In a sign of the times, the Queensland sheepdog trials this year couldn't find enough merino sheep for the dogs to herd, so dorper sheep were used. I heard about this when I was listening to ABC radio, and I guess I'm showing what a city slicker I am that I had never heard of dorpers. The speaker said they are meat sheep and presented the dogs with more of a challenge than merinos would have done.
I've heard that the Australian wool industry is shrinking, but hadn't realised it has happened to that degree.
While I was looking around the Net for information for this post, I came across a page telling the story of one working dog owned by Doris Ann Kalivoda, who moved to Australia from the US.
Her dog is obviously loved and cherished, but the story of how she obtained her puppy, bred from a working bitch living on what seems to be an outback property, presents a telling contrast to the life Penny lives, as a companion animal in suburban Melbourne. One detail that struck me was the fact that once Doris had decided she wanted a female puppy, the owner killed all the other pups (without telling Doris this would happen).