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New Zealand Heading Dog
New Zealand heading dogs head.jpg
New Zealand heading dog in truck carrier box
Other names New Zealand Heading Dog
New Zealand Eye Dog
Origin New Zealand
Patronage New Zealand
Breed status Not recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Coat smooth
Color black, white, tan
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The New Zealand Heading Dog is a working and herding dog that uses its visual prowess and quick movement to control sheep. Bred from Border Collies, Heading Dogs are a sturdy, long-legged and even-haired breed. They are generally black and white in color, but may also be tan.[1]


The New Zealand Heading Dog is descended from the Border Collie, a breed of dog originally from the Scottish border. Early settlers brought these dogs to New Zealand to herd sheep, then went on to breed more specified dogs. Due to the Border Collie's long hair, they were bred with shorter haired dogs to create a breed that was better suited to the local environment.[2]

The New Zealand Heading Dog has since been an integral part of sheepdog trials, which began in New Zealand as early as 1867 in Wanaka.[3] The competitive dog sport involves herding sheep around a field and into enclosures.


New Zealand Heading Dogs are very aware of their surroundings and are able to adapt to quick movements that are in their line of sight, suiting their shepherding requirements. These types of dogs are specifically bred and trained to work in farms to circle sheep. They are medium to large dogs with long, smooth, straight hair. New Zealand Heading Dogs are often black and white, but some may be tan or other colors.[4] The breed requires an agrarian environment and are generally not intended to be kept as house pets. New Zealand Heading Dogs are extremely intelligent, active dogs with instinct to herd animals; if left alone for too long, they may try to escape and or herd small animals or children.[5]


  1. ^ Dalton, Clive. "Farm dogs - Heading dogs, huntaways and all-purpose dogs". Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^ Dalton, Clive. "Woolshed 1". Retrieved 4 February 2014. 
  3. ^ Williams, Victoria. Weird Sports and Wacky Games around the World: From Buzkashi to Zorbing. p. 267. ISBN 978-1-61069-639-5. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "New Zealand Heading Dog". Dog Breed Info Center. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Dalton, Clive. "Story: Farm dogs". the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 


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