Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Home > Dog Breeds > Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


Life span

14 Years


23 Kg


Hybrid Dogs

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Overview

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (or Toller) is a large breed of gundog, well-muscled and medium to heavy boned, similar to the Golden Retriever. It features a clean-cut head which is slightly wedge-shaped. Facial features include flat cheeks, flesh or black coloured nose with well developed nostrils, medium size almond-shaped eyes that gives an alert and friendly expression, and triangular dropped ears set high and well back on the head. The eyes can be brown to amber blending nicely with the colour of the coat with flesh or black eye rims. It has a muzzle that tapers from stop to nose. It has a soft mouth, tight fitting lips that are flesh or black in colour and strong jaw with regular and complete scissor bite. The neck is strongly muscled and provides adequate support to the head. The powerful, compact, and well-muscled body is supported by straight and strong front legs and well muscled back legs on thickly padded round feet. A well-insulated deep chest helps protect the dog when swimming in cold water. The tail of this duck toller is well feathered and is normally carried below the level of the back when the dog is at rest; curves over when it is alert but never touches the back. The double coat is made of straight outer coat with a soft, dense undercoat that effectively repels water. It usually has small white markings on the chest, tail tip and feet.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Characteristics

Size InformationIntelligence
  • 5
Size InformationExercise Needs
  • 5
Size InformationDogs Health
  • 4
Size InformationChild Friendly
  • 5
Size InformationApartment
  • 5
Size InformationShedding
  • 3
Size InformationGrooming Needs
  • 5
Size InformationBarking
  • 4
Size InformationAlone
  • 2
Size InformationTrainability
  • 4
Size InformationEnergy Levels
  • 5
Size InformationDog friendly
  • 4

History & Origin

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia in Scotland around the beginning of the 1900s and is thought to have been a result of some crosses between the Golden Retriever, Cocker Spaniel and the Irish Setter. The breed was created to lure (toll) waterfowls into gunning range and to retrieve the shot game from the water. Duck luring is a rather unusual but effective approach to bird hunting. The hunter hides in a blind near the shore and tosses a stick for the Toller to retrieve back and forth until the waterfowls are lured into the shore by their curiosity. When the waterfowls are in shooting range, the dog is called back into the blind and the hunter stands up and shoots. The Toller then retrieves the downed bird, a job that the breed was so effective of doing that it was once known as the Little River Duck Dog. When the Canadian Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1950s, the present name was established.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Temperament

The Toller is an intelligent and gentle breed, excellent with children and very much outdoing in the field. It is somewhat distrustful of strangers at first, but will show a great deal of friendliness and respect if it does not sense any threat afterwards. This breed is well known for its affection for people and makes a great therapy dog. It is also easily trained as it devoted, loves pleasing its master and loves learning new things. Its strong retrieving desire, playfulness and tolling (luring) comes natural and are necessary for an effective tolling job. It rarely barks, often doing so when it only sense danger or when it is alerting the presence of strangers.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Training

Like all dogs, firm discipline (not harsh) is required to raise an excellent Toller. Harsh training will only result in a stubborn dog. This intelligent breed will respond well with a happy and gentle trainer.


Considered to be an average shedder, the water-repellent coat of this retriever requires moderate grooming; weekly brushing and a little trimming if necessary will be enough.


The Toller is generally a healthy breed. Properly cared for and maintained and with sickness aside, it can live between the age of 12 to 14 years. However, like almost all dog breeds, they are prone to certain genetic disorders including Addison’s disease, progressive retinal atrophy, canine hip dysplasia, and patellar luxation.

Avoid feeding this retriever with any soy products, beef or rice as much as possible. Owners should include fish, poultry and potato in their base diet instead, and feed the dog several small meals a day instead of one large one, to avoid the development of gastric torsion.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Exercise Needs

Being a high energy breed, the Toller requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation to keep it in excellent shape. A game of fetch, such as throwing a ball or stick for the dog to retrieve are good training exercises. It will do fine in an apartment, if proper maintenance, especially exercise is provided. It is well adapted to cold weather and will do best in a house with a secured yard where it can roam freely.

Children and other pets

Like the other Canadian retrievers, the Toller is never aggressive to both people nor other animals and it goes quite well with other dogs.