Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

nova scotia duck tolling retriever

If you are thinking that there are only two different retrieving breeds Opens in a new tab.of dogs, the golden and the Labrador, think again! Six is the magic number which is the total number of retrieving breeds and each is its very own separate breed.

Retrievers originated for the need to assist hunters in retrieving game, generally waterfowl. All six breeds have soft mouths that enable them to retrieve and carry the game straight back to their hunter’s hand without biting it with sharp teeth.

These retrievers are all intelligent, athletic, and oh so trainable, but despite many similarities, they all have differences in both looks and temperament, some subtle, some not.


Everyone is familiar with the Golden retrieverOpens in a new tab. with its warm, welcoming, and friendly ways and the very well know Labrador retriever, made quite famous from the heart-wrenching movie, Old Yeller.

Those not as well known and often a little hard to come by are the made-in USA, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Opens in a new tab.followed by the Flat-Coated Retriever and Curly-Coated retriever, all equally wonderful hunting dogs or your best pal as family-friendly dogs.

The sixth retriever is the Nova Scotia duck tolling Opens in a new tab.retriever. The what? What the heck is a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever? Opens in a new tab.

In the following post, you will find this answer, plus information on the Nova Scotia duck tolling retrieverOpens in a new tab. temperament. Also found below will be information on Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever agility.

To check your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers’ health status or their DNA checks, please visit the Embark vet Opens in a new tab.website for all the help you may need.

nova scotia duck tolling retriever
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What is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever?

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever could be a guarded secret by the Canadians who know this breed to be an excellent, efficient hunting companion as well as a loving, affectionate dog for active families, that include both adults and children.


This retriever adapts well and is highly intelligent and trainable. People who own one or know the breed well often refer to them as Duck Tollers or simply Tollers, like their full name, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever can be a mouthful!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever History


The Nova Scotia duck tolling retrieverOpens in a new tab. was bred in the 19th century by sportsmen hunters on Canada’s island of Nova Scotia in Yarmouth County and the Little River District, to be exact. Yes, this breed retrieves the hunter’s game just as other retrievers do, but they also have a skill that is even more ingenious.

These dogs were bred to lure waterfowl, especially ducks, right into the range of the hunter’s rifle on the shoreline. How do they do this? To various waterfowl, the Toller, with their red-feathered tail and coat, resembles a fox.

Ducks hold an odd fascination for foxes and as the Duck Toller bounds around the shore, they waddle on in for a closer look.

Their curiosity becomes their undoing as the hunters are able to take good aim and claim their prize with the retriever moving in to gently return it to the hunter. This breed’s name came about because the word “Tollen” in Middle English means, “to lure.”

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is one smart dog to perform two jobs, and quite successfully. Only one other breed lures prey and retrieves and that is the Dutch Decoy spaniel.


The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever’s origins are not written in stone, but they are believed to be a product of crossbreeding between the Irish setter, cocker spaniel, Golden retriever, Labrador retriever, flat-coated retriever,Opens in a new tab. Chesapeake Bay retriever, and collies. That’s a lot of dogs!

The Duck Toller was given approval by the American Kennel Club in 2003 and holds a place in their studbook as the dog with the longest name!

Shorter names were used back in the 19th century such as the Little River Duck Dog and the Yarmouth Toller, but neither stuck.

What is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever
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appearance of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a medium-sized dog and the smallest of the retrieving breeds at 35lbs to 50lbs and standing from 17in. to 21in.

high when full grown, with males being larger than females. Some think that the toller resembles a Golden retriever, but in smaller stature.

The Duck Toller, however, has a head that is wedge-shaped and also has almond-shaped eyes, which when compared to the Golden retriever gives a very different appearance.Opens in a new tab.

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever’s colors are all in the range of red and can be a dark copper to a lighter red with golden highlights.

This breed can have white markings on the chest, head, and/or paws that also set them apart from other retrievers.

The Duck Toller also has a double-thick coat that repels water and is of a medium length. They also have webbed feet being stellar swimmers like their cousin the Chesapeake Bay retriever.Opens in a new tab.

Don’t let their smaller size fool you. Even though they are more compact than the other retrievers, their power, strength, and energy encompass them.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Agility
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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Temperament

All dog breeds need to be socialized as puppies to become well-rounded accommodating adult dogs and the Duck Toller is no exception, but out of all of the retrieversOpens in a new tab., this retriever is the most adaptable.

They are usually unfazed by new environments, people, or other dogs. They are a very affectionate, friendly, and outgoing dog who greets new people they meet like an old friend they haven’t seen in ages.

They get on famously with other dogs and have patience with children. Tollers do bond well with their family, sometimes even to the point, that separation anxiety Opens in a new tab.can pose a problem when their family all leaves the house.

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is in fact, the most intelligent of the retrieving breeds. They do quite well with training, but can sometimes be strong-willed and do like to think for themselves, so a firm alpha leader is required.

Mental stimulation is also a necessity for these dogs in the form of play and games because working is in their blood and boredom can set in, which would cause them to seek out their own form of business that could be unacceptable.

Along with games, exercise is an important part of each and every day to satisfy their energy. Walking, hiking, and swimming, their big love, will keep them happy and tired.

This dog is never a hyper or neurotic dog, but still needs exercise and will happily settle down and cuddle for an evening of television when this need is satisfied.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Agility

Because the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a hunting dog and has plenty of energy, you can just see how happy they get when you give them an outdoor job to do or let them run. Obedience training is necessary for all dogs and Toller revels in this because it is akin to a job.

You may want to consider training your Duck Toller for running obstacles. Many clubs offer agility events with many different courses and challenging obstacles that your pup will just drink in. Ask your veterinarian or look online for agility courses and trials.

You can check these out ahead of time and see if it’s something you would like to participate in with your pup.

Agility training and competition will bond you and your pup further as you both grow more confident with teamwork.

If you are really into hiking and can navigate well with a compass or GPS, Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers make excellent search and rescue dogs.

This you can also check online for proper training and certification. Delving into search and rescue can be a very rewarding community service that gives your pup a job and something that you will feel good about participating perhaps even saving a life in the process.

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever gives you the best of all worlds as long as you are a person or family that loves the outdoors and being active.

You don’t have to worry about having guests with the Toller around because they are warm and welcoming to all. This breed sounds like an all-around winner unless you are a stay-at-home couch potato!

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