Why Border Collies Reign Supreme: Exploring the Focus on the Breed in Season Two of ‘Muster Dogs’

John Pointon and Prue Howard believe that in terms of endurance in the paddock and eagerness to work for only a good meal, there is nothing better than a working dog.

They consider the border collie as the best breed of dog, and they wouldn’t settle for any other breed when it comes to working dogs.

Ms Howard stated that a working dog is capable of performing the task that would require several men to complete.

“When you open the kennel door at 3 AM, the working dogs don’t need any time to wake up, they’re already full of energy and eager to get to work.”

The border collie breed has many admirers, including a couple who appreciate their working abilities. Recently, a border collie was sold for a high price of $33,000 in central Queensland, setting a national record for the breed.

Ms. Howard has a close bond with Gracie. Additionally, the border collie breed will be featured in the upcoming season of the ABC TV show Muster Dogs, with filming currently taking place for the program, which is scheduled to air next year.

Tom Berrie, who is the president of the Queensland Working Cattle Dog Trial Association, stated that the border collies are the most frequently used dogs in competition trials in Queensland. According to him, 85% of the dogs that participate in these trials are border collies.

The popularity of border collies in Queensland is evident, with breeders like Prue Howard and John Pointon showing a particular interest in the breed. What sets these dogs apart from others?

Kelpies are not the only breed of working dogs as collies are also capable herders and can handle a lot of work throughout the day. The quality of handlers and trainers has improved, leading to better breeding and handling of dogs. 

The couple, John Pointon and Prue Howard, bred Rambo, which was sold for $20,000. Pointon has been breeding and training collies for almost 50 years but still finds it hard to say goodbye to his dogs, including Rambo, who was recently sold in a working dog sale in central Queensland.

Mr. Pointon said that while he acknowledges the value of kelpies, they are not as suitable for the couple’s work style. He believes that the slower you go, the better the outcome while moving livestock in trials or in the paddock. 

Collies are perfect for this purpose because of their stealthy, quiet, and methodical working style. According to him, the collies’ silent working method suits them. Ms. Howard also commented that other types of cattle dogs will try to drive, so it depends on how a grazier operates as to what kind of dog they want.

Last week, Joseph Leven auctioned off his dog Cabra Glebe Sid and it sold for $33,000 at an auction held in Gracemere, near Rockhampton.

The breed of dog chosen for season two of Muster Dogs is the border collie, to contrast with the kelpies that were featured in season one. The show will once again follow a new litter of puppies as they are trained to become working dogs over the course of a year. 

According to Monica O’Brien, the director of the show, kelpies have a faster natural herding instinct compared to collies, and prefer to be asked their opinion on how to muster the herd, while collies prefer to be told. However, collies can be more precisely trained to do exactly what the handler wants. 

The milestones expected of the new puppies will be the same as in the first season, but tested a month later to align with slightly slower maturity.

Border collies are often used in rural Queensland for herding cattle. However, they are not allowed to go into the yards as puppies. Instead, they are trained with sheep, where the risk of injury is lower. 

Prue Howard and John Pointon train their puppies by introducing them to sheep and waiting for their natural instincts to show. Training then starts by encouraging the puppies to go in a specific direction instead of just running around the sheep. 

The time it takes for the dogs to be ready to work varies for each litter. Some are eager to start working at around 10 weeks, while others may take four or five months. As the dogs age, good nutrition and care are important for their maintenance. 

According to Mr. Pointon, not taking proper care of a dog is similar to not maintaining a car, and both can fall apart if not looked after properly.


Read More: @abcnews

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