NI region to hold sale of working sheepdogs

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The Northern Ireland region of the National Sheep Association, in conjunction with Ballymena Livestock Mart are once again organising a sale of working sheepdogs and pups, to be held at NSA Sheep.

NI on Monday, July 3rd.

The sale will be held as usual in a field adjacent to the mart, kindly loaned by John Anderson.

Working dogs will be given a short time to show off their skills handling a small flock of Blackface hoggets, before being offered for sale by auction.

A spokesman for the NSA committee explained: “This sale has become one of the most popular attractions at our biennial sheep event. Many of our customers, both buyers and sellers, have found it very useful to have this sale locally, saving them the time and expense of having to travel over to Scotland or England to trade working sheepdogs”.

Spectators also enjoy watching sheepdogs and their handlers in action.

A working dog is an essential part of the team on the modern sheep farm. With the reduction in labour on farms, moving and handling a flock of sheep can be a difficult and trying experience, yet with the aid of a good dog, it is transformed into a simple task. There are few more satisfying tasks for a sheep farmer than using a well trained dog to handle their flock single handed, and even in these days of technology and quad bikes there is still no substitute for a working dog.

“As the old saying goes, ‘There is no good sheep farm without a good shepherd, and there is no good shepherd without a good sheepdog.

“Many sheep farmers of course, especially part timers, struggle with finding the time and patience necessary to train a dog to a working standard, so there is a good demand for ready trained dogs, and a number of Northern Ireland trainers have built a reputation for producing top quality trial and working dogs, both at home and on the mainland. The NSA sale is now established as the most important sale of working dogs and pups in Northern Ireland, offering prospective buyers the opportunity to see dogs demonstrating their ability, and to compare their value in an open market situation.”

The NSA spokesman said: “Due to time pressures we may have to restrict entries of working dogs, so to avoid disappointment we would encourage vendors to have their entries in well before the closing date of Friday, 23rd June to ensure inclusion in the catalogue.

“The NSA would like to thank Ballymena Livestock Mart, and John Anderson for all their help.”

Entry forms for both dogs and pups are available now from Eamon McCormick telephone: 07740175698.