Dog breeds that are actually Canadian, eh? - The Trupanion Blog
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Dog breeds that are actually Canadian, eh?

What do Drake, Celine Dion, Ryan Gosling, Jim Carrey, and a Labrador Retriever all have in common? They’re all Canadian. Curious what other dog breeds established their roots in the north? Read on.

Labrador Retriever

Did you know that the most popular dog in the United States is actually Canadian? The lovable Labrador Retriever is an excellent swimmer, people oriented, and a quick learner. They make great family pets and working partners in the field—whether they are service dogs, hunting partners, or bomb-sniffing canine officers.

Despite its name, the Labrador Retriever doesn’t come from Labrador—it actually originated in Newfoundland in the 1800s. They were valued by fisherman for their work ethic and trustworthiness, and would dive into icy cold Canadian waters to pull in fishing nets.


If you knew Newfoundland is an island in Canada, you might know the origins of this big lovable black dog. Like the Labrador Retriever, Newfoundlands are hard-working, people-oriented dogs who are also great at swimming (see a theme here?).

Newfoundlands were bred as working dogs who would assist with hauling wood and pulling in fishing nets. They have webbed feed and a water-resistant, warm coat that allows them to excel at water search and rescue. They are also often called “nanny dogs” because of their patience and love for children.

Fun Fact: You may have seen a black and white Newfoundland before—this is sometimes called a Landseer and some kennel clubs recognize it as a separate breed.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Also named after its place of origin, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originated in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the early 19th century. This uncommon breed is known for luring waterfowl to the shore with their signature prance and flowing tail. Tollers also have webbed feet and a double-coat that help them retrieve waterfowl for their owner.

Active and intelligent, these dogs make great family companions and hunting partners. They are hard workers in the field but affectionate and relaxed at home. While they are often confused with small Golden Retrievers, they are more physically and mentally active. They can thrive in apartments or on a farm, as long as they have a job to do.

Lesser-Known Canadian Dog Breeds

The three aforementioned breeds might be the most well-known Canadian breeds, but they aren’t the only dogs who hail from the north. The Canadian Eskimo Dog and Labrador Husky are hard-working, rare spitz breeds who thrive in the cold and often used in sledding, carting, and hunting.

These unique breeds are threatened by extinction, and recent efforts to increase the populations are underway.

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