Working Dog Breed of the Month: New Zealand Huntaway

on February 25, 2022

The Huntaway is a cross-breed unique to New Zealand, and is bred more for its ability to work in the farm. It specializes in herding sheep, keeping them tightly knit even when the farmer isn’t looking.

This working farm dog is highly intelligent and a reliable partner for any shepherd. They’re usually identifiable by their black-and-tan coat, muscled body and floppy ears. If you plan on getting one, here are a few things to know about Huntaways.


Breed History

Border Collies were initially bred with Labradors and Rottweilers to produce the first Huntaways.
Border Collies were initially bred with Labradors and Rottweilers to produce the first Huntaways.

The earliest mention of a Huntaway was recorded in 1884. These were initially bred by farmers since they needed a dog that could withstand the terrain that even a Border Collie could not. Collies were initially bred with Labradors and Rottweilers, to combine their strengths. These dogs were eventually recognized in 2013 by the New Zealand Kennel Club. 


Is the Huntaway the right breed for you?

These dogs have been bred specifically for herding, which is why farmers often choose them as partners. These dogs are obedient, loyal and full of stamina making them perfect for work in the field. 

In terms of trainability, Huntaways inherit the intelligence of the Border Collie and are quick to learn new commands. They’re also highly responsive and coordinate well with farmers by barking, which is loud enough to be heard even if their owner is out of their sight and blocked by hilly terrain.

The need for physical activity and outdoor exposure means Huntaways are generally not suited for an indoor lifestyle. If you want to keep them as pets at home, be sure to take them out on frequent walks and give them lots of exercise. 

In terms of grooming, Huntaways generally need little maintenance. Regular toothbrushing, nail clipping and ear cleaning are usually what’s needed to keep them clean and in good shape. This is a convenience on the part of farmers as well, given their responsibilities with other livestock.


Common health issues

Generally speaking, the Huntaway has few health issues apart from Dilated Cardiomyopathy, or DCM. This can be prevented with heart-friendly foods that have Taurine to keep their heart healthy. 

There is one notable condition called MPS IIA, a rare disorder in mixed breeds that happens because of a specific enzyme. Common symptoms include deformities in the dog’s bones or problems in their nerves. These can be solved either by enzyme replacement therapy or stem cell transplants.


Diet and nutrition

Feeding a Huntaway requires a specialized diet, especially if you plan to get one for your farm. Food with quality protein and sufficient levels of amino acids for muscle building is a must. They also need Taurine and Glucosamine to keep their heart and joints healthy. 

These nutritional requirements can be found in Wishbone Gold, a dry dog food formula specifically made for working dogs and their busy lifestyle. It’s made with premium New Zealand Beef and Lamb making it rich in protein. It also has the added benefit of giving your dog an immune boost with its 8 Superfoods like Mango, Papaya, and Rosemary. Get your farm dog the nutrition they need today and click here to shop! You can also subscribe to Wishbone Gold’s delivery service and get 15% off on monhtly delivery fees.