Events

Working dog competition goes international: Nominations open for Cobber Challenge

Does your farm dog work harder than the rest? Now is your chance to put it to the test.

For the first time in its six year history, the Cobber Challenge is going Trans-Tasman – with farm dogs from New Zealand invited to compete against their Australian counterparts.

The Cobber Challenge is a unique opportunity for Australian and New Zealand farmers to measure just how hard their dog works. It has become an international celebration of the unsung hero of agriculture – working dogs.

“We are thrilled to welcome our New Zealand cousins into the competition this year,” says Kellie Savage, Cobber’s Marketing Manager.

“The Cobber Challenge provides hard data to prove what most farmers already know; a good working dog can do the work of at least two or three people.”

In previous years, dogs have regularly clocked over 50km in a day, highlighting their contribution to the farm team.

Twelve dogs from throughout Australia and New Zealand will be fitted with a GPS collar to track their distance, working duration and speed over a three-week period. Points are awarded, the dogs are ranked, and by the end of the challenge, a new Cobber Champion is crowned.

Now in its sixth year, the 2021 Cobber Challenge will run from Monday 16 August to Sunday 5 September.

Each day of the competition, data is uploaded to the Cobber Challenge website so fans can follow the performance of individual dogs, as well as the best performing team. Will the Australian or New Zealand dogs have the highest average points?

Northern NSW station hand Glenda Rogan and her Kelpie-cross Buddy won the Cobber Challenge last year, setting a Cobber Challenge record of 835 kilometres over the three-week competition. The competition coincided with a busy period for Buddy and Glenda including weaning calves and moving other cattle. They worked every day over a total of 98 hours.

“I found competing in the 2020 Cobber Challenge with Buddy very rewarding. He’s a big, strong dog who’s always busy, so I thought he’d be a strong contender,” Glenda said.

“And the Cobber Challenge gave me a better insight into how much our dogs do each day.

“And I thought entering the competition would be a positive thing for my local town to watch during COVID.”

Buddy has continued to work hard since the competition and has made a genetic contribution to Glenda’s working dog team.

“I have one of Buddy’s sons, who I’ve called Mate, and at 12 months old, he’s proving to be a really good dog in the bush – he loves nothing more than finding cattle in the bush and bringing them up when we’re mustering cattle.”

As well as the glory of being a Cobber Champion and a year’s supply of Cobber Working Dog feed for the winning dog, this year’s winner will receive $3000* to be spent on a working dog breeding program, training for a working dog or participation in working dog trials.

Cobber will provide the fuel for these dogs, as it does for thousands of working dogs every day around the country.

Want to throw your hat in the ring? Fill out the nomination form at https://www.cobberchallenge.com.au/applynow

Nominations close at 11.59pm Sunday 27 June.