Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Type: Gun Dog

Height: 17 - 21 inches.

Weight: 37 - 51 lbs.

Life Span: 12 - 14 years.

Litter Size: 4 - 6 puppies.

Country of Origin: Canada (Nova Scotia)

Activity: High

Watch-dog: High. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are alert and will bark to alert their owners to anything unusual or dangerous.

Guard-dog: Low. Although they are reserved with strangers, they are not aggressive.


Description: The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, who was once known as the Little River Duck Dog, is one of the smallest retrievers. They use the art of tolling which is to frisk and leap about at the mouth of a funnel-like net in order to lure ducks into the trap. Strong and reliable, they never hesitate to jump into icy cold water. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are a wonderful companion, a great playmate and a flashy show dog, they are a willing and happy bird dog. Little Red Duck Dogs are responsive, active and obedient dogs. They are very intelligent, and are friendly with friends and family. Although more reserved than the Golden Retriever, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is eager and jubilant like the Golden. The Golden Retriever, Irish Setter, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador, Flat-Coated Retriever, and the Cocker Spaniel are all thought to be part of the Duck Tolling Retriever's genetic makeup. This gives them the deep coppery red to dark golden red color, and the white markings on the chest and face. They often have a tip of white on their tails, and their fur is medium length, thick and wavy. The breed also has the unique trait of webbed feet. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are very playful, which is a natural trait contributing to their career as a duck toller. As one owner once stated, "Tollers are retrieving fools. If anyone ever makes the mistake of throwing a ball for them, they will keep the unfortunate soul throwing until his arm gives out." Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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Other Names: Yarmouth Toller, Little River Duck Dog, Little Red Duck Dog, Toller, Tolling Red Decoy Dog

Colors: Red fox colored, ranging from deep golden red to dark coppery red. They also have white markings on the chest, feet, tip of tail, and a blaze on the face. The nose can be black, light tan or matching the rest of the dog's pigment.

Coat: Moderately long and close lying, with a thick, wavy undercoat. The under coat is shorter and soft, and the outer coat is medium length and soft, and there are whiskers on the face.

Temperament: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are responsive and active. They are very trainable and obedient, and have high intelligence. They are reserved with strangers, but rarely aggressive with anyone. They are friendly with family and strangers once they warm up to them. They are outgoing, very playful, and alert to their surroundings. They are friendly with other dogs, and make excellent playmates for children, as they will play endlessly. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are eager workers.

With Children: Yes, they are very patient with children and enjoy playing with them.

With Pets: Yes, gets along well with other dogs, as they have been raised to be companionable.

Special Skills: Field sports dog and family pet.

Care and Training: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers need their coats brushed weekly with a bristle brush and comb, paying special attention during shedding. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers need a good amount of exercise such as a daily walk on the leash or free exercise in a field. The Toller also enjoys swimming or retrieving, and should be given opportunities to do so. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are fast learners and easy to train as they enjoy working for their handlers. Young dogs need to practice retrieving, which can be done by having young children throwing sticks for them to retrieve. They will develop a close relationship with whoever does this consistently, which is a part of their training.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - High. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Attention, exercise, socialization and training.

Living Environment: As long as sufficient outdoor exercise is provided they will make a fine housedog. The best owner for this breed would be an active owner living in a rural or suburban home environment.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia and eye problems.

History: Originating from Nova Scotia, one of the maritime provinces of Canada, they are said to have been a cross of the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador, Flat-Coated Retriever, Collie, and the Golden Retriever. Cocker Spaniel and Irish Setter are thought to be in the mix as well, contributing to the color of the breed. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers were used to hunt ducks with their unique way of luring curious waterfowl within range of the concealed hunter's gun by creating a disturbance at the edge of the water. The breed was developed after the MicMac Indian Dog, which would lure waterfowl to the Indians by prancing around like a fox at the edge of the water. The dogs would go down by the water, wave around their tail and prance, making the ducks curious. When the ducks came closer, the hunter would pop out and scare them into flight, and then shoot them. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever would then retrieve whatever waterfowl fell to the ground. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers have natural tendencies to be playful, to retrieve, and are naturally obedient as well, making them the perfect dog for duck tolling. "Tolling" actually means "to entice". Though they have been around for over 100 years, they just received recognition by the FCI in 1982, and recognition by the AKC as recently as 2001. A written standard was only drawn up in 1945.

First Registered by the AKC: 2001

AKC Group: Sporting

Class: Gundog

Registries: ANKC, CKC, FCI (Group 8), KC (GB), UKC