Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

"Ducks, Come Play!"

Photo of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


Hunters in Nova Scotia noticed that ducks and other waterfowl were drawn to the busy back-and-forth movement of foxes. This activity was called “tolling.” With the aim of developing a domestic dog with fox-like tendencies Tollers were bred to entice ducks, dancing along the shores until the curious and bird-brained ducks swam close enough to be caught. Hunters can still take advantage of the breed's endless stamina and willingness to retrieve balls or sticks to lure waterfowl within shooting range. The dog is just as enthusiastic on the 50th throw as on the first.


Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are quick-minded and agile-bodied. If owners make lessons interesting and entertaining, they're willing students. Admirers realized quickly that the breed's assistance in bringing home dinner was not her only talent. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a natural canine athlete, excelling at flyball, agility, and other active sports.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever's flashy red coat often has white markings. The double coat is of medium length. Her long, foxy brush tail moves constantly, and her expression is inquisitive, alert and rather serious.


The Toller is not a dog that obeys with robotic willingness, performing the same dull routine over and over, ad infinitum. She's likely to do it once or twice, then give you a look that seems to say, “How about a little ball toss?” Change your training technique to keep her interested and always on her toes.

Grooming & Care

Regular brushing is necessary to keep the coat shiny and healthy. Feet may be trimmed to remove excess hair. Shedding is a given, and a constant reminder that there's a red dog in the house.

Health Concerns

As a rare breed, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is relatively healthy. However, prospective buyers should inquire as to hip dysplasia, Addison's disease, and heart or eye problems in the lines. Breeders say the biggest difficulty, genetically, is that Tollers do not have a gene pool or even a pond, but a puddle. Thus, most lines will carry similar problems; the goal should be to seek one that has a lower incidence based on testing.

Famous Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The official dog of the Province of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 32
Schedule 33
Home 9
Children 48
Experience 52
Quick Facts
Grooming 110
Exercise 14
Challenges High energy; needs outdoor time.
Height 18 to 20 inches
Weight 37 to 51 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 83
With Kids 86
With Strangers 22
Availability 95

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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