Calling all-rounder stock dogs!

2021 Judges: Ian Berry, Wollomombi; John Rosten, Armidale; and Jeff Ritchie, Guyra, will be joined in 2022 by Maree Moran, Wollomombi.
08th Mar 2022

Farmers, stockmen and women, agents, contractors and triallers: if you have a stock dog that’s handy on sheep and cattle, you are encouraged to have a go in the ‘Stock Dog Challenge’, run by the Australian Utility Stock Dog Society Inc (AUSDS). The event is being held at ‘Stratton’, 25 km north-west of Guyra NSW, on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April 2022.
Trial host, Mitch Bennett encourages anyone with stock dogs to compete; you don’t need to have dog trialling experience and handlers in Level 1 are not required to be members of the Society. Dogs should be handy with cattle and sheep in the yard and paddock, but don’t need to be good in all aspects.
“Dog handlers can meet others who are interested in stock dogs and training, they can learn from each other, show off their dogs a little, and enjoy friendly, low-key competition,” Mitch said.
“The Level 1 trial is designed particularly to encourage these dogs and their handlers to just have a go.”
AUSDS President, Rod Cavanagh, said that while it is a comprehensive course, the judging and scoring is very forgiving. It allows your dog to show where it has skills, but they can also move on if the dog is having trouble.
“Very few dogs are good at every part of the course, so don’t be put off from having a go if your dog doesn’t always get it right at home,” he said. “Disqualifications are cut to a minimum and you are only asked to retire from a section if time expires, or if the dog loses the stock in the paddock section. Animal welfare is also very important to the Society.”
The course involves three separate phases: the first is in a paddock with three sheep and includes a cast and fetch to you, then the sheep are moved through various obstacles and finally into a large yard; the second phase has eight sheep in a yard having a small gather into a drenching race, then a pen and a draft with some sheep being loaded into a trailer; and the final phase is a cattle arena, where three well-handled weaner cattle are brought down and worked around the handler, then through a panelled gap, and finally out an exit gate.
Level 1 prizes are: 1st $300; 2nd $200; and 3rd$ 100, plus a sash and trophy each. Four minor prizes are also given for the best: (a) long searching casts and mustering; (b) paddock and obstacle work (sheep); (c) yard work (sheep); and (d) cattle handling. There is also a Stockmanship award
Level 2 prizes are: 1st $500; 2nd $300; and 3rd $200, plus a sash and trophy each. The four minor prizes are also given, along with the Stockmanship award. Only handlers in Level 2 need to be members of the Society.
The aim of the Australian Utility Stock Dog Society Inc. is to improve the breeding of practical utility stock dogs for working both sheep and cattle. ‘Stock Dog Challenges’ are held in other parts of the country, which helps to identify these dogs on a national basis.
Spectators are very welcome, both on Saturday Level 1 and for the more advanced Level 2 trial on Sunday.
Entries Close Friday 18th March. Web:, email: