shrinking figure, which is sad because the only other dog bred for this type of hunting is the Kooikerhondje, which is rarer still. I own a toller puppy that’s extremely intelligent, with an amazing prey drive. Watch the display team at The Game Fair (July 28–30)—you’ll be captivated by these little red dogs. Flora Wilson, Wiltshire, aged 14