The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, also known as the Toller, Novie or the Little River Duck Dog for short, is a sporting breed dog recognized by the AKC.

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Smaller and agiler when compared to a breed of their size, this powerful yet compact body allows them to run around tirelessly, with a tail always wagging.

Developed in the early 19th century in Nova Scotia, this dog was bred to retrieve waterfowl as it was trained to run, jump and play along the shoreline, eventually scaring off ducks into the air due to his or her energy for the hunter to shoot at. Once killed, the dog would then be sent to retrieve the wounded bird.

“running after…” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by dziambel

How much does a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever cost?

The average price for a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will depend on many factors, including the breeder you choose, the quality of the puppies, the gender, inclusions and the breeder’s geographical location. From our research, those looking to buy one should be prepared to spend anywhere from as little as $1,300 for a non-AKC puppy to as much as $2,400 for a high-quality puppy from a reputable AKC breeder.

On the official AKC Marketplace, for example, we found 10 active listings at the time of this publishing, with prices ranging from $1,900 to $2,300 on average; however, due to the demand of these puppies, many breeders had no puppies available. These breeds, coming from a championship bloodline, would include the necessary AKC registration paperwork, up-to-date vaccinations, DNA tests, a microchip and all health clearance on the parents. does note a good breeder will often charge about $1,500, a high price due to the rarity of the breed. While it is possible, the website states you may be able to find a dog at a rescue or shelter for as little as $50 to $400, but if this were the case, be prepared to adopt an older dog, not a puppy.

CoatDense, medium and water-repellent double coat of a medium length.
EnergyExtremely active as it was originally bred to hunt and owners claim the dog "never" tires out. They love to play fetch with any sort of retrieving tool, diving off docks or playing frisbee.
ExerciseNeeds about 30 to 60 minutes a day of outdoor time and is not suited for smaller living quarters.
Food Consumption2.5 cups a day ($1.25-$1.50/day)
Good with children and other pets?As long as introduced at a younger age, they do quite well but are very wary of strangers. Be forewarned with cats, however as they can have a strong prey drive. Your results will vary.
GroomingVery low in maintenance, requiring an occasional trimming and stripping as they will blow their coat seasonally.
Height17 to 22 inches in height, with females weighing 20% less.
Life Expectancy11 to 14 years
PersonalityOutgoing, smart, affectionate and is eager to please its owner.
TrainingNot ideal for the first-time dog owner as you will need a lot of patience and discipline.
Weight35 to 55 pounds, depending on the gender.


Medium in size, this dog is always at work, never-ending when it comes to running around the yard. The eyes are slightly oblique, almond in shape and will set apart, with common eye colors including hazel, amber and brown that match and blend in with its coat color. The nose can either match the coat color or be a solid black.

Its double coat, resistant to water, is medium in length and is soft to the touch. Mainly straight, some Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers will have a wavy-look on the end of their back and feathery-look on their eyes, legs and the tail. Often, during the winter months, the coat is denser and curls will begin to fall from the throat.

Coat colors can range from a red-gold tinge to a darker copper-like color, with most having a white marking on the head, feet, chest and/or the tip of the tail.

Tips to know

This breed is known to be susceptible to Addison’s Disease, progressive retinal atrophy, deafness, collie eye anomaly and hip dysplasia. For this reason, you should ask for an OFA, CERF and hearing tests before adopting from any breeder.

It’s not considered a hypoallergenic breed.

Its drooling tendency, according to, is considered to be low.

Since 2013, the breed has been recognized by the AKC. It’s also recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council, Canadian Kennel Club, Fédération Cynologique Internationale, The Kennel Club, New Zealand Kennel Club and United Kennel Club.

While they are known to have a scary bark, they really are not designed as guard dogs since they often have the personality of a Golden Retriever or Lab.

When excited, they do produce a “scream” like sound, sounding as if the dog was hurt as it is very high pitched and loud. While only some breeds do this, new owners should be prepared if you do hear this loud and annoying scream that could get you in trouble.

Being a hunting breed, be prepared for a dog that will pull the leash until your arm falls out. Even with the right training, this dog will do everything from run to climb a tree to get to its goal.

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