Back to all breeds
Characteristics, History, and Health


The Huntaway, also known as the New Zealand Huntaway, is a herding dog breed that originates from New Zealand. Its history can be traced back to the mid-19th century when European settlers brought their working dogs, including Collies and Sheepdogs, to New Zealand. These breeds were crossed with local dogs to create a versatile herding dog capable of handling large flocks of sheep over rough terrain. The Huntaway's unique barking style, known as ""loud bark,"" is one of its distinctive characteristics, used to control and move livestock effectively.

Main Info
New Zealand
Alternate Names
New Zealand Sheepdog, New Zealand Huntaway
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
20-24 inches
Average Female Height
20-24 inches
Average Male Weight
40-65 pounds
Average Female Weight
40-65 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Black & Tan
Coat Pattern
None Known

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The New Zealand Huntaway is a generally healthy breed, though some dogs may suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia. They can be prone to ear infection, so regular examination and cleaning of the ears may be indicated. Studies of Huntaways located in New Zealand have shown that the breed can also suffer from reproductive issues, and gastrointestinal issues such as constipation. As a deep chested breed Huntaways can suffer from bloat, also known as gastric dilation volvulus (GDV). This is a life-threatening condition that can come on suddenly, so it’s important to know the warning signs and get an affected dog immediate veterinary care. As a working dog, the Huntaway may also be predisposed to canine degenerative lumbosacral stenosis (DLSS), a painful syndrome of low back pain that can occur with or without neurologic dysfunction.

Personality and Behavior

Huntaways are highly intelligent, alert, and energetic dogs. They are bred to be excellent herders and have a strong work ethic. These dogs are known for their independent thinking and problem-solving abilities. They form strong bonds with their owners and are generally good with children and other pets when properly socialized. As herders, they are known to try to herd human and furry family members They require early socializing and training. Due to their high energy, they need a lot of exercise and outdoor time.

Fun Facts

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Huntaway is its "loud bark," which they use to control and direct sheep. This bark is distinct from regular barking and can be heard from a considerable distance.

The Huntaway is not officially recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI). However, it is recognized by other kennel clubs and organizations, including the New Zealand Kennel Club.

In New Zealand, the Huntaway is sometimes referred to as the "New Zealand Huntaway" to emphasize its country of origin.

The Huntaway has a short to medium-length double coat that provides protection from various weather conditions. The coat is dense and weather-resistant, making it suitable for its working duties on farms.