Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: Characteristics and Photos

Nova Scotia Retriever: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a breed created...

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The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is a breed created in the 19th century to attract, guide the hunter and capture waterfowl. The Nova Scotia, as it is colloquially known, is a medium-sized, powerful and compact dog. He is the smallest of the retrievers and some people think he looks like a little golden retriever.

This dog is very agile, determined and always alert. He may have a sad or nostalgic appearance when he is calm, but as soon as he gets active, he shows his true cheerful and dynamic nature.If you are interested in adopting a Nova Scotia Retriever, check out this breed sheet from PlanèteAnimal, in which you will find all the information you need before adopting a dog of this type so that your dog enjoy a happy life by your side.


  • America
  • Canada

FCI Nomenclature

  • Group VIII

Physical Characteristics

  • Muscular


  • Average


  • 45-55

Adult Weight

  • 10-25

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Society
  • Smart
  • Active
  • Affectionate
  • Docile

Ideal for

  • Children
  • Apartment
  • House
  • Walking

Recommended climate

  • Temperate

Hair type

  • Medium
  • Smooth

Origin of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Although there are no reliable data on the development of this breed, it is widely believed that it appeared in the 19th century in Nova Scotia, Canada.It seems that the founding dogs of the breed belonged to a group of red decoy dogs brought from Europe to Canada by the first settlers. Later, these dogs would have been crossed with local dogs and hunting dog breeds from other places. Although the breeds of dogs that participated in the creation of the Nova Scotia Retriever are not precisely known, it is believed that they were Setter-type dogs, Spaniel dogs and, of course, different types of retriever.

Originally these dogs were known as Yarmouth Toller. These names came from the particular way these dogs were used for hunting.

Recognition of the breed by the Canadian Kennel Club took place in 1945. It was in this year that it was decided that the official name of the breed would be the Nova Scotia Retriever. The International Federation of Cynology (FCI) recognized this breed in 1982.These dogs are still little known in the world. This is why their population is small and there is a small gene pool. However, they are relatively popular among hunters in Canada and the United States.

The curious style of hunting with the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The style of hunting with these dogs lies in the fact that the dogs play capture with the hunter, who for his part remains hidden. They come and go from the hiding place, picking up a stick or a ball thrown by the hunter, which attracts the attention of the ducks. Then the ducks approach the shore until they are within firing range. This is when the hunter can shoot and later the dog retrieves injured and dead ducks.

Foxes are said to use a similar strategy to hunt ducks, they play amongst themselves but, of course, never using firearms. Native people in Nova Scotia are also said to have used a similar practice to lure ducks to shore, repeatedly tossing fox fur tied to a thin line and bringing it back towards them.

Although this type of hunting has been practiced for a long time, some hunters consider that the fact that ducks are attracted to the dog playing near the shore is a myth. They think the frequency with which ducks approach the shore is the same when there is a dog playing as when there isn't.

Physical characteristics of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Males reach a height of between 48 and 51 centimeters at the withers, their average weight must be between 20 and 23 kilograms. The height of the females is between 45 and 48 centimeters and their weight between 17 and 20 kilograms.

The head of these dogs has a slight wedge shape and is well defined by a broad, slightly rounded skull. The butt is moderate and their nose is black or it matches the color of the coat. Their lips are tight and cheeks are lean, while strong jaws close in a powerful scissor bite.

The eyes of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever are medium-sized, almond-shaped, and their color varies from amber to brown. His gaze is characterized by an alert, intelligent and friendly expression. The ears of this dog are triangular, medium and are high set. The base of the ears is slightly erect. The neck of medium length, is strong and is not equipped with jowls.

The body of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is slightly longer than large, medium, compact and muscular, and their bone sizes range from medium to thick. The topline is horizontal, the back is short and straight, and the spine is strong and muscular. The deep chest of these dogs descends to the elbows and the belly is slightly retracted.

His tail is broad at the base and has abundant feathering. Its last vertebra reaches the hock and, when the dog is at rest, its tail can hang down. When the dog is active, its tail erects, but never touches its body with it.

The forelimbs of the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever are parallel, straight, with strong bones, shoulders and elbows glued to the body. On the other hand, the hind limbs are equipped with muscular thighs and well-kneed knees. angular. The legs are medium and rounded and end in glued and rather arched toes.

These dogs have a water resistant double coat. Its inner hair is soft and dense, while its outer hair is medium long and soft. Its coat may be slightly wavy on the back of the body, but should be straight on the rest of the body.

Accepted fur colors for this breed are various shades of red or orange, if the feathers and lower part of the tail are lighter tones than the rest of the body. Dogs with white markings on the tip of the tail, legs, chest and a white ribbon on the forehead are more common and preferred.However, solid colored dogs are allowed. The nose, lips and eye area should be flesh colored and match the hair of his coat or be black.

Nova Scotia Retriever Character

The Nova Scotia Retriever is an enthusiastic, playful, very active, confident, gentle and kind dog. He is also a very intelligent dog and easy to train, although it is always best to use dog training methods based on positive reinforcement.

He is also a dog full of energy, but at the same time he is very patient with children (of course, this largely depends on the socialization each dog receives). Despite his great energy, he is a docile dog that can be an excellent pet if he has the physical and mental exercise he needs.

Like other retriever dogs, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever loves to collect, play, and swim. If possible, you should make sure he can swim occasionally.

" However, unlike the typical retriever, the Nova Scotia Retriever tends to be reserved in unfamiliar situations. To avoid this, it is good to start socializing them from an early age by getting them used to different situations."

Nova Scotia Retriever Care

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever can be made for living in a small apartment if you give him enough exercise. As a very active and energetic dog, he needs plenty of physical and mental exercise, as well as a good dose of daily play. If possible, give him the opportunity to push himself by swimming.

The fur of these dogs is a good insulator from the cold, so they adjust well to living in cold climates.

This breed molts regularly. The coats of these dogs should be maintained by brushing and combing them daily.It is also advisable not to wash it too often so as not to eliminate the natural protection provided by its coat. You will only have to bathe him when he really needs to.

Nova Scotia Retriever Education

To avoid strong reactions and fears, it is important to socialize him from an early age with all types of people, animals and environments, to have a he althy and balanced dog.

Thanks to the great intelligence of the tester, it will be very easy to train him in canine obedience, always using positive reinforcement methods. Physical punishments, choking collars or traditional canine training methods that are based on correcting bad behavior with punishments that subsequently generate poor mental he alth in the dog should always be avoided. Before any suspicion of the appearance of behavioral problems, contact a dog trainer or an ethologist and let yourself be guided by the experience of a professional.

After socialization, we can continue to educate the Nova Scotia Retriever by teaching him basic obedience commands, essential for him to have a good relationship with humans and other animals. The ideal is to spend 5 to 10 minutes a day reviewing the commands you have already learned and to teach him new ones. Intelligence games, new experiences and stimulating the physical and mental development of the dog will make him develop properly and be happy.

Nova Scotia Retriever He alth

This breed is relatively he althy compared to other dog breeds and reaches a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years. However, its small population means the breed's gene pool is small, resulting in some predisposition to certain genetically-based diseases. Potential inherited diseases for these dogs include thyroid and autoimmune issues, as well as progressive retinal atrophy.

Even though he is a relatively he althy dog, it is necessary that you strictly follow his vaccination schedule and take him to the vet every 6 months, if possible, in order to to prevent and detect any he alth problem.

Pictures of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

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