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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breed Information & Pictures

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever outdoors in the city for a walk
Group: Sporting Group
Height:18 – 21 inches
Weight:35 – 50 pounds
Lifespan:12 – 14 years
Coat Colors:Red, white, orange
Temperament:Loyal, playful, outgoing, friendly
Suitable for:Families with older children; active families

A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed could be your ideal dog if you’ve always desired an active companion that will follow you on your adventure.

Duck Tollers were bred to lure and retrieve waterfowl. They excel on the field or show ring, in obedience training, and as family companions.

Nonetheless, what more can we expect from this playful and friendly pooch?

Continue reading to learn more about the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

Everything you need to know about these dogs, from their background and distinctive traits to their health and maintenance, is discussed in this informative guide.

What Is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever portrait on a studio color background

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium-sized sports dog from Canada with golden-red fur, an athletic build, and a waterproof double coat. It was produced in the early 20th century to perform the unique dual role of both decoy dog and retriever.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are the smallest of the recognized retriever breeds of the American Kennel Club (AKC). Still, they make up for their diminutive size with a large amount of playfulness and personality.

This breed is also acknowledged by the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), the United Kennel Club (UKC), and the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI).

They resemble Golden Retrievers in appearance but with white markings, are smaller in size, and have a different attitude.

This Duck Tolling Retriever was designed to be playful and outgoing and can run along riverbanks to attract ducks. If water sports is one of your hobbies, this dog is a perfect choice for you!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Origin and History

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed dog running in the snow

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were developed in the Little River district of Nova Scotia’s Yarmouth county. They were originally bred by hunters in the 1800s and have been admired for their hunting intelligence.

The unusual name of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever derives from the dog’s unique ability to entice ducks by dancing on the beach, a method known as tolling.

Tolling is performed by dogs frolicking along the shore while chasing sticks. This sometimes draws curious ducks because of their unusual activity and the white markings on their bodies.

The modern Toller started when hunters in Southwest Nova Scotia’s Little River district skillfully combined their Micmac Indian dogs with Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, Irish Setters, and farm Collies.

This crossbreeding produced attractive red-haired high-energy dogs. They may also be derived from the Dutch Kooikerhondje and now extinct St. John’s Water Dog.

This Toller breed was known as the Little River duck dog or the Yarmouth Toller for more than a century and later became the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

The Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) recognized these dog breeds in 1945 before they became the AKC’s 150th-recognized breed in 2003. Little 

River duck dogs are still employed for hunting up to this day.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Appearance

Young happy Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever outdoors in the field

The breed inherited its appearance from the spaniels, setter-type dogs, retriever-type dogs, and farm collies.

The triangular ears with rounded tips of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers frame their faces with charming floppiness.

This Little River duck dog has almond-shaped eyes complementing the golden red hue of the Toller’s coat. They have wide nostril openings and a black nose the same color as their coat.

They have a medium-length double coat that is silky and water-repellent. The common coat colors of this dog breed are red, white, and orange, giving them a fox-like appearance.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Size and Weight

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium-sized, compact, athletic dog.

A full-grown Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever measures between 18 and 21 inches in height and weighs between 35 and 50 pounds.

Typically, Duck Tollers reach their full adult size between 11 and 12 months of age. This breed has all the high-energy and fun disposition of a retriever but on a lesser scale than a Labrador or a Golden Retriever breed.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Temperament and Personality

Photo session of two Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppies

Toller Retrievers are active and intelligent hunting dogs. They are also considered sports dogs, so they are very energetic. However, they can also be loving, affectionate, and friendly dogs in the household.

Tollers require a great deal of physical and mental stimulation. They might spend their energy in negative ways, such as chewing and digging, if not adequately exercised.

These high-energy dogs may also be hard to control around kids, and this may end up in accidents if they are left alone. That said, adult supervision is required during playtime with small children. 

Duck Tollers are also very friendly, even with strangers and other animals. Occasional aggression might be present, but this should be addressed easily with proper socialization.

Further, as hunting companions, expect the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever to have a high prey drive. Hence, they might chase after small animals if they are not socialized or leash trained.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Lifespan and Health Issues

The lifespan of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is 12 to 14 years, and they are generally healthy dogs with few health issues.

The following are some genetic health problems associated with the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed:

  • Addison’s Disease: Addison’s endocrine condition causes the adrenal glands to generate insufficient hormones. It can appear in 5-month-old Toller puppies and begins with a loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea, and it can be lethal. Your vet may give hormone replacements to assist and treat these symptoms and health problems.
  • Hip Dysplasia: The Duck Toller breed can acquire hip dysplasia as they age. It occurs when the hip joint is improperly developed and is quite painful for your dog. An x-ray screening may be done to properly diagnose this illness.
  • Deafness: Various factors, including heredity, ear infections, and injury, can cause deafness in canines. Despite this, deaf dogs can nevertheless live pleasant, fulfilling lives. Proper training of deaf dogs may necessitate specific techniques and precautions.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is the gradual deterioration of retina cells, causing vision impairment and eventual blindness. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this condition.

As you search for a Duck Toller, look for reputable breeders who can provide DNA test results certifying the puppy’s parents are free from genetic abnormalities, which also means healthy puppies.

You must also ensure that your dog receives the best possible medical care as it enters its older years. This is when pet insurance becomes very helpful.

How to Take Care of Your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever walking in summer park

The Duck Toller breed is easy to care for and maintain. They need a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper grooming, and constant affection to be healthy and happy, just like many breeds.

In this section, we will go further into Toller Retriever care. This includes nutrition, diet, essential grooming, training, and exercise.

Food and Diet

Toller owners need to feed their dogs daily with high-quality dry food. Providing a very nutritious diet that will address the high energy levels of these dogs should be a top priority in feeding them.

Dietary requirements for a Duck Tolling Retriever must include a balance of all significant nutritional groups and a steady supply of clean water.

Also, feed your dog at least twice a day and follow all the feeding instructions.

Further, food allergies and age-specific nutrients must be addressed. Consult your veterinarian regarding the types of food and portion quantities ideal for your dog based on their age, weight, and level of activity.

Cleaning and Grooming

The Toller is a wash-and-go dog. Its water-repellent double coat requires only weekly brushing to prevent matting and tangles.

During the spring and fall shedding seasons, everyday brushing will help manage excess hair. Check out the fur between their toes as you brush their coat.

The Tolling Retriever should be bathed every four to six weeks. This depends on their outdoor activities and whether they’re ready for a scrub after a particularly muddy outing.

Additionally, cut the nails of your Toller every month, and clean the foot pads regularly.

Keep its ears tidy and dry as well by using an ear cleaner for pets. This should prevent dirt and debris from accumulating inside the ears.

When it comes to oral hygiene, start by brushing your dog’s teeth a few times weekly and work your way up to daily.

It’s recommended to begin brushing your Toller’s teeth when they are a puppy, so they will be accustomed to this.

Keeping your dog’s teeth clean will also maintain their overall wellness. Daily brushing reduces the buildup of plaque and tartar, which can lead to tooth decay and sometimes life-threatening diseases.

Training and Exercise

Playtime is an excellent method to improve your bond with your dog. Ultimately, the workout requirements of a Toller rely on its personal inclinations.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever requires enough exercise, mental stimulation, and highly challenging training.

This teaches them how to interact with their surroundings healthily, without fear or aggression.

After a lengthy walk, some Tollers are fine to spend most of the day lounging on the couch, while others require far more stimulation and action.

With this dog breed, it is recommended to engage for at least an hour in dog sports such as agility and flyball. They respond well to training, but they are also independent and want to do things their way.

In contrast to Golden Retrievers, most Tollers are self-reliant and can be manipulative or stubborn. However, they are alert, outgoing, and quick learners when teaching is maintained upbeat and enjoyable.

Obedience training is also important to correct these undesirable behaviors.

Watch this video to see how smart and gorgeous the Duck Tolling Retriever is:

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever - Jaimy

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Puppy Prices & Expenses

The average cost of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy is between $1,800 and $3,500. You can also expect to pay up to $4,000 for a purebred Duck Toller with excellent pedigree and registration.

A potential owner of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will need to budget for various expenses. This includes veterinarian payments, training charges, food-related fees, supplies, and grooming.

On the other hand, adoption rates are far lower, with rehoming or adoption expenses often ranging between $50 and $500.

The table below shows the estimated costs you need to financially prepare for Duck Toller ownership:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$80 – $100
Food and Water Bowls$10 – $30
Bed$40 – $180
Crate$50 – $370
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $40
Grooming Essentials$40 – $160
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$605 – $2,240

The following numbers show that owning a Toller Retriever puppy involves various costs. Initial Nova Scotia Duck Toller maintenance fees will range between $605 and $2,240.

When you bring your new dog home, you should already have all the items specified above. Check the nearby pet store for coupons and discounts if you wish to save money.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Breeders and Rescues

Three Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppies for sale and adoption

Finding a reputable breeder is a fantastic way to acquire a Duck Toller. A responsible breeder will match you with the best puppy and will have performed all the necessary health tests to eliminate health issues.

As you look for a puppy for sale, review our comprehensive puppy buying guide first for advice on how to avoid scams online when purchasing a puppy.

Further, you can also check the national breed club, rescue organizations, and animal shelters near your area.

Here are some of the breeders and locations where you may get a Nova Scotia Duck Toller puppy:

  • Red Moon Tollers – RedMoon Tollers is one of the few domestic breeders in Northern California. They received the American Kennel Club Breeder of Merit, and their dogs are champions of the highest quality. This breeder takes excellent care of their puppies and will go through all the applicants to ensure that each puppy is matched with the ideal owner.
  • Offshore Duck Dogs – Offshore Duck Dogs is located in Southwest Florida. Each of their puppies is sold with a sales contract that must be signed at the time of pickup. Their Toller puppies are vaccinated and dewormed prior to release. In addition, they provide health clearances or certificates, spay/neuter contracts, and limited AKC registrations.
  • Saranac Tollers – Saranac Tollers is a small kennel in Naples, Florida, and is recognized as a Breeder of Merit by the AKC. They carefully plan their litter and sell a limited number of puppies to approved households. The prices of their breeding dogs vary in age and are free of inherited eye illness and heart problems.

Furthermore, your next Toller Retriever may be in a local shelter or rescue group. You will be able to save money and also do a noble act.

Visit the following rescue organizations to adopt a Toller pup:

  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA) – The NSDTRC is passionate about Tollers and is committed to maintaining the health and integrity of the breed. You can reach out to them, and they are willing to invite you inside their home or kennel so that you can meet their Toller dogs, including the mother of the litter. 
  • Toller Rescue – Toller Rescue is a national non-profit charity based in Delaware. They assist the potential adoptive family in determining if a Toller is a suitable breed for them. They also carefully screen each potential adoptive home and stay in contact with each rescued Toller. 
  • Petfinder – As one of the largest websites for pet adoption, Pet Finder provides access to a wide array of dogs available for adoption across the country. Using their filtering method, it is simple to locate the breed you are actively seeking. There is a high chance of discovering a Tolling Retriever in their listings.

If this is your first time adopting a dog, you should also review our ultimate dog adoption guide. It covers the general criteria provided by animal shelters as well as useful tips for completing the application.

However, if you’re trying to get a Toller Retriever for free, follow our guide on how to get free puppies in your area. This will help you quickly locate free pups near you.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Before you decide to bring a Toller Retriever into your home, you need to weigh the pros and cons to ensure that this breed is a good fit for your house and your lifestyle.

Let’s begin by discussing the benefits of owning a Duck Toller:

  • Highly intelligent: Tollers learn quickly and retain information that is significant to them. They are highly receptive to instruction and will never cease to amaze you.
  • Natural hunters: Most Tollers are born with a good sense of smell and the instinct to discover and retrieve birds. Some Tollers also dance on the shore like a fox to attract waterfowl. You should consider owning this superb breed if you are a weekend hunter and need a retrieving buddy.
  • Sports companions: The Duck Toller is ideal for those who enjoy hiking and dog sports. They are perfect for active owners who are willing to train and spend a lot of time with them for dog activities and sports such as agility and flyball.

Now, let’s discuss the drawbacks of owning Toller dogs:

  • Requires a lot of training and exercise: The Toller is an active breed of dog that requires a great deal of mental and physical activity. This may not be suitable for owners who cannot devote at least an hour of daily exercise to this breed.
  • Can be destructive: Without lots of physical and mental stimulation, the Duck Toller may find entertainment elsewhere by becoming destructive around the house. However, when given the right training and socialization, these dogs can be laid-back and gentle members of the household.
  • Excessive scream: This breed is recognized for its Toller scream. They produce a loud scream to communicate their joy and readiness. Still, there are things that you can do to stop them from excessive noise. 

A way to avoid specific undesirable characteristics in a Troller is by choosing an adult dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization.

With an adult dog, it’s easy to see what you’re getting, and numerous adult Duck Tolling Retrievers have shown only a few negative qualities.

On the other hand, if you decide to get a puppy, make sure that they are trained early so that these unwanted behaviors are not carried into its adulthood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog runs in the field

Are Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Good Family Dogs?

Tollers makes good family dogs for those who can meet this breed’s daily exercise requirements, which is true for most dogs. It is perfect for active owners who need a friendly, hard-working, and affectionate pet.

Are Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Rare?

While Duck Tolling Retrievers have been in Canada since the 1800s, it is still a very uncommon dog breed in the United States.

That said, those looking for the breed may not find many of them from reputable breeders or rescues. Expect a six to twelve months waiting period, or even longer, for a Toller puppy.

Do Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Bark a Lot?

A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever may bark excessively if left alone all day or for a long period.

They will alert their owners when they find it necessary, such as when they are delighted about other animals or new people outside.

They can be very vocal when excited and are known for their toller scream. If it becomes a problem, socialization and obedience training may be applied to avoid excessive barking.

Are Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Hypoallergenic?

Since the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was bred for hunting and outdoor life, its fur coat is heavier and thicker than many other breeds. Their thick and heavy fur coat is by no means hypoallergenic.

Some people with moderate allergies may be able to live with this breed. This is when they are willing to be thorough with cleaning the house and properly grooming their Tollers.

Do Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Shed?

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a waterproof double coat that moderately sheds, especially in the fall and spring.

This dog hair shedding becomes more manageable with appropriate washing and grooming, regardless of the season.

Final Thoughts

With consistent training, Duck Tolling Retrievers’ eagerness to please their owners can assist them in learning desired behaviors.

However, they may be a bit more stubborn than other dogs or popular retrievers.

These smart dogs require exercise and are always ready for a swim. If you can maintain an active lifestyle, these puppies make wonderful family pets or working dogs.

With a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, you have the best of both a tireless, athletic companion and a dog who likes to cuddle.

Are you prepared to welcome the Nova Scotia Tolling Retriever into your family? Share your thoughts about the Toller dogs in the comment section below!