WORKING DOG: James Bargenquast is a beef farmer managing a property in Monto with a ten-dog team, led by Ruby.
WORKING DOG: James Bargenquast is a beef farmer managing a property in Monto with a ten-dog team, led by Ruby. Contributed

Dogs sink their teeth into tough challenge

EVER wanted to really know what it means to work like a dog?

Well, Monto farmer James Bargenquast is about to find out just how hard his dog Ruby can really work.

Ruby is part of the this years toughest working dog challenge, a state versus state race looking for Australia's best.

It'll be a fierce competition in the Cobber Challenge with dogs from six states selected to compete in the three-week trial of endurance and speed that will crown Australia's toughest working dog.

Ruby is the typical underdog as James was looking for two dogs to fill out his farm team.

When he picked up Ruby, he didn't know she'd be able to cover for two dogs' work.

A couple years later, Ruby is James' main dog, proving herself a true gem out of a team of 10 dogs.

The border collie has an insatiable will to work, and endless energy for the job be it working cattle or horses.

James said in her down time, Ruby doesn't switch off, when she's not working she loves running, and sprinting with the farm bikes.

Marika O'Leary, Cobber brand manager from Ridley, the producer of Cobber dog food, says the interest in entering this year's Challenge was high, and the selection process tough.

A GPS collar on each of these dogs and track how fast, far and long each of these dogs run on an average working day.

The combination of speed, distance and duration will be calculated and provide information on the top dog.

"There are four more dogs in this year's Challenge, and we're absolutely thrilled to have competitors from across the country,” she said.

"The Challenge is going to be a wonderful showcase of Australian rural life and highlight the vital role working dogs play on every farm.”

The challenge begins on August 28 and will run for three weeks.

The dogs will wear their GPS collars every day they work, and their owners will send the data in every night to be cleaned and loaded to the website so that people can follow their state representatives or favourite dog.

To find out more about the challenge which lies ahead for Ruby go to www.cobberchallenge.com.au/dogs



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