New Zealand Huntaway

Written by: Jamie
Updated: March 28, 2020

We explain all things New Zealand Huntaway in today’s dog breed guide. Find out if they’re good around children and if they have health issues, among lots else!

New Zealand huntaway dog

When it comes to finding a working dog that is loyal and trustworthy, the New Zealand Huntaway is a great choice and has been supporting farms across the island for many years.

If you are looking for a dog to join your family that will enjoy lots of daily exercise and entertainment, then this may be the perfect breed for you.

Height: Males up to 66cm, females up to 61cm
Weight: Males up to 40kg, females up to 35kg
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Pedigree Breed: No, not recognized

Positives and Negatives of the Breed

The Huntaway Cross is an exceptional breed, but like any other animal, it comes with both positive and negative aspects to their personality.

You must make sure that you are able to care for any prospective dog and know all their traits before diving in. Check out our list of pros and cons for your consideration.


  • They are great family pets and will remain loyal to you
  • They are very intelligent and are easy to train when they are in the hands of an expert
  • They are a great choice for first-time owners who are looking for a working dog
  • They are good with other dogs if trained from a young age
  • You can trust them around children


  • They will form a lifetime bond with one member of the house but remain polite and friendly to rest
  • They need a lot of exercise both physically and mentally
  • They like to herd and have been known to herd small children
  • They can be noisy if not trained when to bark and when to be quiet


The New Zealand Huntaway dog has long been held up as a national treasure due to their ability to herd sheep and their loyal, calm natures.

They are happiest when they are busy and love to live with families that can keep up with their need for stimulation.

They are a natural working dog but can be trained to live as a domestic pet if you are able to provide them with plenty of scope to get outside and enjoy life.

There are plenty of canine sports that would excel at, and this can be the thing they do to keep fit and healthy.


The origin of the Huntaway Collie cross is a bit murky, with no real definitive answer on how they came to be.

However, they have long been the sheepdog of choice in New Zealand because they are able to herd without the guidance of a human.

The name Huntaway comes from the name of herding trials that they would be taken to by their owners.

They grew in popularity as the number of sheep grew in the country, and their skills allowed sheep owners to increase their flock without increasing their workload.

The general consensus states that these dogs have been around for over 100 years and are classed as true working dogs.

These days the Huntaway Collie is still popular with farmers across the world but has also grown in popularity for those people who are looking for a loyal pet to live in the family home.

huntaway 2


When it comes to personality, you won’t go far wrong with the Huntaway dog breed as they are very loving and enjoy being trained.

You will need to give them enough exercise and attention every day, but if you do this, you are guaranteed to own a dog that gives much more than it takes.

Are They Good with Strangers?

The great thing about this breed is that they are both good with strangers and protective of their owners.

You can trust your dog to respond well to meeting new people, but if they are concerned that you are in any danger, they will do everything in their power to protect you.

Learn about the Malshi popular designer dog that can adapt to a range of different lifestyles. This hybrid dog combines a Maltese with a Shih Tzu, and whilst most commonly referred to as a Malshi, this dog may also be called a Maltese Shih Tzu, Shih Tzu/Maltese or Mal-Tzu.

Are They Good with Other Dogs?

If you take the time that is needed to train your New Zealand Sheep Dog, then you will find they are friendly with other dogs, enjoy lots of playtime together.

However, if a dog is too dominant or overexcited, then they can try to herd them to calm them down, resulting in conflict.

If you have other dogs in the house, then it is important to socialize your new pet from a young age to ensure that there are no problems as they grow up.

huntaway jumping

Can They Be Trusted Around Children?

When it comes to your children, you can trust your dog to be gentle and loving towards them, and because of this, they make great pets and become a trusted member of your family.

They are protective of each member of the family and will provide hours of fun and entertainment when they are feeling happy.

Are They Ok with Other Pets?

When it comes to the other pets in your household, these dogs are great if they have been carefully socialized and introduced from a young age.

It is important to note that Huntaway’s love the thrill of the chase, and if you have cats or other small animals, you will need to ensure that they are on their best behavior at all times so that they do not frighten or hurt them when they think they are playing.

Next: Jug dogs have grown in popularity over the short time they have been around. Many people ask, ‘what is a Jug Dog?’, put simply they are a Jack Russell Pug cross who are very popular with owners across the world.

Are They Good Natured?

One of the biggest plus points to owning a Huntaway is getting access to a dog that has the best temperament.

They are easily pleased and kind in nature, so you know they will be a great companion to you and your family.

It is important to keep them well exercised as if they aren’t they may display destructive behaviors around the home that become difficult to train them out of.

huntaway 3


Huntaway’s are typically very healthy dogs that can live up to 14 years of age and will enjoy exercising and eating a healthy diet, especially if you teach them from a young age.

They are at a higher risk of getting either cancer or hip dysplasia, as these illnesses are hereditary conditions.

However, if you buy your puppy from a trusted breeder, take out insurance, and make regular vet appointments, you will be able to help them maintain a healthy life for many years to come.

Recommended Next: When it comes to owning a Japanese Spitz dog, you can expect to get a small dog with a big heart that will live well with your family.


When it comes to exercise, you will find that the Huntaway needs lots every day. This exercise needs to incorporate mental and physical activities, with your dog being happiest when they are kept busy.

They need a minimum of 1 hour off the lead every day but will happily work all day long if you let them before coming home to rest and recuperate.

If you don’t plan to work your dog, you will need to find plenty of classes and groups to take them to so that they can develop their skills and keep their interest in activities every day.

There are many sports and agility classes that would interest this breed, and they are particularly talented when it comes to fly ball type sports.

They are very good at escaping, especially when they are bored, so it is important that your home and garden is secure at all times. To lose a dog as wonderful as this would be a difficult blow to bear.


Whilst all puppies need to be trained, the Huntaway needs it more than most. This breed is born to work and will need clear and firm guidance on what you expect from day one.

They make incredibly cute puppies, and if you allow them to cross the line as youngsters, they will be harder to train as they get older.

It is advised that you begin your training classes as soon as they have had all their vaccinations; this way, you will be able to set clear boundaries that will help them to thrive.

They are very intelligent dogs and respond well to praise and treats. If you praise them when they get something right, they will be keen to learn a new trick so that they can get more praise.

They do not respond well to negative affirmations and will deliberately ignore or disobey you if you are heavy-handed with them. The best training is given in short, sharp bursts and finishes on a high, leaving them wanting more.

Recommended Article: Learn all about the Alapaha blue bulldog next.


One of the biggest perks of owning a Huntaway is the fact that they are easy to groom. If you take the time to brush and wipe them down 2-3 times a week, they will look healthy and shiny all year round.

They do shed more as the seasons change, but this is easily dealt with by adding a few extra brushes into your routine.

Remember to groom them from an early age so that they get used to the feeling and the experience, that way, they will be more likely to accept it as they get older.

Have you owned a New Zealand Huntaway before? We’d love to hear about your experience with this breed!

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}