Working Dogs

Dog dash challenge

By Liam Nash

Eleven industrious canines from across the country have hit the track running for the 2019 Cobber Challenge in the search for the nation’s hardest-working farm dog.

Traditionally, two dogs from each state are fitted with GPS collars for a three-week period, earning points for their average speed, distance and duration while performing everyday farm-dog tasks such as mustering cattle.

The hard-working hounds’ scores are tallied up at the end of each day and are placed on a leader board in regard to their overall score across the three scoring categories.

South Australian border collie Jed currently sits atop the charts at the midway point with an average speed of 7.62km/h over 305km, including a whopping duration of 40 hours and three minutes.

Hard yakka seems to be ingrained in Jed’s DNA, as his grandfather Lass ran away with the bronze medal in the international sheep dog trial held in Ireland nine years ago.

Close on his tail in second is four-year-old Queensland kelpie Bonnie, whose engine has seen her cover a distance of more than 250km for a staggering 43 hours and 47 minutes.

Trailing close behind is pocket rocket Mick, who, although he hasn’t troubled Bonnie or Jed in terms of distance covered, has blown both out of the water when it comes to speed with a rapid average of 10.51km/h.

And with just more than a week left to go, the competitors' owners will be stocking the treats and providing plenty of pats in the push for the crown of Australia’s hardest-working dog.