The [[breed]]:

A Bright and Energetic Companion

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, affectionately known as the Toller, is a medium-sized breed with a passion for play and a love for water. Their intelligence and friendly nature make them ideal for active families and individuals who enjoy outdoor activities.

Quick facts


Medium - 20-50lbs

Energy Level

High - Require over 60 mins intense exercise per day, very energetic


Medium - 10-12 years


Active - High energy, requires vigorous exercise

Watchdog Ability

Good - May bark to alert owners

Training Difficulty

Easy - Eager to please, responds well to training

Overall Health

Robust - Usually healthy, few issues


Outgoing - Friendly and sociable with new people


High - Very tolerant, gentle, and playful

Climate Tolerance

Moderate - Comfortable in most climates

Apartment Friendly

Yes - Can thrive in apartments

Coat Length

Medium - Fur length between 1-3 inches

Grooming Needs

Moderate - Needs brushing several times per week

Grooming Cost

Moderate - May require occasional professional grooming, moderate expense

Shedding Level

Moderate - Average shedding

Exercise and Activity

Tollers are natural athletes who excel in activities such as fetch, agility, and swimming. They enjoy interactive games that provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation, keeping them engaged and content.

Agility and Obedience Training

Engaging your [[breed]] in agility and obedience training can be a fantastic way to channel their energy constructively. These activities promote discipline, physical fitness, and mental sharpness. Ensure that training is age-appropriate and doesn't strain their backs.

Interactive Toys

Toys that stimulate their minds are invaluable. Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games can keep their brains engaged and provide mental exercise even when outdoor activities are limited.

Moderate Walks

Daily walks on a leash are an excellent way to provide [[breed]] with exercise and mental stimulation. Aim for a moderate pace to help them burn off energy and engage their senses as they explore their surroundings. Remember that short legs may mean shorter strides, so be patient and accommodating during walks.

Yard Playtime

[[breed]] love to play; your yard can be their playground. Interactive games like fetch or hide-and-seek can provide both physical and mental exercise. However, ensure the yard is securely fenced to prevent them from wandering off, as their hunting instincts may lead them to chase small animals.

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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, often referred to as the NSDTR or "Toller," is a captivating and versatile breed that hails from the picturesque province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Recognized for its striking appearance and exceptional intelligence, the breed has gained popularity among dog enthusiasts around the world. To fully appreciate and understand this remarkable breed, it is crucial to delve into various aspects of its existence, including its characteristics, history, grooming needs, training requirements, and even the most popular names bestowed upon these charming dogs.


Country of Origin

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever's roots can be traced back to the early 19th century in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada. Developed by local hunters, this breed was specifically bred for its exceptional ability to lure and retrieve waterfowl. The picturesque landscapes and abundant waterways of Nova Scotia provided an ideal setting for the breed's development.

Genealogical Tree

The genealogical tree of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever includes various retriever breeds, as well as spaniel and setter bloodlines. The breed's ancestors were carefully selected for their retrieving skills, agility, and endurance. This deliberate breeding process aimed to create a dog that could effectively toll, or lure, ducks and other waterfowl within gunshot range.

Purpose of Breeding

The breed's primary purpose was to assist hunters in attracting ducks and geese within range by frolicking and playing at the water's edge. This unique hunting strategy, known as "tolling," is where the breed derives its name. Tollers would then retrieve the fallen game once it was within range, showcasing their retrieving prowess.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is classified as a sporting dog, specifically a retriever. Despite its origins as a working dog, Tollers have transitioned into versatile family companions. Their intelligence, trainability, and friendly disposition make them suitable for various roles beyond hunting, including therapy work and search and rescue.



Training a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be both rewarding and challenging. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them quick learners, but their independent nature may present occasional challenges. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and early socialization are key components in successfully training a Toller.

Type of Training

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers excel in various types of training, including obedience training, agility, and even advanced activities such as search and rescue. Their retrieving instincts make them adept at fetch and other interactive games. Mental stimulation is crucial for this intelligent breed, and incorporating tasks that engage their minds contributes to a well-rounded training regimen.


The breed's adaptability is a notable trait that facilitates training. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers can thrive in both urban and rural environments, making them suitable for a wide range of living situations. Their versatility extends to various training activities, allowing them to participate in different canine sports and recreational pursuits.


Early and consistent socialization is vital for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. Exposing them to various people, environments, and situations from a young age helps prevent shyness or fearfulness. Proper socialization contributes to a well-mannered and well-adjusted dog that can confidently navigate different scenarios.

Security Level

While not typically known for aggressive behavior, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers possess protective instincts that can make them effective watchdogs. Their alertness and tendency to be vocal when strangers approach make them excellent at alerting their owners to potential intruders. However, their friendly nature often means that this protective behavior does not translate into aggression.

Barking Level

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers have a moderate tendency to bark, especially when excited or alerted. While this behavior is natural, early training can help manage excessive barking. Providing mental stimulation and adequate exercise can also contribute to a balanced and less vocal Toller.

Mental Stimulation

Given their high intelligence, mental stimulation is crucial for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers. Engaging activities such as puzzle toys, interactive games, and training sessions keep their minds active and prevent boredom. Mental stimulation not only contributes to a well-behaved dog but also strengthens the bond between the Toller and its owner.

Chance of Being a Guard Dog

While not traditionally bred as guard dogs, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers can exhibit protective behaviors. Their alertness and vocal nature make them effective at alerting their owners to potential threats. However, their friendly and non-aggressive temperament means they are more likely to be watchful companions rather than aggressive guard dogs.


Size and Weight

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium-sized breed, with males typically standing between 18 to 21 inches at the shoulder, and females slightly smaller, ranging from 17 to 20 inches. In terms of weight, adult Tollers generally weigh between 35 to 50 pounds, reflecting a well-balanced and muscular physique. This size and weight range contribute to the breed's agility and versatility, making them adept in various activities.


On average, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years, highlighting their potential for long-term companionship. A combination of good genetics, proper nutrition, regular exercise, and routine veterinary care can contribute to a Toller's overall health and longevity.


One of the NSDTR's most distinctive features is its double coat, which serves as protection against the harsh elements of the Canadian climate. The dense, water-resistant outer coat lies flat against the body, while the soft, dense undercoat provides additional insulation. Tollers come in various coat colors, including shades of red, with or without white markings. Their coat pattern may include unique features such as a white blaze on the face or chest.

Shedding Level

While the Toller's double coat is effective at repelling water and insulating against cold temperatures, it also means a moderate level of shedding. Regular grooming and brushing can help manage shedding and keep the coat healthy. Despite shedding, many Toller enthusiasts appreciate the breed's stunning coat and find that the benefits of owning such a beautiful dog outweigh the grooming efforts.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has gained recognition from major kennel clubs, including the American Kennel Club (AKC), the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and the United Kennel Club (UKC). This recognition signifies the breed's adherence to established standards and its acceptance within the broader canine community.


The popularity of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has been steadily growing, fueled by its unique appearance, intelligence, and versatility. While not as widespread as some more established breeds, Tollers have found a dedicated following among active individuals and families who appreciate a dog with both sporting and companion qualities.

Energy Level

Tollers are renowned for their high energy levels, reflecting their history as skilled retrievers. This energy makes them well-suited for various activities, including agility, obedience, and, of course, retrieving. Prospective owners should be prepared to engage in regular, vigorous exercise to keep their Toller happy and healthy.

Suitable Activities

Given their energetic nature, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers thrive in activities that stimulate both their minds and bodies. Agility training, flyball, and competitive obedience are excellent outlets for their intelligence and athleticism. Regular walks, playtime, and interactive toys also contribute to meeting their exercise needs.


The Toller's friendly and outgoing nature makes it an excellent companion for families. When properly socialized from an early age, Tollers are generally good with children, forming strong bonds and participating in family activities. Their playful demeanor and affectionate nature make them a joy to have around.


Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are known for their intelligent and adaptable temperament. They are often described as alert, outgoing, and eager to please. Their versatility extends beyond physical activities, as they are equally adept at participating in canine sports, excelling in obedience, and simply being a loving family member.


Playfulness is a hallmark of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever's personality. Their love for play and interaction makes them well-suited for families with an active lifestyle. Tollers may engage in fetching, chasing, and other games, providing entertainment for both the dog and its human companions.

Drooling Level

Unlike some larger breeds known for excessive drooling, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers typically exhibit low drooling levels. This characteristic makes them a more suitable choice for individuals who prefer a dog that is less messy and requires minimal cleanup.

Grooming Needs and Costs

Grooming Requirements

The Toller's double coat requires regular maintenance to keep it in optimal condition. Weekly brushing helps remove loose hair, prevents matting, and distributes natural oils. During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased hair loss. Bathing is only required as needed, usually when the dog gets dirty or begins to develop a noticeable odor.

Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and dental care are also essential components of the Toller's grooming routine. Regular attention to these areas contributes to the overall health and well-being of the dog. Proper grooming not only enhances the Toller's appearance but also ensures a comfortable and happy life.


The costs associated with grooming a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can vary based on whether owners choose to groom their dogs at home or seek professional services. Grooming tools, such as brushes, combs, and nail clippers, are essential for at-home maintenance and typically incur a one-time expense. Professional grooming services, which may include bathing, trimming, and nail clipping, can be more costly but provide convenience for those with busy schedules or limited grooming experience.It's important to factor in the cost of grooming products such as shampoos, conditioners, and dental care items. Additionally, occasional visits to the veterinarian for routine check-ups and dental cleanings contribute to the overall cost of maintaining a healthy and well-groomed Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever.

Most Popular Names

Choosing the right name for a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be a delightful yet challenging task. Many Toller owners select names that reflect the breed's playful and intelligent nature. Some popular names for male Tollers include "Tucker," "Cody," and "Cooper." For females, names like "Molly," "Zoe," and "Luna" are commonly chosen. Ultimately, the best name for a Toller is one that resonates with the owner and captures the essence of the dog's personality.


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever stands out as a captivating and versatile breed with a rich history, distinctive characteristics, and unique training and grooming needs. The breed's popularity continues to grow as more people discover its intelligence, friendly demeanor, and suitability for various activities. Prospective owners willing to invest time and effort into training, socialization, and grooming will find a loyal and loving companion in the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. By understanding the breed's history and characteristics, individuals can make informed decisions about welcoming this remarkable dog into their homes, ensuring a fulfilling and enduring relationship for years to come.





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