Brian Davies founder of Welsh Shearing Equipment imported the first New Zealand Huntaways into the Uk in 1976.
The Huntaway is a large, strongly built breed of dog used for general sheep herding tasks in New Zealand, where they originate, but especially for driving sheep away from the shepherd, hence their name. Huntaways are large, deep-chested dogs that generally weigh in the region of 25–40 kilograms (55–88 lb). They are usually black and tan coloured and they can be smooth, rough, or grizzly. They are generally floppy eared, and were bred to use their loud, deep bark to herd sheep. The breed is relatively new, dating as a distinct breed from the late 19th century.
The huntaway was developed as a breed in response to farming conditions found in the New Zealand high country. The vast pastoral runs or Stations, such as those in the high country of the South Island, required teams of dogs who could work mustering for days on end, covering great distances on rough steep country. High country stations typically cover many thousands of hectares, and were often unfenced. British sheepdogs used by early New Zealand farmers mostly worked sheep silently, but occasionally a dog would use its bark to herd sheep. This characteristic was liked by some farmers, especially for driving sheep on rough, steep hill country where a dog may disappear from view, making a dog that drives stock by sight less useful. Collies and other working sheepdogs with the barking trait would have been crossed with any other breed that had other desirable traits, including size, stamina and a steady barking ability, as these are the traits that differentiate the huntaway from the heading dog today, but the exact lineage is not known.