Cobber Stories & Media

Stage set for epic Trans-Tasman working dog challenge

12 July 2021

For the first time ever, the Cobber Working Dog Challenge is welcoming New Zealand dogs to compete against their Australian counterparts.

Today the 12 dogs vying to be crowned the hardest working dog are announced.

Each dog will wear a GPS collar to track how far, fast and for how long they work over a three-week period.

Now in its sixth year, the 2021 Cobber Challenge will run from 16 August to 5 September.

It promises to add to the Aussie vs Kiwi friendly rivalry, already stoked by the rugby union Bledisloe Cup that runs between the nations through August.

Each day of the competition, data is uploaded to the Cobber Challenge website so fans can follow the performance of their favourite dogs and national team.

Three New Zealand and nine Australian dogs will compete.

New Zealand will be represented by three Heading Dogs – a new breed for the Cobber Challenge that has historically been dominated by Kelpies, Border Collies and Coolies.

Stock manager Cam Clayton from Ashburton in Canterbury, New Zealand, says his dog Pine is his best mate.

“When the day is long and work is hard, Pine is always there and happy to work. I believe we have a really good chance to take out this competition,” says Cam.

“I think we’ll give the Aussies a run for their money.”

Two of the Australian entrants have competed before but think this will be their year: Daniel Pumpa who is now working in Koorawatha, NSW, and Bree How in Tunbridge, Tasmania.

As assistant manager on a lamb fattening operation, Daniel and his dog Turbo are doing more stock work than ever, and will be marking lambs during the Cobber Challenge. Overcoming a broken back in 2017, this Kelpie is strong and fit enough to return for a comeback series.

“It’s awesome to compete against the New Zealanders because it will show the differences between us and then in how we handle our dogs and ourselves.”

Daniel thinks the New Zealanders will be tough competition because they cast their dogs a lot more to cover steep country compared to many of the Australian competitors who take their dogs to stock on a motorbike.

Bree is competing with Kit, who was a pup when Bree competed in the Cobber Challenge in 2018. Three years on, Kit has become the main dog in Bree’s team of six Kelpies.

While 2021 will be Antony Mulder’s first Cobber Challenge, his wife Heidi has competed twice. Antony’s keen to see if he and Ritz can beat Heidi’s performance and show how much work dogs do in northern Queensland and their toughness.

Kellie Savage, Cobber’s Marketing Manager, is excited to have New Zealand on board for this year’s Cobber Challenge.

“The three Kiwi competitors work in incredible landscapes and I think their dogs will cover impressive distances,” Kellie says.

“We’re thankful to everyone who applied. How much everyone values their dogs as part of the farm team shone through in the nominations.”

Cobber Working Dog Food will provide the fuel for these dogs, as it does for thousands of working dogs every day around the country.

For three weeks, the dogs will be scored based on distance, speed and duration of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity to determine the winner of the Cobber Challenge trophy.

People can follow the performance of their favourite dog at and on the Cobber Dog Facebook page.

Competitors for the 2021 Cobber Challenge

New Zealand

Cam Clayton and Pine, from Ashburton, Canterbury
Josh Tosh and Trix, from Dipton, Southland
Peter Aitken and Spark, from Millers Flat, Otago


  • Antony Mulder and Narroonda Ritz, from Prairie, Queensland
  • James Knight and Krui Snowy, from Devon Park, Queensland
  • Daniel Pumpa and Turbo, from Koorawatha, NSW
  • Emma Stocks and Koby, from Coolac, NSW
  • Bradley Dunlop and Roxy, Wanganella, NSW
  • Rob Sibley and Boof, from Kojonup, WA
  • Ben Jeffery and Skyblue Jack, from Wannon, Victoria
  • James Leahy and Glenlyon Jill, from Highlands, Victoria
  • Bree How and Kit, from Oatlands, Tasmania
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