Muster Dogs

Muster Dogs

World Premiere Sunday 23 January 7.40pm

Spanning the red earth of the Top End to the green pastures of regional Victoria, Muster Dogs is a four-part, family-friendly, feel-good documentary series that follows five Kelpie puppies from the same litter on their journey to become muster dogs. The pups are split up and sent to five graziers around Australia who will try to get the pups up to speed in just 12 months.

Under the watchful eye of respected expert trainer, Neil McDonald, these puppies and their new owners will be expected to hit training milestones, before meeting again in twelve months’ time for the ultimate working dog challenge. Who will be crowned ‘Champion Muster Dog’? And will any of our eager puppy participants graduate into the adult muster dog pack?

The journey to train these uniquely Australian dogs is an emotional ride into the graziers’ lives as we gain a deeper understanding of the unique bond between human and dog. The series also explores different approaches to mustering, revealing the training involved in attaining top results, whilst ensuring animal welfare and limited environmental impact as farmers move away from mechanisation and back to relying on skilled working dogs.

We experience the distinctive bond the graziers and trainers have with their best mate – their muster dog – and how this ancient herding art form is having a renaissance in Australia, revealing the underlying emotional, economic, and environmental benefits of using dogs rather than machines to muster.

Production credit: An Ambience Entertainment production for the ABC with production investment
from Screen Queensland and financed with support from the ABC. Series Director: Monica O’Brien.
Directors: Michael Boughen, Sally Browning and David Wallace. Producers: Monica O’Brien and Michael
Boughen. Co- producer John Unwin. ABC Executive Producer: Rachel Robinson. ABC Manager,
Screen: Jo Chichester. International Distributor: ABC Commercial. Narrator: Lisa Millar.


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Two wheels good, four legs better

The heart-warming series Muster Dogs starts Sunday, 23 January, 7.40pm on ABC TV with all episodes available to binge on ABC iview.

Spanning the red earth of the Top End to the green pastures of regional Victoria, Muster Dogs is a four-part series that follows five Kelpie puppies from the same litter on their journey to become muster dogs.

Five pups are sent to five graziers around Australia who will each try to get their pup up to speed in just 12 months. Joni Hall travels alone with her pack of dogs across the Top End mustering cattle; Frank Finger’s family have been farmers in Clermont, Queensland, for three generations; Station owner CJ (Catherine) Scotney is a gifted horse trainer; Aticia Grey is a third-generation grazier and dog breeder in the Pilbara, Entrepreneur Rob Tuncks walked away from stockbroking to pursue his real passion: farming.

Under the watchful eye of respected expert trainer Neil McDonald, the puppies and their new owners will be expected to hit training milestones, before meeting again in twelve months’ time for the ultimate working dog challenge. Who will be crowned ‘Champion Muster Dog’? And will any of our eager puppy participants graduate into the adult muster dog pack?

Mustering stock with dogs is an ancient herding art form that is enjoying a renaissance in Australia. This series explores the unique bond graziers have with their best mate – their muster dog – revealing the underlying emotional, economic, and environmental benefits of using dogs rather than machines to muster.

Production credits: An Ambience Entertainment production for the ABC with production investment from Screen Queensland and financed with support from the ABC. Series Director: Monica O’Brien. Directors: Michael Boughen, Sally Browning and David Wallace. Producers: Monica O’Brien and Michael Boughen. Co-producer John Unwin. ABC Executive Producer: Rachel Robinson. ABC Manager, Screen: Jo Chichester. International Distributor: ABC Commercial. Narrator: Lisa Millar.

Muster Dogs round up large number of fans

Five kelpie pups, all from the same litter, have become the stand-out hit of summer viewing on Australian television with Muster Dogs ending its four-week run on the ABC with a current total audience, including encores, of 1.43 million viewers*.

It is currently the ABC’s top non-kids program on both broadcast and ABC iview for the year-to-date and is ranked #2 in its timeslot, up against strong competition including The Australian Open tennis coverage and Married at First Sight .

The first episode, which screened on Sunday 23 January 2022 has delivered a total audience of 1.7 million viewers to date.

The series has been warmly embraced by audiences across Australia with fans sharing photos, videos and stories of their dogs on social media. There were more than 2.1 million views of Muster Dog content across Facebook, Instagram, You Tube and Twitter and just under 400,000 pages views for digital articles.

Early interest has also been shown from international broadcasters with the first overseas sale confirmed for New Zealand.

An original format created by Ambience Entertainment and the ABC, Muster Dogs tells the authentic stories of remote and regional farmers as they meet the challenge to train a Kelpie puppy in just 12 months. The series explores the benefit of using this unique Australian pedigree to muster stock after years of reliance on machines. It advocates the use of dogs as an environmentally sustainable practise that “takes the rattle out of the cattle” and promotes regenerative farming to better protect the land.

The production was supported by The Queensland Government through Screen Queensland’s Screen Finance Program.

ABC Commercial holds worldwide distribution rights for Muster Dogs.

*Source: OzTAM 5 City Metro, Regional TAM Agg incl WA, OzTAM VPM, Ep 1-3 broadcast figures are based on C7 data, Ep 4 is preliminary overnight.