The properly trained working dog is indispensable. No machine or substitute could ever replace him.
(James L Moore, 1930)
Craiglea Working Dogs offer the following:
Male pups start at $500
Female pups start at $600
Wormed, vaccinated and guaranteed to work!
The majority of the working dogs we sell are 8 week old pups, and started dogs around 6-12 months old. We sell very few trained dogs, and when we do, it is a case of first in, first served to those on our waiting list. Prices for started, going and trained dogs depend on age, ability and level of training.
All of our pups and dogs for sale are wormed, vaccinated and guaranteed to work. When you buy a pup or dog from us, we offer unlimited phone and email advice on getting the most out of your dog. Jamie will also help you train your dog at "Craiglea" by appointment.
If you don't have time, don't know how, or simply aren't interested in training a working dog, consider purchasing a pup from us to be trained by Jamie at 12 months of age. We take in dogs that we have bred and sold as pups, for training and basic stockwork. This is charged by the month, and depends on Jamie's time and kennel space. We only take in outside dogs for training that have been bred by us.
We use our dogs on our property every day!
We operate a 3,000 head beef cattle feedlot and backgrounding operation, owned by Jamie’s family. We have 12,000 acres, and background between 1,000 and 2,000 head of cattle all year round. We also run up to 2,000 Boer cross goats. We have a long term relationship with Woolworths, suppling 400 grain fed cattle each fortnight. All our cattle are backgrounded in the paddock before entry into the feedlot, usually for 2-8 weeks. This means we are constantly buying young, often completely uneducated cattle from a large variety of saleyards and vendors. These cattle are processed, drafted into weight ranges, and then taken to their respective paddocks.
I do the majority of the cattle movements on my own, using the dogs. Each week I walk away at least 200 head of fresh cattle, in mobs ranging from 10 to 200, breaking them in on the way. Every 2 weeks, we muster our heaviest paddock for induction into the feedlot. Because our cattle are only in the paddock for short periods, the job of educating new cattle is a never ending process.
Good working dogs are by far, the most efficient way to move cattle in the paddock. They allow me to get this work done without the help of other staff, saving our family business money, and resulting in quieter stock, that fatten quicker and are easier to muster. On top of the economic benefits of using dogs, the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my job is working cattle on horseback with a couple of dogs. I can't imagine doing this kind of work without them.
Our dogs also get some yard work, as well as the occasional job around the feedlot pens and laneways. This is a great contrast to the paddock work, requiring plenty of control and force. We also use our dogs to handle our goats. This includes mustering and yard work. This is great work for the dogs, completely different to working cattle, and adds to their versatility. I certainly couldn’t imagine working goats without dogs!
The type of work we use our dogs for include:
Our dogs are not perfect (I would like to see a dog that is), but they are reliable and practical, and they get the job done. They play a very valuable part in the efficiency of our family business. We are constantly trying to improve the quality of our dogs, by setting a very high standard in training and breeding. We have spent countless hours researching bloodlines and training methods, and have spent a lot of time, money and kilometres putting these into practice.
Our goal is to breed practical, tough, intelligent working dogs, with an emphasis on versatility. Our ideal dog is strong enough to work cattle (with bite), gentle enough to work goats with baby kids, and have the temperament and trainability to trial cattle and sheep. We select for a leggy, short haired, practical type of dog with a big heart, capable of long days at work.
Our pups, and the dogs we breed from are selected on the following criteria:
1. Natural instinct and ability – We look for pups that show interest in stock from a young age. I choose pups with heading instinct, that naturally want to hold their stock together, and will balance to the handler with little help or instruction. As dogs progress, they should have enough independence to be able to do practical work for periods of time with little or no command.
2. Temperament – This is super important to me. I need a dog that is likeable and easy to train. All the natural ability in the world is no good if the dog doesn’t want to work in partnership with its handler. A dog that can work on its own, but also be happy to do exactly what it's asked when necessary, is the ideal dog for me.
3. Bite – I purposely left this until last. We run a cattle operation, and 99% of our work is cattle work. Our dogs must bite cattle, BUT… I look for so many traits in my young dogs before I worry if they will bite or not. In my opinion, pups and young dogs that bite too much, especially when working sheep or goats, rarely make the best dogs. I like a dog that can control stock sensibly, biting only when necessary. In saying this, we do not keep, or breed from dogs that won’t bite cattle.
The dogs that we choose to breed from are proven working dogs. They can work cattle, goats and sheep in a day to day work situation, and ideally are successful in the trial ring as well. We have not, and never will breed from a dog or bitch that isn't a proven, practical working dog. We are small scale breeders, very selective in what we breed from. We do not breed litters for the purpose of selling pups. We breed for our own purposes, keeping at least one pup (usually more) from every single litter that we breed.
We have some excellent bloodlines from all over the world. We have spent years collecting the best bloodlines we could find from all over Australia and overseas. Jamie has travelled to the UK, to watch the International Supreme and World Sheep Dog Trials, and visited the homes of some of the best dog handlers in the world. We have also imported two dogs from Wales in the UK.
Our bloodlines have many trial champions, but more importantly, they all come from proven working lines. We aren’t interested in trial bloodlines that aren’t proven in the paddock as well.
We believe that a pedigree is only as good as the dog it represents, and we don't keep poor quality dogs regardless of how ‘well bred’ they are.
I am a very keen dog trialler. I love trialling, and thoroughly enjoy competing against other stockmen and their dogs. The social side of it is great, and it is an excellent way to compare your dogs with others.
I would like to make it very clear however, that we are breeding working dogs, not trial dogs. I am very passionate about the sport of dog trialling, but I see it purely as a final test for the fully trained working dog, and a way of comparing my dogs to others. Real, practical work is our first priority when breeding. My dogs will never make it to the trial arena if they can’t cut it in the paddock first.
In saying this, I do believe that the temperament and trainability required to train a dog to the standard of competitive trialling, is a very important selection trait in my dogs. You soon find out how good you and your dog are, working three head around a course, in front of a judge and the general public!