About the breed

About the breed


The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever – or Toller – is one of the six retriever breeds. The other five are Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Flatcoated Retriever, Chesapeake Retriever and Curly Coated Retriever.

It is important to understand that these six retriever breeds are six different breeds and the “surname” Retriever simply means that the dog is bred to retrieve game. Thus it primarily works after the shot. However, a lot of retrievers are also excellent to raise/flush game.

The Toller has another task: To toll – which means to lure. In this case, it lures ducks (or other types of waterfowl). The Toller plays at the shore which make the curious ducks come closer. When the ducks are within range, the Toller is recalled, the duck take off, are shot and the Toller retrieves the duck. This type of hunting is only practiced in a few places. Thus, the Tollers is primarily used as the other retriever breeds – after the shot.

The breed originates from the Canadian peninsula, Nova Scotia. The first two Tollers came to Denmark in 1982. The Danish Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club was founded in 1997. Should you like to know more about the breed’s history we recommend that you visit the Danish Toller club’s homepage – www.tollerklubben.dk. Here you can also read about the breed standard.

All Tollers today originates from the same 10-12 Tollers back in the 1960’s. This means that illnesses in the breed might be hard to eliminate. Therefore, you need to do your research before you breed your dog or if you want to buy a puppy.

Everyday life with a Toller

Most Tollers are familiy dogs. However, it is important that you are aware of your Toller’s basic breed characteristics. The Toller is an active breed that needs to exercise both body and mind every day. It will not thrive on an inactive life.

When you buy a Toller you must realize that you now have a new family member that needs attention and meaningful activities its whole life. You must appreciate the fact that it is a time-consuming task to be a dog owner, and you will need to use energy and time to interact and educate/train your Toller.

In our opinion a Toller is a fantastic family dog – IF YOU MAKE SURE TO STIMULATE AND ACTIVATE IT THE RIGHT WAY! It is NOT a dog that will be happy with three daily strolls in your neighborhood! You don’t satisfy its need by bringing it for a bike ride or by bringing it with you when you jog. Physical activity is of course positive as it will keep the dog physical fit. However, if you don’t stimulate your Toller’s brain it might not be a positive experience to be a Toller owner.

There are lots of ways to stimulate your Toller. Being a hunting breed it would be obvious to hunt it or to do some hunt training with it. However, the Toller is a very versatile breed and obedience, rally obedience, agility, dog dancing etc. will also be great ways to stimulate your Toller. With its fantastic nose, the Toller has time after time proved that nose work is one of its strengths. Also several Danish Tollers have been trained to become rescue dogs. Your imagination is the only limit to what this breed can be used for. 

If you make sure that your Toller is activated / stimulated the right way, you will have a nice family dog which will love to part of you and your family’s everyday life.