Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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varying shades of red or orange with white markings on the feet, face, chest and the tip of the tail
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Pros Cons

  • smart and trainable

  • great family pet

  • excellent hunter

  • friendly

  • heavy shedder

  • requires a sufficient amount of daily exercises


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a middle-sized easy-going and buoyant hunting dog with its homeland in Canada. Thanks to its naturally docile and affable personality it also deserved reputation as a fabulous companion animal. This type of the retrievers can be relatively rarely found outside its native land.


The unusual name of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was granted to the breed because of its skill to allure ducks and geese within shooting range by running excitedly on the shore. This hunting style is called tolling and the primary tollers were foxes. Micmac Indians of Canada witnessed this kind of behaviour in foxes when they came to the shores of reservoirs and performed weird acts to attract attention and lure closer the most foolish ducks. The Micmacs trained their dogs to emulate this behavioural pattern to adapt this hunting technique for humans.

In the XIX century English and Canadian hunters initiated the development of hunting dogs, which would specialise in bringing back to the hunter the shot water fowl. These dogs were commonly referred as retrievers and bore the nicknames of their places of origin, for example the Labrador or the Chesapeake Bay. The hunters from Yarmouth County in southwest Nova Scotia's Little River district were inspired by the idea to develop the hunting dog, which would not only retrieve downed birds from water but would also lure them to the shore. They masterly mixed the original Micmac Indian Dog with such breeds as the Golden and Labrador Retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, the Cocker Spaniel, the Irish Setter and the Collie. The resulting canine was granted with the name of the Little River Duck Dog.

For several decades the Little River Duck Dog remained completely unknown outside the region where it was developed. However in 1945 the Canadian Kennel Club formally accepted the breed under its current name, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) gave the breed its formal recognition in 1982. The first specimens of the Nova Scotia dog were brought to the USA in the 60s of XX century but they didn’t induce much interest. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised it in 2003. Presently this dog is still primary acquired for hunting purpose although it has all necessary traits to become an excellent family pet.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a hard-working, tough and strong hunting dog with exceptionally lovable temperament. It’s prone to develop unflinching devotion to its family and wants nothing more than to be included in all its activities. Be mindful that this dog requires impressive amount of both mental and physical exercise so it won’t become an optimal choice for individuals who are inclined to the sedentary lifestyle. This breed is usually kind and careful with children who admire its boundless vigour. Nonetheless the dog’s communication with smaller kids should be closely supervised since it won’t tolerate any amount of rough-housing and may respond to it aggressively.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is marked by human friendliness so it will behave politely with strange people. Thanks to its alert and sensitive nature it will always warn its master when someone is approaching to the door of his dwelling. That’s why this dog can become a fairly dependable watchdog. Due to its good-naturedness and size it should not be trusted with the duties of a guard dog.

If you pay sufficient attention to socialisation of your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever it will be fine with other dogs. Actually this frisky dog would certainly prefer to have a constant playmate among other canines. It remains a hunter to its core and will view all other small creatures as potential prey objects. So the dog should always stay leashed while being walked. It won’t act aggressively to a home cat with which it has been brought up since its puppyhood. But it may still chase it passionately in a playful manner, which is fairly stressful for cats. That’s why it isn’t recommended to keep the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever with other non-canine pets.

Health Problems

The most common for the breed include:

· addison’s disease;

· progressive retinal atrophy;

· canine hip dysplasia;

· cleft palate.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever requires basic care. This breed is a heavy shedder and will lose most of its dense coat during the spring and early fall. Be prepared that thick layer of the dog’s hair will cover your carpets, furniture and clothing during these periods. In order to diminish the damage to your property it’s strongly advisable to brush this dog every two days once the intense shedding begins.

During the rest part of the year the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever should be brushed once a week to remove loose hair and to spread the natural skin oils. Bathe your dog as infrequently as possible since in most cases to wipe it down with a damp towel will be enough to get rid of dirt.


The docile and loyal Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is notable for exceptional trainability. Thanks to its inexhaustible supplies of energy it usually performs at the highest level in all types of obedience and high-energy dog sports including field trials, flyball and agility. Actually this dog is capable of learning tricks of any complexity if the handler uses correct training techniques.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever usually welcomes every opportunity to challenge its inquisitive brain. The learning process should include only positive reinforcement in the form of tasty treats and encouraging words. The breeds’ specimen are not responsive to screaming or physical abuse, which may intimidate the dog in such a way that it will completely refuse to obey.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was bred to become an indefatigable working dog and won’t be fully happy without substantial amount of vigorous and diverse physical activity. At the very least it requires a brisk walk of an hour long each and every day. However if you want your dog to be well-behaved indoors you should offer it much more meaningful ways to channel its exuberant energy.

The best type of exercise for this dog isdefinitely luring and retrieving ducks and other water fowl although it’s alsoacceptable to let it run and play unrestrained in a securely enclosed territoryregularly. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever tends to become completelyunmanageable, wilful and even aggressive when it has been provided with too fewopportunities to exercise its body and mind