For the first time in its six year history, the Cobber Challenge is going Transtasman – 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," Kellie Savage, Cobber's marketing manager said.
"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 had 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.
A new Cobber Champion was crowned by the end of the challenge, after points were awarded and dogs were ranked.
Now in its sixth year, the 2021 Cobber Challenge will run from Monday August 16 to Sunday September 5.
Each day of the competition, data was uploaded to the Cobber Challenge website so fans could follow the performance of individual dogs, as well as the best performing team.
Last year, Northern NSW station hand Glenda Rogan and her Kelpie-cross Buddy won the Cobber Challenge, setting a record of 835 kilometres over the three-week competition.
The competition coincided with a busy period for Buddy and Rogan 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," Rogan said.
"And the Cobber Challenge gave me a better insight into how much our dogs do each day.
Rogan said she thought entering the competition would be something positive for her local town to watch during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Buddy continued to work hard since the competition and made a genetic contribution to Rogan'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 the winning dog will receive a year's supply of Cobber Working Dog feed.
Their human counterpart will receive $3000 (in local currency) to be spent on a working dog breeding programme, training for a working dog or participation in working dog trials.
Find the nomination form here.
Nominations close at 11.59pm Sunday June 27.