Our dogs are no longer trained or worked on cattle. We now only have sheep. So we cannot evaluate them or test them on cattle and any of our dogs born in the last 5 to 6 years will not have been worked on cattle. We therefore no longer promote our Kelpies for cattle work. That is not to say they won't work cattle as many do very well but we have no way of testing parents or young dogs on any livestock except sheep.


The Noonbarra Kelpies have been used successfully for all types of livestock. They have been well known for their cattlework since the early 1980's. Rockybar Smart (born 1979) was an outstanding dog on cattle and we did a lot of contract cattlework with him from dairy breeds to mixed beef breeds to wild cattle on run-down properties that had not been mustered for years. He spent two years with a cattle contractor in Queensland and was one of best cattle workers in the country. He was used as a major sire in the Noonbarra Stud in the early 1980's and his influence is still seen today.

Many of his offspring were also exceptional cattle workers including Noonbarra Tina who also did contract mustering of cattle for us on a number of different properties in scrub land, heavy timber, rocky hills and flat open country.

Noonbarra Gabe was well known for his ability on cattle as well as goats and sheep. Noonbarra Butch (by Noonbarra Gabe) was a very good cattle worker before he was even 12 months of age. He was filmed working cattle for a Toyota Ute T.V. advertisement when he was just a year old. There's currently Noonbarra Dan, Dusty, Flash, Megan, Sarah, Max, Jillaroo and many others that are experienced with Cattle as well as sheep.


Many others have excelled at Cattle work both here in the Noonbarra stud as well as dog we have sold. Noonbarra Tank and Noonbarra Murphy both work on different Cattle studs in USA. Murphy is in Oregon and Tank is in Arkansas. Many Australian properties we sell to run mixed farms with Cattle, sheep and usually a bit of wheat or oats too. A number of our dogs have also gone to work on Dairy Cattle properties.

We like our dogs to handle Cattle in a strong, calm way that does not over-stress the animals but still keeps them on the move, going to where we want them. The occasional bark on command done at the right time is also handy to keep the stragglers up with the rest of the herd. Only when the Cattle turn on a dog do we want to see any nipping. The last thing we want to see is out-of-control aggressive dogs hanging off the nose of some poor beast for no good reason except the dog lost control!


NOONBARRA EMMA  (Noonbarra Dusty X Noonbarra Lucy II)

Noonbarra Emma is owned by Darren Lackersteen and worked on a mixed property. Here is a letter from Darren in May 2003.

"Just a quick note to let you know how EMMA is going, Whilst trying to load young weaned calves today they wouldn't go up the ramp into the truck with habbit . I told my right arm, Emma to hop up an go she jumped up with out hesitation and backed app. 15 calves and came back underneath them with no worries at all. All the people at the yards were very impressed and had an enquiry for a pup from the truck driver  after I told him Emma was not for sale."


Owned and photographed by Darren Lackersteen from the Snowy Mountain region.

"Today he had his first real go with the cattle and he was amazing he just loves it. He is not scared of them..  he wanted to stay in the yards even when we brought 2 bulls in. He was not very happy to be put back on the ute. You guys really do know what you are doing with your breeding and getting the right dog for each person." Ben with Noonbarra Ash (2010)


Owned by Darren Lackersteen from the Snowy Mountain region.

NOONBARRA TANK   (Noonbarra Prince X Noonbarra Valerie)

Tank is owned by professional stockdog handler, Charles Ridener in Arkansas USA. He was bought for Charles by Pam Beahm who has Noonbarra Shiloh. He has also released a stockdog training video that has sold thousands of copies in the USA. He mainly works cattle and a few sheep and of course has Border Collies although he has had some experience with Kelpies before.

Pam Beahm writes: " I talked with Charlie this AM. He is finally really training Tank. He has worked him but has been letting him just work and grow up. Now he is really training him. I have never heard him so impressed with a young dog. He said he is one of the very best 2 or 3 dogs he has ever had and that is a lot of dogs... He is especially impressed with Tank's strength. He is working him on some really old and mean rams. He said whenever one tries to face Tank he will just square off and start walking up to the ram. He said there is no biting and acting crazy just absolute confidence in his ability to control the stock."

" He had some men up from Texas to buy dogs to work. They had some dogs but they were just running and biting and running back out. Charlie said I want you to see how it is supposed to be done. He explained that Tank had just started in his training but put him out there to work. Charlie said until you can show someone a really good dog they just don't understand what a good dog really is. He also showed them part of your video and said when they had dogs like that to let him know until then he had no use for their dogs (He is getting old and cranky!!). "

They said yes but can he pen cattle. So Charlie said he hadn't really let him work the cattle yet because he is trying to really train him to work first. But he put him some on old mama cows he had just bought to really work some of his ranch type dogs. He said the cows chased the other man's dogs out, but Tank just went to work. They tried to back him down--once! He didn't have to bite or bark the cattle just knew he meant business. Charlie said Tank put them in the working pen in just a few minutes-no problem."

"Charlie said he has found his demonstrator dog for the next 10 years. He loves his strength and also how smooth he works. Other Kelpies around are not as smooth at working as the dogs you breed. "


NOONBARRA MATE (Noonbarra Dusty X Capree Dyna)

Noonbarra Mate lives in Germany.

Mate has his job with the cows now. He is doing this about 10 days now. Not an easy task because the paddocks are not small and there is other stock next door. He is doing fine! He covers very well (thats what I wanted a Kelpie for!) and has no fear. He only has to find out what is the best way to move single cows. I do not want him to stick at each single animal. He got stepped over twice (my heart stood still) but did not worry. He bites the nose first but has not found out about the hind legs yet.


To me it seems as Mate is enjoying his new job a lot. But as usual I am in his way a bit...

Maybe you can see that it is not an easy setup for the young dog. At the end the cows have to walk down the laneway and there are other cows in the paddocks to the right and the left. There is not a big fence between! So the dog has to concentrate on the big herd and leave the others behind. This is very exciting.

Yesterday a heifer broke away just in front of the barn entrance. This is something Kelpies really seem to hate! So we walked her back, no problem.

I guess I am spoiling Mate's working techniques a bit by controlling him quite a bit. But on the other hand we have not had anything bad happen so far and this relaxes both of us. And the cows do not worry. Already now I can see that the cows move with more respect compared to using my bitch Jan.


Cows do have a lot of respect (for him). He is still finding out how to "contact" them in the best way but improving every day. He is covering very well and making the right decisions when cows want to break out. It looks like he is enjoying it a lot! (me too)

Update May 2005

"On the farm the cows are out for 10 days now. Mate started to work them after the break of about 5 months even better than last year. I think it is his age and the sheep training. He got far calmer and knows exactly what to do and where to be. The cows do not question a lot."

NOONBARRA CRUISER (Noonbarra Prince X Noonbarra Valerie)

Cruiser is in the Unites States of America and is mainly a companion dog for her owner Helen. She has done a few sheep herding lessons on a ranch there.

Cruiser is enjoying the lessons, not that she needs much in the way of them.  She is such a good dog. Everyone at the training center says she is such a fun and good dog. She has such a nice calm walk up.    Yesterday we were in the arena together for the first time.  I feel sorry for her having to have me as an owner.  I am terrible at herding, but I will keep at it because I know she loves it.  She has been quite keen on eyeing  some cattle there, so the owners of the ranch let her on them for a very short period, well under their control.  Well, Cruiser just walked right up to them like no problem and the trainer had Cruiser moving them right along. I am so proud of that pup.

Noonbarra Mate

Sometimes I have the feeling too that my dog might not be strong enough when he is not having a go at a cow I would think he should. But then, a few seconds later or even a minute, all of a sudden he gets after this particular animal and tells her off. To me it looks a bit as he is getting in a better position and waits for the right moment when he is able to win that fight.

The same sometimes happen when I tell him not to get after one cow while we are driving them home. Then after quite a while, if I am not watching, he might leave his position for a moment, goes into the herd, tells the cow what he thinks about her behaviour and comes back to his driving position behind the cows.

With a new group of heifers it is a bit confusing for me because sometimes he takes a position I can not understand. He might even just leave some animals behind. But if I watch the scene I notice that these ones left behind are willing to move anyway and are just following. But the dog is spotting some trouble makers and he works them first Before he goes back to his driving position. This might take a little bit longer in the beginning to get a job done but after this procedure the herd is very easy to handle.



Noonbarra Flash

Noonbarra Max

Noonbarra Max III working on Cattle station. Max III is a son of Noonbarra Max above.


Noonbarra Scott in Germany with a stubborn cow

Noonbarra Mate

We have sold Noonbarra Kelpie for just about every type of situation imaginable. They are working wild cattle in outback western areas and dairy cattle in coastal areas and all types of sheep in all conditions from the small hobby farm of a few acres to big sheep stations comprising many thousands of acres. They have been worked on many varieties of goats and ducks, geese, Alpacas, pigs, and more. They have been bought by professional drovers, stockman and women, farmers, sheepdog trial competitors, truck drivers and people from all walks of life. They have even been sold for search and rescue work in the mountains of Switzerland. Families have bought them as companions and for obedience and agility work.

Noonbarra Working Kelpie Stud
Mary and Stephen Bilson.
539 Lookout Road, Mullion Creek via Orange

Postal Address: P.O. Box 1374, Orange NSW 2800, Australia

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Our dogs are no longer trained or worked on cattle. We now only have sheep. We cannot evaluate them or test them on cattle and any of our dogs born in the last 5 to 6 years will not have been worked on cattle. We therefore no longer promote our Kelpies for cattle work. That is not to say they won't work cattle as many do very well but we have no way of testing parents on any livestock except sheep.