The search is on for Australia’s hardest working dog

Hannah Sparks 21 June 2021
Daniel and Sally

Daniel Pumpa and his kelpie Sally. Photo: Daniel Pumpa.

Who owns Australia’s hardest working dog?

It’s the question 2021 Cobber Challenge nominees are waiting to find an answer to and Daniel Pumpa from Koorawatha near Young, thinks he’s in with a fair chance.

He’s nominated his five-year-old kelpie Sally for the annual challenge that sees how many kilometres Australia and New Zealand’s working dogs clock up each day.

Daniel estimates Sally, who he has owned since she was an eight-week-old puppy, travels a staggering 40 to 60 kilometres each day during their peak season in summer.


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Not only does Sally work during the week, but she’s also on the roster every second weekend to keep things ticking over at the farm which is home to more than 17,000 lambs.

“Our feedlot is 200 metres long and there are 22 pens. Just running in and out of pens all day, you’d clock up a fair few kilometres and on a big day, you’d easily be looking at around 60 km,” said Daniel.

Daniel is a seasoned competitor after entering the 2019 Cobber Challenge with his three-year-old male kelpie Turbo.

However, the challenge fell during the height of the drought and during a week when Turbo was needed at a ram show. This meant the hard-working dog wasn’t able to showcase the distance he usually travels and fell to the bottom of the leader board.

Sally on ute

Sally travels up to 60 kilometres during summer. Photo: Daniel Pumpa.

“We didn’t do very well because we had a whole week where there wasn’t any work. I think we did about 180 km in the two week challenge, but that was within only a few days,” said Daniel.

“It really didn’t reflect the work Turbo normally does, especially not now that I’ve changed jobs. I don’t think anyone would catch us during our peak time over summer. I think we’d set a world record.”

Now, returning to the challenge with a new dog and during a busy time at the fat lamb enterprise, Daniel is confident they could win.

“We’re constantly unloading trucks, processing lambs, weighing lambs, putting them out in their paddocks, bringing them back into to be re-weighed and shearing over summer, which took us six weeks this year,” said Daniel.


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Daniel said Sally loves to work and that no job on the farm is too hard for her.

“She’s only a small dog but by golly, you don’t want to be a sheep on her bad side,” said Daniel.

Farmers have until 11:59 pm on Sunday, 27 June to nominate their dogs for the 2021 Cobber Challenge.

Successful nominees will be announced via Cobber’s Facebook page, at 12 pm on Monday, 12 July and the challenge will take place between 16 August and 5 September.

The 2021 Cobber Champion will be crowned on 6 September

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.


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