Shrek was a sheep

There are two kinds of sheep dogs in New Zealand; huntaways and border collies. The huntaways are a rather new breed (late 1800s) of working dog; solid, rugged, strong, and deep voiced (noisy actually). The border collies are usually black and white and love to run. When sheep are scattered over high mountains covered with matagourie or gorse, or some other tight spiny vegetation; where horses, boots, ATVs, and dirt bikes can’t go, you need the huntaways. They run all over those hills and dales barking and chasing the sheep from the steep canyons and hidden copses. The collies than surround the sheep and herd them downhill to the sheep guys’ location. This is a muster. The sheep are not fenced and can wander quite freely and on occasion the dogs will miss one. Well, Shrek was discovered after avoiding the dogs and herders for SIX years. He was a woolly mess.

Huntaway dogs are not small. They are solid and very hardy. The breed is a bit over 100 years old and is more of a blend; defined by the job it can do rather than its pedigree.
The border collie is smaller than a huntaway and a zippy, intense, focused sort of dog. They really think that sheep should do what they are told and are often willing to nip at the heels of the sheep that are to slow or uncooperative.

Shrek was a wonder. He eventually made it out to an ice flow, appeared on television, visited parliament, and has had a book written about him. He was eventually shorn on live TV and his fleece is memorialized in several displays around the country. He was a castrated male, a “wether”, in sheep talk, and must have ducked off into a cave over the years when the mustering took place. Most wethers are sold for lamb at about 9-10 months of age. Shrek was kept around as sort of pet/icon until he was 16 years old – making him perhaps the oldest sheep that New Zealand has ever had as well as the fluffiest. And yes, he was named after that lovable ogre also called Shrek.


One thought on “Shrek was a sheep

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: