Three kiwi farm dogs and their owners are taking part in the 2023 Cobber Challenge, with a further nine Aussie finalists chosen to battle it out for the title of Australasia’s hardest-working dog. The kiwis are Ashton Clements of Te Wharau with heading dog Fern, Kelsie Meads of Lake Coleridge with heading dog Sass and Dean Gardiner of Amberley with heading dog Dot. Now in its eighth year, organisers are predicting the 2023 Cobber Challenge will be the best yet. The 12 canine competitors will wear a GPS tracker to record their distance, speed and duration each work day, with points accumulated based on performance. For the first time in the challenge’s history, the data will be collected over three months, with the three busiest weeks on-farm counting towards each dog’s final score. Come October, the dog that clocks up the most points will take home honor, glory a cash prize and a year’s supply of Cobber Working Dog pet food.
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