The North Island sheep dog trial championships are being held at Pouawa, about 20km northeast of Gisborne city this week.
About 200 competitors and 500 dogs will compete in four events: the long head and short head and yard for heading dogs and the zig zag hunt and straight hunt for huntaways.
The championships are expected to end on Saturday.
The South Island and National championships will be held at Gore next month.
Vets from Massey University will take advantage of the North Island event to carry out a survey.
The centre for service and working dog health says New Zealand reportedly has more dogs working in the farming sector than any other country apart from Russia.
Despite this, Professor Boyd Jones says there's very little data on the health and welfare of these dogs.