Final report summary: Commencing implementation of a genetic evaluation system for livestock working dogs

  • 8 pages

  • Published: 8 Jun 2021

  • Author(s): C. M. Wade, D. van Rooy, E. R. Arnott, J. B. Early, P. D. McGreevy

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A team of researchers from the University of Sydney has collaborated with industry on two AgriFutures Australia projects investigating the complex factors that combine to create an elite working dog. This project, Commencing implementation of a genetic evaluation system for livestock working dogs, has built on the outcomes of the previous project by developing an online resource for collecting data and highlighting three ‘super’ traits that impact performance across a variety of working contexts – working skill, instinct and fearfulness.

The success of a working dog, across nearly all livestock contexts, is driven by these super traits, which appear to be strongly correlated and heritable. As the knowledge base builds and genomic breeding technologies continue to advance, working dog breeders may soon have the tools to select superior working dog genetics to match their own and their clients’ enterprise requirements, increasing the success rate of working dogs in a given context.