With the Olympics over, it’s time for the canines to compete.
FOR HUNDREDS OF years, ranchers in Australia and New Zealand have used sheep dogs to manage their flocks. But only since 1942 have sheep dogs and their owners have gathered in Canberra for Australia’s National Sheep Dog Trial Championships.
The competition begins Tuesday, March 9, and runs through Sunday, March 14. Approximately 250 dogs–primarily kelpies, border collies, and mixes of the two–will compete for awards and prize money. They will be tested on their ability to herd flocks of sheep around fields, fences, gates, and enclosures on a marked course.
The competition groups dogs into three categories. Maiden dogs are those that have never won a medal at the competition; they compete on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Improver dogs (those that have won a Maiden trial) and Open dogs (those that have won both Maiden and Improver trials) compete from Thursday to Saturday. The final trials for the Improver and Open categories will be held Sunday afternoon.
Entrance is free Tuesday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, entrance is AU$5 for adults, AU$3 for seniors, and free for children.