Local dogs out­per­form in France

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - NEWS - By JARRAH LOH

GRETA West sheep farmer Bill Scott has gained such a knack for breed­ing Kelpies that buy­ers from France are prac­ti­cally beg­ging him for pups.

Mr Scott has been farm­ing sheep and dairy cat­tle his en­tire life, but his dogs are where his true pas­sion lies.

He grew up on a dairy farm in South Gipp­s­land, but moved to Glen­rowan years later, where he es­tab­lished the no­table sheep farm Nioka, which spanned sev­eral thou­sand acres.

Now aged 69, Mr Scott has down­sized some­what, but his Kelpie stud Stock­mans is still go­ing from strength to strength.

So much so, that de­spite his best in­ten­tion, a loyal in­ter­na­tional de­mand has grown for his blood­lines.

“I ac­tu­ally don’t like to ex­port them,” said Mr Scott. “In fact, I refuse to in most cases.” He doesn’t usu­ally like to send his dogs where he can’t make sure they are per­form­ing prop­erly.

“I ex­ported one to Amer­ica about 30 years ago and since then, they have gone to Bel­gium, Den­mark and France.”

Mr Scott has been breed­ing Kelpies for 38 years and started tri­alling them when he was just 17 years old.

“I started with Bor­der Col­lies, but the Kelpies suit Aus­tralian con­di­tions bet­ter than other breeds,” he said.

While some be­lieve Kelpies have an un­de­sir­able in­de­pen­dent streak, it is pre­cisely what Mr Scott likes about them.

“I pre­fer a dog that will dis­obey me to do the right thing, than to do the wrong thing be­cause I tell them,” he said.

“Be­cause a dog can read the stock bet­ter than I can.”

He at­tributes the independence of the Kelpie to its his­tor­i­cal dingo DNA – this also makes for a unique an­i­mal to be com­pet­ing in Euro­pean sheep tri­als.

The first of Mr Scott’s Kelpies made the trip to France four years ago, and proved to be a stand­out.

“Stock­mans Hisa is win­ning tri­als against Bor­der Col­lies, who win all of the tri­als there,” he said.

De­spite his re­luc­tance, he is now send­ing a sec­ond dog to the same fam­ily, who are will­ing to pay the $5000 for the Kelpie, and al­most the same again for her trans­porta­tion.

“There aren’t many Kelpies in France,” said Mr Scott.

“And they are hop­ing Stock­mans Min­nie will per­form as well as Hisa.”

A DOG’S LIFE: Bill Scott mus­ter­ing some ewes early in the morn­ing with (from left) Stock­mans’ Meg­gie, Gidgee and An­nie.

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