Huntaway

55-77 lbs
22-24"
New Zealand
New Zealand Sheepdog

The Huntaway dog may be best known for herding sheep on the rugged terrain of New Zealand, but they also make the perfect family pet. They’re friendly and gentle by nature and get along well with both children and other animals. 

In this guide to the Huntaway, you’ll learn:

  • This breed originates from New Zealand
  • They’re the result of combining several breeds including the Border Collie 
  • Huntaways are working dogs that are known for their herding ability 
  • They also make the perfect companion dog but require an active family


Huntaway breed overview

The New Zealand Huntaway was bred to be a working dog and is perfectly suited to the farming conditions in their home country. They have great stamina, self-discipline and herding abilities. 

They may be highly motivated and active but they are also gentle, kind and protective, especially with children.

The average cost of Huntaway puppies is $300 to $600, although this can be up to $1,000 — the price can depend on the dog’s pedigree.  

They’re a healthy and hardy breed with a life expectancy of up to 14 years.  



Although the Huntaway is a hardy breed, they are at risk of illness or injury, especially if they are working dogs. Browse and compare the best pet insurance plans today you’ll have peace of mind that you are covered should anything unexpected happen.



purpose Purpose
Working, Hunting, Companion
history Date of Origin
1900's
ancestry Ancestry
Collies, English Hound, Old English Sheepdogs, Labrador

Huntaway Health

Average Size
Male Huntaway size stats
Height: 24-26 inches Weight: 65-88 lbs
Female Huntaway size stats
Height: 22-24 inches Weight: 55-77 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Bone Cancer
Minor Concerns
  • Hip And Elbow Dysplasia
  • Ear Health and Infection
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Eye Problems
Occasional Tests
  • Full Physical Examination

Huntaway Breed History

Huntaway dogs were bred during the early 1900s with a specific goal of producing a strong, agile dog capable of rounding up massive flocks of sheep in the farm terrain of New Zealand. 

Many farms were large and the farmer often lagged behind his dogs, so the quiet method of communicating with your dog didn't work. The Huntaway was bred to have a loud deep bark that, combined with the dog's herding skills, controlled the flock and directed them to where they needed to go. The bark of the dog could be heard miles away, enabling the farmer to know where the flock was and what was happening.  

There were several breeds used to produce this new breed, some of which included the Border Collies (as well as the Rottweiler and Labrador) who found the mild, moist climate of New Zealand and the size of the farm too much to handle.

Selective breeding with a range of dog breeds resulted in a large, strong dog who could handle working in a pack or on their own, in wild tracts of land with varying climate extremes. A temperate climate ensured there was always plenty of green grass, and sheep flocks grew considerably during the 1900s. The Huntaway proved they were the dog for the job and became part of the heritage of the country. 

Special day events were developed to showcase the Huntaway at sheep herding trials. These events were known as 'huntaways', which gave the dog their name. 

The Huntaway was recognised by The New Zealand Kennel Club in 2013. However, it’s not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club as a 'true breed'.

Huntaway Breed Appearance

The Huntaway is an attractive and solid dog, with a well-proportioned body. A deep chest gives them the stamina they need, while their muscular yet elegant physique allows them to run, change direction and control a large flock of animals.

They have well-padded paws to cope with the rugged terrain of New Zealand. Their tails are long and held at mid-height unless they’re working. Then, they may hold the tail low to let the sheep know who the boss is. 

They have a long muzzle and their ears are long and floppy although they hold them out from their head when alert. The eyes are soft, round and dark, but with a lively, inquisitive look. 

Their fur is short and dense with some fringing around the chest and tail. Huntaways are often black and tan but can also have some white or be brindle. 

The dog may vary in appearance, but they never vary in unique voice and ability to control and move livestock.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Huntaway eyes
Brown
amber Huntaway eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black Huntaway nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
pied Huntaway coat
Pied
black Huntaway coat
Black
brown Huntaway coat
Brown
Coat Length
coat
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
coat density
pin
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
coat texture
Huntaway wavy coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Huntaway Breed Maintenance

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, this is the one for you. They almost look after themselves, especially if they are farm dogs. 

They do shed, particularly during the summer months — so you’ll want to brush them around once a week. They may need the occasional bath with a specifically designed dog shampoo but to remove dirt or dust you can just rub them down with a soft damp cloth. You shouldn’t bathe them too often as the natural oil on their skin is what gives them the ability to withstand climate changes when outside. 

You also need to check their folded ears for infection, brush their teeth regularly and trim their nails when necessary. 

The Huntaway needs an active family as they have a lot of energy. If they’re a companion dog rather than a working dog, they will need at least one long walk every day. As they’re bred to work, they’ll enjoy games that challenge them. They respond well to training and love learning something new. 

An apartment isn’t suitable for this dog as they need plenty of space. A large fenced yard in the countryside will suit them best.


Huntaway health risks 

Huntaway dogs are generally quite a healthy, tough breed that don’t have many health issues. Any health problems they do have are usually caused by their work. But, they do have some inherited health conditions you need to be aware of. 

One major concern with this breed is bone cancer. There’s also a chance of hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. You also need to be aware of their ear health, and watch for any possible signs of infection. But, these are all minor concerns. They can also occasionally have eye problems. 

Does your pet insurance cover conditions such as bone cancer? Browse and compare top pet insurance providers to ensure you have the best cover for your dog. 

Bone Cancer 

The most common bone tumor is osteosarcoma — it can affect any bone in any dog but is most likely to occur in the leg bone of larger breeds. It’s one of the most serious cancers;  it’s difficult to remove and can spread quickly. At first it may look like a swollen or hard area on the dog's leg and you may notice them limping. It can also break easily. They need to be seen by a vet as soon as possible if you suspect this. They will X-ray the leg and perform a biopsy. The treatment will depend whether the cancer has been caught early or not. 


Feeding a Huntaway - what’s the best diet?

Huntaways are large and active dogs with a lot of energy. They can be fed high-quality dry food with protein as the main ingredient. The protein in your Huntaway’s dog food will contribute to their strong muscles and healthy bones — which is particularly important in a breed that is at risk of bone cancer. You’ll find some are specifically formulated for working breeds. Look for ‘active’ or ‘working’ on the packaging. 

Puppies should be fed four times a day, then once your Huntaway is an adult you can reduce this to twice a day. 

You’ll want your Huntaway to have the best possible diet. To help, check out our friends over at Dog Food Advisor for advice including the best large breed dog food and the best large breed puppy food.


Brushes for Huntaway
Pin Brush
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Slicker Brush
Deshedder
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
fur daily fur weekly fur monthly
Huntaway requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Huntaway Temperament

This breed's role of controlling sheep on the farm has given them an independent streak. However, at home with the family, the Huntaway temperament is soft and gentle. They are affectionate with all members of the family but do tend to bond closely with one person. They have a lot of energy but, at the end of the day, love to snuggle up and have a cuddle with you. 

They’re a happy breed that loves to play and are great with children as well as other pets — including cats. However, if you do have a cat just be aware that they may try to herd them, as well as family members. Proper socializing and training can help you to avoid this. 

If you’re looking for a guard dog, the Huntaway isn’t the dog for the job; they’re very friendly with strangers. However, that said, their loud, deep bark — that they may use when someone approaches - could frighten any potential intruders.

Although their loud bark is useful when working in the fields, at home they’re quiet and well-behaved. They are also smart, hard working and eager to please, which makes them easy to train.

Activity Level
low activity medium activity high activity
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
14 miles
walk mileage
Minutes of Activity Per Day
80 minutes
activity minutes

Huntaway Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
cup per day cost cup per day cost cup per day cost
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
food bowls daily cost
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00
food bag monthly cost

Huntaway Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Huntaway size stats at six months
Height: 13.0 inches Weight: 16.0 lbs
Female Huntaway size stats at six months
Height: 11.0 inches Weight: 12.5 lbs
12 Months
Male Huntaway size stats at 12 months
Height: 18.0 inches Weight: 30.0 lbs
Female Huntaway size stats at 12 months
Height: 14.5 inches Weight: 25.0 lbs
18 Months
Male Huntaway size stats at 18 months
Height: 25.0 inches Weight: 77.0 lbs
Female Huntaway size stats at 18 months
Height: 23.0 inches Weight: 66.0 lbs

Huntaway Owner Experiences

Loki
2 Years
4 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Although a very good looking dog he requires alot of patience and understanding if you don't train them not to use their voice they definitely will
8 months ago
Frazier Chand
8 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We got our boy 2 months after getting married. He was born on 16/12/2014. Super energetic extremely loving and a complete Mumma’s boy. Very adventurous loved the great outdoors. Had been on so many camping fishing and swimming trips. He had travelled all over the north island of Nz and moved to Australia with us in 2016. In 2016 prior to moving Frazier had a wee car accident and was later diagnosed with arthritis of right front arm which only flared up winter time and we managed with medication and massage. Unfortunately it is true regarding this amazing breed and cancer. My boy grew angel wings on 31/12/22 at the age of 8 due to osteosarcoma in the front right leg. He deteriorated extremely quickly we were given days after he had his x-ray and bloods on 28/12. Regardless of the disease my boy remained courageous. Not once did he cry. All he wanted was his mum and dad and cuddles. And he growled at his arm every time he got up to go pee and poos. my boy was loved by everyone he met and made friends with. People came and called to say their goodbyes to my darling man. He will forever be remembered as one of a kind ready to please or make people laugh because of his goofiness. You can never go wrong with a Huntaway- as a companion 100000/100 they are the most amazing gentle souls you will ever meet. And they surely will make you feel special if they choose you as their favourite person
1 year, 4 months ago
Tag
2 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Running
playing with children
Sleeping
playing with my other dogs
rides in the truck
Walking
I was asked to rescue Tag from being shot. I was a bit hesitant as I knew the requirements of a dog like Tag. She is a delight, caring, full of love, obedient and wants to make you happy. She has a very deep bark, which when asked to "stop barking" she obeys instantly. She enjoys her runs/long walks, but is terrible with people who we pass, so I have to walk her before the sun rises and late at night. I have a decent property that she runs around with my other dog who is a boxer/mastiff and not as energetic. However, a farm would give her the endless running space I know she would love. I take her my friends farm periodically for a decent run. She enjoys sleeping on the bed with me and my other dog, and you can see she knows just how loved she is.
1 year, 6 months ago
Bear
18 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chase
We got our huntaway Bull mastiff cross as a puppy, he is more huntaway in temperament apart from his weariness of strangers (the mastiff in him). He is very intelligent and easy to train, but that also means he is strong willed and a bit stubborn. If he doesn’t want to do something he will bark at you, and if he hears 2 people talking animatedly he will bark because he thinks they are arguing. My Great Dane was exactly the same! He is a bit naughty with chewing, but all large puppies can do big damage (he is 45kg, slightly larger than huntaway usually reaches). He has mild hip dysplasia which we solved so far by leaving him entire, but he has started to become very difficult to contain (roaming and recall issues if he gets out the gate) so will be neutered soon as the neighbors have several dogs always on heat. He is great with other pets, particularly good with ducks and chickens. He is gentle and has never bitten anyone but has killed a wild baby rabbit. We had to train him very well not to jump up and also not to crowd people when they visit. He is a massive crotch sniffer, it is soooo bad. He absolutely loves other dogs and will try very hard to make friends with even the most scary anti social dogs. He is terrible on a lead, even the halti is hard work, which makes walking him off putting, unfortunately he needs a lot of walking so it’s a catch 22. I don’t recommend this breed for anyone not on a farm, they need to be out there running on a farm, so much energy and they love farm dog training, ours knows so many commands. Even a lifestyle block is not enough room.
1 year, 10 months ago
Sadie
6 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Long walks
Play time
Chew Toys
Fetch
I have owned Sadie since she was 10 weeks old, and she’s only got more energetic since. She has been very easy to train as a family pet and knows many voice commands, currently struggling with the recall as she would rather just run near me than fully come back for me to put a lead on. She’s my first dog and is doing really well with our cat who isn’t the most dog savvy. The grooming and washing is extremely low maintenance and she loves being out in the rain so weather isn’t an issue. They are stubborn dogs and if she’s frustrated she will bite your legs and jump up at you, with a firm hand she quickly snaps out of it and learns that being calm gets her a treat. She walks with a halti head collar to stop the pulling, it helps me with the much needed control as without it i would be dragged along the floor. Do expect a huge growth between 10 weeks and 6 months cause she looks like a completely different dog now and is just about your knee in height.
2 years, 2 months ago
Kate
7 Weeks
3 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Very early days obviously but she's a remarkably clever little dog and right now she's learning the basics of a command per day done in a playful treat based way. Her Name, Here, No and Bed - all straightforward commands but never had a working dog so keen and eager to please at such a young age. Normally stopping them chewing your finger is result enough!
2 years, 5 months ago
Maisie
2 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
She is a mix breed but a beautiful quirky personality
2 years, 6 months ago
Sam
12 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Hide & Seek
Fetch
Sam is the best and nicest natured dog we have ever known. He is extremely affectionate and is constantly demanding cuddles. He thinks that anyone who comes to the house, has come to see him and treats everyone like a long lost friend. Strangers always fall in love with him. He loves the 4 cats and they all get on well together, even sleeping together in a bed. He is also an amazing watch dog.
2 years, 8 months ago
Harley
9 Months
5 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Long walks
Tug-of-war
Tag
Chase
Huntaway's are a great breed! They are so friendly with anyone they meet and are so active. She can be stubborn when it comes to leaving the chickens alone and not chase them:( She is so clever, when we first got Harley (2weeks old) she knew to only pee outdoors with light training!
2 years, 8 months ago
Lettie
2 Years
4 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Playing in the snow
It's been great have her in out lives
4 years, 5 months ago
Tonks
4 Months
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
training
Sea paddling
Long walks
I've only had my little girl a few months since 7 weeks old, but I'm loving every minute. She has a very quirky personality
3 years, 11 months ago
Xieki
10 Months
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I first met Xieki this afternoon. Igot him from a friend of mine who was unable to keep a dog so,I went down to J'ville to retrieve him. He has a gentle loving nature and is also a comedian I look forward to our first day together tomorrow. Watch this space!
3 years, 9 months ago
Kai
1 Year
6 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Dancing
Playing
training and going for a walk
Kai is 1yr old now, he is a very large loving dog. He can be clumsy and is much happier when he is around us. The most important thing we had to teach him is to bark on command and stop barking on command as he talks a lot! He is handsome and people ask us what type of dog he is. People also call him scooby-doo. He is easy to train but can be stubborn.
3 years, 9 months ago
Jem
8 Months
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Chase
Playing Ball
Walk
We have had one huntaway previously.
3 years, 6 months ago
Ragga
7 Weeks
2 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Name te
Sit and bark training
Cuddles
My boy is so clever. Has learned to use outside as his bathroom and sit over night. Genius. This blog has excited us for what's to come.
3 years, 5 months ago
Echo
5 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Scentwork
Walking
Hoopers
Fetch
Hiking
Puzzles
Running
She is very affectionate, loves to cuddle. Boundless amounts of energy, family dog not working, loves puzzles and scent games. Loves to run around like a lunatic. Is very affectionate with my 11 and 5 year old children. Annoys the cats for attention but isn't aggressive with them. Wary of strangers but fine once introduced. Oh and loves to dig and run in the mud.
3 years, 5 months ago
Charity
17 Years
2 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Hiking, stalking, scenting
Though now has passed on, she was a rescue. Afraid of men and basements. She outgrew her fear.She was about 2years old when we adopted her became a wonderful family addition. At the time we had her we had 2 preteen children and a house rabbit. She took well to all. I would love to have another honey eyed companion everywhere I go. 💖
3 years, 3 months ago
Blue
18 Weeks
3 People
House
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walking,and retrieving games
Full of energy,easy to train,wary but sociable.very affectionate :)
3 years, 1 month ago
Gongpa
2 Years
1 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Walk
Run
catch-ball
Tug-of-war
football
I adopted him from a local farmer in Kathmandu, Nepal when he was in 3rd week after he got rejected by his mother. Everybody said he is mixed breed since his kind is not in common here. He was so small and weak, so I kept him in my bedroom, but somehow he never take his pee and poo on the bed or in the bedroom without any training from the moment he arrived at my home. He'd grown fast in size, and his activity became out of control until 1 year old, however, he was very social with people and other dogs, even with stray dogs. Now he is 2 years old and he is loved by the whole neighborhood. He is the best <3
3 years, 2 months ago
Holly
18 Months
4 People
House & Yard
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
Go on Vacation
Walk
Run
Explore the woods
Road trip
Look out the window
Tug-of-war
Play
Nap
Chase
High Five
Bath time
Off-leash
Car rides
Laying in the sun
We have found our huntaway to be a loving welcome addition to our family. She is happy, lively and playful but does love a good snooze and a cuddle after a nice walk. She has become firm friends with the local neighbour dogs and loves to have a run with them. She loves popping out for a people watch in the car. Although she does try to herd us when off lead which is very funny we find she rarely barks other than the occasional warning when a stranger approaches the house or when she tries to herd the lawn mower haha super affectionate I would highly recommend for any family with a good size garden.
2 years, 12 months ago
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Nutrition
Question

My pup is not growing right, front paws and shoulders curve and presents in a stuffy posture, what food can I give to help her. She’s on royal canon and hills

Answer
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Behavior
Question

Hello, we have a new doggy - a beautiful huntaway collie cross. We got her 2 weeks ago, aged nearly 12 weeks. She seems to be quite nervous and prone to barking and occasionally growling at my children - both are quite gentle natured and are now a bit afraid of her. she has been very fearful of other dogs and people on her first walks (understandable of course). Have you any advice about how we can do our best for her. I know she will need lots of exercise and socialising as well as a calm place to be alone. I feel anxious leaving her for a few minutes alone with the kids at the moment. Thank

Answer
Animal Expert Question Icon
Question - Nutrition
Question

What to be given to a hunyaway puppy of 1 month so that it's growth will.increase

Answer
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