How Much Does a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Cost?

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How Much Does A Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever CostOriginally bred to trap and retrieve water birds, these playful and high energy dogs are among the most popular dogs for adventurers and those who live an active lifestyle. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever breed also excels in the field and in obedience training while also being a great family member. In this comprehensive guide, we discuss everything you need to know about this dog breed while providing the answer to “How much does a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever cost?”   

What Is the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever?

The Nova Scotia Retriever was first introduced in Canada during the early 19th century and is known as a little red duck dog. It has a waterproof coat to fight icy waters along with an athletic and compact build that makes it perfect for playing both a retriever and a decoy dog. They are the smallest recognized retriever breeds by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the United States. 

Even so, their personality and playfulness more than make up for their small size, and are also recognized by many other organizations, including the following: 

  • Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
  • United Kennel Club (UKC)    

These dog breeds have a similar appearance to Golden Retrievers but are smaller with white markings and come with a different temperament. These outgoing and adventurous dogs love to run along riverbanks to chase ducks and will feel right at home anywhere with water. If water sports is a hobby of yours, then the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever will be a perfect choice for you and your family!  

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever History

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever was first developed around the 1800s by hunters in the Little River district of Nova Scotia, located in Yarmouth County. They were highly admired for their intelligence in hunting, and their name was derived from their ability to lure curious ducks by “tolling,” or dancing on the beach. They were created by skillfully combining the Labrador Retriever, Cocker Spaniel, Irish Setter, Golden Retriever, farm Collie, and Micmac Indian dog.      

This resulted in beautiful red-colored and high-energy dogs but some suggest that they were also derived from St. John’s Water Dog (which is now extinct) and the Dutch Kooikerhondje. Because the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever possesses the longest name of any dog in the world, it’s also known by many other names, which include: 

  • Little River Duck Dog
  • Yarmouth Toller
  • Duck Toller 

Its name has changed many times over the years, but we know it today as the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. They were recognized by the CKC in 1945 as purebred dogs and were then recognized in 2003 by the AKC as their 150th dog breed. Today, these dogs are still hard at work as river duck dogs used to hunt for waterbirds.    

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Appearance

True to its lineage, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever displays a striking resemblance to its parent breeds, including the Spaniels, Retrievers, Setters, and farm Collies. They have triangular ears with rounded lips that frame their faces in a charming way, while their almond-shaped eyes complement their gorgeous, red coat color. These dogs also have black noses with wide nostrils while their double coat of medium length is water repellent. 

They will commonly come in colors such as white, red, and orange, which makes them look like foxes. When it comes to their size, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a medium-sized dog coming in between 18 to 21 inches tall while weighing around 35 to 50 pounds, depending on the gender. In general, these dogs will reach their adult size by the time they’re 11 to 12 months old and will turn out to have a compact and athletic build.  

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Temperament 

Known as an intelligent and energetic dog, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is considered to be a sports dog. It can also be affectionate, friendly, and loving around the house, but it will need plenty of physical and mental stimulation. When they don’t get enough attention, they may take out their energy in negative ways such as digging and chewing, so be sure to give them plenty of exercise.   

Because of their high energy levels, they may not be the best pets to have around children and could end up causing accidents if left alone. This is why young kids should always be supervised when playing with these dogs. Fortunately, these dogs are friendly with other animals and even strangers.

While aggression may be present occasionally, this can be easily addressed through proper socialization at an early age. Moreover, because they’re hunting dogs, you can expect them to have a high prey drive, they might chase after small animals if they’re not leash-trained or socialized.  

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Health 

The average lifespan of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is around 12 to 14 years; they’re known to be healthy dogs in general with a few health issues. However, they do have genetic health problems that you may need to consider.  

Addison’s Disease

This condition results in the insufficient generation of hormones by the adrenal glands and can appear in Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever puppies at 5 months old. Symptoms of Addison’s Disease include vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite; this condition can be lethal. Your veterinarian may provide your dog with hormone replacement to treat symptoms and other health issues. 

Hip Dysplasia

These dogs may develop hip dysplasia as they get older. This condition is known to be very painful because it takes place when the hip joint doesn’t develop properly, which means the joints may be loose and may lead to degenerative joint disease. Your pup may need to undergo an x-ray to have this disease properly diagnosed. 


There are various factors that can cause deafness in dogs which include ear infections, heredity, and injury. But even with this illness, deaf dogs can still enjoy a fulfilling and happy life. Giving proper training for deaf dogs will require the right precautions and specific techniques to help them adjust to daily life. 

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

PRA is the slow deterioration of the eye’s retina cells, which causes impairment in vision, and leads to blindness. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for this illness, so be sure to get your pup checked regularly to help prevent this condition. 

Collie Eye Anomaly

This is another disorder of the eye that can affect these dogs, which can cause blindness or vision impairment at the least. A veterinary ophthalmologist will be able to diagnose this condition which will usually manifest itself by the time it turns 2 years old. While there are no cures available, blind dogs are able to adapt to life using their other senses but dogs with this condition shouldn’t be used for breeding. 

When you look for a Toller puppy, be sure to deal with a reputable breeder who can give you DNA tests that certify its parents to be free from abnormalities in their genetic makeup. This will ensure that you’ll get a healthy puppy, and it’s also necessary to provide your dog with the best medical care possible. As such, pet insurance can be very helpful especially when it enters its senior years.    

Caring for Your Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Luckily, it’s easy to care for this breed. You’ll need to keep up with their exercise needs, provide them with a balanced diet, give them proper grooming, and share constant affection to keep them happy and healthy.   

Food and Diet

Because these are high-energy dogs, you will need to provide them with a nutritious feeding routine. Owners will need to feed their Duck Tolling Retriever with a balanced diet that consists of high-quality dry food and a mix of the nutritional groups, along with easy access to clean water. Be sure to feed them at least twice a day while following the feeding instructions detailed in their food. 

Moreover, owners will need to take into account any age-specific nutritional requirements as well as food allergies that need to be avoided. Talk to your vet about the different kinds of food along with the ideal portion quantities for your pooch based on its weight, age, and activity level.  

Grooming and Cleaning 

This dog is pretty easy to maintain since its water-repellent double coat only requires weekly brushing to prevent tangles and matting. During the fall and spring seasons, they will shed so it’s important to give them daily brushing to manage loose hair. They should be given a bath once every 4 to 6 weeks but will depend on how much time they spend outdoors and whether they get particularly dirty. 

In addition, you’ll need to cut their nails once a month and don’t forget to clean their foot pads on a regular basis. Their ears will need to be cleaned and kept tidy by using ear cleaners designed for pets, which will prevent debris and dirt from accumulating inside their ears. As for oral hygiene, you’ll need to brush your dog’s teeth three times a week for starters until they get used to brushing every day.      

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Training and Exercise

Your pup will need to get enough exercise, challenging training, and mental stimulation to keep it from developing destructive habits. A combination of these will help your dog interact with its surroundings naturally, without any aggression or fear. Playtime can be a great way to bond with your Nova Scotia Retriever; however, the entirety of your dog’s workouts will depend on its preferences. 

A long walk is a great place to start and will be enough to drain the energy of some dogs, while others will need a lot more action and stimulation. It’s recommended that these dogs are engaged for a minimum of an hour doing dog sports such as flyball or agility. They will respond well with training and positive reinforcement but they’re also independent dogs that will do things on their own. 

Contrary to Golden Retrievers, Tollers are much more self-reliant and may become stubborn or manipulative. Even so, they are outgoing, alert, and quick to learn when their lessons are enjoyable and fun. If you feel you don’t have enough time to give your dog the exercise it needs, you can hire dog walking services or enroll it in obedience training with a dog trainer to help correct undesirable habits.  

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Cost 

When purchasing your first Toller, you can expect the average price to fall between $1,800 to $3,500. However, you can expect to shell out at least $4,000 for a purebred dog with championship bloodlines and registration. But if you decide to adopt, you will be looking at a much more affordable total since adopting or rehoming these pups can cost anywhere between $50 to $500.

As a potential owner of this dog, you’ll need to ensure you have the budget for the initial cost of your dog’s expenses. This includes additional costs such as training charges, vet bills, food expenses, grooming, and other supplies, which can fall anywhere around $605 to $2,240, depending on your choices. By the time you bring your new puppy home, be sure to have all the items above ready for its use. 

When you purchase your Toller puppies, it’s vital that you speak only with responsible breeders who conduct health checks on their parents. It’s essential that the breeder can provide health clearances from organizations such as the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). These will serve to assure you that both parents have been screened for various health conditions. 

Purchasing or Adopting a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

Looking for a reputable breeder is a good idea when you want one of these dogs. A good breeder will hand pick a puppy for your needs and would’ve already performed all necessary health tests to ensure you can pick from healthy puppies. However, you can also look for these dogs in local animal shelters, rescue organizations, or the national breed club. 

When you choose to adopt young Tollers or even an older dog, you don’t just save money, but you’re also saving a dog in need. Here are a few places where you can look for one of these dogs. 

  • Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever Club (NSDTRC): This organization is committed to helping maintain the integrity and health of this breed. They are willing to help anyone who reaches out to them for the adoption of these dogs, and you can even visit their kennels so you can meet their Toller puppies, as well as the litter’s mother. 
  • Toller Rescue: This national, non-profit rescue center is based in Delaware, and helps to assist the potential adopters in determining if they are a suitable home for Tollers. They will carefully screen each adopter and stay in contact with every Toller rescued. 
  • Petfinder: A huge website dedicated to pet adoption and provides access to a wide range of pets for adoption throughout the country. You can simply use their filters to quickly and easily locate a dog you wish to adopt. Fortunately, you should be able to find a listing for these dogs somewhere on this platform. 


With persistent training, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be a wonderful addition to any family but is best suited for people with plenty of time to spend with them. Dedicated training and exercise time are a must for these energetic dogs, and will fit right in with adventurous individuals who will take them out for a swim or out hunting. If you already have an active lifestyle and are looking for a companion dog that you can keep up with work and play, then this pup is for you.