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OUR DOGS

...but not our dogs. Gaze upon pictures of a Perigord farmer out in the oak woods hunting for truffles and you will see him, beret on head and a Gauloises stuck to his lip, holding a lead attached to a very large, fat and slow pig. Pigs love truffles and are masterly at sniffing them out, but as Fiona says, “You don’t want to get your hand between a pig and a truffle”. Doubtless the old French truffle hunters had their solution, we chose a less risky alternative, the powerful nasal capacity of the dog.

Dogs can scent a truffle from many metres away that we could only smell by burying our noses in the soil. Not a useful means of searching. Dogs do not like truffles; what they do like is the treats that come their way when they find one. A doggy incentive scheme.

Rather than own a dog of our own, we chose to involve others in our truffling by finding local dogs for training. Several dog 'interviews' were conducted (the owners also attended) and a number of dogs passed and entered 'truffle dog training school'.

 

Meet our current team of graduates and those currently in training.

 

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hepburn

Hepburn has been our ‘professional’ truffle-hunter for the last four years. Hepburn found our largest truffle;560g.

Hepburn has a beautiful personality and is so intelligent. She loves chasing scents around the paddock. But the minute this young Australian Koolie hears the command “find truffle”, her nose is focused on unearthing these buried treasures. When she plants her paw on the spot, her confident glance says it all. It’s time for the humans to go to work.

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KAI

Kai is a very clever young Koolie who graduated in 2023 to a 'professional' truffle hunter. Although he can get a little excited at first when he meets new people, he is keen to find truffles in exchange for treats and ball games (his favourite). When he sniffs out the precious fungus, he marks its location by lying down with his nose over the truffle and patiently waiting for his human to confirm his find.

At home, Kai helps out by fetching everything from shoes to gardening tools and gives great cuddles. He also enjoys agility and is often eager to show off the many tricks he knows.

 

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Misty, Shadow & Zen

A trio of remarkable canines from Tilba Tilba have joined the truffle dog training school: Misty, the nurturing matriarch, along with her energetic sons, Shadow and Zen. Born from a blend of Koolie, Kelpie, and Lab ancestry, each has a  distinct personality.

 

Misty, the affectionate mother, revels in belly rubs and delectable treats. Her keenness and eagerness to please bode well for her training. Shadow, the enthusiastic achiever, thrives on playfulness and agility, surpassing expectations with his rapid learning pace. Meanwhile, Zen exhibits a penchant for precision in heel work, coupled with an uncanny ability to detect all things crimson with his keen sense of smell, maybe a botanist in his past life.

 

As they delve deeper into their truffle training, the unfolding winter holds the promise of unveiling the full extent of Misty, Shadow, and Zen's individual traits and capabilities.

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truffle

Truffle (yes, that really is her name) is an enthuisiastic 5 year old Golden Retriever who has had her nose to the ground since she was a pup. And she’s a dog that wants a job to do. Originally we planned to train her as a conservation detection dog, but the pandemic got in the way – so truffle hunting is a fantastic alternative ….  We are all sure she will graduate as a professional truffle hunter thid year. Truffle joins dog-friend and truffle-hunter trainee Rupi for regular training sessions and it may soon get very competitive.

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RUPI

Rupi is a young Welsh Springer Spaniel with a passion for sniffing.

She is a happy-go-lucky dog who loves having fun, exploring, learning new things, and spending time with her humans.

From day one, Rupi showed keen interest in keeping her nose on the ground and exploring her world through the sense of smell. Because of this, her human thought it would be a good idea to put that big nose to work and train Rupi as a professional truffle hunter. We are expecting big things of her in 2024. 

Rupi’s life motto: Just keep on sniffing, sniffing, sniffing, …

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Bindi

Bindi is a ginger Koolie. She started learning about truffles towards the end of the season. She isn’t sure what to think of them, but we think she will become a great truffle hunter. She took a sabbatical in training and hopefully will progress this year. 

Nova

Nova

Nova is a sable Koolie. She is being trained by a young Vet Nurse and is progressing well. Nova finds the truffles when they are there, but so far, they have been ‘plants’ because we have harvested before she has come to hunt. We are looking forward to Nova’s development this year into a professional truffle dog.

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Charlie

Charlie is a 5 year old labradoodle, cuteness personified. She is amiable and loving, but she can be mischievous. Charlie took a ‘sabbatical’, but is back into training this year. You may meet Charlie in 2024 as she is quite capable of finding truffle scent when she wants to, but is more focused on the edible reward than the truffle.

See the dogs in action this Winter

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