Cam and Pine up for challenge

Cam Clayton and dog Pine are ready for the Cobber challenge.

Hakatere Station stock manager Cam Clayton and his header dog Pine will be taking on the Australians at the Cobber Working Dog Challenge next month.

A GPS will be fitted to Pine’s collar and he will be tracked and his speed, endurance and work capacity tested.

Each day points will be awarded and tallied and at the end of the competition to find the hardest working dog.

Cam is up against two fellow Kiwis and nine Australians in the three week challenge.

It is the first time New Zealanders will compete and the sixth year of the event.

Cam says four-year-old Pine is his best mate and a hard worker.

“When I tell Pine to go, he goes and he’ll keep running all day – whether that’s mustering stock from the hills or getting them around tricky gates.”

Cam bred Pine and from a young age the dog showed his abilities and intelligence.

“The more training you put into them, the better they get,” Cam said.

He believed the pair had a decent chance of beating the Australians.

“Team NZ will give Team Australia a run for their money and hopefully bring home the trophy.”

Cam is the stock manager on 12,000ha Hakatere Station and Pine is his main heading dog.

The faithful canine lost his bottom teeth after a run in with a cow.

The beef and sheep station is in the Ashburton Gorge and calves down 800 Angus and 10,500 cross-bred ewes.

On any given day, Cam and his seven dogs might work on any class of animal including weaners, rams and hoggets.

They also work across different terrain that includes hills and developed flats.

Pine and his fellow headers lead the stock movement, while Huntaways bring up the rear.