All About the Breed Huntaway

Have you recently fallen for the Huntaway or do you simply love rare breeds? Learn all about the breed here, including: breed history, personality traits, train-ability, benefits and disadvantages of the breed, and common health concerns.

Also known as the New Zealand Huntaway and the New Zealand Sheepdog, the Huntaway is an intelligent and energetic breed.

But how do you know whether you are ready to purchase a pet and if this breed is right for you?

This information is absolutely necessary in making the decision to purchase a pet.


The origin of the Huntaway can be traced back to early 20th century New Zealand. Enthusiasts believe these dogs to have been developed by crossing such breeds as the Black Labrador, Border Collie, Rottweiler, and German Shepherd Dog, though this has never been proven scientifically or otherwise.

Throughout its history, the Huntaway has been most commonly used for herding and driving cattle, proving its superior abilities to work while providing enthusiastic companionship.

Today, while the Huntaway has attained a regional popularity as both a herding and companion dog, the breed remains rather rare outside of its native New Zealand.

Personality Traits

Best known for its friendly and spunky nature, the Huntaway is full of character. These dogs thrive on strong and dependable relationships with humans, and often look to their owners for guidance and assurance. This breed is very intelligent, obedient by nature, and generally easy to train. As a pet, the Huntaway is obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate.

The Huntaway is not suited for full-time indoor or apartment living, as it enjoys spending time outdoors, taking long walks, and playing games such as fetch and frisbee.


Due to its outgoing attitude and willingness to learn, the Huntaway generally responds well to basic training and commands. These bright dogs have the ability to learn to perform most any task their trainer is willing to take the time to teach.

Establishing immediate trust and respect is key to successfully training the Huntaway. This breed requires a confident, patient, and caring handler with a stern yet gentle approach to repetitive exercises and tasks.

Benefits and Disadvantages of the Breed

There are many benefits to owning a Huntaway, such as its no hassle, low maintenance coat. These intelligent dogs are easy to train, obedient by nature, and capable of learning to perform many impressive tricks and tasks. When properly socialized from a young age, the Huntaway gets along well with small children and other pets, often making friends quickly due to its social nature.

These dogs are obedient, loyal, loving, and affectionate, making excellent working dogs, family pets, and companions alike.

Unfortunately, there are also disadvantages to owning a Huntaway. This energetic and athletic breed requires large amounts of daily exercise and room to run and play outdoors. Anyone wishing to purchase this breed lacking the adequate amount of time and space to dedicate to the dog is strongly advised against doing so.

A Huntaway not receiving the proper amount of exercise and space will often act out by destroying property, chewing, digging, barking, whining, and ignoring basic training such as housebreaking.

The Huntaway has a strong instinct to herd and will occasionally indulge in a good chase. When on the run, these dogs are surprisingly quick, and may pose a threat to other animals, neighborhood pets, and small woodland creatures. These dogs must be leashed or properly secured at all times when outdoors.

For reasons unknown, the Huntaway loves to dig, and is quite good at doing so. It is not unusual for this breed to dig a hole under a fence within the matter of only a few minutes. The Huntaway must be properly secured or supervised when outdoors.

As previously mentioned, the Huntaway remains rather rare outside of its native New Zealand and can prove difficult to obtain. Individuals seeking to purchase this breed often encounter such challenges as inability to locate a breeder, extremely high prices, and being placed on long waiting lists.

Common Health Concerns

While the Huntaway is typically known as a healthy and hearty breed, they do suffer from a few health problems, including: patellar luxation - dislocation of the knee, epilepsy, difficulty in birthing - often leading to caesarian section, chronic ear infection, skin allergies, sensitivity to anesthesia, and various dental issues.

Now that you know all about the breed, do you think you are ready to own a Huntaway?

Remember, purchasing a pet is a big decision and should be discussed thoroughly and seriously with your entire family.