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All Dog Breeds >>History of Australian Cattle

George Hall and his family arrived in the New South Wales Colony in 1802. By 1825, the Halls had established two cattle stations in the Upper Hunter Valley, and had begun a northward expansion into the Liverpool Plains, New England and Queensland. Getting his cattle to the Sydney markets presented a problem in that thousands of head of cattle had to be moved for thousands of kilometres along unfenced stock routes through sometimes rugged bush and mountain ranges. A note, in his own writing, records Thomas Hall's anger at losing 200 head in scrub. A droving dog was desperately needed but the colonial working dogs are understood to have been of Old English Sheepdog type (commonly referred to as Smithfields, descendants of these dogs still exist) useful only over short distances and for yard work with domesticated cattle. Thomas Hall addressed the problem by importing several of the dogs used by drovers in Northumberland, his parents’ home county. At this time dogs were generally described by their job, regardless of whether they constituted a ‘breed’ as it is currently understood. In the manner of the time, the Hall family historian, A. J. Howard, gave these blue mottled dogs a name: Northumberland Blue Merle Drovers Dog.