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April 12, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Purebred Star Blog Series

Do you like the attributes the Golden Retriever offers? Then you are going to LOVE the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever!

They share many similarities (in fact, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is often mistaken for a small Golden Retriever); however, the Nova Scotia breed is considered having a more versatile range in the working department.

Recently, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever has been gaining popularity in other countries. Bred in Nova Scotia in the nineteenth century, this breed is an all purpose retriever, known for their water retrieving, guardian capabilities, strong companionship, and especially their work as a decoy.

Their decoy ability is used to lure ducks into shooting range for the hunters, which is called tolling. This is done as the retriever plays in the water, and the ducks, out of curiosity, move in closer to investigate what the dog is up to, which brings them closer into the range of the hunter. Once the hunter shoots the duck, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever retrieves the fowl from the water.


High-High Energy!!!

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is an ongoing Energizer Bunny, rarely running out of steam. They are a loving and loyal companion, ready to work for you at a moment's notice. A runner or hiker will enjoy having the Nova Scotia Retriever as their work-out partner.

Not a runner? No worries, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever will make a perfect walking partner too! Just put a backpack on the retriever and go for a 45 minute to an hour long walk twice a day.

The Nova Scotia is highly intelligent, which also makes them a fantastic candidate for agility competitions - especially flyball or dock diving! They are very easy to train, and they work hard pleasing their humans. As with any dog, early training is important.

Reserved Around Strangers

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever enjoys children, other animals, and people they know. Although they don't have the overzealous friendly disposition of welcoming strangers like the Golden Retriever does, proper socialization at an early age will help the Nova Scotia Retriever feel confident and secure around people they don't know.

They are happy to engage playfully with children, as the Nova Scotia Retriever has a vibrant playful side to them. They are also very patient and can tolerate rambunctious children very well.


They will bark at strangers, but only to alert their family. The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever does not harbor any aggressive traits, but it's not a very vocal breed.

Loves to Be Around Other Dogs

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever thoroughly enjoys playing with other dogs. Due to their high energy level, and the fact that they love other dogs, they would be a great addition in a Doggy Daycare environment (rather than left home alone all day while their families are at work).

They will enjoy other animals in the home as well, however, due to their retrieving instincts, they should be introduced at a young age to smaller animals to be well socialized, and to properly understand their manners around them.

Water Please!!!!

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is an excellent breed for anyone living near a river or lake, because they prefer to spend majority of their time playing in it! Kids will have fun playing water games with their retriever.

N.S. Retriever Running

Don't live near water? That is fine, as long as you are able to provide them access on a regular basis to help channel their love of water. The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is known to get depressed if they aren't able to do what they love the most, retrieve and swim.

Grooming Is Required

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is an average shedder. They do require weekly brushing, but be careful to not over bathe them. Unfortunately, this dries out their skin, which can hinder their coats natural ability of being water resistant.

Healthy Breed

The Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever is a healthy breed; their average lifespan is 12- 14 years old. But, sadly, due to their rise in popularity some health concerns are starting to show in the gene line such as thyroid problems, autoimmune issues, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Adopt First

As you begin looking for a Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!

At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.

On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!


Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe

Dog Breed Info

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