Shemozzle to celebrate New Zealand's dog

By James Baker -
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The dogs have a breather at the end of a tough day at the 2014 Eukanuba Shemozzle in Hunterville. Photograph by Lewis Gardner WGP 04Nov14 - DOG
The dogs have a breather at the end of a tough day at the 2014 Eukanuba Shemozzle in Hunterville. Photograph by Lewis Gardner WGP 04Nov14 - DOG

Every man and his dog will be at Hunterville's annual Eukanuba Shepherds' Shemozzle on the 29th October.

The event, held in the Rangitiki District, is part of an effort to celebrate New Zealand's very own dog breed, the huntaway.

Around 5000 spectators will turn out to watch the dogs and their shepards race over 3kms of hills, mud slides, swamps and other obstacles.

Last year 380 contestants carried bull's testicles in their mouths as they scrambled through mud and pushed their huntaways in wheelbarrows.

This year promises to be just as tough with a top prize of $1000 cash, with a further $4000 prize pool.

"The Shemozzle course is fast paced... so the dogs need plenty of energy to have a chance of winning," said Emma Prideaux, Eukanuba Brand Manager.

The huntaway is unique to New Zeland and was bred to handle our high country.

Shepards selected dogs such as border collies, black labs and hounds to create a breed with a big, deep chested, noisy bark and stamina to move large herds of sheep over rough terrain.

"In a normal working day, some huntaways could cover over 100km on a large farm," said Prideaux.

The popularity of the huntaway continues to grow, with even Japan having a Huntaway Club.

Entry fee is $35 on the day and only dogs with some huntaway are allowed to enter the competition.

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