After hundreds of camera-friendly Australian hounds put up their paws to be among the country’s working dog idols, the search is now over.
Sonny, from Tintinara in South Australia, along with 15 other canines from across the country, will now be immortalised, having emerged as the top dogs of a hotly contested campaign.
The 10-month-old Blue Heeler is the new face of Australian pipe fittings manufacturer Philmac which set out on a nationwide talent search to find the country’s most impressive working dogs and its new brand ambassador Bluey.
Despite his age, Sonny is already learning to muster cattle and is currently being mentored in the ways of a true Australian working dog by an older Blue Heeler on the property in the Murray Mallee region.
While Sonny will have a professional photo shoot next month before his image is promoted throughout Australia and overseas on screens, in magazines and on billboards, another 15 working dogs will appear in the 2018 Philmac Australian Working Dog Calendar.
‘‘The response to this campaign has been extraordinary,’’ Philmac managing director Mark Nykiel said.
‘‘We received hundreds of entries from every corner of Australia and the social media engagement was off the charts.
‘‘Australians really love their working dogs and the quality of entries was incredible,’’ he said.
‘‘Choosing the winning entries for the calendar was incredibly hard but we feel we’ve found some remarkable dogs who reflect life in rural and regional Australia.
‘‘In Sonny, we feel we’ve found an exceptional Bluey, a dog that truly represents our brand values of trust, reliability and hard work.’’
The dogs included in the calender are:
■January — Honey the Kelpie, from Clermont, Queensland
■February — Gen the Sheltie-cross-Kelpie, from Kingston SE, SA
■March — Rosie the Border Collie, from Coromandel Valley, SA
■April — Dusty the Kelpie, from Invergowrie, NSW
■May — Maz the Kelpie, from Cummins, SA
■June — Pine Grove Bonnie the Kelpie, from Bulart, Victoria
■July — Silver the Kelpie, from Mintaro, SA
■August — Kelpies Dan, Brick, Ace and Bella, from Carnavon, WA
■September — Bud the retired working dog, from Ardrossan, SA
■October — Rex the Red Heeler, from Kerang, Victoria
■November — Pippa the Kelpie, from Bridgewater on Loddon, Victoria
■December — Greta the Kelpie, from Mundubbera, Queensland
■All the successful dogs can be viewed at: www.facebook.com/philmacaustralia
■The 2018 Philmac Australian Working Dog Calendar will be printed in November with 30000 copies made available across Australia via Philmac’s 3000 regional distributors.