Meet Obie the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and his owners Marian and Eoin

About the breed

Obie is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever (try saying that three times fast!), or a Toller for short. The breed originated in Canada for the purposes of, you guessed it, duck hunting. The Tollers have a magnificently fluffy and enticing tail when they are fully grown. They playfully run along the water’s edge and their fluffy tail would dance along, attracting ducks for a closer look and allowing the hunter to shoot. Once the duck was on the ground, the Toller’s retrieving instinct would kick in and they would retrieve the duck for their owner.

Tollers are very rare in Australia and we are constantly explaining the breed to people when we are out and about. Sometimes however, we will come across an excited “Oh my God! Is that a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?!!!” It’s safe to say that Toller owners are very passionate about the breed.

Why did you choose this particular breed?

We were initially thinking of getting a Labrador because Eoin is an avid kayaker and wanted a dog that loved water. We came across this breed at a dog show and fell in love. Tollers love water and are the smallest of the retriever breed, meaning that they would fit much more neatly into a kayak than a Lab!

Is their personality/behaviour in line with what people may associate with the breed?

Yes! Tollers are known to extremely intelligent (maybe a little TOO intelligent), crazily active (however with an off switch) and a little bit goofy. We have found Obie to be all of these things.

Any tips for someone considering getting this breed?

Be careful! A Toller will steal your heart and take over your life! This is so because they are so smart and part of the working dog family, they need jobs to keep them happy, whether that is obedience, agility, tracking, swimming or going on long interesting hikes. They are also people loving dogs and therefore are the happiest around their humans.   Only consider this dog if you have time, dedication and passion for your four-legged friend.

How interested/good at training or obedience?

Obie is a natural at training and obedience. He’s only ever had one accident in our house and could obey a variety of commands from nine weeks old. At 4.5 months, he is in adult obedience classes and doing very well. At the moment, he knows at least 15 commands and really enjoys learning.

Any tricks, skills or community work?

Obie is an all-rounder but our favourite skills are the ones that allow us to communicate effectively with him and keep him safe. For example, he knows that he must always wait at the door or in the car before he is given permission to exit. He knows an extended stay and of course, “leave it” has come in handy! His Instagram videos are very popular because they demonstrate how well behaved and patient a Toller pup can be! Overall he is the sweetest pupper and we are so very lucky to have him as ours.

Follow Obie’s life at @obiethetoller on Instagram.