The New Zealand Huntaway, or Huntaway, is a large, strongly built breed of dog used for general sheep herding in New Zealand, from where he originates. While his exact lineage may vary, his ancestors include a wide mix of breeds, including Labrador Retrievers, Bloodhounds, Rottweilers, Border Collies and German Shepherds. While a relatively new breed – only becoming recognized as a distinct breed in the late 19th century – he is gaining popularity, particularly in Australia, Japan and Great Britain.
Unlike many herding dogs, who work silently, the Huntaway has been bred to use his loud, deep voice to drive the herd, which he then follows behind. Because of their unique method, special events known as “huntaways” were developed for these dogs at sheep-herding trials, and it was from them that he eventually took his name.
This medium-to-large-sized dog is deep-chested and sturdy, generally weighing between 40 and 65 lbs. His coat, which may be long or short, is usually black and tan, sometimes with white or brindle points. For breeders, the look of the dog is less important than his working ability.
Intelligent and friendly, the Huntaway is generally good with children and other pets, and fairly easy to obedience train. He will need calm, consistent training to learn when to bark and when to stay quiet, as he loves to “speak” with his booming voice.
Strong build aside, the Huntaway is still prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions that can adversely affect his health, and your family’s budget. Some of the conditions and illnesses Huntaways are prone to include musculoskeletal conditions such as mucopolysaccharidosis; heart conditions such as subaortic stenosis and dilated cardiomyopathy; and skin conditions such as follicular dysplasia.
Thankfully, Petplan pet insurance covers all hereditary and chronic conditions as standard. Which means if your Huntaway inherits his mother’s weak heart or his father’s pattern baldness, you’re protected.