Working Dogs

You can’t have too many dogs

By Sophie Baldwin

Where does your love for the Australian cattle dog come from?

When I was younger there was me, my horse, my pet cow and my Australian cattle dog Elk. We were like the four musketeers and we spent a lot of time together roaming the countryside. I even took Elk with me when I took off to university in Queensland.

What type of dog are they?

They are incredibly loyal and are terrific with the kids. When William was young we lost him on the farm — something that can tend to happen with kids on a big farm. Instead of panicking I just whistled for the dogs and I saw which direction they came from and I just knew they would take me straight to William.

Why do you have four dogs?

(Laughing.) Because one is never enough and why have one when you can have four.

Seriously?

When Elk started to get old I decided to get another puppy by the name of Jack. I was still in Queensland at the time and when I came back home to the farm I had two little shadows following me around. When Elk died I was back to one shadow and I couldn’t cope with that. I really love my dogs.

You take your breeding fairly seriously?

Yes Elk was from my parents’ line and when I lost her I lost the whole line. She stretched back to Bannercourt pedigree and Jack came from the same bloodlines. I also liked Bushy Track and Mary Heather lines and I have made sure they go back in mine.

How would you describe the tribe of dogs you have today?

Well there is Harry who is seven, Daisy five, Poppy three and Rosie the baby who is heading for two.

Daisy is very gentle and will sit beside you like a very polite fat seal; she used to put Isobella to bed when she was little.

Harry is a bit of a boof head who likes to sit on you, he is just not aware of how big he is and he just loves a cuddle.

Poppy is a little more distant, but she still loves to jump all over you. She has a habit of opening doors, getting inside and we found her hiding under the spare bed the other day.

Rosie is the youngest — she is still a puppy but she is a dead ringer for Harry.

I just love my blues, they are so intelligent and easy to train.