New Zealand Heading Dog

55-66 lbs
20-24"
New Zealand
New Zealand Collie, New Zealand Eye Dog
Alert, energetic and very intelligent, the New Zealand Heading Dog was born to be a worker, and excels at controlling flocks of sheep. They are a beautiful dog and have quick wits and stamina, as well as a sense of humor. They get along well with small children and other dogs, and can get along with the family cat although it helps if they were raised with the feline. Other small pets may not be so lucky as this dog will probably consider them prey.  They can react to loud noises and be quite sound sensitive, so a noisy family may not be the best for this dog. The New Zealand Heading Dog is both affectionate and a perfectionist. This dog loves to please. But they are very active and need more than just a walk a day. They need work, and plenty of it, to keep them happy. Boredom will drive them to become creative and they can become escape artists or develop other behavioral problems. The open country is a great home for this canine. They need to have their tails worked off so that they are content to come home and rest. You can tell a bored New Zealand Heading Dog; they may start herding your children or strangers!
Purpose
Herding, Sheepdog Trials, Agility Sports, Companion
Date of Origin
1867
Ancestry
Border Collie

New Zealand Heading Dog Health

Average Size
Male New Zealand Heading Dog size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 55-66 lbs
Female New Zealand Heading Dog size stats
Height: 20-24 inches Weight: 55-66 lbs
Major Concerns
  • None Known
Minor Concerns
  • Ear Health and Infection
  • Eye Infections
Occasional Diagnoses
  • Bloat
Occasional Tests
  • Ear Examination
  • Eye examination
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Regular Full Physical Examination By Veterinarian
  • Blood Glucose Tests

New Zealand Heading Dog Breed History

The New Zealand Heading Dog is a vital part of the county's farming system. Farmers still use the dog for sheep and beef cattle, to muster the extensive area of the high country and hilly terrain. There is a monument at Lake Tekapo that honours the working dog's contribution to the development of the Mackenzie Country. The New Zealand Heading Dog was bred from the Border Collie that was first imported from the Scottish Borders by the very first shepherds. The Border Collies habit of crawling along while stalking the sheep proved to be difficult for the shepherds to see the dog. The terrain was full of rough pasture and scrub which made it difficult to control the dog. The New Zealand Heading Dog uses a different approach. They still eyeball the sheep but they move and stand upright and are easier to see, both for the farmer and the sheep. They rarely bark and rely on lightning quick response to head off the sheep that want to bolt. They are also good at catching and separating the sheep without causing the sheep to panic. The New Zealand Heading Dog has never been registered with the New Zealand Kennel Club, who records the pedigrees of the various breeds of dogs in the country. But as farm dogs do well in obedience tests, since 1968 they have been allowed to register as a non-pedigree or a spayed/castrated working dog. By allowing this move, the officials have managed to maintain a record of the genes in farm dogs. For the most part, farmers really only care about the dog's ability, and the New Zealand Heading Dogs looks are of little consequence.

New Zealand Heading Dog Breed Appearance

The New Zealand Heading Dog is a long-legged canine that is fast on their feet and very alert. They can vary in looks even between dogs of the same litter and are bred for workability rather than looks. However, the New Zealand Heading Dog is an attractive dog with their gentle friendly expression and willing to please nature. Their body is long and lean, with a deep chest and strong neck. Their face is long and pointed, with a neat muzzle with teeth that meet in a scissors bite. They have a black nose, and their ears are set high on their head and hang down close to their face. Their coat is shorter haired to cope with the local weather conditions. Colors are usually black and white but these dogs can also be tan. Sometimes they have a bit of feathering around the neck area, but again, this can vary between dogs. Built like an athlete, they are hardy and intelligent dogs.
Eye Color Possibilities
brown New Zealand Heading Dog eyes
Brown
amber New Zealand Heading Dog eyes
Amber
Nose Color Possibilities
black New Zealand Heading Dog nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
fawn New Zealand Heading Dog coat
Fawn
white New Zealand Heading Dog coat
White
black New Zealand Heading Dog coat
Black
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
New Zealand Heading Dog straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

New Zealand Heading Dog Breed Maintenance

Maintenance is relatively easy for the New Zealand Heading Dog, with just a good brushing required each week to remove any loose hairs. This dog only needs to be bathed about three times per year, and we recommend using a mild dog shampoo to protect the natural oils in their coat. These oils help them to withstand the variety of weather they are working out in. Start to train them in puppyhood to become used to their teeth being brushed to make the care of their teeth an easy task. They will need their teeth brushed at least three times a week. The ears will also need checking to ensure that there is no infection within. If your dog smells bad around the ears, then you can be sure their ears are infected. Trim the nails of your dog when needed, and also check for fleas or parasites in their coats if they spend a lot of time in the countryside. Other than those basics, the New Zealand Heading Dog is ready for another round of work and play.
Brushes for New Zealand Heading Dog
Pin Brush
Slicker Brush
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
New Zealand Heading Dog requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

New Zealand Heading Dog Temperament

The New Zealand Heading Dog can be trained to a high standard as they are very intelligent and willing to please. They use their eyes and fast movements to control large flocks of sheep, and they excel in stamina and their high work ethic. Born to work, this dog has a ton of energy which they must use up, otherwise, they can become bored and get into trouble. This dog can be quite sensitive in nature and should be well socialised as a puppy. When young, they can be quite shy so taking them to mix with other dogs and people will help to break this tendency. The New Zealand Heading Dog needs a strong leader who is consistent in their management. Being an intelligent dog, this pup needs things to do to occupy their busy minds. Without a strong leader, this dog can try to take over. Therefore, they need to be kept in line in a firm but fair manner. This dog is great with children, although too much loud noise can be stressful for the dog. But they love to play and certainly have the energy for as many games as your family can think up. This pooch loves your company and thrives on human interaction. Other dogs are accepted readily, as is the family cat if they are raised alongside it. But other small animals will not be tolerated so well. Born to herd, you may even catch them herding your children or strangers! Careful management and loving care will bring out the best in this unique and very valued herding dog.

New Zealand Heading Dog Activity Requirements

The New Zealand Heading Dog is not a pet to consider if you have little time to spend with them, or if you live in a home with a small yard. These dogs were born to work, and even a walk each day will not use up their abundant energy. They are suited to the country lifestyle, preferably a sheep station or farm where they can herd to their heart's content. They do make a good running companion, and excel at agility and trial events. Smart and intelligent, they need mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy. Sleeping in the sun is unheard of in this dog's nature, they are primed for action. They love being with their family when they are not working, and always enjoy a game or two. Fast on their feet with the ability to change direction instantly, they are flexible and true athletes of the dog world. They have incredible stamina, so consider their needs carefully before acquiring one as a bored New Zealand Heading Dog can become a problem.
Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
30 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
120 minutes

New Zealand Heading Dog Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00

New Zealand Heading Dog Height & Weight

6 Months
Male New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 16 lbs
Female New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at six months
Height: 12 inches Weight: 16 lbs
12 Months
Male New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 32 lbs
Female New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at 12 months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 32 lbs
18 Months
Male New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 58 lbs
Female New Zealand Heading Dog size stats at 18 months
Height: 22 inches Weight: 58 lbs

New Zealand Heading Dog Owner Experiences

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