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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (Toller) officially joined the ranks of the American Kennel Club on July 1, 2003. As of this date the Toller will enjoy regular status as an AKC-recognized breed in the Sporting Group, and the addition will round out the total number of AKC-recognized breeds to 150.

Coincidentally, this Canadian breed will be welcomed into the AKC on July 1, which is Canada Day, a nationally recognized holiday celebrating the anniversary of the formation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever has a long and rich history and is believed to have originated in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, during the early 19th century. It is widely held that the basic stock was the “red decoy dog” which was probably brought to Nova Scotia by early European settlers. The Toller has been bred true for generations as a sporting dog and was first recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945.

The Toller is known for its unique ability to toll (or lure) and retrieve waterfowl. The tolling dog will run, jump and play along a shoreline in full view of a flock of ducks. With his hunting companion throwing sticks or a ball, the Toller’s playful activity piques the curiosity of the waterfowl drawing them into range for the hunter. The Toller is happiest working and many Toller owners involve their dog in all types of competition, from conformation shows to hunting retriever trials.

The Toller’s smaller size (19” at the withers for males, 18” for females) distinguishes it from other retrievers (the Toller is the sixth AKC-recognized retriever along with the Labrador, Golden, Chesapeake Bay, Curly-Coated and Flat-Coated Retrievers). While compact, the Toller is a powerful dog with an attitude and manner that suggests strength and agility. He is alert, determined, and quick, with a keen desire to work and please. These dogs are said to have a great deal of energy and a spark of unique individualism, by their owners.

“The club and Toller owners who have been devoted to this breed for many years are very honored and excited to bring this versatile dog into full AKC status,” said Sue Dorscheid, President of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA). “Tollers are active, alert and highly intelligent dogs and make great companions for active families or avid outdoorsmen.”

For further information, click here or the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (USA)’s website at