KELPIE lovers and working dog owners will get their next fix with the keenly anticipated Muster Dogs series starting on ABC TV this Sunday.
The four-part series starts on Sunday, 23 January, 7.40pm, with all episodes available to binge on ABC iview.
Muster Dogs follows five Kelpie puppies from the same litter with their trainers on the journey to becoming ‘muster dogs’.
The five pups bred and selected by Victorian breeder and trialler Joe Spicer were sent to five graziers around Australia who try to get their pup up to speed in just 12 months. They include Joni Hall with her pack of dogs mustering the cattle in Top End; Frank Finger’s third generation farming family at Clermont in Queensland; station owner and gifted horse trainer CJ (Catherine) Scotney; third generation Pilbara grazier and dog breeder Aticia Grey, and entrepreneur Rob Tuncks, who walked away from stockbroking to pursue his real passion: farming.
The series follows the progress of the puppies with their trainers under the watchful eye of respected expert trainer and low stress stock handling exponent Neil McDonald, as they attempt to hit training milestones, before meeting again in twelve months’ time for the ultimate working dog challenge.
The ABC said the series explores the unique bond graziers have with their best mate – their muster dog – revealing the underlying emotional, economic, and environmental benefits of using dogs rather than machines to muster livestock.
The concept for the series grew from Heathcote Kelpie owner and series producer/director Michael Boughen and was developed after a meeting with series director Monica O’Brien and Neil McDonald.
“It all came about with Neil explaining the history of where the Kelpie had come from, why it was developed and used and how it has lost its way after the war (Second World War) because so many of the many of the men doing that stuff had gone off to war and we lost a lot of the skills.
“Neil is an extraordinarily motivated man who believes in making farming sustainable for the owners and the stock, and he believes that the way is with dogs,” he said.
Mr Boughen said Joe Spicer bred a litter specifically for the series and placed each pup with their trainer.
Mr McDonald said he nominated the participants from his travels doing advanced livestock handling and working dog schools across Australia.
“What we are on about is the education of livestock and bringing new people into the game and all the things associated with it.”
He hoped the series would show that there were still good covering and holding dogs able to ‘bend’ a mob of livestock and show there was potential for city folk in agriculture and rural Australia.
The other working dog experts featured in the series include Mr McDonald’s wife Helen and South Australian trainer and trialler Peter Barr.
For a sneak peek of the series click on the link https://youtu.be/dzoertWd9yA