Cowdogs to be highlighted during NILE

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Sep 27, 2004
by WLJ
"When you can't work harder, you have to work smarter." That age-old advice has never been more appropriate than today's busy life on the ranch, with time, money, and man-power getting harder to come by. Many ranchers are turning to well-trained cowdogs to fill the gap, with growing interest in a composite breed known as Hangin' Tree Cowdogs.
These dogs and their ability to perform on a working cattle ranch will be featured in a free demonstration at the NILE Stock Show, ProRodeo & Horse Extravaganza on Friday, October 15 at noon in the Superbarn at MetraPark in Billings, Montana.
Scott Allison, a cowdog breeder and trainer from Dillon, MT, will demonstrate how one lone rider can gather, hold, sort, doctor, and even load cattle into a stock trailer on the open range, with only his dogs for help.
Allison uses his dogs on a large, family-owned cattle ranch in southwest Montana, with a herd of 1,200 cow/calf pairs and several hundred yearlings. The ranch is all-terrain, with cattle-gathering challenges like thick brush, boulders, timber, deep gullies, creek bottoms, steep-walled canyons, narrow ridges, and mountain tops.
After learning firsthand how dogs can reduce the cost of manpower, Allison began looking for a dog that could handle tough terrain, distance, and a variety of ranch situations. His search led him to the Hangin' Tree Cowdog line. He now breeds, trains, and sells what he calls "working cowdogs for working cowboys."
Hangin' Tree Cowdogs are a composite of three talented breeds: Catahoula Leopard Dog, Border Collie, and Australian Kelpie.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is known for having top hunting/tracking instincts, tenacity, and a natural trailing ability. The Border Collie is intelligent, responsive, and trainable, skilled at gathering and herding. The Australian Kelpie has agility, hardiness, toughness, and endurance.
Hangin' Tree Cowdogs are medium-sized and have short coats to give them protection from heat, help in shedding burrs, and ease of coat maintenance, all critical features for dogs working on the open range or in the brush.
Their bone structure is relatively heavy compared to their size, a quality that gives them stamina and strength. They have alert ear sets and a sharp eye, as well as docked tails. The dogs come in many colors, ranging from solid black to red and blue merles.
Hangin' Tree Cowdogs are registered by the American Cowdog Association. Their registry is unique: The dogs must prove that they can and will hit heads and heels before they can receive their registration papers.
The Hangin' Tree Cowdog demonstration is one of dozens of educational clinics and seminars featured the final days of NILE, which runs October 13-16. Spectator admission is free to all exhibits and most events at NILE.
For a schedule of events, call 406-256-2495 or visit online at