Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever: The Ultimate Dog Guide


Known for their unique ability to lure ducks, this breed offers a distinct mix of companionship and working capabilities. Their brilliant red coat and enthusiastic spirit are an unmistakable part of their charm. Hailing from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, this breed has a rich history. Originally used by hunters to toll, lure, and retrieve waterfowl, they have proven their intelligence and versatility time and again.

Characteristic Description
Origin Nova Scotia, Canada
Size Medium
Weight Males: 35 to 50 pounds
Females: 30 to 45 pounds
Height Males: 18 to 21 inches
Females: 17 to 20 inches
Life Expectancy 12 to 14 years
Coat Color Various shades of red or orange
Personality Intelligent, outgoing, versatile, and high-spirited
Exercise Needs High
Grooming Moderate
Common Health Issues Hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and autoimmune diseases

Physical Characteristics

Description of Appearance

The breed boasts a medium-sized, powerful, compact, balanced, well-muscled body. They are agile, alert, and ready for action, showcasing the harmonious blend of power, speed, and endurance.

Size and Weight

Males typically weigh between 35 to 50 pounds and stand 18 to 21 inches tall at the shoulder. Females are slightly smaller, generally weighing between 30 to 45 pounds and standing 17 to 20 inches tall.

Coat and Color Details

One of the most distinctive features of this breed is their double coat that comes in various shades of red or orange. Their undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat is longer and feathery.

Lifespan and Health Considerations

On average, the breed lives between 12 to 14 years. While they’re generally healthy, they’re prone to certain genetic health problems, including hip dysplasia and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Temperament and Personality Traits

Common Behaviors and Traits

This breed is known for its intelligence, versatility, and good nature. They are playful, outgoing, and high-spirited, but at times can be reserved with strangers.

Suitability for Families, Children, and Other Pets

They make excellent family pets. Their patience and playful nature make them great with children and their social nature allows them to get along with other pets.

Training Potential and Intelligence Level

Being highly intelligent and eager to please, this breed is capable of excelling in obedience, agility, and other dog sports.

Exercise Requirements and Playfulness

This is a high-energy breed that requires plenty of daily exercise, both physical and mental. They love to play, especially fetch, and any games that involve water.

Training and Care for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Early Socialization and Puppy Training Tips

Early socialization and puppy training classes are recommended for all dogs, but they’re especially beneficial for this breed. They need to be exposed to a variety of people, sights, sounds, and experiences to become well-rounded dogs.

Exercise Requirements and Best Practices

A healthy breed requires regular exercise to stay happy and healthy. Regular walks, playtime in the yard, and occasional swimming are just a few activities they enjoy.

Training Challenges and Strategies

While they’re generally eager to please, they can have a stubborn streak. Positive reinforcement methods work best with this breed.

Obedience Training and Command Reinforcement Techniques

Obedience training should be consistent and involve various techniques to keep them engaged. Consistency, patience, and rewards are key elements for training this breed.

Health and Nutrition

Common Health Issues and Genetic Predispositions

They’re prone to certain health conditions like hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and autoimmune diseases. Regular vet check-ups can help identify any potential issues early.

Vaccination and Regular Check-ups

They should be kept up-to-date on vaccinations and have regular vet check-ups to maintain overall health.

Dietary Requirements and Feeding Guidelines

A balanced diet rich in proteins, fats, and carbohydrates is necessary. Portion size should be adjusted based on their age, size, and activity level.

Importance of Mental Health and Stimulation

Along with physical exercise, they need mental stimulation. Interactive toys, training, and socializing with other dogs can help meet this need.

Grooming and Maintenance

Coat Care, Brushing, and Bathing Routines

Their coat should be brushed regularly to prevent matting and to keep it looking their best. Bathing should be done as necessary, but not so often that it dries out their skin.

Nail Care, Dental Care, and Ear Cleaning

Regular nail trims, tooth brushing, and ear cleaning are all important aspects of their grooming routine.

Shedding Patterns and Managing Seasonal Changes

They’re moderate shedders and will shed more heavily during certain times of the year. During these times, more frequent brushing will be necessary.

Grooming Tools and Products to Use

Use a quality slicker brush or a comb for regular grooming. When bathing, use dog-specific shampoos that will help keep their coat healthy and shiny.

Fun Facts and Trivia

Famous Dogs of the Breed

Though not widely famous, they have been recognized in several dog shows and have excelled in various dog sports competitions.

Unique Traits and Characteristics

One unique characteristic is their “tolling” behavior, where they lure waterfowl within gunshot range by playing at the water’s edge.

The Breed’s Role in Popular Culture and Media

While they haven’t had a starring role in a blockbuster film yet, they’re often featured in books, magazines, and social media due to their beautiful red coat and friendly nature.

Awards and Recognition in Dog Shows

In dog shows, they have been recognized for their agility, obedience, and tracking skills. They also regularly compete in field trials and hunting tests.

Adoption and Buying Considerations

How to Choose a Responsible Breeder

Ensure the breeder conducts health tests, provides a clean and loving environment, is knowledgeable about the breed, and is willing to answer all your questions.

Considerations When Adopting from a Shelter

Remember, adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment. Make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility and have the time, patience, and resources necessary to care for a dog.

Costs Associated with Owning the Breed

The cost of owning a dog goes beyond just the purchase price. Be prepared for costs like vet bills, food, grooming, training, and supplies.

Tips for Preparing Your Home for a New Dog

Make your home dog-friendly. Secure any potential hazards, have a designated space for the dog, and ensure all members of the household are prepared for the new addition.


We’ve taken a deep dive into the breed’s history, physical characteristics, temperament, training, grooming, health, and care. With their friendly and intelligent nature, it’s easy to see why they’re such a loved breed. Whether you’re a family, a single person, or a seasoned hunter, this breed could be a great fit for you. But remember, they require regular exercise, mental stimulation, and a loving home.


Sergey Uhanov, a certified veterinarian, has authored all of the content here. With over 20 years of experience in dog care and breeding three dogs of his own, he has a deep passion for these furry friends. Sergey owns a pet clinic in Israel where he provides care and treatment to dogs. He enjoys sharing his expertise and knowledge to assist others in caring for their dogs.

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