Phenomenal trade, including a top price of 5,600gns (£5,880), saw records tumble at Skipton Auction Mart’s Autumn working sheepdogs sale, with a new record for the number of dogs sold and a new all-time high selling price for a dog under 12-months-old.
It was one of the most successful days ever at the UK’s leading working dog sales venue, which produced multiple 3,000gns-plus sales – top-notch bitches were notably in demand - and saw a number of the leading price dogs find new homes with buyers in America and Canada.
“There was unprecedented demand throughout – from dogs sold in the unbroken pen to part-broken and fully broken field-run dogs. Overseas buyers either present at the ringside or bidding on the phone contributed a great deal to the unparalleled success of the sale,” said Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton.
Of the 97 dogs forward in total, 82 were sold successfully, a clearance rate of 85%, while 49 of the 54 field-run dogs – a 91% clearance - found new homes, which represented a new mart record. Among them were 46 broken registered dogs, which sold to an overall average of £2,317.
Included in the dogs selling overseas was the top price performer from leading Northern Ireland triallist, County Antrim’s Michael Gallagher, of Armoy, with his 17-month-old black and white bitch, Belle, a grand-daughter of Lancashire breeder Tom Lawrenson’s renowned Spot, and by another Spot, bred by Brendan McAllister, out of Jake Hamilton’s Tess. They, too, are based in County Antrim.
Mr Gallagher was among the leading handlers at the 2011 World Sheepdog Trials when finishing third with his renowned Cap. He was also third in this year’s Supreme, after returning from a two-year foray across the Pond, where he twice became Canadian National champion and also finished fourth in the 2014 United States National.
“There was unprecedented demand throughout – from dogs sold in the unbroken pen to part-broken and fully broken field-run dogs. Overseas buyers either present at the ringside or bidding on the phone contributed a great deal to the unparalleled success of the sale.”Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton
His Skipton frontrunner found a new home in Bellefontaine, Ohio, with Don Whittington, who has won several US trials and been placed in many others. He said he had acquired Belle to replace two older dogs. “I met Michael several times while he was trialling over here and got to know him quite well,” said Mr Whittington.
Earlier in the day, Mr Gallagher also took to the field with his black and white dog, Hemp, who turns two in November and is by Derek Scrimgeour’s Finn, out of T Kennedy’s Cloverhill Silver. He sold for 2,400gns to Scottish shepherd Scott Macauley, of Crieff in Perthshire.
John Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden, Selby, Skipton’s most prolific top price achiever, again demonstrated that he has lost none of his magic touch when sending out the second top price 5,400gns dog, his November, 2012-born Susie, acquired in February and by North Yorkshire breeder Bob Harland’s Shap, out of Meg, from Michael Kinnes in Driffield.
Susie fell to well-known Welsh team triallist Kevin Evans, of Modrydd Brecon in Powys. He qualified two dogs for this year’s Supreme and will retain his new acquisition as another trials prospect with great potential. He said it was one of the best dogs he had ever seen Mr Bell run at Skipton, who in turn reported that he had four lovely pups from Susie, all bitches, still at home, which would be likely to come forward for sale at Skipton next year.
Mr Bell also set a new record price of 4,900gns for a Skipton-sold dog aged under one with his 11-month-old black and white bitch, Tanhill Gael, a full sister to the European Nursery champion, Tanhill Glen, and out of Tanhill Jess, bred high on the Swaledale fells by Alec Baines. By Welsh breeder IB Jones’ Tim, Gael also fell to Kevin Evans, on this occasion purchasing the outstanding work, trials and brood prospect on behalf an American customer in Texas.
In addition, Mr Bell set the early pace with the field-run dogs with Gael’s full sister, Tanhill Peg, who made 2,400gns when joining a buyer from Aberdeenshire.
Ireland’s sheep-farming Doherty brothers, Joe and Padraig, of Ardagh Sheepdogs in County Donegal, caught the eye when taking to the field with successive entries. First up was Joe with his fully home-bred two-year-old tri-coloured dog, Ben, by his father Patsy’s Rock, out of his own Queen. Ben fell for 4,000gns to Shirley Wright, a telephone bidder from British Columbia in Canada.
Padraig then stepped up with his 18-month-old black and white dog, Flo, by James McLaughlin’s Dan, the 2013 Irish National champion and also winner of “One Man and His Dog” last year, out of the breeder’s own Peg. Flo also has pups due December to James McGee’s Glencregg Silver.
At the summer sale, the Doherty brothers set the unbroken pen alight with a six-month-old black and white bitch, Ann, which made 1,850gns, the highest-ever price paid for a Skipton-sold pup, when joining Cumbrian sheep and cattle farmer Trevor Procter, of Villa Farm, Great Musgrave, Kirkby Stephen.
Delighted with Ann’s work at home, the family returned to the latest renewal to add a further Ardagh-bred dog to the fold for 3,200gns. Making good use of Flo at home will be Mr Procter’s 15-year-old son Shaun, a pupil at Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, and his 16-year-old cousin, Emma, who has now left the same school to begin her apprenticeship at Villa Farm.
Northumberland shepherd, sheep farmer, dog breaker and accomplished triallist Tony Iley, of Long Framlington, Morpeth, achieved his highest-ever selling price at Skipton of 4,000gns with his two-year-old black and white dog, Boo, who was runner-up in the 2014/15 Northumberland Nursery Championship and had accrued 17 National points.
Fully home-bred by the good trials dog, Irwell Scout, acquired as a pup from Jim Cropper and since sold to a triallist in America, out of Nidderdale Higgs, herself a Northumberland Nursery champion, Boo returned to his county of origin when joining 34-year-old sheep and cattle farmer Jonjo Pattinson, of Barden Mill, Hexham.
Mr Pattinson has been breeding working dogs for 13 years under his Hotttbank prefix and recently became a member of the International Sheep dog Society (ISDS). He started trialling a little under a year ago and already has a novice win and open placing under his belt. He is hoping to go on to bigger and better things with Boo, who has the makings of a top-notch trials dog. “I have been following him for some time,” said the buyer.
Another Irishman, James McCloskey, of Glentogher in County Donegal, took to the field with his 2104/15 Irish Nursery Final champion, Killibrae Laddie, a December, 2012-born black and white dog bred by Derek Scrimgeour, by his Mirk, out of Kate. Laddie sold for 3,800gns to local breeder and handler, Carol Mellin, of Moor Lodge Farm, Oakworth, who is a familiar face at Skipton as the on-field sheep gatherer.
North Craven’s Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth, another multiple top price achiever at Skipton, again did well when making 3,600gns with his 21-month-old black and white dog, Flowerscar Scott, by Scottish team member Colin Armstrong’s Mirk, out of Lancashire breeder Robert Fielding’s Bella. Scott sold to a regular buyer from Wales.
Northern Irishman Peter Morgan, of Kilcoo, near Newry in County Down, hit 3,200gns with his three-year old black and white bitch, Dot, but called Kate at home, who won the Eastern Regional Nursery League and had also amassed four open points. By B McEvoy’s Shep, out of the same breeder’s Milley, Kate found a new home with beef and sheep farmer Keith Loveridge, of Rochester in Kent.
A second 3,200gns sale fell to a two-year-old black and white dog, Ben, from Derryogue Sheepdogs in Kilkeel, County Down. Ben’s dam, Meg, is also by Tom Lawrenson’s Spot. The buyer was Richard Crowe, from the Isle of Man.
The same vendors also achieved 3,050gns with their two-year black and white bitch, Nell, another daughter of Meg. She fell to Skipton regular, Welshman Emrys Jones, of Tal y Bont, Gwynedd, in the Snowdonia National Park. He said: “It was the first time I had ever seen her. She is a cracking little bitch and I bought her on the strength of her performance on the field.”
One of the youngest dogs to be put through its paces on the trials field was the seven-month-old black and white dog Brock, from Scotland’s Andy MacDiarmid, of Strachur in Argyle. By SL Davidson’s Rob, out of N McEachern’s Chloe, she sold for 2,800gns, again to a Welsh buyer.
Also selling well at 2,300gns was an unregistered nine-month-old farm-bred black and white bitch, Peg, from Henry Bouch, of Penrith. Said to have very good breeding behind her, she joined Clive Rowland in Garrowby, York.
This was one of three unregistered broken dogs to be sold of the day, producing an overall average for the trio of £1,662. Part- broken registered dogs averaged £634, while part-broken unregistered dogs sold to a high of 500gns, averaging £297.
The top performer in the unbroken pen was an extremely well-bred nine-month-old black and white dog, Ben, from Mrs J Cook, of Egton, Whitby. Related to high-class performers, Ben fell for 1,500gns to a North Yorkshire handler.
Also catching the eye at 750gns was a five-month-old black and tan Kelpie-cross youngster, Daf, from L Bevan, of Builth Wells in Wales. Daf’s mother sold for £1,800 at Skipton’s February sale and her son joined F Logan, of Wooler, Alnwick.
Other vendors to sell dogs at 2,000gns and above were:
2,900gns – B Williams, of Holywell, Flintshire, with his young tri-coloured bitch Bet.
2,750gns – C Balmbro, of Wooler, Alnwick, with his December, 2013-born tri-coloured bitch Jan.
2,500gns – Beverley Fort, of Steeton, with her three-year-old black and white bitch, Jessie, a top-priced youngster in the Skipton pup pen two years ago and daughter of nursery trial winner Beverton Scout.
2,500gns – Matt Tomlinson, of Muggington in Derbyshire, with his 20-month-old black and white bitch, Mist.
2,200gns – Bob, a 12-month-old brown and white dog from S Venney, of Rossglass, County Down.
2,200gns – Barry Hopwood, of Mold, with his 16-month-old black and white bitch, Cammen Mai.
2,100gns – R Holt, of Helmshaw, Rossendale, with his two-year-old black and white dog, Lad.
2,000gns – J Davies, of Lampeter in Wales, with Storm, a three-year-old tri-coloured dog who has been placed in trials.