Working Dogs

Family of four love work and swimming

By Rodney Woods

If you ever visit the Lockington sheep farm of Robert Mitchell, you can expect to be greeted by a host of his four-legged mates. Robert breeds border collies and four of them are tight-knit family members. The dogs love swimming regardless of the weather, but it does get in the way of their all-round working ability.

How did they get their names?

I've had several Tobys so that's how Toby got his name. Chloe already had a name when I got her from Barry Theobold, from Kerang, and so I called Baz after him. I'm a keen Geelong fan and was a fan of Dasha (Darren) Milburn, so that's how Dasha got his name.

How are they all related?

Baz and Toby are sons of Dasha and Chloe.

What are the dogs’ personalities like?

They are terrific. Chloe is a beautifully-natured dog. They might bark when someone comes but they would never attack anyone. They are a very placid nature and they don’t go wild. They were quite easy to train as well.

Are they paddock or yard dogs?

They are dual purpose really. Toby is better in the yard. He's a very good yard dog for drafting. Baz and Dasha are more eye dogs — if one sheep gets away they will bring it back.

I hear they like swimming?

Chloe will go into the channel on an icy cold morning. They love swimming. One of the annoying things is when I'm droving sheep and it's hot and they are in the channel. I have got to call them to get out because they see the channel and go in there.

What would you do without them?

I couldn’t do without them. A lot of times I use them to bring sheep into the yards or rams up to sell. You can't replace them. When you're bringing stock in you've got control of them. I certainly couldn’t do work without them.