Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are intelligent, playful, and energetic. These traits in addition to their stamina made the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed good hunting dogs in which they toll or lure waterfowl closer to the hunter. However, because of their high energy level, the pet Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever needs physical and mental stimulation, which can be provided through dog sports such as flyball, hunt and field trials, agility, tracking, and obedience as sport. They also enjoy retrieving items such as tennis balls and floating toys in which they can use their excellent swimming ability. Some Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers are quite vocal when excited, emitting a high pitched, scream-like sound.
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a Canadian dog that dates back to the nineteenth century. The breed was developed in Nova Scotia as a gundog with a very peculiar and unique hunting style. Unlike traditional hunting retrievers who wait for the bird to be shot and fall, this breed engages in a practice called "tolling". When tolling, the dog first played and frolicked along the shoreline while completely ignoring nearby waterfowl. Eventually, the activity gained the birds' attention and they came forward for a closer look. At that point the hunter, hidden in a blind, would take his shot and the dog would then swim into the water to retrieve the downed fowl. The breeds that originally combined to form the breed are unknown, but it is believed that among them are the Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever and/or the Irish Setter. Originally called the Little River Duck Dog, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club in 1945. The breed was introduced to the United States in the 1960's, but was not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club until 2003.