The Great Nundle Dog Race

Location: Nundle, NSW

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The Great Nundle Dog Race is on Sunday 1st May 2016. Experience a unique event while enjoying a day out in the country at the Great Nundle Dog Race.
Download a 2015 program here.

The Great Nundle Dog Race is held every year on the first Sunday in May on the Nundle Recreation Ground. It is the major fundraiser of the Nundle Public School Parents & Citizens Association (P&C) and attracts families and their dogs from the local region as well as the Hunter, Sydney and North Coast.


The very first dog race at Nundle was held in 1979 on Oakenville Street after a bet was waged by a couple of farmers arguing over whose dog was fastest. As word of the impending race spread other dogs were entered and the great race was born. It began at the Peel River and ended at the local pub, The Peel Inn, a distance of about 150m. Both farmers lost their bets however, as the race was won by a dog called Kelly, owned by Bill Hempstead, the caravan park caretaker.

The farmers were both P&C members and took the race idea further, turning it into The Great Nundle Dog Race (GNDR) open to working dogs. Race day now involves over twenty races for all types of dogs and is one of Nundle’s major annual tourist events.

Nundle Public School is a small school and is relatively isolated being 65km from Tamworth, the nearest major centre. The money raised at the GNDR is used by the P&C to subsidise excursions for students, to purchase educational equipment and to provide quality prizes for Presentation Night.

Events and Entertainment

The Great Nundle Dog Race
A gold coin donation will gain entry to the ground and the first race is at 10.30am. There are many races to enter such as the House Dog Races, Mongrel Invitation Stakes and Juvenile Canine Mini Stakes. If your dog can jump onto the back of a ute there is the Doggy High Jump, or if he loves to chase then you might try him in Stumpy’s Circular Dog Derby. There are great prizes to be won.

The main race is The Great Nundle Dog Race, which is open to bona fide working dogs only. District graziers and station hands pit their pride and joy working dogs against each other to keep the tradition alive of finding the fastest dog. Of course, these days it’s all about keeping the dog on track to run the hundred metre sprint, and those dogs that are both fast and well-trained usually make it to the end!

As a spectator, watching the races is great entertainment. Each dog lines up for the race being held by a “handler” until the starter drops the red flag. Meanwhile, the “catcher” who is usually the owner, has been holding the dog’s attention from the finish line 100 metres away. This is a vital component of race success and is usually achieved by walking backwards from the dog to the finish line without losing eye contact. At the call of the starter the handler frees the dog and the catcher starts yelling and whistling to make the dog run to the finish line.

Absolute mayhem is the result while the freed dogs try to work out where to run. Some dogs run off barking to chase a friend, others turn their heads while running with a gleeful look in their eye as if to say, “Come on, let’s play!” Some don’t care for what’s going on and make a dash for safety on the side line, or look confused and run back towards the start!

Those who do happen to run in the right direction might make it to the end of the race, and the first dog to cross the finish line, “irrespective of the route taken or the fights entered into”, is the winner. Those who don’t win a prize during the day may enter the Open Consolation Event.

The Steeplechase event is very popular. This involves dogs running over a series of hay bales on a shorter course towards their owners who are yelling and shouting at them to “Come ‘ere!”

Canine versions of spiders, Cleopatra, Superman and other amazing costumes appear in the Best Dressed Dog Fashion Parade, which is enjoyed by adults and children alike. Categories of Under 12 years and Over 12 years.

Greyhounds and whippets are not forgotten with special races for only these breeds. To be fair to the common house dog, they are not to enter any other race, but there are still plenty of other events to enter. Stumpy’s Circular Dog Derby has a special whippet and greyhound category, they can run in the Junior Dog on a Leash with a child, go in the Doggy High Jump and the Best Dressed Dog Fashion Parade.


A good race for the kids to enter with their dog is the first race of the day at 10.30am, the Junior Dog on a Leash. Kids hold their dogs on the lead and line up at the start to run as fast as they can to the end with their dog. This is followed by the children’s running races and sack races.

Other entertainment on the ground and in the school grounds includes a jumping castle, face painting, balloons, show bags and lucky dips to keep them amused all day.


Every event has great prizes for first, second and third which have been donated by local and regional business houses. Most first place prizes include a bag of dog food. A raffle is drawn at the end of the day with great holiday and accommodation prizes.

The P&C would like to thank the local business community for their generous support of the Great Nundle Dog Race.


A barbeque lunch and morning and afternoon tea are available at the ground. Water is available for your dog.
The Great Nundle Dog Race is an alcohol free event.


There are many places to stay in Nundle from caravans and cabins to the comfortable and popular B&B.

Please refer to our Sleep Over page to select your accommodation.

Getting there

Nundle is 65km south-east of Tamworth in north-west NSW. Take the Nundle Road from Nemingha, just north of Tamworth, and follow the signs to Nundle. The Recreation Ground is on the left hand side as you come into Nundle. Parking is available on the left adjacent to the ground.


If you would like to make a donation to the Nundle Public School P&C
please contact the school on 02 6769 3253.


Nundle Public School, 95 Jenkins St, Nundle.
Tel: 02 6769 3253
Fax: 6769 3128

(For more information on this event you can download the flyer)

When: Annually, on the first Sunday in May

Where: Nundle Recreation Ground, Oakenville St, Nundle

Time: Gates open at 10am, races all day.

Great prizes!

Why: Major fundraiser of the Nundle Public School Parents & Citizens Association

The Great Nundle Dog Race has run every year since 1979!