Nova Scotia Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Dog

This superb breed, not well known in Europe, is more widespread in North America, more precisely in Canada. Even though he is the smallest of the Retriever family, the Nova Scotia Retriever still has all the qualities of a Retriever. He is an excellent hunting dog, and very good family companion. Not aggressive, but very sporty, he loves to tease the ducks so that they come towards him, allowing his master to shoot them. He is very intelligent, and knows how to assist the hunter very well. It is the same for his family, he knows where he belongs, and respects the humans around him, big and small.

Height 45 to 51 cm
Weight 17 to 23 kg
Life expectancy 10 to 14 years
Home country Canada

Quick Overview of the Nova Scotia Retriever


  • Receptive and enduring
  • Very smart
  • Determined and alert
  • Good temperament


  • Compact, powerful and muscular
  • Very well proportioned
  • Medium to heavy frame
  • Concentrated and intense look while working


  • No particular pathology
  • Usually enjoys good health

Temperament of the Nova Scotia Retriever

Receptive, hardy and very intelligent, this outstanding swimmer is gifted for duck hunting. The Nova Scotia Retriever is as tenacious in the water as he is on land. Very fast, he is always ready to retrieve at the slightest sign from his master.

Endowed with a good temperament, he is also very appreciated as companion dog. He has all the qualities of the Retriever, making him an excellent dog for the entire family.

This dog, outstanding for duck hunting, is regularly used as companion dog as well. Despite his well-tempered character, he remains an excellent life companion for the family.

He has no problem with toddlers and loves human company. However, his upbringing must be firm and rigorous, in order to keep his strong temperament in check.

Breed Appearance

retriever from nova scotia

Medium size, this superb dog is compact, powerful, muscular and very well proportioned.

Extremely agile, determined and very alert, the Nova Scotia Retriever has a medium to heavy-frame. His generally rather melancholy appearance becomes concentrated and intense at work.


Between 48 and 51 cm (18.90 to 20.08 inches) for the male
Between 45 and 48 cm (17.72 to 18.90 inches) for the female


Between 20 and 23 kg (44.09 to 50.71 pounds) for the male
Between 17 and 20 kg (37.48 to 44.09 pounds) for the female


His coat varies in shades of red to orange, with fringes, and the hair on the lower part of the coat and tail are the same shades, but with a much lighter tone.


His coat is waterproof and lined, like all water retrievers. Medium length, the coat is relatively soft, with an undercoat that is even softer and very dense.


His head has a rather broad skull with a moderately marked stop. His eyes are medium size and almond-shaped, and vary from amber to brown.

His ears are triangular, medium size, and set high on the skull but rather set back.

His nose is in harmony with his coat. His broad tail is composed of abundant fringes, and thus prolongs the slope of the rump.

According to the FCI breeds nomenclature, this breed belongs to group 8, section 2 and is #312

Nova Scotia Retriever puppies near me

Tips About this breed

Suitable for guarding, he is an excellent alarm system.

If the intruders are coaxed by his melancholy air, they'll have to behave themselves once he is on his guard.

Even if he is far from aggressive, he is very good at keeping guard and being persuasive with strangers.

The Nova Scotia Retriever needs a lot of exercise.

He loves water and lakes, and all potential water-related games.

Not very compatible with city life because of his attraction to water and exercise in the great outdoors, he can however live in a house with a large fenced garden at his disposal, where he can run as he pleases.

The master must be more of a sportsman if he wants to follow his dog. The Nova Scotia Retriever loves walks, but they will be intense and fast.

Health of the Nova Scotia Retriever

There are no known diseases affecting the Nova Scotia Retriever, and he usually enjoys excellent health and life expectancy. However, he needs plenty of room and exercise.


His beautiful coat requires regular brushing, but no other special maintenance is necessary for this breed.

History of this breed

This retriever, fetcher or water dog, come from Canada, more precisely from the province of Nova Scotia, from where the name Nova Scotia Retriever comes from.

Selected and bred as a retriever dog at the beginning of the 19th century in Canada, the breed was not officially recognized until 1982. It is therefore a very recent breed.

Apparently a descendant of the St. John, this breed of dog has been known on the island of Newfoundland since the early 18th century.

The Nova Scotia Retriever is believed to be a cross between the Saint John and the Flat-coated Retriever. The Canadian, James Allen would be at the origin of this crossbreeding, which was later crossed again to achieve today's known result.

The Nova Scotia Retriever is very popular for hunting, guarding and companionship.

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