Welcome to Westerlea

Proud producer of top-quality N.S. Duck Tolling Retrievers for 23 years

The arrival of a small red furball in our Ottawa household in 1975 marked the beginning of an ongoing love affair with the Toller. The dynamic furball grew up to be Ch. Shelburne of Jeffery Coldwell, (1) foundation bitch for Westerlea and dam of our top-winning, top producing stud
BIS BISS Ch. Westerlea's White Ensign (2). In 1979 we acquired Lucy, Ch. Sundrummer's Seawitch, from Wileen Mann's Sundrummer Kennels in Northern British Columbia and Tip and Lucy went on to be cornerstones of the Westerlea breeding programme.
They produced two All-Breed Best in Show sons and a number of other Group placers and Obedience titleholders (3).

Both Tip and Lucy feature prominently in the pedigrees of two of our greatest winners and producers,
BIS Ch. Sandycove at Westerlea WC CD and Dual BISS Ch. Westerlea's Bonny Bluenose (4), from whom a number of today's top-achieving Tollers in several countries descend. Five of the eight All-Breed Best in Show Tollers are of the Tip/Lucy line

As newer Hunt Tests come on the scene, Westerlea is focussing more on field work. We have always ensured that our breeding dogs had extremely strong retrieving desire and water ability but are now working to put more field titles onto our own dogs .
Our current matriarch is Sola, Can.Int.Ch. Westerlea's Surprise Package WCI JH CD CGC (5), a Tip/Lucy great-great granddaughter. Waiting in the wings are her daughters Unity (6), who now has all her health clearances, and young Betsy, shown in a photograph at the very end of this site. Westerlea's Betsy Sunshine is the puppy second from left.

Westerlea heads statistics for the number of champions (over 60) and obedience titles (40+) and we are proud of the number of Westerlea dogs in the pedigrees of some of today's top title holders in field, showring and obedience.


  1. Ch. Shelburne of Jeffery Coldwell at 7 1/2 years
  2. Tip - BIS BISS Ch. Westerlea's White Ensign
  3. BIS Ch. Westerlea's Tru Ray Red Rebel WC CDX, the first Tip/Lucy Best in Show son.
  4. Dual BISS Ch. Westerlea's Bonny Bluenose, BIS Ch. Sandycove at Westerlea WC CD and Ch. Westerlea's Echo of Shelley CD (Peanut), with Alison in 1988.
  5. Sola - Can.Int.Ch. Westerlea's Surprise Package WCI JH CD CGC in the field.
  6. CH. WESTERLEA'S HAPPY UNITY WC, from Sola's first litter.

at the Ninth National Specialty show of the NSDTR Club of Canada, June 26 1999

Peanut - Biggest winner at the Specialty was our wonderful veteran girl, CH. WESTERLEA'S ECHO OF SHELLEY CD, who, at the grand age of 12 bounced off with Best Opposite Sex in an entry of 122 Tollers, Best Veteran and Best Brood Matron. Placing second and third were two of Peanut's daughters with their kids, so there were three generations of Westerlea dogs in this class. Peanut was lovingly handled by her old friend and admirer Sheila (Paul) McClure, to whom go warm thanks for such a beautiful job. Peanut is now living the life of a grande dame with John and Pauline Wilcock in White Rock.

Django - Winners Dog and Best of Winners went to WESTERLEA'S GYPSY JAZZMAN, proudly owned by Craig Morley and Marlene Merritt of Carnation, WA, and handled by Sandy McFarlane, whose skills have been a mainstay of Westerlea for many years. Django is sired by Ch. Tollbreton Juneau out of Ch. Westerlea's Jane Eyre, a Peanut daughter. Litter sister Rosie, WESTERLEA'S MINDY ROSE, co-owned with Halimah Simon of Langley BC, went Winners Bitch at the Specialty.

Young Unity not only won her Specialty class but was one of 6 Tollers to earn a pass at the WC/I/X tests the next day. She is now Ch. Westerlea's Happy Unity WC.

Photo Credits: Ellice Hauta Photography

Meet Alison Strang, co-author of the only book devoted entirely to all aspects of the Toller.

Alison, with the unobtrusive help of husband Roy, has operated Westerlea Kennels since 1976 in the beautiful Lower Mainland area of British Columbia, just 35 miles south of Vancouver BC and a 10-minute drive from the US border at Blaine, WA.

We arrived in Canada from Zimbabwe in 1965 and lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where Roy worked for the Canadian Forest Service. Our summers were spent in South-western Nova Scotia as Roy had a research project to study the ecology of the Barrens of Shelburne and Yarmouth Counties. It was here that we first heard of the Little River Duck Dog, as Tollers are better known on their home turf. We did not, however, become Toller owners until 1975, when Ottawa, Canada's capital, was our home. That Toller was Shelley, bought for our youngest daughter from the kennels of Jim Jeffery and Doug Coldwell.

Toller breeding was a different proposition in the mid-1970s than it is now - one had to work to promote Tollers in order to make them known at all. PR seemed the answer, so Alison began a career of writing about Tollers which bore its fullest fruit in the co-operation with New Brunswick freelance writer and Toller lover Gail MacMillan. "The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever," a truly beautiful hardcover book devoted solely to all aspects of the Toller, is published by Alpine Publications of Loveland, CO. and is now available in a second printing. In Canada it is stocked by the Book Department of the Canadian Kennel Club. Telephone 1-800-250-8040 or order directly from the Web at: www.ckc.ca. In British Columbia, the book may be obtained from Copper Beech Books at 604-594-2627.

Alpine Publ.Inc
E-mail Address(es):

Alpine Publications Inc.
38262 Linman Road
Crawford, CO 81415
Phone: 800-777-7257
Fax: 970-921-5081

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


Westerlea's main concern is now directed towards minimising health problems which began to appear throughout the breed as the dramatic increase in the number of Tollers being bred unmasked more recessive genes. These problems, mainly those of eyes, auto-immune manifestations, hips and hearts, are in all lines of Tollers. Most established breeders and the various national Toller clubs are working to educate prospective Toller owners about the right questions to ask when contacting breeders. Some of these are outlined in the Getting a Puppy section of Tollers International.

Due to personal health problems, we have had to reduce the number of resident Tollers at Westerlea. In the future we will only breed occasional select litters to keep our noted kennel name alive.

We hope you enjoy seeing these classic Tollers in full colour. Many thanks to Tollers International for setting up and maintaining this site.

The Patriarch

Tip in his prime.

Tip's last show, winning a 1986 7-10 year old male veteran class, handled as always by best friend Sandra McFarlane.

Ch. Westerlea's Flying Fox, a good winner from the first Tip/Lucy litter.

The winning combination
Father-son triumphs at the Purina Show of Shows two years in a row - (first). Sandy takes a FIRST in Group at this prestigious show in 1990, in which all entrants have won an All-Breed Best in Show during the past year - BIS Ch. Sandycove at Westerlea WC CD with owner/handler Susan Kish.

(second) - Sandy's son BIS BISS Ch. Westerlea's Ilo at the Well CD places Third in Group the following year, handled by Sheila Paul.

Ilo as a puppy, taking the first of 2 Best Puppy in Show, plus 8 Best Puppy in Group, handled by Til (Labovich) Niquidet.

Our Pride and Joy

Dual BISS Ch. Westerlea's Bonny Bluenose at her last point show appearance, taking a Group placement when almost 9 years old, handled by Susan Kish.

Bonny, the classic Toller head - oil-stick painting by Lyla Menagh

All in a Day's Work

Bonny's sire, Ch. Westerlea's First Lieutenant CD, (Jimmy) and Ch. Westerlea's Flying Fox (Tod) with a day's bag.

BIS Ch. Sandycove at Westerlea WC CD field training.

Sandy retrieving from an icy lake in Quebec, 1990.

Sola and Unity sharing a bumper, 1998

A Small Memorial
1999 puppies sired by Ch. Ruaview's Grady White from Sola. The puppy on the right died in a freak accident when he had only been 2 weeks in his new home - these photos are a small memorial to a promising pup taken far too soon.

Westerlea (C.K.C. permanent registered)

Alison & Roy Strang

Contact us at: westerlea@shaw.ca

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