While it is possible for a litter to produce a buff or fawn colored Duck Tolling Retriever, the color deviates from the breed standard. The dilute gene mutes the colors in the skin and coat, making fur and skin—including eyes and noses—lighter than a non-dilute Toller. Dilutes may be born in a litter with red puppies. No adverse health conditions are connected to the buff coloring, but breeding and showing a buff Toller is not allowed. A buff Toller makes a fine pet and hunting companion.
Another coloring observed in the Toller is black or brown sable—an overlay of pigment that often produces darker ears and a mask that may fade as the puppy grows.
Tolling is the hunting style the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is named for. The Toller entices, or tolls, waterfowl to the area by playing and splashing in the water and causing a commotion. After luring the birds in for a closer look, the Toller heads back to the blind so the hunter can take a shot. Then, the Toller retrieves the bird from the water.
When excited, the Duck Tolling Retriever lets out a high-pitched shriek of joy or anticipation. Though it sounds horrific, it's usually done out of excitement rather than distress. If you live in an area where birds or squirrels are plentiful, expect to hear the Toller scream often.