The New Zealand Hunterway, also known as the New Zealand Sheepdog, is recognised only by the New Zealand Kennel Club as a working dog, and cannot be shown as a breed in the Show Ring. Hunterway clubs are now beginning to form in other countries, as there is an export demand for these dogs because of their working ability.


They are excellent herding dogs, independent, and highly intelligent making them easily trained.



The true Origin of the Hunterway is unknown although they are used throughout New Zealand as a sheep herding dog. It is thought that New Zealand sheep herders developed the Hunterway through the selection of barking sheep dogs and the mixing of various breeds such as the Border Collie, Rottweiller, German Shepherd and the Labrador. The dog has now become the New Zealand national heritage dog.

  Hunterways are not usually kept as pets due to the belief that they need excessive exercise, plenty of space and have a high tendency to bark. Therefore, there is very little information on these dogs being kept as pets or living indoors with families. Shepherds wanted a dog that could work and run all day, with plenty of stamina, herd sheep and make a lot of noise, so the shepherd could hear the location of his dogs.
  • The Hunterway comes in a wide range of sizes and shapes but averages around 51 - 61cm in height at the shoulder
  • weighs between 18 - 30kg
  • is generally black and tan coloured but can be tri coloured with white markings
  • lives around 13 years
  • requires minimal grooming
  • and is generally healthy.
  • They can to live indoors but can also live outdoors providing they are given proper shelter and clean water.

About the author of this article - Nicole Mackie


I come from New Zealand and moved to the UK in 2001. I have 12 years experience breeding and showing Labrador retrievers and 2 years with Siberian Huskies. Also one year experience as a veterinary nurse and certified in general animal science, Canine Psychology and Behaviour Instruction.


After arriving in the UK in 2001 I was introduced to clicker training by a friend. I was so impressed with clicker training that I bought every book and video on how to clicker train. Ever since learning this new training skill I have attended seminars by Elisabeth Kershaw, Nina Bondarenko and attended many courses run by Sheila Bailey such as UDX, CDX and tracking.


In 2003 I met Sheila Harper who introduced me to Calming signals and showed me a whole new way of understanding dogs from a well known respected Norwegian dog trainer Turid Rugaas. This sent me down a whole new road of training dogs, and changed my whole way of thinking and looking at canine communication from the dog's point of view. I joined the team with Sheila Harper in January 2004 and have not looked back since. I am now a student of the International Dog Training School and also helping out with a little bit of clicker training in a graduate puppy class.


I also take one to one dog training, take clicker training seminars, work as a volunteer assistance dog trainer for DogAid and run a little 5 star dog homestay for dogs that are too stressed to stay in kennels. This all keeps me busy while caring for my own three Labradors Bella, Barbie and Kiwi.

You are welcome to visit my web site - www.arohanui-labradors.com


This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).


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