Introducing the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Reading Time: 4 minutes

happy nova scotia duck tolling retriever puppies for saleDo you want a very clever and energetic dog to keep up with your active lifestyle or take duck hunting? The medium-sized Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a dog that has been bred to be busy and on the go.

The breed is a great pet for people and families who love – and have the time – to spend outdoors with their dog. Doing “stuff” daily isn’t just a want for Toller pups – it’s a need!

A Brief History of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – it’s a big name for a medium dog breed! Historically, their name has had a few other iterations too. Most commonly, they are called Tollers!

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originates from Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, Canada. First bred in the 1800s by hunters, the exact combination of breeds in their family tree isn’t fully known.

Breeds in the mix are Micmac Indian dogs, the Water Spaniel, the Irish Setter, the Farm Collie, and retriever breeds such as the Golden Retriever.

The first names they were given were Little River Duck Dog and Yarmouth Toller. These names reflect the region where they were bred, and what they were born to do. When the Canadian Kennel Club recognized the breed in the 1940s, they called them the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club under the same name in 2003.

The Appearance of Toller Dogs

The Toller is a medium-sized dog breed built for agility and endurance. They are the smallest of the retriever dog breeds, but this spunky puppy isn’t short of enthusiasm. Their alertness and keenness are apparent in their almond-shaped eyes! This breed has a wedge-shaped head and triangular ears. Their bodies are compact but strong and muscular.

Expect hair of beautiful and rich shades of red from copper to golden in this dog. The official colors in the AKC breed standard are red, red gold, and buff.

Toller’s also often have white markings. White markings may be on their feet, chest, blaze (the spot between their eyes), and on the very tip of their tail.

The Toller breed has a medium length, and a double waterproof coat. Tollers aren’t curly-coated retrievers, but they do have some curls or waves on their back. They may also get a bit more waviness on their chests with their winter coats.

The Toller tail is splendid! It is heavily feathered and when they’re in working mode, their tail stands upright and ready for action!

happy duck dog by the water

Average Size and Weight!

Toller males are usually proportionately a little larger than females. The height and weight ranges for fully grown Toller adult dogs are:

  • Male Height: 18-21 inches (45-53 centimeters) to their shoulders
  • Female Height: 17-20 inches (43-51 centimeters) to their shoulders
  • Weight: 35-50 pounds (15-22 kilograms)

Temperament and Personality of These Fun Water Loving Dogs!

The Toller is an intelligent, independent, and high energy dog breed! This is one work hard, play hard kind of companion. They are a loving, happy, and affectionate puppy that will usually get along well with all members of your household.

Want to play ball? Your Toller will probably bring a ball to you on a regular basis to say they’re enthusiastic and ready to go anytime! They’ll also happily snuggle up with you on a comfy couch at the end of the day when they’re tired.

They are inclined to be both curious and cautious. If you have a Toller in your life they are likely to want to know what is going on and explore everything in their environment. But they are often reserved with people they don’t know.

This breed usually gets along just fine with other dogs. Socialize, train, and start obedience training with your Toller puppy from an early age. Remember they are a breed born with a prey drive. So socialization is needed with small animals if they are expected to share a house with other small pets.

A Working Duck Toller is a Happy Duck Toller!

Does a working dog mean you must go out hunting in your spare time with a shotgun? No – but if you are a duck hunter, the Nova Social Duck Tolling Retriever could be the dog breed for you!

If you are considering a Tolling Retriever as a pet or companion, you really will need to ensure they have a lot of mental and physical activity. Tollers are officially classed in the “sporting dog” group with good reason. They thrive and enjoy dog sports and obedience activities and need to work both their brains and bodies daily!

How Long do They Live? Toller Lifespan!

The life expectancy of a Toller is 12-14 years.

The Toller is generally very healthy. Keep up with their exercise needs and feed them a healthy doggy diet and chances are they will be well.

Like all living beings though, they can develop conditions related to their genetics.  If you’re concerned about any clinical signs or symptoms, always check with your vet. Some health issues that this breed may develop with age include:

duck toller dog in snow

4 Facts You Didn’t Know About These Duck Dogs

  1. That gorgeous red hair is pretty easy to care for! They need their coats groomed and brushed about once a week, or every few days during the shedding season. Baths are usually only needed occasionally. Either you will begin to notice the natural doggy odor, or they will have come in contact with something that stinks!  They are a true wash and go dog and will happily shake the air through their own coat to get dry.
  2. They are water babies! With a coat that is double layered and waterproof and feet with webbing, you could say they’re almost like ducks to water. They’re more than likely to want to dive into the pool or lake with you to go for a swim.
  3. They don’t talk a lot – but they do scream! Generally speaking, the Toller isn’t too vocal. They may bark to warn you of a stranger, but they are too cautious to be protective guard dogs. However, When these puppies are eager and excited, they’ll soon let you know. They have a distinctive and very loud high pitched shriek, known as the Toller Scream!
  4. They are multi-tasking hunting buddies! Bred for the bird hunting world, the Toller has two areas of skill. As decoy dogs, they lure or toll. They are also retrievers. Their behavior is similar to how foxes attract the attention of waterfowl before they go in for the kill. Ducks and geese are naturally curious animals. The sight and color of a fox – or similar sized and colored Toller – playing at the edge of the water draws those nosy beaks in closer for a look. Hence the name as a tolling dog. The hunter then calls the dog back, does his bit with his shotgun. Game over for the waterfowl. The Toller then goes back and brings the downed bird back to the hunter.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Puppies for Sale!

Tempted by a Toller? If you’re looking to buy a puppy from a breeder they will likely cost around $2,000 in the United States.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breeders!

To connect with a reputable breeder, look for registered breeders. Check with the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) or the American Kennel Club listings.

Why? Registered breeders have a commitment to the health and wellbeing of the breed. They will be able to give you all the appropriate paperwork, and evidence of health checks with their retriever puppies.

A good breeder will also probably ask you a few questions as well. They will probably also wish to make sure you understand just how much energy these dogs have to burn!

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Toller Rescues!

Adopting a dog from a local rescue group or an animal shelter is a great way to go. They may be a dog that has become lost or has lost their home through no fault of their own.

Dogs up for adoption are assessed for any behavioral or health issues before being released for adoption. So you will have a good picture of the dog’s personality before it comes home with you. The Toller Retriever Club’s Rescue Service is a good place to start.

Common Questions on Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Do Toller Retrievers need brushing often?

How vocal are Toller Retrievers?

Is the Little River Duck Dog and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever the same?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.