Cobber Stories & Media

Speedy youngster defies expectations

14 September 2020

All Star competitor Jack Febey turned a few heads in this year’s Cobber Challenge when he entered Whiskey, a Smithfield X Kelpie.

Whilst the Cobber Challenge competition is no stranger to Kelpies and Border Collies, this year was the first time a Smithfield has been entered.

Originally used to herd cattle and in England, Smithfields are outgoing, active and intelligent working dogs.

Their shaggy coat keeps them warm in cooler climates and they are known to be good workers in highlands, snow and rough bush country.

It’s no surprise then that Smithfield breeds are mostly found on Tasmanian farms, like this year’s Tasmanian All Star team: Whiskey and his handler Jack.

Hailing from Epping Forest Tasmania, Jack first competed in the Cobber Challenge in 2019 with his Kelpie Monty. But it was his special bond with his new dog, Whiskey, that inspired him to enter again this year as a returning All Star competitor.

“I got Whiskey when he was just seven weeks old and I’ve been taking him to work with me nearly every day since,” Jack said.

At just 11 months old, the youngster Whiskey had a lot to prove. But Jack never doubted his teammate.

“Even though he’s young Whiskey works just as hard, if not harder than the rest,” Jack said.

Whiskey dazzled Cobber Challenge followers, and anyone who doubted him, in the first two weeks of the competition. By the end of the second week he had completed over 22 hours of work, covering 221.4 kilometres, at an impressive average speed of 9.92 kilometres per hour.

Jack wasn’t surprised Whiskey was racking up the kilometres.

“He loves every single second of working – no matter if it’s in the sheds or the yard or the paddock, he just loves every bit of it.”

Unfortunately, at the start of the third week of the competition, Whiskey was placed on vet-ordered bed rest after injuring his foot.

This meant that the Tasmanian All Star duo were unable to work in the final week of the challenge.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t get the job done and finish the competition, but I’m proud of what we’ve achieved,” Jack said.

You can view the final standings of the Cobber Challenge here.

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