Herding – How it all began in Australia.

In 1873 Squire Lloyd Price of Rhiwlas North Wales renowned breeder of Old English Sheepdogs was responsible for organising the inaugural Sheepdog Trial to be held in Bala North Wales. This was the beginning of the Sheepdog Trials.

Squire Lloyd Price said of the OES “not adapted for penning or driving but are best for escorting sheep down roads (Herding C Course) where they show their cleverness by running over the sheep’s backs of closley packed flock to turn the when they cannot pass by their side” (Yard dog trials).

Aubrey Hopwood considered the OES as unequalled as a stock dog.

In 1891 Drovers’ Dog Shows were inaugurated, the purpose of this being for the improvement of the breeds drovers used and of their treatment. In 1894 the show was held at the Metropolitan Cattle Market with an entry of 78 dogs, of this entry 20 were OES.

Over the years there have been many OES breeders who have worked their OES, and so the introduction of Herding into Victoria, Australia began.

This can be credited to Di and Dennis Hayward of Victoria (Australian Cattle Dog Breeders) adter they retunred home following one of their many trips to America where they had been to an Open Herding Trial.

The following is an account of an article that Dennis wrote:

“In 1997 Dennis and Dianne Hayward had returned from viewing another Open Breed Herding Trial in the United States and were discussing it with fellow members of the dog show scene. To there amazement they were told that there were two types of working dogs – ones that were used for showing and ones that worked. This shattered their belief that our wonderful working/herding breeds were no longer able to do the job they were meant to do and were meerely breeding show models. They felt along with other members that our dogs could do the job, but the only way to know for sure was to innate similar kind of tests and trials that they had seen overseas.

With the encouragement from members of the Show adn Obedience world they approved the Victorian Canine Association (VCA) Management Committee about the possibilty of introducing herding events to Victoria. They suggested that the Working Dog Club (WDC) of Victoria would be the most likely to be able to accomodate these types of events. The matter was put on hold for some time but eventually the Working Dog Club called a meeting of members who were interested in herding. This was supported by a large number of members and a Sub-Committee of the Working Dog Club was formed to develop this activity in Victoria.

Through the WDC of Victoria committee’s fantastic support and the promotion and advice received by the VCA Management Committee, the Herding Rules and Regulations were eventually ratified by the ANKC.”

In 2008, the Old English Sheepdog Club of Victoria held its first Herding Test Trial with great success.