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2023 Cobber Challenge Finalists Announced

The stage is set for the 2023 Cobber Challenge, with 12 finalists chosen to battle it out for the title of Australasia’s hardest-working dog.

Now in its eighth year, organisers are predicting the 2023 Cobber Challenge will be the best yet, with a brand-new format set to produce record-breaking scores for each contestant.

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.

Mataranka (Northern Territory) Kelpie Rose wearing a GPS Tracker

However, for the first time in the challenge’s history, this year 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 honour, glory and a cash prize, while each participant will receive a year’s supply of Cobber Working Dog pet food.

Cobber’s marketing manager Kellie Savage said the new challenge format “levelled the playing field” for all Kelpies, Collies, crosses and heading dogs.

“We know that a cattle station in the Northern Territory operates very differently to a sheep farm in Queenstown, so we’ve taken feedback on board from past competitors and extended the competition to ensure we capture every farm’s busiest period.”

Selecting this year’s finalists was an incredibly difficult task, Savage said.
“We had the most farmers ever across Australia and New Zealand nominate their best mates and most valuable employees.”
She said the final 12 represented a variety of breeds and experiences.

“There’s Garry the Kelpie from Esperance, who herds cattle and sheep, Dot the heading dog from Canterbury in New Zealand, who isn’t afraid to put in the hard yards, and Earl, the partially-blind but tenacious Kelpie from Tassie who’s been working on-farm since he was a pup.”

Savage said Cobber was excited to see what the finalists could do this year.

“We’re confident that multiple records will be smashed by the 2023 cohort.” 

The 12 Cobber Challenge Finalists for 2023

  • Dan McInnes of Acheron, Victoria with Kelpie Jack.
  • Declan Martin of Conmurra, South Australia with Koolie Pip.
  • Demi Riordan of Esperance, Western Australia with Kelpie Garry.
  • Holly Jessen of Woodhill, Queensland with German Short-haired Pointer-Kelpie cross Dallas.
  • Renee Hayter of Bombala, New South Wales with Kelpie Bat.
  • Katie Williams of Uralla, New South Wales with Border Collie Scooter.
  • Jackson Clifford of Mataranka, Northern Territory with Kelpie Rose.
  • Alex Johns of Fingal, Tasmania with Kelpie Earl.
  • Cloe Latty of Willaura, Victoria with Kelpie Jazz.

New Zealand

  • Ashton Clements of Te Wharau with heading dog Fern.
  • Dean Gardiner of Amberley with heading dog Dot.
  • Kelsie Meads of Lake Coleridge with heading dog Sass.

Find out more about the finalists on the Cobber Challenge website.


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