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Intelligent, outgoing, affectionate: that’s the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. Check out these fun facts you might not have known about this sporting breed.

“Tolling” is a Middle English Word

“Tolling” means to entice or pull. The Toller was developed to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl. The playful action of the Toller retrieving a stick or ball along the shoreline arouses the curiosity of the ducks offshore. Hunters would lure the birds within gunshot range, then send the dog to retrieve the dead or wounded birds.

They Were Originally Known as the “Little River Duck Dog”

The breed was developed in the community of Little River Harbour in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, Canada. As early as the beginning of the 19th century, the breed would toll waterfowl and work as an all-purpose hunting dog. The breed was originally known as the “Little River Duck Dog” or the “Yarmouth Toller.”

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They’re One of Only Two Breeds Used for Decoy Purposes

While their methods are a bit different, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and the Nederlandse Kooikerhondje are the only two breeds of dogs used for decoy purposes.

They’re the Smallest of the Retriever Breeds

The Toller is a medium-sized dog. They’re compact, powerful, and balanced. Males are 18 – 21 inches and females 17 – 20 inches at the withers, with medium bone and weight proportion to the height and bone of the dog.

They Have Webbed Feet and a Double Coat

With their water-repellant double coat, the Toller is well adapted for water, and they love it!

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever leaping into the ocean.
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This Breed Is Versatile

The Toller is happy to be wherever their people are — whether that’s in the conformation ring, hunting, or watching a movie. They are able to go from couch potato to bounding retriever in mere seconds. They like new experiences and are easy to take traveling.

Tollers Can “Scream”

Tollers have a penetrating high-pitched bark that can sound like a scream, which they produce to indicate excitement and eagerness. To the uninitiated, this can sound like something terrible; it’s high-pitched, frantic, and loud. But don’t worry. Many Toller owners, with persistence, can train their dog not to scream.

They’re the AKC’s 150th Recognized Breed

Officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 2003, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was the 150th breed to be recognized.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever head and shoulders in three-quarter view standing outdoors.
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They Have the Longest AKC Breed Name

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed name, with five words and 34 characters including spaces, is the longest name of all of the AKC-recognized breeds.

They’re Good With Children

Tollers are affectionate and loving with family members, including children. Like with all dogs, they should always be supervised around young children, but they’re generally patient and tolerant when interacting with kids.

Related article: What Is a Double Coat, and What Dog Breeds Are Double-Coated?
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