Tasmania's Bree How, farm working dog Kit take on Cobber Dog Challenge 2021

Kit is Bree How's right-hand, and as loyal as they come, running as hard as she can to get the job done.

From Monday, the Tassie duo will be put to the test in the Cobber Dog Challenge.

What's that you ask? Well, over three weeks, a GPS collar will track the distance, working duration and speed of a dozen working dogs across Australia and New Zealand.

For the 25-year-old sheep operations manager at Annandale, entering her red kelpie in the challenge is also about raising the profile of young women in agriculture.

"It's a good way to get out there and promote women ... and young people in agriculture because there aren't as many coming through anymore," she said.

"I trained her [Kit] from a pup. I had no idea what I was doing, but she seems to be alright."

But alright seems to be a bit of an understatement after watching the pair herd sheep ahead of Kit's debut in the challenge.

"She's a very loyal dog, quite funny, very protective ... and quite a good worker," she said. "I wouldn't be able to do what I do efficiently without (her)."

Now the champion of the Cobber Dog Challenge might not necessarily be the fastest or the longest worker around, but a dog that has a good all-round effort. Kit has that in spades, Miss How said beaming with pride.


Usually, a working dog could fall into one of two categories - a yard or paddock dog. Miss How said her trusty three-year-old sidekick is both, coming with plenty of natural ability. Although training her into the dog she is today took "a lot of trial and error," she said - and time and patience.

"It takes a little bit at a time ... and praising her when she does (do the right thing)," she said. "For her it was super easy, she picked it up right away ... but then I had other pups, which have taken a lot of effort and schooling."

In past challenges, dogs have been known to clock 50 kilometres each day. With this year's competition spanning from August 16 to September 5, Kit could reach more than 1000 kilometres.

"While we don't have much work on because we are calving and lambing at the moment, what we do have should be pretty intense," Miss How said.

This story This farmer and her dog are taking on the ultimate challenge first appeared on The Examiner.