About the breed


The origins of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be traced to the peninsula of Nova Scotia in Canada, to the 1860's. Local hunters had been observing the way foxes prey on birds by luring them to the near distance. The luring is based partly on the rushing movement of the fox on the beach, partly on its appearance, the red colour and the wagging, bushy tail. All this is what the hunters were aiming at when breeding the Toller, a breed in which compact size, playfulness, liveliness and intelligence meet.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, i.e. the Toller, has lived in tales for long but officially the breed has been recognised for just over 50 years, as the first Tollers were registered in Canada in 1945. FCI did not recognise the breed until 1982, when the first Tollers arrived to Denmark. Finland's first Tollers landed three years later in 1985. The special characteristic of Tollers is included in the name Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever since "to toll" meant luring in Middle English.

Appearance and character

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of retrievers. It is a strong, compact, balanced and muscular dog with medium strong bone structure. The adult male is 48-51 cm high and weighs 20-23 kg, whereas the bitch is 45-48 cm high and weighs 17-20 kg. The body of the dog is slightly longer than the dog's height and the length of the legs is the same as the depth of the body.

Agility and small size are essential for this tough hunting dog whose working conditions are often very demanding. As the Toller has been bred to retrieve from icy waters, it needs to have a water-repellent, medium-long, double coat. The undercoat is soft and dense. The colour is orange or red. White paws, white stroke on the forehead and white markings on the chest and at the tip of the tail are desirable. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is very lively, vigilant, determined and active.

When working, the Toller resembles the fox as it rushes around with its head nearly at the level of the topline and with the bushy tail in constant movement. Its character is at the same time sensitive and stubborn, and its training requires determination and clear boundaries. The sensitivity of the Toller needs to be taken into account in training and creating a good relationship with the dog requires skillful balance between discipline and affection. One successful Swedish breeder has described the Toller very accurately by saying: "I'm starting to learn something about their very special character. The Toller is very intensive. It obeys intensively, retrieves intensively, sleeps intensively and experiences the whole world intensively. In the Toller's opinion, the muddier the water and the thicker the forest, the more fun it is to work. On the football field the Toller hardly bothers to retrieve a bird."

Versatile Toller

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is an extremely versatile and active dog with whom you can do almost anything. In addition to hunting and retriever tests, the Toller is suitable for various other activities. Whether you were interested in obedience training, blood tracking, agility, working dog trials or shows, the Toller will accompany you eagerly.