Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – Owner’s Guide

Reviewed By Tom •  Updated: 07/07/22 •  6 min read
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Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a highly energetic dog that’s been accompanying hunters since the 1800s. But can this active dog make a great family companion? We take a look at this question and other aspects of adopting one of these beautiful dogs!

If you’re looking for a dog that’s full of energy, you may want to consider the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. However, it’s important to learn more about the breed before adopting one of these dogs. So, we’ve put together information about this dog breed to help you decide whether this is the right dog for your family. Let’s get started!

What is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has been a hunter’s friend since the 1800s and is the smallest of the retriever dog breeds. This is a rare dog breed that was originally developed for hunting. The dogs were developed in Nova Scotia, Canada, and were bred to hunt waterfowl. These dogs have a unique behavior when helping a hunter.

One group of breeders in the Little River district of Nova Scotia bred the dogs to attract birds and then retrieve them. The dog plays along the waterline, enticing birds to come and check him out. All the while, the hunter remains hidden behind a blind. Eventually, the dog’s efforts attract birds curious about why the dog is acting so different!

When the birds are close enough to the shore, the dog goes behind the blind, and the hunter jumps out, scaring the birds into flight. That’s when the hunter shoots; the dog then swims out to retrieve the birds.

“Tolling” refers to this very behavior. In Middle English, the word “tolling” meant to entice. And this is what the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Dog does. They’re extremely good at luring and retrieving birds. However, they have also become popular family companions.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers usually stand between 1 ft 5 in to 1 ft 9 in and weigh between 35 to 50 lbs. They have a life expectancy of 10 to 14 years.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Appearance

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is famous for his red coat, with white markings on his body and the tip of the tail. The dog has a medium-length coat, and the color can vary from gold-red to dark copper. Needless to say, these are beautiful dogs. Their tails tend to be busy and slightly curl.

This dog breed is an athletic dog that’s medium-sized and strong. These dogs are great runners and have webbed feet (perfect for swimming).


Tollers (another name for this dog breed) are highly intelligent, independent, curious dogs that always seem to be happy! They have a mischievous streak and love having fun. These dogs are also usually pretty friendly and outgoing. However, they can be wary of strangers.

When they’re not out hunting or having fun, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are quite content to snuggle on the couch and be quiet. You can definitely hug and snuggle with these dogs.

In addition, the dogs are very adaptable and enjoy being outside and inside. They also make great travel companions. This is a dog that’s always up for some adventure!

This is a dog that’s eager to please and wants to be with their pet parents and families most of the time. For this reason, the dogs are susceptible to developing separation anxiety. Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety usually develop unwanted behaviors. These dogs may bark, chew, and dig when they’re anxious and alone too much.

The Toller wants to be involved in everything and is very alert to what’s going on around him. They will let you know if a stranger is approaching your home.

Toller’s Bark

We have to mention the Toller’s bark. The dogs have a very unique bark when they get excited. The bark is high-pitched and very loud.

For this reason, this dog breed is not recommended for homes where noise can be a problem for others. We listened to the Toller’s bark online, and it will easily carry through walls!

Are Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Good for Families?

The answer depends on a family’s lifestyle. These dogs are best for active families that want to spend time with their dogs. Remember, this is a dog that wants to be part of all family activities.

The dogs are good with kids, but they are best for active, older kids who understand how to play with dogs correctly. These dogs have too much energy for young kids.

Do Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers Get Along with Other Pets?

Tollers love being with other dogs, and they usually get along well with cats, especially if they’ve been raised together.

However, the dogs do have a strong prey drive and may not get along with smaller pets. If the dog has been properly trained and socialized, he may be able to get along with small pets. But he should never be left unattended with these smaller animals.

Food & Diet

When shopping for dog food for a Toller or any other dog breed, it’s essential to only buy brands that carry the AAFCO certification. The certification ensures the food is nutritionally adequate for the dog breed and life stage.

Tollers do best on a kibble diet that’s high in protein and is formulated for medium-sized, active dog breeds. The dogs need to eat about 2.5 to 3 cups of food a day, divided into two meals.

Exercise Requirements

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever may be a smaller retriever, but the breed is high-energy all the way. These dogs need at least one hour of exercise a day, though more is better.

These dogs enjoy all manner of activities, including swimming, dog sport competitions, and more. And if you’re going for a hike, your canine companion will be more than happy to join that adventure!


Tollers have a double coat that’s water-repellant. The dogs should be brushed at least once a week; however, consider brushing them once a day during shedding season (fall and spring). They do shed quite a bit at these times. It’s usually a good idea to brush the dog outside, where you can control the shed fur more easily.

Summing It Up

So, there you have it! The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an amazing, athletic dog. They’re happy, intelligent, and eager to please. And these dogs love nothing better than being with their families for almost any adventure. The dogs are best for active families who want to spend a lot of time with their fur babies!

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Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!