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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Facts

  • Group
  • Sporting
  • Affiliations
  • AKC, UKC
  • Height
  • 17" - 21"
  • Weight
  • 40-55 lbs.
  • Lifespan
  • 12 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • High - This breed requires vigorous daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Average Training Time
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • Red
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Good with children
    • Hunting heritage
    • Ok outdoors
    • Should sleep indoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

Toller, little river duck dog, Yarmouth toller, duck toller.


This breed originated in Canada.

Date Of Origin

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever was recognized in 1945, although they has existed for at least 50 years before that.


The duck Toller was developed in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, in the early nineteenth century. Although the history is cloudy, the breed is believed to be descended from the red decoy dogs brought with the early European settlers. These dogs are believed to have been crossed with spaniels, retrievers, setters, and collies to develop the duck Toller. This is a multipurpose water retriever, guard, companion, and decoy dog. The breed has recently gained popularity outside of Canada.


This is a medium-size, compact, and muscular dog. It has a broad skull and short muzzle. The almond-shaped eyes blend with the coat, the broad nose is black or complements the coat, and the medium-length drop ears are set high. The tail is long. The double coat is red with lighter feathering underneath the tail, as well as white markings on the feet, chest, blaze, and tip of tail. There is a soft undercoat; medium-length, soft outer coat; and whiskers on the face.


The Toller is outgoing, playful, and alert. It is intelligent, biddable, and friendly toward most everyone, including children. It may be reserved in new situations.


The Toller's rather unusual job is to entice ducks and geese within shotgun range, then retrieve them from the water after they have been hit. From his concealed blind near the shore, the hunter tosses a stick parallel to the shore, and with great animation but without barking, the Toller retrieves it. It may take dozens of throws before the ducks or geese become curious and approach the shore. When they are within shooting range, the hunter calls his dog back to the blind, stands up to put the birds to flight, and shoots. The Toller then acts as an efficient retriever. Today he is also valued as a companion dog.

Health Concerns

Eye problems, hip dysplasia.

Additional Information

It does best with an active owner in a rural or suburban home.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

Dog Bible

Publisher: BowTie Press, 2005

Website: http://www.bowtiepress.com/bowtie/

Authors: Kristin Meuh-Roe, Jarelle S. Stein

Simon & Schusters Guide to Dogs

Publisher: Simon & Schuster inc, 1980

Website: http://www.simonandschuster.com

Author: Elizabeth Meriwether Schuler

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

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