Dog trials competitor Robert Johnston with his working dog, Pattie, at the Bonalbo Show.
Dog trials competitor Robert Johnston with his working dog, Pattie, at the Bonalbo Show. cathy adams

'Pretty dogs' muster at Bonalbo

THE ‘pretty dogs’ of the farming world showed off their discipline, skill and talent at the Bonalbo Showground yesterday as part of the 2010 Bonalbo show.

The 82-year-old annual show started yesterday with a dog trials competition that featured the well-trained border collie Pattie.

“I have about 14 dogs working with me on my farm and three farms I look after, but only one-in-six of these turn out to be trial dogs,” owner Robert Johnston said.

“Pattie gets about two runs a week and she helps me with my mustering. I call these dogs the pretty dogs.

“There is a lot involved in training a trial dog, but it is not as hard as some people think,” Mr Johnston said.

The 90 dogs that were entered in the competition were faced with an obstacle course and put in a race to round up three head of cattle with a handler.

The canine entrants are mainly kelpies and border collies, with the aim being to test the ability of the dogs to hold and move cattle as quickly as possible.

Bonalbo local David Whitney has been involved with the show since he was a boy and took over his dad’s position as chief steward about 20 years ago.

Mr Whitney has seen the show blossom and promises there will be plenty on at the showground today for those attending.

“This is somewhere people West of the Range can show off what they do,” he said.

“We have a produce pavilion, sideshows, food stalls, a luncheon, clowns and a train for the kids.

“People from all over the North Coast will be coming to the show.

“Last year we had about 2000 people come through the gate, so we are hoping for at least the same number this year.

“The show has definitely grown. It has been improving and there are some extra sections this year.”

The Bonalbo Show will run between 7am and 4pm today.



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