Ken & Natalie White


McKenzie and his Dog

Centennial Trials

A monument to James Hogg known as the “Ettrick Shepherd” was a prolific writer and and Poet  b:1770-d:1835 in Scotland.

It was erected by grateful landowners who appreciated his skills as a man of the land

Ken with Monument 

Scotland 2005

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World First Recorded Trial

A trial of sheep dogs was held on the station of Messrs Holmes and Campbell, Wanaka, on Wednesday, the 18th instant, which was entered into with great spirit by the shepherds. We also observed a few of the fair sex present. The Trial was only one of many which would be required to show a really good dog for all work, but as this is the first thing of the kind in the district, no doubt another will be added. The entries were numerous, and the running such as would disgrace no man or dog in the country.
The following was the trial— “ Each shepherd, with his dog, was required to drive three wild hill wethers, turned out of a yard, about a quarter of a mile, put them in a yard of five hurdles, without a wing, and return them to the starting place within 30 minutes. The shepherd doing his best and to the satisfaction of the judges, received a prize of L5, the second L3. The results were :-

John Craig’s Sweep 1st
O.McCallum’s Keilder, 2nd
R.Anderson’s May, commended
H.Broughton’s Trim, commended
W.Little’s Bet, Commended
R Watson’s Clyde
R, Watson’s Chance
J. Goldie’s Roy
J. Goldie’s Yarrow
O. McCallum’s Bent
H. Broughton’s Tweed
W. Martin’s Hope
J. McDonalds’s Bot
J. Edmonston’s Ben
G. Robson;s Bells

Mr B. P. Bayly, Clyde, and Mr T. Allan acted as judge, and Mr H. Campbell as referee, and gave every satisfaction.

The following letter accompanied the foregoing report:--

I have forwarded you a report of a Sheep Dog Trial, which was held on Messrs Holmes and Campbell’s station at Wanaka, on the 18th instant, which I hope you will favour me by inserting in your paper.

As that is the first trial of any kind I have heard of in New Zealand, I trust I shall not be thought too bold if as a shepherd of considerable experience in Scotland and in Otago, I offer a few remarks on the benefit to be derived by runholders following Messrs Holmes and Campbell’s example, and encouraging these trials. On every run like the Wanaka—hilly, and in places rough—a shepherd, however good he may be, is comparatively useless on the hills without a thoroughly good and well trained dog, on which he can place every dependence. If he has not such a dog, he runs great risk of either leaving a few sheep behind him on the hills when mustering—and this will generally happen in the highest and roughest pieces of country, where they remain cut off from the rest of the flock, and probably escape the shearer’s hands for a year or more,--or if found in future musters they have such a weight of wool on that they cannot travel with the rest, at all events are brought in with considerable difficulty ; or if chasing a mob over some rocky precipice or deep ferny gully , where many are either smashed to pieces or smothered.

Now, sir, we have matches and trials of almost every kind to encourage and perfect the breeding of other useful animals, while the sheep dog, one of the most useful, is totally neglected, or nearly so, by the majority of flock owners and shepherds. In my humble opinion, it would be greatly to the benefit of masters to see that their shepherds had really good animals to work with ; and ease them to keep nothing but will-bred and carefully-trained dogs, since they are condemned by Government to pay a heavy tax for each one , a tax which I never was even asked to pay in one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world, and one that I am sure every man who gives the subject any consideration must admit is at once oppressive and unfair, and one which, in almost purely pastoral country like Otago, every man should do his utmost to abolish. In conclusion,

I will say a word or two on the employers; and now I know I am touching on “kittle” ground. It seems to me that the majority of employers make but little distinction between the man who is really a shepherd—who has been brought up to it , I may say from childhood and never followed any other occupation—and the man who, with a good stock of what is colonially termed “cheek,” gets a long stick in his hand, and any kind of a mangy cur at his heels, calls himself a shepherd, at the same time knowing as much about sheep as he does of the “man in the moon.” For I notice that one stands and equal chance of employment by the majority of flockowners, and at an equal rate of wages, as the other. I think that if employers gave a greater preference to merit in shepherds it would be much to their advantage, and incite men to strive and become shepherds in something more than name.

I am, Sir


Oamaru Times Report on the first Recorded Trial in the World Tuesday, April 30, 1867
Tuesday, April 30, 1867

Recorded Trials were held in 1867 1868 and 1869