Working dogs bred in Australia and New Zealand tested in the Cobber Challenge | Canberra time

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Endurance athletes from Australia’s sprawling cattle farms are battling it out for the title of 2021 Champion Working Dog. cattle. The Cobber Challenge celebrates and tests the endurance of working dogs and this year for the first time Australians will be pitted against competitors working across Tasmania. GPS collars will track their distance, work time and speed over 21 days starting Monday, August 16 and points will be awarded based on daily activity. In previous years, dogs have regularly traveled more than 50 kilometers in one day. For Bree How, 25, involving her red kelpie, Kit, in the challenge is to help raise the profile of young women in agriculture. “It’s a good way to get out and promote women… and young people in farming because there aren’t as many anymore,” said the sheep operations manager at ‘Annandale’ in the Midlands of Tasmania. “I trained her [Kit] of a puppy,” she says. “I had no idea what I was doing, but she seems fine. Ms How and Kit join eight other Australian teams and three New Zealanders in the challenge. operation, Daniel Pumpa of Koorawatha, NSW says he and his kelpie, Turbo, are doing more stock work than ever. They will mark lambs during the challenge. Overcoming a broken back in 2017, Turbo is strong and fit enough to return for a comeback streak, Mr Pumpa says. “It’s great to compete against the New Zealanders as it will show the differences between us and them in the way we handle our dogs and ourselves,” he says. Mr Pumpa thinks the Kiwis will be a tough competition. because they throw their dogs much more to cover the steep country compared to many Australian competitors who take their dogs to the stock on a motorbike. New Zealand will be represented by three lead dogs, descendants of border collies, which are a new breed for a historic challenge there dominated by kelpies, border collies and Australian koolies. Stock manager Cam Clayton of Ashburton in Canterbury, New Zealand, says his dog Pine is his best friend. “When the day is long and the work is hard, Pine is always there and happy to work. I think we have a very good chance of winning this contest,” Mr. Clayton said. “I think we’re going to give the Aussies a hard time.”


Bette C. Alvarado