The Toller is the „clown among the retrievers“ – often one also hears, he is the „border collie of the retrievers“. Both puns boil down to the same core: the Toller is a spirited, active, and persistent dog with a strong drive to retrieve and play. Tollers need to be exercised both physically and mentally to be all-around happy and pleasant companions to their people.
Tollers are very intelligent and sensitive dogs. This makes for many dog lovers among others the attraction of this breed, because Toller learn incredibly fast and it is great fun to train them. On the other hand, they also learn just as quickly undesirable things and do not tolerate a „hard hand“ during training.
The following, extremely true sentences come from the homepage of the DRC – I would like to quote them here:
„Training the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever requires a great deal of loving consistency without harshness, a great deal of imagination, and the ability to watch yourself interact with the dog. He needs a lot of variety in his lessons. His intelligence and tireless curiosity allow him to learn quickly, provided you don't let his charm wrap you around his finger.“ [Source]
Hunting dog and family companion
But it is also important to know: A Toller is not a „small Golden Retriever“. Tollers are just as playful and eager to retrieve as all retriever breeds, but they are often more reserved or simply more disinterested in strangers than Golden Retrievers or Labbis. Likewise, Tollers are usually more sensitive, for example, related to awkward petting of small children, even if they are basically child-friendly. As therapy dogs, for example, Tollers are less suitable for these reasons in my opinion.
Even without ambitions in this direction, these are characteristics that one should have in mind if one is interested in this breed. Towards his familiar persons Tollers are of course very loyal and cuddly dogs – unless there is just work or training: then Tollers generally have nothing more than their task in mind and find affections such as petting rather disturbing.
A well-used Toller is a real dream dog and goes through thick and thin for his owner. He loves to be with you everywhere, is always up for a joke and is immediately there when it comes to working out or doing something together.