The New Zealand farm would not be able to operate without the dog. On a sheepfarm they are invaluable,
and the sheep farmer is indebted to the dog’s working ability.
There are two main types of working dog, these are the ‘Huntaway’ and the ‘Heading’ (or ‘Eye’) dog.
The Huntaway is [normally] a large black and tan-coloured dog. Often boisterous, it’s loud bark (which is sometimes hard to shut-up!!) is used to push (scare) the animals along. The Heading dog is a fine-boned, black and white, border-collie breed. Highly intelligent (and often anticipates its master’s commands!!), this dog remains quiet, and “eyes” the animals, gently guiding them into the yards. These two dogs often work as a team, receiving their commands from the farmer. A good working puppy can cost anywhere from $700 upwards, and is normally bought from a reputable breeder who has bred his dogs from ‘working’ stock. These puppies are eager to work and please. Many puppies begin their interest at working by rounding up chickens!
Our sheep farm has seen many working dogs, and we acknowledge them all.
Sadly, one of our best dogs died some years ago (of old age)….his name was Rob.
He was a different breed; (a Beardie), and he also became a lovely family pet.
This poem outlines his story….and this section of our website is dedicated to him…
We needed a new puppy to join our farming crew,
so went down to New Plymouth to give some dogs a view.
There were kennels all around us
housing bitches and their litters,
then out-of-nowhere came this little fury critter!
He followed us round; …all-the-way!! and simply would not go…
so, that’s when we decided; we’d just have to take him home!
We picked him up, the next day early,
and started on the trip…
and not far down the road….well…the poor thing, he was sick!!
We went to wipe his mouth clean, and pulled at something foreign…
and that’s when we discovered that his breakfast had been possum!!!
We all arrived home safely, and that was long ago,
and now our Rob-dog is a lovely handsome beau.
His work’s a pretty picture, and he’s a dandy cricket-mitt…
but when there’s noises in-the-air, he really needs to split!
and Rob-dog is a Beardie, a faithful one in fact,
we love him oh-so dearly…and that’s the end of that!
-by Donna Hamilton
We also have a little house-dog. His name is ‘Manu’ (which means bird in Maori). Manu is part Pekingese, part Yorkshire terrier and part Japanese Chin. He loves to cart his bed around with him and in the evenings he sucks at it like a baby! He follows me everywhere during the day, and also likes to dig holes in the garden and bury his bones! His hair is very long, but I have to keep him clipped because he gets dirty.