Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dogs in New Zealand

Riley here - as part of MaxMom's "Unitiy in Diversity" initiative I thought I would tell you a few things about what it is like to be a dog in New Zealand.

First I need to check you all know where my country is... New Zealand is a small country at the bottom of the world, to the South-East of Australia.

You see people often confuse us "Kiwis" with Australians because our countries are so close together but there are many differences including our accent is different and our flag is different (Australia has the same blue background and union jack in the top left corner (to recognise old links to the UK) but we have four red stars with a white boarder  (to represent the Southern Cross) whereas they have six white stars).

I was born in the centre of the North Island, and now live in Auckland which is the largest city in New Zealand.  There are currently about 4.3 million people in New Zealand, with 401,500 people and 22,000 dogs (according to Auckland City Council) within the Auckland City boundary,  and 1.25 million people in the greater Auckland area (which includes neighbouring city councils in our region).

Auckland's business district,
with the Auckland Harbour Bridge in the foreground

The 2006 census results said "Auckland was the most ethnically diverse region in New Zealand, with 56.5 percent of its population identifying with the European ethnic group, 18.9 percent with the Asian ethnic group, 14.4 percent with the Pacific peoples ethnic group, and 11.1 percent with the Māori ethnic group."

There is a great diversity of dogs here too, and it always surprises me how many different breeds I meet when I am out and about at the park, running on the beach or at a class (where I've done some obedience and agility training). Our  New Zealand Kennel Club recognises 205 breeds in seven groups, but the NZKC don't yet recognise a dog that is very important to our country...


New Zealand Huntaway puppies

Why is this dog important, well farming has always been a big part of our export industry, and our country has areas where vehicles and farmers on horses easily can't get to (think of the scenery that you saw in the "Lord of the Rings" movies which were filmed here) so dogs are used to control the movements of animals (like sheep) from a distance and round them up.

Our farmers use two types of dogs.

Heading dogs (also known as Eye Dogs), which quietly move around the front of the animals, move them into a group and eye them into moving the way the farmer wants. Border Collies (traditionally used in places like Scotland) are popular for this. Border Collies came to NZ with our early settlers.

The second type is "Huntaway" dogs. These dogs gather up animals from behind with their deep barks, and use their noisy barking to drive the sheep forward. The dogs are breed through selective breeding for their working ability, and are usually black and/or tan (but sometimes also have white), have a long or short coat, are 20-24 inches (51-61 cm) high and weigh 40-65 pounds (18-29.5 kg). Huntaways can also be used for heading.

There is a statue of a NZ Hunterway in Hunterville (a small town in the North Island) as a tribute to this breed of dog.

If you want to see farm dogs in action, here is a link to a
A Dog's Show  (which screened on NZ television between 1977-1992) with three clips showing Sheep Dog trials.  

We also have our very own cartoon about a dog and his experience of farm life.


The cartoon is called "Footrot Flats" by Murray Ball.  There are many characters (both human and animal) but the main character is a sheepdog called "Dog" (he was called "Dog" as he always managed to stop anyone saying out loud the name he was given as a puppy).

 This cartoon was published in our newspapers and in newspapers around the world from 1975-1994, made into books and even into New Zealand's first animated movie. If you're interested click on the images below to enlarge them,


or this link to see part of the film

One last piece of trivia - did you know that all dogs registered here for the first time after 1 July 2006 (as well older dogs that are classified as "menacing" "dangerous" or dogs that have been impounded) have to be microchipped, so I'm a high-tech dog! The only exception is for working farm dogs. Now strangers can scan my neck and find out about me, even though the same details are on my ID tag and dog registration tag attached to my collar for anyone to see if they want to read this information the old fashioned way.

Well our next game is against Italy (the current world cup holders) on Sunday (South African time) which will be early Monday morning here. Keep your paws crossed for a good game, and in the meantime I'll be resting like Dog below, and saving my best barking to direct our NZ team where to go while I watch the game from afar.
UPDATE Our team of underdogs (ranked 78th) could not be beaten by Italy (ranked 5th). It was a 1-1 draw. Mum and I are so proud of our New Zealand team!



Heather and Ellie said...

I've never heard of the New Zealand Huntaway dog! But they do seem quite an important part of your history and farming, it's odd that the NZKC doesn't recognize them. I love learning about dog breeds I've never heard of. Thanks for sharing the NZ Huntaway's history.

I giggle at the thought of you being classified as 'menacing' :) I would be petrified if I met you in the dark of the night for sure! ;)

Hoping New Zealand comes out on top in Sunday's match. Go NZ!

Deborah said...

Hi Riley! That was an awesome post! I didn't know any of that information! Good Luck with your team :)

Sheila and Bob said...

Very interestingpost and a lot of good information, Thanks Riley.

Hamish & Sophie

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Pawesome post!

Thanks fur sharing those interesting fakhts and stuffs about NZ and NZ khanines!


Jacqueline said...

A great, interesting post, Riley!...Thanks for teaching us so many diverse things about New Zealand...Good luck to NZ in the games!...We are really glad to be your friends...Happy week, sweet handsome boy...kisses x3...Calle, Halle, Sukki

Maggie and Mitch said...

What an interesting post, Riley! Your Huntaway dog is very handsome as well as useful to the farmers!

Love ya lots,
Maggie and Mitch

MAXMOM said...

Hey there Riley!
What a really wonderful post, yet again!!! Your blog is fast becoming one of my favourites. I am learning so much about your beautiful country! Keep the posts going please. I know that it takes a lot of time to put up such please know that we appreciate them immensely.
Sending lotsaluv to you.

Ginger Jasper said...

Didnt know any f that and those dogs are cuties.. Thanks for showing us.. HUgs GJ xx

Sue said...

Great post Riley! We're learning so much about other countries from these Diversity posts. Good luck in the next game.

George the Lad said...

I enjoyed your post, I'm learning all the time, looking forward to your next post.
O by the way am George a WT from the UK, nice to meet you.The next town to us is called Wellington! and one of my mom relatives lives in Christchurch in the UK
See Yea George xxx

Mango said...

Cool! You have your own special type of pup. Hey! I am microchipped too, but momma says it would frost her if there was a law making her do it. New Englanders, sheesh, live free or die I suppose.


Cloud the Wonder Dog said...

Great post, Riley! We luv learning about other countries, and mom says New Zealand is high on her list of places she wants to visit.


Honey the Great Dane said...

Aw, Riley...coming to your blog always makes me so homesick!!!

I may travel far and wide but I will always be a Kiwi pup! :-)

Honey the Great Dane

doyle and mollie said...

good on you mate!!

Inky and Molly said...

Our pinkies have always had a soft spot for NZ. We obviously have never been to your wonderful land but we hear that there are soooo many beautiful places. Golden Bay is a hot favourite in this family. Maybe one day...

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Momma wants to know if New Zealand ever gets all scared being 'out there' in the big ocean all by itself☺

We think it is furry cool that all the dogs have to be micro-chipped. That is far and away more progressive than here in the US!

houndstooth said...

Hi there, Riley!

Wowzers! I learned a lot about New Zealand today! I've never heard of those dogs, but if they have a whole cartoon strip devoted to them, they're tops in my book!


Mr Koda MD said...

Hello there Riley!

Thanks for visiting my blog, I agree I should wake mum up to see what this fuss is all about with the soccer/football. Perhaps I could squeak my soccer ball in her ear... just an idea.

Hopefully we can be good friends, its cool to meet other NZ doggybloggers!


Sierra Rose said...

Hi ya new pal!!! Nice to meet you!!! Mom's says to tell you that she LOVES New Zealand!! Spent some time on the S. Island, at the Bay of Many Coves resort, where one of her bestest girlfriends was working. The friend now lives near Taupo Bay, North Island, and mom hopes to travel there in Feb 2011...for a wedding. Anyway...excitin' to meet you!!!! Great post too :)

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

Sugar the Golden Retriever said...

Woof! Woof! Interesting!!! Lots of Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

Anonymous said...

Hi Riley! Thanks for filling us in, buddy!

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Paige can't really decide when to get her puppy either. Wouldn't it be cool if your mom and Paige got their new puppies at the same time so we could expirience things together? That would be awesome!
Does your mommy know if your gonna get a boy or a girl yet?

Licks of Love,