Huntaway (Canis lupus)

SpeciesC. lupus

The Huntaway, also called the New Zealand Huntaway, is a large, strong breed of dog that comes from New Zealand and is used to herd sheep there. They were raised to have loud, deep barks that would scare sheep away.

The breed is fairly new, dating back to the late 1800s, and it is only known for its ability to work. There are no rules about how they look or where they come from, but they are usually black and tan. The New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association can only put dogs in their studbook if they win at trials.


New Zealand has the most sheep per square mile of any country in the world, so sheepdogs have always been in high demand there. Large sheep farms all over the country had a lot of lands to cover, so they needed a determined dog with a lot of energy.

The Huntaway’s loud bark is what makes it different from other herding breeds like the Border Collie. On very hilly land, where the farmer and the dog can sometimes lose sight of each other, being able to bark is a useful trait. Their short fur is also helpful in the summer, when dogs with longer hair, like the Border Collie, can find it hard to stay cool.

The Border Collie and other breeds, like the Rottweiler and Labrador, were mixed with the Border Collie to make the Huntaway. The Huntaway fills a niche in the sheepdog market because it can herd using barking instead of just sight.

It’s not known where the Huntaway came from, but its first written record was found in 1870 in Upper Waitaki. It was in a sheepdog trial where there was a Huntaway class. In addition, the breed was featured in ads in the Otago Daily Times newspaper in 1884.

The New Zealand Kennel Club didn’t officially recognise the Huntaway dog until 2013. But because they are working dogs and have never been bred to look a certain way, making a breed standard and showing the dog is not possible right now. The way this breed looks is very different from one to the next. The group also said that the Huntaway should never be kept just as a pet. Instead, it should always be a working dog.


When breeding a Huntaway dog, the breeder must only care about the dog’s ability and health, not its looks, which don’t matter for the breed. Huntaways are most popular in New Zealand, but they are also used in Australia, Great Britain, and Japan, where a Huntaway club just started.


Huntaway Appearance


The Huntaway is not like most modern dog breeds in that it doesn’t have a standard for how it should look or act. They come in many different shapes, sizes, coat types and colours. Their ability to work, which is what they are raised for, is much more important than how they look. This breed has so many different kinds of dogs that any description can only be general.

Even so, Huntaways are usually between medium and large in size. A typical Huntaway will be between 50 and 66 cm tall and weigh anywhere from 18 to 45 kg. Their black and tan coat, which can be any texture, is what makes them famous.

Even though black and tan is by far the most common colour combination, it is not uncommon to see a dog Huntaway with different coat colour, such as brindle, black, or white. Most dogs have strong, athletic bodies, so they can do their jobs. Most of the breed will have long legs and ears that hang down. Their chests will be deep.

Temperament and Behavior

This dog is always aware of what’s going on around it. A dog that is meant to take care of a large flock of sheep needs to be alert and quick on its feet. Even when it isn’t herding sheep, this dog pays attention to what’s going on around it. So, if someone in the family picks up a ball or Frisbee for a game, this dog will notice.

Even though they were made to herd sheep on a ranch or farm, which is hard work, they are known for being friendly. They love compliments and pats. This is an excellent quality in a dog that shares its home with humans. In comparison to a basset hound or a bulldog, a Huntaway is far more energetic. It seems like a family who likes to travel and have adventures would be the best fit for this dog.

How to Take Care of a Huntaway

If you know more about what a Huntaway puppy or adult dog needs, it will be easier to take care of them. Giving this pet the right food, exercise, medical care, and grooming will help it live a long and happy life with you.

What do Huntaways Eat

Proper nutrition will give your Huntaway the stamina needed to complete its demanding daily tasks. Huntaway pups have special nutritional needs that aren’t met by the standard food for adult dogs.

Huntaway Puppy Food: 

The huntaway puppies would benefit greatly from a diet that includes DHA, as it is essential for their healthy brain and eye development. Muscle and bone growth are aided by protein consumption. With a high risk of developing bone cancer, this breed must receive extra care to ensure they grow with strong bones.

These puppies’ active lifestyles, including running, jumping, and exploring, are made possible by their carbohydrate-rich food. You should feed your puppy four small meals a day to ensure it has enough fuel to last the entire time it is awake.

Huntaway Adult Dog Food: 

Protein in an adult dog’s diet helps strengthen his muscles and joints so he can keep up with his busy lifestyle. Calcium is a part of this dog’s food that strengthens its bones. If this dog’s bones are healthy, hip dysplasia might not happen. This dog runs for long distances because it gets the strength and energy it needs from the fat in its diet.

This dog’s eyes stay healthy thanks to its vitamin A supplementation. An adult dog needs to be fed twice a day, once in the morning and once in the early evening, to ensure that it has time to digest its food before going to sleep.

Meet a mix of glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate that helps keep Huntaways’ joints flexible and pain-free. It’s made for active dogs. It has 26 percent protein, and 81 percent of that comes from real, high-quality meat. Even extra vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are available to help the immune system in every way.

Exercises for Huntaways

The most vital thing this dog needs is to be walked every day. They are strong dogs with good stamina, so taking this pet to a nearby field or woods is a great way to let it run off some energy. Before letting your Huntaway dog run free anywhere, it’s a good idea to make sure it’s fully trained.

Think of games that will give this dog something to do. Like playing tug-of-war with a rope bone or telling the dog to find a toy you’ve hidden somewhere in the yard. Consider it. These dogs were raised to work with sheep. So, they are happiest when they are working toward something.

How Long Does A Huntaway Live?

Most huntaways live until they are between 12 and 14 years old. They are usually very healthy, but some diseases have been found to be passed down. Moreover, they are smart and friendly dogs that are very active and need a lot of exercises.

They were raised to herd sheep in the hills and mountains of New Zealand, where it is hard to walk or ride. Worded commands and whistles are used to tell these dogs what to do when they are far away. People know that they are noisy dogs, especially when they are working.

Depending on their bloodline, dogs can look different and have different personalities and skills. Some dogs are better suited to large station work, which requires them to run and make noise all day, while others are more laid-back and “handy,” with an instinct to scare animals away and only make noise when necessary, but are still bigger and stronger than most herding dogs.

Labrador Retrievers are the second most common type of dog in New Zealand. In Japan, a New Zealand Huntaway Club was started, and huntaways are bred and used in Australia for work and yard dog trials.

On New Zealand’s North Island, the town of Hunterville is known for a statue of a Huntaway.

FAQs: Huntaway


Is A Huntaway A Good Family Dog?

They have a lot of drive and are very active, but they are also friendly and gentle. They are kind to children and look out for them. Even though they are great family pets, they tend to “herd” their family members and other pets that aren’t dogs to get them to do what they want.

Do Huntaway Dogs Bark?

The New Zealand Huntaway is kind to people it doesn’t know. Some of them are not good watchdogs, and they are not guarding dogs. They were made to herd animals by barking, so they needed to be taught when to bark and when not to. These dogs are very smart, so it’s not hard to do this.

How Big Do Huntaway Dogs Get?

Huntaways are usually between medium and large in size, and a typical one will be between 50 and 66 cm tall and weigh between 18 and 45 kg. Their black and tan coat, which can be any texture, is what makes them famous.

How Fast Can A Huntaway Run?

They are very hard dogs and may run 60–100 km per day, often at 20–30 km/h.

Are Huntaway Dogs Good With Cats?

Huntaway dogs are good with pets that aren’t dogs, but they might try to herd cats and other pets around the house. In general, this dog breed is smart, works hard, and is good at herding.

Is A Huntaway A Heading Dog?

Huntaways are big, strong dogs that are used for everything: leading, hunting, forcing sheep into pens, backing (jumping on their backs), and working with them in yards and woolsheds.

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