Na­tion’s top dog

Nell nails it at sheep­dog trials

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS - KAROLIN MACGREGOR

WHEN it comes to sheep-dog tri­alling Tas­ma­nia’s Mal­colm Tay­lor is ar­guably one of the coun­try’s best ever.

His abil­ity to har­ness the nat­u­ral tal­ent of his dogs, com­bined with years of ex­pe­ri­ence, has made him dif­fi­cult to beat.

At the re­cent Aus­tralian Supreme Cham­pi­onship in Western Aus­tralia Mr Tay­lor and five-year-old Som­merville Nell beat some of the best dogs and han­dlers from across the coun­try and New Zealand to take home the cov­eted tro­phy. It is the sec­ond time he has won the com­pe­ti­tion.

His dog Nell is for­tu­nate to even be here. She was de­liv­ered by cae­sarean when her mother, one of Mr Tay­lor’s best dogs Som­merville Floss, had trou­ble giv­ing birth.

Un­for­tu­nately Floss died while un­der anaes­thetic, but Nell was saved.

Mr Tay­lor said Nell was very tal­ented and her abil­ity to hold her ground and stand up to dif­fi­cult sheep gave her an edge.

“She’s a very strong dog and her mother was too,” he said. “She does pretty well on most type of sheep, but she doesn’t like sheep that run a lot. She prefers to be able to get them tied up and get in nice and close to them so she can con­trol them.”

Mr Tay­lor lives at Brid­port and reg­u­larly trav­els to the Creese fam­ily’s prop­erty Bowood where he trains his dogs.

Once trained, Mr Tay­lor said he did not work older dogs that much. Most days they go for a run and a swim at the beach in­stead.

“The beach is great for keep­ing them fit, they love it,” he said. “There’s noth­ing like swim­ming to keep a dog fit.”

Mr Tay­lor and Nell have also earned a spot in next year’s Aus­tralian team in the Trans-Tas­man com­pe­ti­tion. This will be the 15th time he com­petes for Aus­tralia and Nell will be his sixth dog to make the team.

He will be joined by three oth­ers to take on New Zealand team and says they have a good chance of com­ing home with the tro­phy.

“I think we’ll go pretty well. But you can’t get cocky over there, any­thing can hap­pen.”

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