The collie breed is South Canterbury's most common dog, national statistics have revealed.
A statistical snapshot released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs has revealed that South Canterbury bucks national norms because New Zealand's most popular breed, the labrador retriever, is in second place locally.
More than 2000 smooth and border collies are registered in South Canterbury, compared to just over 1000 labrador retrievers.
South Canterbury Dog Training Club treasurer Robyn Holden said the club saw "the whole range of dogs" at its obedience classes.
"I like any dog," said Holden, who owns Lachie, a collie, and Riley, a mixed breed dog.
The registration figures also appear to reveal a rural-urban divide, with the labrador the most popular breed in the largely urban Timaru district, and collies topping dog counts in the Waimate and Mackenzie Districts.
Huntaway dogs were the second most popular dogs in the latter districts.
Dog breeder Kelvin Sadler said huntaway dogs had been specially bred for working livestock with noise and were effective on larger farms. Collies tended to be preferred on smaller farms because they were less boisterous by nature.
Christine Burrows, co-owner of Timaru pet shop Howe's This For Pets, said: "Border collies do seem to be extremely popular around here, as is the labrador."
However, people in the town owned a diverse range of canine companions.
"There are as many dog breeds as there are personalities of people."
The snapshot shows Waimate and Mackenzie districts have far higher dog ownership rates than Timaru, with about two dogs registered for every five humans in those districts, significantly higher than the national average of one dog registered for every five New Zealanders.
- The Timaru Herald