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Is the Toller or the Westie the dog for you?

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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Smart, outgoing, busy, and affectionate 

Most people are quite curious the first time they see my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. "Is it a miniature Golden Retriever?” they’ll ask. “A Border Collie cross? A Brittany Spaniel?" 

While many people think this is a new breed, the origins of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (or “Toller”) run deep. One of only four truly Canadian breeds, its earliest documented reference dates to 1630. 

Today, Tollers have become popular due to their size, which is small compared to any of the other retriever breeds (an adult male Toller weighs about 40 pounds), combined with their beauty, intelligence, and friendly nature. Note, however, that this is not the best choice of dog for sedentary people! The Toller is a high-energy, high-maintenance breed that needs lots of mental stimulation and exercise. And be forewarned: these dogs shed. 

The coat is a rusty brown and may have white markings. The Toller's water-repellent double coat looks very similar to that of a Golden Retriever, which is probably why many people think these are unusually coloured “mini” Goldens. 

As the AKC notes, “play fetch with a Toller till your right arm falls off, then start throwing lefty.” But if you’re looking for a sweet, smart, very on-the-go companion, the Toller could be for you! 

Is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever the dog for you?
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The West Highland White Terrier
Happy, smart, loyal, and entertaining

The AKC describes this feisty terrier as happy, smart, loyal, and entertaining. This is a spirited dog in a super-cute package, a combo that has won the West Highland White or Westie many fans. But don’t let that adorable exterior follow you: the heart of a true terrier lies beneath. This is a very active, quick, curious, and lively dog, and one that is surprisingly strong and tough. 

The Westie hails from Scotland and is closely related to both the Cairn and Scottish Terriers. 

In keeping with the breed's original function as a badger hunter, the breed standard calls for a “small, game, well-balanced, hearty-looking terrier, possessed with no small amount of self-esteem.” Though not extremely barky, Terriers are not generally known as quiet dogs, and the Westie is no exception. 

The breed is of high intelligence, characteristically coupled with a healthy dose of “mind-of-his-own.” The eyes are dark brown with a piercing, inquisitive, and pert expression. The all-white double coat makes weekly grooming a necessity. 

The Westie’s friendly but confident nature and 15-20 pound size make them fine therapy dogs, and they are excellent companions. They respond well to training and are good with children. 

Is the Westie the dog for you?
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