Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever | Information & Dog Facts


Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever or toller dog, is perfect for those who dream of a good-natured friend and loyal partner. It will not take up much space, but it will constantly demand attention to itself.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Retrievers are representatives of a rather rare breed. But interest in these cute dogs is constantly growing, which is not surprising. Tollers are hunting dogs with a number of positive qualities and a graceful, disposable appearance. What should future owners know about these amazing dogs?

This dog is very agile and determined and is always alert. He may seem sad or nostalgic when he is calm, but as soon as the activity begins, he shows his true joyful and dynamic disposition.

If you are interested in adopting a Nova Scotia Retriever dog, this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ breed sheet is where you will find all the information you need to know before adopting such a dog to grow up healthy and happy by your side.

Origin of the Nova Scotia Retriever

Although there is no reliable record of the development of this breed, it is widely believed that it was born in the 19th century in Nova Scotia, Canada. It seems that the founding dogs of the breed belonged to a group of red “decoy dogs” brought from Europe to Canada by the first settlers. Subsequently, these dogs would have crossed with local dogs and hunting dog breeds taken elsewhere. Although the dog breeds that participated in the creation of the Nova Scotia Retriever are not known exactly, they are believed to have been smugglers, spaniels and, of course, different types of retriever dogs.

These dogs were originally known as the Nova Scotia Small Retriever or Yarmouth Toller. These names were born from the special way in which these dogs were used for hunting.

Recognition of the breed by the Canadian Kennel Club took place in 1945. It was that year that it was determined that the official name of the breed would be the Nova Scotia Retriever. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized this breed in 1982. These dogs are still little known in the world, which is why their population is small and there is a small genetic pool. However, they are relatively popular with hunters in Canada and the United States.

Toller dog
Toller dog

The curious style of hunting with the Nova Scotia Retriever

The hunting style with these dogs is that the dogs play with the hunter, who is hidden. They come and go in the hiding place, picking up a stick or a ball that the hunter throws, which attracts the attention of the ducks. Then the ducks approach the shore until they become within range. This is when the hunter can shoot and, subsequently, the dog charges the injured and dead ducks.

Foxes are said to use a similar strategy to hunt ducks, playing between two foxes. The Nova Scotia Retriever is also said to have used a similar practice to lure ducks to shore, repeatedly throwing fox fur attached to a thin line and pulling it towards them.

Although this style of hunting has been practiced for a long time, some hunters consider that it is simply a myth that ducks are attracted to the dog that plays near the shore. They believe that the frequency with which ducks approach shore is the same when a dog plays as when there is none.

Physical characteristics of the Nova Scotia Retriever

Nova Scotia Retriever males reach a height between 48 and 51 centimeters at the cross. In addition, its weight must be between 20 and 23 kilograms. The size of the females is between 45 and 48 centimeters, while their weight is between 17 and 20 kilograms.

The head of these dogs has a slight wedge shape and is well defined by a broad and slightly rounded skull. The stop is moderate and the nose is black or harmonizes with the color of the coat. The lips are tight and of fine finesse, while the solid jaws close in a bite of firm scissors.

The toller’s eyes are medium in size, almond shaped and vary in color from amber to brown. The look has an alert, intelligent and friendly expression. The ears of this dog are triangular, medium and well inserted in the skull. The base of the ears is slightly erect. The neck is medium in length, strong and has no gills.

The body of the Nova Scotia Retriever is slightly longer than tall, medium, compact and muscular, and has bones that range from medium to thick. The upper line is horizontal, the back is short and straight and the back is strong and muscular. The deep chest of these dogs goes down to the elbows and the belly is slightly retracted.

The tail is wide at the base and has many fringes of hair. Its last vertebra reaches the hock and, when the dog is at rest, the tail can hang down. When the dog is active, it lifts and hooks the tail, but never touches the body with it.

The forelegs of the Nova Scotia Retriever are parallel, straight, with strong bones, muscular shoulders and elbows attached to the body. In contrast, the hind limbs have well-angled muscular thighs and knees. The medium and rounded feet have joined and arched toes.

These dogs have a double waterproof coat. The inner hairs are soft and dense, while the outer hairs are moderately long and soft. The latter may be slightly wavy at the back of the body, but should be straight over the rest.

The colors of fur accepted for the Nova Scotia Retriever dogs are the different shades of red or orange, the fringes and the bottom of the tail being lighter than the rest of the body. Dogs with white markings on the tip of the tail, feet and chest, and a white ribbon on the forehead are preferred. However, solid color dogs are allowed. The nose, lips and edges of the eyes must be flesh-colored, harmonized with the hair fur, or black.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Temperament of the Nova Scotia Retriever

The Nova Scotia Retriever is an enthusiastic, playful, very active, confident, gentle and gentle dog. It is also a very intelligent and easy to train dog, although it is always better to use canine training methods based on positive reinforcement.

Note! Tollers are wary and distrustful of strangers. Anyone who wants to pet a dog should be warned about this in advance.

He is also a dog with a lot of energy, but at the same time, he is generally very patient with children (of course, this largely depends on the socialization that each specimen receives). Despite his great energy, he is a docile dog who can be an excellent pet if he is provided with the physical and mental exercise he needs.

Like other retriever dogs, the Nova Scotia Retriever is passionate about collecting, playing and swimming. If possible, he should be allowed to swim from time to time.

However, unlike the “typical” retriever, the toller tends to be reserved in unknown situations. To avoid this, it is good to socialize them with puppies and get them used to different situations.

Note! The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is equally good at being a hunter and a guard. The dog is able to bark loudly and keep strangers away from the protected property.

Toller dog
Toller dog


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a robust, healthy dog, strong, hardy, easily adaptable, rarely suffers from allergies or digestive problems, easily adapts to different climates and lifestyle. However, in the breed there are hereditary diseases, which are important to know about the present and potential owners.

Toller health care is taken very seriously in Canada. A list of diseases recommended for screening in all animals and obligatory for delivery in breeding individuals has been compiled. This will allow you to create a complete base and correctly select breeding pairs. The list of inherited diseases of the Scottish Retriever includes:

  • Dysplasia of the hip joint;
  • Progressive retinal atrophy;
  • Thyroid problems;
  • Diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including congenital defects;
  • Malformations that include malocclusion, cleft palate, cleft lip, cryptorchidism, etc.;
  • Degenerative myelopathy;
  • Degenerative encephalopathy;
  • Intervertebral disc disease;
  • Liver shunt;

Life expectancy is usually 12-13 years. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dogs need standard veterinary preventive measures (vaccination, treatment against external and internal parasites, annual medical examination).

Basic care

The Nova Scotia Retriever can adapt to living in a small apartment if the necessary exercise is provided. As he is a very active and energetic dog, he needs a lot of physical and mental exercise, as well as daily games. If possible, you should give him the opportunity to burn energies while swimming.

The coat of these dogs is a good insulator from the cold, so they adapt well to live in cold climates.

The breed regularly loses hair. The hair of these dogs should be maintained by brushing and combing them daily. It is also advisable not to bathe the dog very often so as not to remove the natural protection provided by its fur. Bathing should only be done when the dog is dirty.

Note! Do not use shampoos for no reason – they wash away the natural lubricant that covers the toller’s coat.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever


Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dogs do not suffer from any types of allergies, and therefore it is not worth inventing a special menu. Everything is standard: the basis of the diet is proteins (meat, fish), complex carbohydrates (cereals), vegetables and fruits.

From time to time, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog can be pampered with bones, but you should not get carried away with them. Bones work well as a teething device for new teeth in Scottish Retriever puppies.

When it comes to industrial food, premium food is recommended. Its plus is that you do not need to cook anything additionally, and vitamins and minerals are already included in the composition. In addition, the dosage is prescribed on the package based on the weight and age of the breed.

It is important not to overfeed your dog because it tends to become obese. It is worth excluding fatty foods, especially pork, whose fat simply cannot be digested by the canine digestive tract. You cannot give smoked meats and salinity, pamper the dog with baked goods and pastries.

Chocolate is strictly prohibited. But a bowl of drinking water, on the contrary, is very much in demand. She should be in constant access of the dog at any time of the day or night.

Note! You can go for the first walk when your pet reaches 3 months. The first exits to the street should be short-lived. In this case, the use of a leash and harness is mandatory.

Education and training

These dogs learn new information very easily and quickly. However, if you do not take up the education of a toller from an early age, a stubborn and uncontrollable dog will grow out of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppy. It is necessary to demonstrate to a fluffy baby who is the boss on the first day of his appearance in the family. This pet needs a leader with leadership qualities.

When starting to train a dog, the owner must be prepared for the fact that it can show increased activity and restlessness. For this reason, it can take a lot of patience for the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog to start following the owner’s commands. During classes, you cannot raise your voice, use physical force, force a pet to perform certain actions. Study should be built on respect, endurance, smooth and clear assignment, encouragement.

In order to keep the dog’s attention as much as possible, lessons should be short and intense. In addition, it is desirable that the educational process takes place in a playful way. It is recommended to start toller training when it reaches 5 months.

Note! If the toller does not hunt, it will become lethargic and sluggish.

Nova Scotia Retriever
Nova Scotia Retriever

Nova Scotia Retriever Dog Breed Facts

Any breed has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Benefits of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever:

  • The toller is known to be a great pet.
  • This dog is a good choice for first time dog owners.
  • The Nova Scotia Retriever requires little maintenance on the grooming front.
  • It is particularly good with children.
  • It is a dog with a pleasant and reliable nature.
  • He excels in all kinds of canine sports.
  • Hunting instincts are well developed;
  • Good-natured character;
  • Highly developed intelligence;
  • Devotion to the owner;
  • Resistance to temperature changes in the external environment;
  • Activity and energy;
  • Neatness in relation to children.

Disadvantages of a particular dog are often caused by poor upbringing. But most often the owners complain about the following disadvantages:

  • The Nova Scotia Retriever loses quite heavily throughout the year, especially in the spring and fall.
  • He is high energy and needs a lot of daily exercise and mental stimulation.
  • This dog does not like to be left alone and may suffer from separation anxiety.
  • It is best suited for people who lead active outdoors.
  • The Nova Scotia Retriever is noisy and rowdy, especially when it is young.
  • He must be well socialized from a young age to be a confident adult dog.
  • It is a dog which can be voluntary.
  • He is known to like the sound of his own voice, especially when he is excited.
  • Hyperactivity;
  • Exposure to stress;
  • Intolerance to loneliness;
  • Strong shedding;
  • The need for long active walks;
  • Distraction of attention.