In previous years, the Cobber Challenge has showcased the efforts of individual working dogs, but this year's challenge is set to celebrate the teamwork that goes into running a farming operation.
Twelve working dog teams that will compete in the inaugural Cobber Challenge Relay have been announced, representing every Australian state and New Zealand.
The new relay format recognises that farmers often work dogs in teams, or pick certain dogs to do different tasks, like mustering mobs of cattle or pushing sheep through yards.
Now in its seventh year, the 2022 Cobber Challenge Relay will run from August 22 to September 11.
Victorian farmers Melissa Smith and Dan McKinnon, Skipton, and Dane Simmonds, Myrniong, will take part in the challenge.
Farmers have nominated teams of two, three or four dogs.
Each day of the three-week competition, the farmer will select one of their nominated dogs to wear a GPS collar, to track how far, fast and for how long they work.
The results will be combined to crown the winning team.
Their data is uploaded daily to the Cobber Challenge website so fans can follow along with their favourite working dog teams.
Nick Foster, a stockman from Boorowa, NSW, said he was looking forward to showing off how hard his dogs work.
"They are a part of my family, and they love my kids," Mr Foster said.
"Every day they get off work, they go find my kids."
His team 'Koonama Working Kelpies' is a family affair.
All four Kelpies are related.
Cracka and Drake are brothers, with Cracka siring Scorcha and Bundy.
Nineteen-year-old shepherd Taylor Bird will represent New Zealand.
His 'Team Hakatere Station' is made up of four dogs - two Huntaways and two Heading dogs.
"We had so many amazing nominations this year, and the 12 we've selected span from Bodallin in Western Australia, across to Mount Somers in New Zealand, almost 5000km," Cobber marketing manager Kellie Savage said.
"These teams showcase different types of farms and different breeds of dogs.
"But one thing all the teams share is a special relationship between our entrants and their dogs."
Ms Savage said the relay format would give people a better sense of how farmers really work with their dogs.
For three weeks, the dogs will be scored based on distance, speed and duration of work per day with points accumulated based on daily activity to determine the winner of the Cobber Challenge Relay trophy.
People can follow the performance of their favourite working dog team at cobberchallenge.com.au and on the Cobber Dog Facebook page.
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