Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were developed after hunters saw foxes use play behaviour to lure ducks within range. When working, the ‘Toller’ retrieves a stick thrown by the hunter. Instead of returning it, they play with it in the shallows. This play arouses the curiosity of the ducks which are then lured within range of the shooter’s gun. ‘Tolling’ is an early word for ‘luring’.


The Toller is a medium sized dog. A striking characteristic of the Toller is the coat which comes in various shades of red. The outer coat is of medium length with a dense soft undercoat. The tail is well ‘feathered’ and when the dog is working wags in a continuous circular motion which is credited with being an added attraction to ducks.

Average Lifespan

Up to 14 years


The Toller is a smart, outgoing and gentle breed. They get along well with children and other pets in the household, however with their natural retriving instinct they may have the tendency to gently round up the smaller pets.

The Toller is best suited to owners who can provide the regular exercises and consistent training the breed needs.

Grooming and care

The Toller’s double layer, waterproof coat requires weekly brushing to keep it in tip top condition and free of dirt. Their thick coat do tend to retain water and should be dried thoroughly after a play in the water.

Training and Exercise

Being an energetic breed, the Toller can easily get bored. Regular walks and exercise are a must to provide the mental stimulation the breed requires. Basic and firm obedience training is recommended from a young age to prevent misbehaving problems.

Health concerns

For the latest research in breed-related problems in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers, visit the University of Sydney’s LIDA (Listing of Inherited Disorders in Animals) website.

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