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Novia Scotia Retriever


The sporting group of dog breeds would not be complete without the beautiful Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. This canine can spend hours running, retrieving, and playing outside. When it comes to fun and games with the Toller, throwing the ball a few times just won’t cut it. Be prepared to expend some energy because he’ll be back for more and more!

Whether they are playing, hunting, or just plain walking on the leash with you, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever does everything with gusto. Alert, yet calm, these dogs have the ability to adjust to any circumstances.

A Brief History Of The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Ever since the early 17th century, the Europeans had used canines to toll (which means to lure or act as a decoy). In order for these dogs to toll they would simply walk the shoreline, frolicking along, playing with sticks and such – activities that attract ducks to the area. The properly trained dog would continue walking along, acting aloof and ignoring the ducks until the hunter would shoot at them.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was created during the early part of the 19th century, in Yarmouth County, located in the southern most part of Nova Scotia. Historians suggest that the dog may have been a descendant of the red European decoy dog with a mix of farm collies and various types of retrievers, setters and spaniels. One theory suggests that the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever came from the tolling American Indian dogs.

The breed was originally referred to as the “Yarmouth Toller” or the “Little River Duck Dog” before the official name of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever became commonplace. In 1915 the Canadian Kennel Club recognized the breed, which had fifteen Tollers registered for that year.

Sometime during the early 1960s, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was exported to the United States, and although their popularity grew, it was not until the year 1984 that a proprietary club was formed dedicated to the canine. The club’s name was the Duck Tolling Retriever Club (of the U.S.)

The purpose of this club was to offer a breed championship, requiring basic retrieving skills and tolling trials. In 2001 they became part of the AKC’s miscellaneous class and in 2003 the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was officially accepted into the Sporting Group.

Upkeep Requirements For The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Any dog that is part of the sporting group is known to have high exercise requirements. And this couldn’t be more true when talking about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Be prepared for daily runs and time in the water with your Toller.

These dogs also score at the top when it comes to playfulness, affection, and friendliness to both people and other pets. But don’t let their kind nature fool you, as the Toller will show weariness of strangers if need be. And home living should be just that – have your Toller living inside the house. This is one dog that, although needs plenty of time outdoors, does not fare well if put outside for the night.

Health Concerns

Healthy Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dogs have an average life span of between eleven to thirteen years. Amazingly healthy, there are no major health issues that run through the breed and the only minor problems that are seen are PRA and CHD. Veterinarians suggest that all Tollers get tested for potential hip and eye problems.


Tolling dogs go back to the 1600′s. Tolling means decoy or lure game. It is of Middle English origin. The Dutch had cage dogs ( Kooikerhondje). These dogs acted as decoys that caught the ducks attention and enticed them into a certain channel off of a pond that had several arms going away from it. They ran, so that the ducks just caught a peek of them between screens and were drawn closer. The hunters choose the arm at which the wind conditions would keep the ducks from smelling the people or dogs.

Tolling dogs were hunting companions of other European hunters, as well as in Northeastern America. The progenitors of today’s Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were around since the 1890′s.  A bona fide record of the breeding of this breed doesn’t exist. It is thought that the red decoy dog came from Europe to Nova Scotia with some early settlers. These dogs were cross breed with other Retrievers, Labradors, Working Collies, and Sitters.

The old names for this breed are Yarmouth Toller and Little River Duck Dog. In 1945, this breed got recognition from the Canadian Kennel Club. For a good while, Tollers were only found in Nova Scotia. These days they reside in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the United States. In the 1980′s, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of the U.S.A. was established.

General Looks

They have good muscles and their skeleton is medium to heavy. The feet are webbed. The chest, feet, and tail’s tip have white markings, which might be on the face too. The back fur could be barely wavy. The ears are triangular and set high upon the head. The head has a bit of a wedge shape.

Is This Your Breed?

This breed needs plenty of activity and  exercise, then they are great companions. They like having a job to perform.


The outer coat is silk-like, long, and hugs the body. The undercoat  is wavy and lustrous.


The colors are red and orange.


The movement is springy, powerful, and has good reach. The rear drives hard.


This breed is smart, gentle, mild mannered, active, playful, hard working, clever, and alert. They are good at fly-ball, agility trials, tracking and obedience. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever likes swimming and playing fetch. The trainer should have confidence and be assertive, yet train with rewards and positive attitude.

They are faithful and devoted to their owner and family. They are sometimes a bit standoffish to strangers. They get along well with kids, also with other pets. They should be socialized from a pup.


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