A Breed Apart: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
A Breed Apart: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
BISS CH. Kylador's Karma Kamelia CDX WCX (Karma)
Photo courtesy of Kylador Kennels

Breed Registries:

The all-breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.

* — The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.




Male — 19 to 20 inches (48-51 cm)
Female — 18-19 inches (45-48 cm)


Male — 45 to 51 lbs (20.5-23 kg)
Female — 37-43 lb. (17-20 kg)

Breed Profile:

Native to Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is one of four recognized Canadian breeds of purebred dogs. (The other three are the Newfoundland, Canadian Eskimo Dog and the now extinct Tahltan Bear Dog.) First recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945, the Toller is also the official dog of Nova Scotia.

Tolling is a technique used to entice game to approach within firing range of the hunter by arousing their curiosity. The Toller is a highly intelligent and easily trained dog. He is a dog of great endurance and an excellent swimmer with natural retriever instincts both on land and in the water. Physically, the Toller is a medium-sized, well-muscled dog. He is very agile, alert and determined.

The Toller is very versatile and is often seen participating in many competitive dog activities and sports including: Conformation, Obedience, Field Trials, Tracking, Flyball and Agility.

As a family companion, the Toller is loving and playful. He may be somewhat reserved with strangers but is never aggressive or overly shy.

He has a double coat of medium length that is water-repellent. Tollers come in a variety of shades of red or orange and may have white markings on the chest, feet, tip of the tail, and the head/face, but there is no requirement to have any white.

It should be noted that the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a high-energy and active dog who requires plenty of exercise, both physical and mental. This is not the breed for everyone and if you are considering bringing a Toller into your home, be aware that a commitment to keep the dog busy is extremely important.

Health Issues

If you are considering the adoption of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)

Additional Health Resources:

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Breed Standards

Grooming Information

  • Grooming the Toller — in PDF format from the NSDTRC-USA
  • Grooming — This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.

Training Resources

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a very intelligent dog who is easily trained and is happiest when working. While quick to learn, the Toller is also easily bored. Training sessions should be kept relatively short, fun and challenging.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.

Training Tools & Equipment
Choose from a wide variety of items from Dogwise.com

Additional Information

Select from the following links to view Breeder listings; Breed Clubs; Rescue Organizations; as well as Books and other Merchandise specific to the breed:

Breeders  /  Breed Clubs  /  Rescues  /  Books & More