Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, known as the Toller, is the smallest retriever with one of the biggest hearts. These energetic dogs are sure to keep you on your toes and do best in a family that can provide plenty of opportunities for them to expend their boundless energy.

Bred in Canada, the Toller is hardier than it appears, and up for any challenge. These dogs do especially well in water and will be your loyal and fun companion on many adventures. Read on to learn more about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Description of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a handsome dog with plenty of energy and affection to share.

Their sporting blood gives them their seemingly endless energy and it will be up to you to find a good outlet for your dog. Whether hunting, hiking, swimming, or just running around in the backyard, the Toller will be your best friend if he gets to be active with you. Their almond shaped eyes tend to take on a sad expression, until they start working! Then these dogs are the picture of focus and intensity.

The history of this breed is especially interesting. They were bred to be small and red so as to mimic the appearance of a fox. Ducks have a special fascination with the fox, so when they see the Toller running along the shore they come closer to investigate and are within gunshot of a hunter! The word “tollen” actually means “to lure” or “summon” in Middle English. This is definitely a unique way to hunt, but the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever’s swimming prowess and agility are also important traits it possesses.

These beautiful dogs have a soft and thick double coat that repels water. They are famed for the coloring, which is pretty much any shade of red, from golden red to dark and coppery red, with white markings.

Life Expectancy and Size

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is usually a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12 – 14 years, but these dogs can suffer from health problems that may affect their lifespan. Always work with a reputable breeder to have the best chances of getting a puppy that is healthy.

The smallest of the retrievers, the male Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is 18 – 20 inches tall, and the female is 17 – 20 inches tall, and they weigh 35 – 50 pounds.

Protective Ability

These dogs are alert and always on the lookout. Their watchdog instincts are alive and well, and your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will always be ready to alert you to strangers. But like many retrievers these dogs are incredibly friendly and will quickly greet strangers at the door with a wagging tail.


Smart, eager to learn, and focused, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be a star in the training ring. Just be consistent and patient with him as he has a tendency to want to do things his way. With lots of positive reinforcement your dog will quickly, learn that doing things your way is the best way.

Like many retrievers, this breed is especially food motivated and treats are a great aid in training. Giving your dog extra motivation to learn will make training sessions more effective and efficient. Just be careful to not overdo it on the treats as your dog can easily become overweight.

These actives pups also do extremely well in canine sports like agility and obedience. Fun games are just an added incentive to learn for these dogs.

The Toller likes to have something in it for him when he trains, so using rewards-based training is the best way to success with this breed.

Energy Level

Energetic is the natural state of these dogs. They love to be on the move, and need an owner that can keep up with their bottomless energy. Plenty of long walks, canine sports, backyard playtime, and swimming are all great ways to wear your dog out.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an affectionate and loving dog that will love to snuggle up after a long day of working or playing. But this is not their go-to state, so don’t be fooled into thinking your dog will just be satisfied with one quick walk. This breed will be active however they can, so it is best to find productive outlets for your dog before he digs up your flower beds, or starts chewing on things to try and find something to do.

What Living with a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is Like

This is an athletic and outgoing breed.

These dogs will keep you moving and active. They are natural companions for hunters and those that like to be outside. Expect a real ball of energy in this breed.

The Toller will not do well in sedentary families, so look into some of the other retriever breeds if you have your heart set on a retriever but prefer to be less active.

Care of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a loyal and loving dog that can do well in any home as long as he is given plenty of exercise and companionship.

Environmental Needs

Bred to dive into icy waters after prey, the thick and weather resistant coat of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is well adapted to cold temperatures. But this breed can also do well in warmer weather as they shed to accommodate the season and their light colored coat doesn’t absorb too much heat.

Exercise Needs

These dogs are about as active as they come and need plenty of daily exercise to be happy. At least an hour of activity everyday is needed. This can be done through multiple long walks or runs, backyard playtime, hunting, or canine sports. Giving your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever a variety of different types of activities will keep him mentally stimulated and content.

As natural hunters, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is very prey motivated and will be quick to chase anything small he sees. Whether this is your cat or a squirrel, be sure to keep your dog fenced in to keep him form wandering off.

Shedding and Grooming

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a relatively low-maintenance coat. Weekly brushing is enough to keep your dog’s fur and skin is healthy. During shedding season daily brushing is necessary to keep the loose hair under control.

This breed sheds some, but not heavily.

Regular nail trimming is important to keep your dog from being in pain when walking. It is also good to frequently check your dog’s ears to make sure he isn’t getting an infection.

Ideal Home Environment

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is good-natured and flourishes in a home where he can be active and a part of the family. It is important that he has an owner who will be fair and consistent so that he can learn what is right and what is wrong. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever loves to try and get his way so he does best with someone who can keep him on the straight and narrow.

This breed makes a fine watchdog, but is too friendly to be a guard dog.

It is important to recognize that the Toller can have health issues that may be costly or time consuming to deal with.

Health Concerns

Because of the relatively small gene pool of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, this breed can be prone to certain genetic issues. Always work with a reputable breeder to try and get the healthiest puppy you can. Other common problems include Addison’s disease, hip dysplasia, eye problems, and heart disease.

Behavior Problems

Chasing can be a big problem for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, as this is what they are naturally wired to do. Training your dog and keeping him in a fenced-in backyard or on leash can prevent him from chasing after some unsuspecting creature.