Nova Scotia Duck Rolling Retriever vs Golden Retriever

People usually mistake Nova scotia duck tolling retriever as Golden Retriever. However, THEY ARE NOT THE SAME. Here is our article about Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever vs Golden retriever and explaining how they are common and different from each other.

Nova scotia vs golden retreiver

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever was bred as a hunting dog. They are one of the popular breeds and are usually mistaken for small Golden retrievers. NOVA SCOTIA was first bred in Canada to be the perfect “toller”. Fully justifying their name they don’t only lure birds in gunshot range but also retrieve them after hunting. The breed took years to perfect and gained fame and attention between 1980-1995.

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers were first bred in the victorian era by a man named Dudley.  He wanted to develop a breed that can suit rainy climates and work effectively in the area. Golden retrievers gained massive popularity because of their “full package” abilities. They are trained to be detection partners, guide dogs, and hunters.

A Quick Comparison of Both

TraitsDuck Tolling RetrieverGolden Retriever
AncestorsRetriever, Spaniel, SetterYellow Retriever, Tweed water spaniel
Weight37-51 lbs55-80 lbs
Height19inches21-24 inches
ColorRed/ liver colorYellow golden
FurWaterproof coatWavy fur, straight coat
TemperamentFriendly, compassionate, outgoingDevoted, loyal, friendly
FriendlinessLess friendly with other petsFriendly around strangers and pets
Wanderlust potentialWanderer by natureTend to be with the owner
TrainingCan be trained easilyCan be trained as a service dog
Hunting desireMore desire to huntDon't chase every animal on the way
Work dogsCan detect blood, currency, drugs, etcCan assist, hunt, and detect things and human beings
DroolingDrools lessMore drooling
Living environmentNot a good choice for apartment residentsNeed more space to live
GroomingOnce a weekOnce a week
Fighting abilitiesNot a combat dogNot a fighter
ReproductionOnce a yearOnce a year
Litter size4-5 puppies5-6puppies
Sleep patternsSleeps lessSleeps less
Energy levelEnergy bombsHighly energetic
Good for first-time ownersYesYes

Closer Look: Duck Tolling Retriever vs Golden retriever

Although people mistake while comparing Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever vs Golden retriever, they have a lot of things that prove how they are different in so many ways. So talking about Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever vs Golden retriever, let’s start from their origin. We will then compare them in all the aspects one by one.


The Golden Retriever was first bred in Scotland whereas the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is originated from Canada. They both were initially developed to be gun dogs but their paths differ in a way that Golden Retriever was bred to work effectively on both water and land.

Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is however known as the best tolling dog near rivers and ponds. The Nova Scotia lures ducks by going in the water and then after hunting it would retrieve the birds for owners.


Both Nova Scotia and Golden Retriever were bred to meet the requirements of their time. So their bloodline is different depending on what the breeder initially thought of getting from a breed by mixing their ancestors.

Nous and Belle were adam and eve for Golden Retriever. Nous was a yellow-colored retriever and Belle was Tweed water spaniel female dog.

The idea to develop a Golden retriever was to have a more rigorous yet gentle retriever breed that can be trained to become perfect hunting dogs. Nous and Belle produced offspring that were further crossed and mixed to get different other breeds. The Golden Retriever has ancestors that were all sporting dogs carefully crossed to get what we today know as “Golden Retrievers“.

Nova Scotia, on the other hand,  was perfected in the late 19th century. Among its ancestors are retrievers, spaniels, setters, and some say that farm collie mongrel was too among the forefathers but this is not confirmed yet.

Physical appearance

Golden Retrievers are large as compared to Nova Scotias. They have an average weight between 55-80 pounds depending on the age and gender of the dog whereas Nova Scotias range from 37-51 pounds. Their height also differs.  Nova Scotia has an average height of up to 19 inches whereas Golden retrievers have a height between 21-24 inches.

Based on physical appearance Nova scotias are more reddish in appearance whereas Golden Retrievers have more golden tint.

Nova scotias were meant to retrieve hunted birds from frozen rivers and lakes so they have a waterproof coat that saves them. Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, have a silky and straight coat.

Is Golden Retriever a flat-coated retriever?

A flat-coated retriever is a breed of retriever that has a flat coat and black color. Whereas Golden retrievers have wavy fur and golden color. The two are very different. If you want to Compare Nova scotia duck tolling retriever vs flat-coated retriever,  that is a whole other debate. For now, we will stick to Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever vs golden retriever.

Comparing Nova scotia vs Golden Retrievers in personality traits


Nova Scotia is defined by AKC as an intelligent, affectionate, and outgoing dog. Whereas Golden retrievers are said to be loyal, devoted, and friendly ones. Due to their different personality traits, both dogs are a perfect fit for variant work needs.

The “devotion” part here makes the Golden Retriever a suitable candidate to be the best guide dog. They are trained to accompany blind people to show them the way. Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers are on the other hand more mentally and physically active than Golden Retrievers. So Nova Scotias can be defined more as energetic and playful ones whereas Golden Retrievers are more reliable and trustworthy.

Comparison of Nova scotia vs Golden retriever in terms of their characteristics


  • Golden retrievers are considered more friendly than Nova scotia. They are more social and act well around other people and dogs. However, you need to train your Nova scotia to be kind with other dogs as they are usually not that friendly with their kind.
  • On the other hand, Golden retrievers may not be very good watchdogs due to their ability to become stranger friendly. They have an extra compassionate nature than Nova scotia.
  • Also, Due to less need for social interaction than Golden Retrievers, Nova scotia has more wanderlust potential.


Nova scotia is easy to train. Golden retrievers are defined by AKC as “eager to please”. So we take it as that you can train your Golden Retriever to become whatever you need them to be. They will easily adjust to the working needs of owners.


Intelligence is a key factor that decides the working range for both dogs. Golden retrievers are highly intelligent dogs than Nova scotia. Here we are not comparing intelligence in a sense of good or bad. Their intelligence level will simply define their abilities to do certain chores. Being more intelligent and devoted, Golden retrievers are the perfect choice to be a companion dog. One can take it even to their office and they will behave like a good boy.

Hunting desire

Nova Scotia has more hunger for chasing and catching prey.  This doesn’t mean Golden retrievers are not good chasers but their drive to chase is relatively low than Nova scotias. Instead, they tend to stick with their owners. This “sticking with their owner” nature makes them hungry for social interaction. Their drive to not being left alone is more than Nova Scotia.

Work dogs

Golden retrievers have proven themselves to be very good service dogs. Nova scotia was neither developed nor trained to be effective service dogs. They have their own set of abilities and responsibilities and they do excellent in their own potential.

Being good service dogs,  Golden Retrievers are very good search dogs that assist effectively in tracking,  detection, and finding things and people.


Golden retrievers have more drooling tendency than Nova Scotia. If you don’t like to bathe in saliva,  prefer Nova Scotia.

How are Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers and Golden Retrievers the same?

Well,  people don’t mistake both for the same for apparently no reason. They both are AKC recognized purebred dogs and while comparing, they have deceiving similarities too. Let’s have a look at how things are the same when going down the path to Nova Scotia vs Golden retrievers.


Not going deep in sizes and weights,  with variations of colors,  they look bros. They share that same common “looks” which makes people wonder if Nova Scotias are somehow related to golden retrievers?

Playful nature

The playful nature of Nova Scotia and Golden Retriever makes them a good family dog and perfect for children. They both are energetic,  love to play, and are in constant need of activity. Their restless nature makes them good for sporting activities and fun games. They love their owners and like to be loved back. Their affection level is 101% which makes them extremely loveable. Both dogs are a good choice for first-time owners.

Living environment

Well, both dogs need space to run,  chase and play so they are not a good fit for apartment residents. Living in small places is like restricting them, which is against their nature. They are born to run,  chase and retrieve. What’s the point of keeping them as “beauty in a cage?” Try birds instead.

Grooming and shedding

Both dogs don’t require much grooming. Once a week brush and comb session keeps them show-stealing charming. They also shed moderately so you will not find dog hair all over the place.

Sensible vs sensitive

Both Nova Scotia and Golden retrievers are very sensible dogs. They are not very emotionally sensitive which makes them adjustable in different circumstances. As they crave attention and affection,  they know how to make a place in hearts. They are more sensible and less sensitive.


Both dogs are super adaptable to their living environments and needs. This makes them a perfect fit for adoption. It’s important to have a companion that can adjust to the changing course of life. Owners like their adjustable nature and how they blend in with their surroundings and lifestyle.

Fighting abilities

Both dogs are not “combat” dogs. They are not very “territorial” or great defenders either. Also,  they don’t bite that often. If you are looking for fighters or attackers, try some other breeds because Nova Scotia and Golden retrievers are certainly not the ones.

Detection abilities

Keeping in mind that both breeds were initially developed to be great retrievers,  both possess good detection abilities. They sniff,  track and retrieve. With training, their sense of smell helps in the detection of explosives, blood, lost things and drugs, etc.

Sleep patterns

Both dogs are super energetic and need less time to sleep. Being awake requires being busy and one has to indulge them in activities to keep them busy and focused.

Reproductive abilities

Both dogs should reproduce once a year. Their gestation periods are from 60-64 days.  Although they both are overall healthy and reproductive dogs,  frequent breeding is not advised.

Why Golden Retrievers are more popular than Nova Scotia?

  • On popularity rank,  Golden retrievers are ranked #3 whereas Nova scotias hold 87 the position.  We don’t think it has anything to do with their “existence”, this is just a matter of preference. They both meet breed standards and make very good pets. As Golden Retrievers can perform as service dogs, this makes them widely accepted.  Golden retrievers are more helpful for their owners while Nova Scotia has proven themselves to be little fun packets. The owner seems excited and happy with both dogs.
  • Another reason for popularity could be adaptability to extreme weather. Nova Scotias are the best fit for extreme cold weather which bounds them to cold areas somehow. Whereas Golden Retrievers can stay in moderately warm to cold weather. This makes the Golden Retriever a good choice for people who live in moderate temperatures.
  • Price can be another factor why Golden Retrievers are more popular than Nova Scotias. The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever price ranges from $1500 to $4500 whereas Golden Retrievers’ price ranges from $1500-$3000.

We can’t say that any of them is not heavy on budget but Golden Retriever can save you some pennies.

The link between Golden retrievers and curly coat retrievers. 

When comparing Nova scotia duck tolling retriever with a Golden Retriever,  stick to that. There are different breeds of retrievers and all of them have visible differences. A curly coated retriever has black color and curly fur which differentiate it from another breed of retrievers and they are rare to find.

Which puppy is better for adoption,  Nova scotia or Golden retriever ?

When you see ads like “Nova scotia duck tolling retrievers for sale” or ” buy golden retrievers”, you can get confused about which one to prefer? Well,  our advice on the matter is “whatever suits you”.

They both make excellent pets in their own capacity. So you better know what you are looking for.  If you don’t have budget issues or special requirements,  we suggest…  Eenie Meenie Miney mo…

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