New Zealand Huntaway

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Is the New Zealand Huntaway right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Huntaway; New Zealand Sheepdog

The basics:
The New Zealand Huntaway is not a typical breed recognized by the kennel clubs. Instead, it's a dog developed from a number of different breeds to cope with the unique demands of herding sheep in the hilly landscape of New Zealand. The Huntaway needs to be able to guide the sheep away from the human and toward the appropriate field even when they dip in and out of sight on a steep hillside-- which means they must be able to herd sheep using their voice. It isn't important for the Huntaway to have a certain look. Instead, it should be able to perform the very specific task of herding sheep with its bark.

The New Zealand Sheepdog Trial Association has stated that this dog is a true working animal that should not be kept as a mere pet. Its talents are regularly tested in special events called "huntaways" developed specifically for this breed at sheep-herding trials. This is a special-purpose breed not appropriate for the average home. Nonetheless, the intelligence and trainability bred into this dog has attracted some attention worldwide from pet owners. Be ready to provide plenty of space and worthwhile activities if you select this breed.

Know going in that you have chosen a vocal dog that communicates with its voice. If you have near neighbors, you would be wise to select a different breed.

Appearance / health:
As the emphasis is on working ability rather than appearance, the New Zealand Huntaway comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and coat types. Typically, it is a large dog.

Regular brushing and combing is sufficient to keep their coats in good condition. Longhaired dogs may require more attention.

As a working dog, it needs plenty of exercise such as free running in a yard, jogs, walks, dog sports, play sessions, etc.

The New Zealand Huntaway tends to be fairly healthy.

Behavior / temperament:
New Zealand Huntaways have the unique ability to drive the sheep with its voice. They were bred as a barking-herding dog, and need to be trained when to bark and when not to bark. These dogs can be trained to obey a variety of voice and non-voice commands and owners are often amazed by their capacity to perform different tasks based on the commands they are trained to follow.

The Huntaway is a very intelligent breed and can be easily trained in obedience.

Huntaways in particular can be a noisy breed, but they can be trained to remain quiet when they are not working sheep.


huge stamina, high intelligence dogs, sheep dog, working dogs, sheep farm


MACHINEGUN FIRING BARK, animals especially cats, inactive family, loud powerful bark, active dog


low maintenance, Huntaways distinctive bark, short hair, agility classes

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