The Australian Working Cattle Dog of the Year – Riverside Jake – and his owner Ben Gould are savouring their success.

Story By Amanda Burdon

The grain-fed calves are flighty and Riverside Jake has been tied up a little too long. He’s grown hungry for work. The moment he hears owner Ben Gould whistle, the lean kelpie-collie cross streaks into action. “Here Jake, come behind, come behind,” Ben commands. “Get up, Jake, get up.” Within minutes, Jake and his canine companions Hylite Rush and Hylite Dot have the small mob swirling just metres from Ben in a tight formation. Jake’s eyes don’t leave the calves for a second as he crouches in the long grass.
“He’s a very intense, precise and fast-moving dog,” says Ben, a fourth-generation dairy farmer from Greenridge, just east of Casino, in northern New South Wales. “He’s also smart and motivated. Sometimes he will get into trouble in the trial ring by moving too quickly, but he will just as quickly get himself out of trouble.”
That agility, efficiency and obedience certainly impressed judges last year, earning four-year-old Jake the title of Australian Working Cattle Dog of the Year in the open category. Ben sports an impressive belt buckle as a result – the reward for clocking up 10,600 kilometres to attend 22 trials throughout New South Wales and Queensland to accumulate the title-winning points.

This Story is from Issue #101

Outback Magazine: June/July 2015