Information about the New Zealand Huntaway

The New Zealand Huntaway is a large, strongly-built breed of dog used for general sheep herding tasks. They are usually black and tan coloured and were bred to use their loud, deep bark to herd sheep. The breed is relatively new, dating as a distinct breed from the 1900s.

Huntaways are large dogs that generally weigh in the region of 40-65 pounds (18-29.5 kg). Their coats can vary in colour; colours include black, black and tan (usually) with some white or brindle. Their coats can also come in different textures; they can be smooth, rough, or grizzly and they are generally floppy eared. A huntaway’s height is usually about 20-24 inches (51-61 cm) tall.

The New Zealand Huntaway was developed in the 20th Century. British sheepdogs used by early New Zealand farmers mostly worked sheep silently, but occasionally a dog would use its bark to herd sheep. This characteristic was liked by some farmers and so these dogs were bred with other breeds such as the black Labrador, hound, Border Collie and German Shepherd to develop the barking trait.

Huntaways generally live to around 12 to 14 years of age. They are intelligent, friendly, very energetic, active dogs that require a lot of exercise. They have been bred to muster in the hills and mountains of New Zealand where it is difficult to walk or ride, so hand signals and whistles are used to communicate commands to these dogs when they are at a distance. They are well known for being a noisy dog, especially when working.

They are becoming increasingly popular worldwide with a New Zealand Huntaway Club started in Japan and huntaways being bred and used in Australia for work and yard dog trials.

Hunterville in the North Island of New Zealand is known for its statue of a Huntaway.