Working Dogs

A year of firsts for Cobber Challenge

By Rodney Woods

In a year of firsts, border collie Jed has become the first of his breed to claim the title of Cobber Champion, the first winner from South Australia, and the first winner owned by a woman.

Jed was one of 11 working dogs from around the nation that competed in the 2019 Cobber Challenge.

The three-week competition saw dogs from each state wear GPS collars to track their distance, speed and working duration on-farm.

To top off his ground-breaking victory, the four-year-old from Conmurra in the state’s south-east ran the furthest of any competitor in the Cobber Challenge’s four-year history, covering an enormous 717km — the equivalent of 17 full marathons — in three weeks.

The previous record was set by 2017 competitor Flow, who Jed beat by just 1km.

Jed’s owner Peta Bauer said she was not surprised by Jed’s success, but that his distances were astounding.

“I knew Jed did a lot of work, but the fact that he was consistently doing so many kilometres each day just shocked me,” she said.

“His stamina is amazing.”

Jed seized the top spot at the end of day four and relentlessly held on, fending off consistent pushes from runner-up Bonnie, owned by Sam Wright in Queensland.

Bonnie was slightly faster than Jed, running at an average speed of almost 8km/h over the three weeks.

Jed brought this year’s competition to an international audience, with friends of his owner watching on from Belgium and the United Kingdom.