No kidding, she’s a goat dog

Tiggy finds two-day-old twins in the paddock and checks where their mother is. Photo by Daneka Hill

On Linda McKenzie’s goat stud and meat farm in Mangalore lives a ‘goat dog’ called Tiggy. Picked up as a stray in Melbourne, Tiggy has proven herself to have an innate understand of goat psychology.

Do you know what breed Tiggy is?

We assume she’s a Staffy-cross-boxer. We got her from Lort Smith, a lost dogs home in Melbourne.

What was she like when you got her?

She was 12 months old and a stray, to the point where we had to teach her how to eat from a bowl properly.

Mama goat found. Linda McKenzie and Tiggy keep their distance from the twins. Photo by Daneka Hill

How old is Tiggy now?

She’s eight. Every morning we come down to check on the goats.

Does she get along with other dogs?

My daughter (lives elsewhere) has a Bull Arab and he’s too dumb to be allowed near the goats. Tiggy will also visit June and Nala, our neighbour’s kelpies, on the fence.

Tiggy is a big stick chaser. Photo by Daneka Hill
Giving a stick a good workout. Photo by Daneka Hill

Is Tiggy a good worker?

She will help move the stock. She is very soft, I’ve never seen her attack or even use her teeth. Occasionally she might bark if I encourage her ... she’s really good at staying behind and sitting where I want her and acting as a block. She doesn’t push, but they certainly do walk faster when she’s there. I think she’s less a dog and more convinced she’s a goat.

Is she observant?

If we come into a paddock, she’ll find the downed goat long before I do. She goes straight to them when you can’t even see them yet.

Tiggy makes sure all the paddock smells are in order (plus does a quick sweep for afterbirth). Photo by Daneka Hill

How did you get a stray so quiet around livestock?

We’ve always brought her out with us. One of the things we really concentrated on at the start was the ‘come’ command. Using her around the stock started off with letting her wander away, then calling ‘come’ and she’d move the stock by returning to me. One thing she won’t do is go between mums and babies.

Is she quiet around all animals?

She’ll chase rabbits if she sees them.

Words and pictures: Daneka Hill