Finding and Buying your Toller

You have been looking around dog breeds, fallen in love and have decided that the Toller is the dog for you, now all you need to do is find one! You should be aware that to find a well bred Toller can take a long time, they are just not available 'tomorrow' or to order. I have detailed below some of the things you need to consider and understand when researching your breeders and potential litters.


So having spent time and work looking for a breeder you find one that says they have puppies available soon and you can buy one.

Lovely, nice and simple EXCEPT

Most breeders have lists that are full long before they have puppies.

So what should have happened?

Whilst you were exploring breeders you contacted what felt like hundreds, a lot did not respond, some responded saying they weren't breeding, some gave you information about how to find the right puppy.

If you managed to find one that was breeding in the near future then they may well have suggested meeting up with you or that you meet them at an event, breed show, agility show, training day etc etc. The breeder may well have sent you a questionnaire to complete which they will hold until such time as they have puppies when they can look at what you have said and  may contact you at some point, again before the puppies have been born.

Before any of this happens though you need to do your homework about the breed and breeders. Most breeders are passionate about their breed and try their utmost to do their best with regard to health of the breed and always with an eye on producing the best they can with regard to type, health and temperament. It is disappointing that some breeders think they just need to get a bitch, do some of the health tests, use a popular sire and bingo they have puppies and charge you, the buyer, a lot of money for them. Breeding is not for the faint hearted nor is it easy.

There is a lot of information available regarding the breed on the club websites where you will possibly get overwhelmed with what you are reading so I will simplify it for you.

As a breed we have a number of health tests that we can and should do, these inform the breeder, stud dog owner, buyers and other owners about the health status of individual dogs and lines and the breed as a whole.

Full information can be found on the club websites about the tests we have available to us and those that are required and recommended by the Kennel Club for Assured Breeders, which are really the minimum that any breeder should be doing. However for the amount that a toller will now cost you should expect that both parents have been fully tested, not just the minimum available.

Every toller that is registered in the UK has a entry on the club website so you can look up the information about the dogs your potential breeder is breeding from and their parents, you can see the health tests that have been recorded by the club for each dog. I should say that not everyone has submitted all the information regarding their dogs to the database but if you know the name of the individual dog you can find some more of the information on the Kennel Club Health Test Result Finder once you have looked in both these places then it is the person who has the dog you need to contact if any of the tests don't appear. You need to ask if the test has been done and if it hasn't then why not? I am afraid that I am of the opinion that if you are paying some of the prices I have heard are being asked then there is no excuse not to spend the money on the missing tests even if one half of the pairing is tested clear (bit of a bugbear of mine!)

Now we come onto what you pay for a Toller, you will find there is a small variance between breeders as to what they charge but no one should be very different from any other, maybe £1-1,500 (applicable in 2022) but not more than that and particularly if they have not done a full panel of health tests. I am afraid Caveat Emptor very much applies here.

You will have a 12-14 year relationship with your breeder and they should be able to provide you with as much back up as you need with your dog for all that time, including taking your puppy (or adult dog) back if you find your circumstances have changed and are no longer able to keep your dog.

There are many reasons why you might believe a toller is the right dog for you and equally reasons why they might not be the right dog for you

This link to the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club of USA lists the top 10 of each of these