The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: The Versatile Dogs

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Have you ever seen cute little puppies used as tollers? They are Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers and a beautiful and friendly breed that is known for their unique hunting skills. These dogs are not only great hunters, but they also make excellent pets. Let us tell you more about them if you’re interested! Shall we start?

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling

In the early 1800s, people created the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever to help with hunting waterfowl. Before getting into these cute dogs, let’s understand what tolling actually is. It comes from old English and means to lure or attract. For instance, when the sound of bells brings villagers to the town square. That’s tolling!

In hunting, tolling means using a dog’s playful moves to attract waterfowl close enough for hunters to shoot. It is just like how foxes attract ducks. In this scenario, foxes play around the water, catching the attention of ducks. Intrigued by the fox’s actions, the ducks swim closer, making them easy targets for the fox. Hence, by seeing this, hunters trained their dogs to act like foxes.

Hunters usually throw sticks and rocks for the dogs to fetch. As the dogs play along the water, the curious ducks get closer to see what’s going on, making them easier to hunt. In hunting, the tolling dog runs, jumps and plays along the shore while ducks gather on the lake. With the hunter’s help from a hidden place, the dog comes and goes, sometimes with sticks or balls thrown out. This attracts ducks, making them swim closer to where hunters can shoot them. After that, the toller dog is sent to bring back the ducks that were shot.

History Of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers

In the early 20th century, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was developed as a new breed in Canada. The purpose of developing this breed was to produce a lure dog and a retriever in one breed. The toller dog has different breeds in its ancestry, like spaniels, retrievers, setters, and collies. Hence, before 1945, the Canadian Kennel Club officially recognized the breed. It gained international popularity until the 1980s and is significantly used today for tolling purposes.

Behaviour and Personality

If you want a loyal companion, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the best option for you. These energetic dogs love to play and exercise and can go on adventures with you. They are good with kids and live happily in your home alone as well as with other dog friends. Tollers can get along with cats if introduced properly, but because they were used to hunting other animals, they can still be used to chase smaller animals.

If you want to own this dog, you must know that they are super active dogs. They need a lot of attention and things to keep their brains busy every day. If they don’t find enough stuff to play with, they might start causing trouble around the house. So, it would help if you played with them or provided them with varied activities so they won’t get bored. But with proper care and a loving family, they can be loyal to you and can act like loving friends in no time.

Pros And Cons Of Having Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is a cute and versatile breed known for its intelligence, striking appearance, and agility. However, like any other breed, there are both pros and cons to consider when welcoming this toller into your home. Let’s have some discussion below:


  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be involved in various activities and sports with great interest
  • They are brilliant, so you can better train them for any practice or activity
  • They have an exciting and energetic personality
  • They can engage with kids, other pets like dogs and cats, and with their owners in a better way
  • They can live for about ten years, which is enough to be your great partner
  • Their fluffy coat of orange or red can make them look very nice


  • They are very energetic and need a lot of sports to play, and if the activities lessen, they can get bored, which may lead to the destruction of your house
  • Tollers tend to be vocal, like barking, talking, and whining. So, wherever they get excited or see any alarming thing, they bark too loud, but you can train them not to bark loudly at specific times
  • They have a strong prey drive, so they can chase any animal, which can sometimes be harmful to them
  • Due to their high energy, they need proper exercise, so because of this, they can’t live in an apartment quickly. They better live in homes with access to outdoor space where they can run and play freely

In summary, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can make an excellent companion for a family or an owner. However, they require commitment, patience, and plenty of time and energy to meet their needs. Potential owners must consider their lifestyle and capability to provide the necessary care and stimulation before bringing a Toller into their home.

Health Concerns Of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Health Concerns Of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Although tollers are very energetic and enthusiastic, it doesn’t mean they can’t get any disease and stay healthy throughout their lifetime. There are several health issues to which tollers are susceptible. So, let’s discuss them one by one below:

Collie Eye Anomaly

It is a disease in which the dogs are totally blind. This disorder can show itself when the toller becomes two years old. Blind tollers are well-trained through their other senses to walk, play, and avoid any prey. Keep in mind that you should avoid using these dogs in any breeding. However, if ever you see any symptom of blindness or vision disability or there appears to be any doubt, visit veterinary ophthalmologists and provide them with proper treatment.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

It is an eye disorder that can affect their vision ability, which can ultimately cause blindness. Doctors can diagnose the disease even before the symptoms appear. It would be best if you avoided these dogs, too, from using them in breeding.


It is not that common like other anomalies but appears when the toller is at the age of 7 or 8. If you have proper and regular checkups, then you can get any sign of deafness in tollers.

Addison’s Disease

It is an inherited disease in which the immune system of dogs affects adrenal glands. So, these glands will ultimately not function properly and will not produce cortisol and aldosterone. When they reach their mid-age, if you observe reduced appetite, diarrhoea, vomiting, or lethargy, then they are surely through Addison’s disease.

When it is acute, the dog may shrink. You can learn the appearance of Addison’s disease in tollers through a blood test. This disease needs a very long medical treatment. But still, they take this disease to the end of their lives.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

It is also an inherited disease in which the joints of the hip and elbow have issues in mobility or alignment. Once the joints are not correctly aligned, their joints rub a lot, and ultimately, they crus and deteriorate with time. Moreover, this leads to arthritis in tollers, which is often painful for them. Daily activities, weight, and diet are some factors that may be involved in the crushing of joints.

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

It is a disorder in which their hind legs can be paralyzed due to their spinal cord being affected. If it’s not treated on time, it can cause dogs not to use their hind legs, where dogs do not have control over their pee. You can diagnose disease via blood test, but still, it doesn’t show up as confirmed.

By providing proper care, attention, and preventive measures, you can help ensure that your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever enjoys a healthy and fulfilling life.

Care Of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Care Of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers are, no doubt, active and energetic and can be the best version in their owner’s home. Proper maintenance and exercise are required to keep them updated. But you must also know that they shed their hair too much here and there. So, it would help if you were prepared before owning this breed.


The best daily feed should be 2-3 cups of dry fruits, twice a day. However, the amount of meals may vary according to the size, digestion, metabolism, and energy level of tollers. Quality matters over the quantity of food. Do not overfeed them so they may not become overweight.


This breed doesn’t require much grooming. Hence, brushing often over a year can be enough to remove any dead hair. Pluck excess hair from the ears, trim their nails, brush their teeth, and clean their foot pads regularly. Bath them daily. When the tollers are pretty young, their ears fold back, so to keep them in proper shape, tape them in the required shape.

So, now you get to know that Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers stand out as a remarkable breed, embodying intelligence, affection, and versatility. They can be your best companion and will not tease you during their grooming session. They can be the cherished member of your house, enriching lives with their boundless energy and unwavering devotion.