Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Dog Breed Description

The Tolling Retriever is sometimes confused with a small Golden Retriever. Its beautiful, thick, red and orange coat usually includes small white spots on the chest, face, tail, and feet.

  • It is a medium to heavy boned dog with a deep chest, powerful body, strong legs, and wedge-shaped head.

Photo by Hans Veth on Unsplash


  • Tolling Retrievers are known as sensible dogs with an incredible devotion to their families. These dogs have been known to save the lives of their owners when put in dangerous situations.
  • The breed is excellent with children, easy to train, and extremely intelligent. Although these dogs may be more reserved around strangers, they adore their masters and are happiest when outside working and playing.
  • Tollers demonstrate a natural excitement for hunting and training; they are known as “retrieving fools” and will fetch and retrieve toys for hours on end.
  • Perfect family pets, Tollers get along well with other animals in the home.

Height and Weight

  • Adult males and females tend to be 17-21 inches tall and weigh around 37-51 pounds.

Living Conditions and Exercise

  • The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog breed is high energy and requires a good deal of physical exercise.
  • Daily activities should include a long walk or jog, plus time spent fetching a ball or stick.
  • Tollers are happy in apartments if they receive sufficient exercise throughout the day. They do exceptionally well in cold climates.

Life Expectancy

  • Well-cared for Tollers can be expected to live 12-14 years.


  • The Toller’s water-repellant double coat needs to cared for with a brush with firm-bristles. Owners should pay particular care and attention to the undercoat.
  • Dogs should be dry shampooed on a regular basis, but bathing should only be done when necessary, as this can remove the natural oils that make the coat water resistant.


  • The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog breed originated in Canada, where Tolling Red Decoy dogs were crossed with working spaniels and retrievers to lure ducks.
  • The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed to do a very unusual job. A hunter would toss a stick near the shore, and, without barking, the Toller would retrieve it. Dog and master repeated this game until ducks and geese became curious and swooped in for a better look, at which point the hunter took his shot, and the Toller changed jobs, swimming out to retrieve the fallen bird for his owner.
  • The breed was once known as the Little River Duck Dog or the Yarmouth Toller, but the name was changed by the Canadian Kennel Club in the late 1950s.

Group and Recognition

  • Grouping: Gun Dog
  • Recognition: CKC, NZKC, ACR, UKC, NKC, APRI, FCI