Farmers across Australia and New Zealand are putting their dogs to work for the eighth annual Cobber Challenge. Twelve finalists have been chosen out of hundreds to compete for the title of Australia's hardest working dog. The kelpies, collies, crosses and heading dogs will wear GPS trackers to record distance travelled, average speed and overall duration of each work day. In October, the hound with the best accumulated score will be crowned top dog and earn their owners $3000 for future training. Considering the rising cost of working dogs, it will be a welcome gift to the lucky winner. A 'perfect' kelpie sold for $49,000 at auction last year. But to 2023 competitor Cloe Latty, a good working dog "is worth every cent". "They're hot property at the moment, it's good to see that people are starting to value them for what they're actually worth," she said. "I have my team of working dogs with me all the time so I can do most jobs on my own. It means there doesn't have to be other employees helping me out. It saves the industry a lot of money." Ms Latty is hoping to take gold this year on her Wilaura sheep farm with her kelpie Jazz. "I reckon duration and endurance will be her strong point, she's not fast but she never stops trying," she said. "Kelpies are made to work in this country and they really love their job." This year's competition is set to produce record-breaking scores for each contestant. In a first for the challenge, the data will be collected over three months, with the busiest 21 days on the farm counting toward each dog's final score. Cobber marketing manager Kellie Savage said the change in format would level the playing field for dogs competing in different regions. "We know that a cattle station in the Northern Territory operates very differently to a sheep farm in Queenstown, so we've taken on board feedback from past competitors and extended the competition to ensure we capture every farm's busiest period," she said. IN OTHER NEWS: Aiming to acknowledge working dogs as the unsung heroes of the agricultural sector, contestants were chosen to represent a variety of breeds and backgrounds. "Selecting this year's finalists was an incredibly difficult task as we had the most farmers ever across Australia and New Zealand nominate their best mates and most valuable employees," Ms Savage said. "We're so excited to see just what these finalists can do and we're confident that multiple records will be smashed by the 2023 cohort."