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From the snow-covered peaks of the Southern Alps to the blistering heat of the Australian outback, Cobber begins its search for the ultimate working dog, with nominations for the 2023 Cobber Challenge now officially open!

The 2023 Cobber Challenge, recognises the unsung heroes who keep New Zealand’s $10 billion agricultural sector moving: the paws-itive champions of the industry – the working dog.

With more than a quarter of a million stock-herding dogs in both Australia and New Zealand eligible to enter, this year’s competition is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever.

In its 8th year, the Cobber Challenge will see a shortlist of 12 of the fastest and fiercest mustering champions battle out in a gruelling trans-tasman contest.

Over three of their busiest weeks, a battle will take place between kelpies, collies and crosses, each fitted with a GPS tracker to record their performance.

Canine competitors will be required to demonstrate their finely honed skills, assessed on speed, duration and distance covered over the competition period.

The dog that clocks up the most kilometres will take home honour, glory and a cash prize, while each participant will receive a year’s supply of ‘Cobber Working Dog’.

Kellie Savage, Cobber’s Marketing Manager says this year’s competition will be a chance for farming communities to acknowledge the lifelong commitment of the working dog.

“Working dogs are more than man’s best mate. They’re also a farmer’s colleague, partner-in-crime, and an extension of the family. They should be celebrated”

“In previous years, individual dogs have reached more than 50 kilometres in a single day, so we’re excited about what this year’s Cobber cohort will achieve.”

Australian farmer Daniel Pumpa, a two-time Cobber Challenge competitor, says the contest is a great opportunity to bring some friendly rivalry onto the farm.

“Our farm, in Central West New South Wales is a pretty big operation with sheep, cattle and crops. I couldn’t imagine a day’s work without my dogs,” said Daniel, “They are the most valuable employees I have, and they’re my best mates.”

“I’ve competed in the challenge twice over the past eight years and have had an absolute blinder of a time doing it. I’d encourage any farmer out there to give it a crack.”

Cobber is encouraging all Kiwi farmers and their beloved working dogs to enter this years’ challenge to prove they are the best of the best. Nominations are open for four weeks and will close on Sunday 25 June.

Ready to show all of Aotearoa how hard your cobber works? Enter now at

Cobber provides the fuel for thousands of working dogs of Australia and New Zealand. For more than 30 years, Cobber has worked side-by-side with those that work, live and love the land. During that time, we have learnt that farming in Australia and New Zealand is unlike farming anywhere else in the world. It has its unique opportunities and challenges and requires a toughness and resilience from both the farmer and their dogs. At Cobber we’re about celebrating the dogs that keep the agricultural sector moving and fuelling their spirit for years to come.