A new world record price paid for a working sheep dog at an official sale of almost £15,000 was set at Skipton Auction Mart’s late Spring sale for a 16-month old dog from Northern Ireland’s Padraig Doherty.
It fell to Cap, a black and white dog bred by Mr Doherty, who with his brother Joe runs Ardagh Sheepdogs in County Donegal.
The selling price of 14,100 guineas, or £14,805, shattered the previous world high of 8,800 guineas, or £9,240, also set at Skipton in May, 2013, for a 15-month-old black and white dog from North Yorkshire’s John Bell, of Parks Farm, Howden, near Selby.
There was tremendous interest in the impeccably bred Cap, who put in a sparkling display on the trials field at Skipton. After making history as the new world record price holder, he returned to Northern Ireland when falling to a sheep farmer who requested anonymity. Cap will be used as a work dog on the farm and is also an excellent nursery trials prospect.
His father, Sid, was also bred in Donegal by trialling legend James McGee, whose family runs Glencregg Sheepdogs in Creggan, Ballybofey, while Cap’s mother is the Doherty family’s Sue, whose own sire, Dan - the 2013 Irish National champion and also winner of “One Man and His Dog” in 2014 - is a half brother to Mr McGee’s 2011 World Sheep Dog Trials supreme champion, Becca.
Twelve months ago at Skipton, the Doherty brothers sold litter mates of Cap, with one of them, a six-month-old black and white bitch, Ann, setting the unbroken pen alight when selling for 1,850gns, the highest-ever price paid for a pup sold at Skipton.
Mr Doherty explained that there had been tremendous pre-sale interest in Cap, who could be seen in action via youtube, though he said the eventual selling price was much higher than he had anticipated.
He thought Cap was probably his best-ever dog. “He is a special dog with genuine power and has a calming effect on sheep,” said Mr Doherty.
Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton said it proved to be one of the most successful ever working dog sales at Skipton, also creating a record high overall selling average for registered broken field dogs of £2,572.
“There was a significant amount of international interest. We had a very good entry of high quality dogs suitable for any type of farm work and also with trials potential. Anything well-broken was very good to sell, though part-broken dogs were harder to move on,” he commented.
Next best at 6,000gns was an entry from another regular top price achiever at Skipton, North Craven’s Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth.
His December, 2013-born tri-coloured bitch, Nora, bought out of Ireland late last year, was also bred over there by Eammon McAuley’s Roy, out of J McNaughton’s Jill. The purchasers were father and daughter fell farmers, Ivan and Hannah Dickinson, of Brocktown Farm in Kentmere in Lake District National Park near Kendal.
Earlier in the day, the same buyers had also gone to 3,900gns to acquire a second Shaun Richards’ home-bred and fully broken two-year-old black and white dog, Pen-Y-Borough Blue, out of his own Meg and by Katie Cropper’s multiple Open trials winner Zac.
Both dogs will be put to good use on over 1,000 fell sheep. “Nora was the one I really came for,” said Hannah Dickinson.
Mr Richards stepped out with a third dog, the September, 2014, Bill, bred by Alf Kyme, by his Moss, out of Dot. This, too, sold well at 3,600gns.
John Bell was himself well represented again with several top quality dogs. His best seller at 4,200gns was his 15-month-old black and white dog, Ben, bought out of Skipton’s pup pen as a nine-month-old last October. He was fully bred by Mrs J Cook, of Egton, Whitby, being by her Shep, out of Jen.
Ben found a new home with David Houghton, and will be put to work on his Tophill pedigree flock at Isherwood Farm, Affetside, near Bury. It currently comprises 60 pedigree ewes. While it was Mr Houghton’s first-ever working dog purchase at Skipton, he is a familiar face and regular prize winner in the Texel show arena at the mart.
Later in the day, Mr Bell also achieved 3,900gns with another quality young black and white dog, the 13-month-old Fern, by MC Andrews’ Glen, out of RP Jewitt’s Tess. It fell to a Northants buyer.
Another John Bell, this time from Weardale, made 3,100gns with an even younger dog, the ten-month-old black and white Mick, a grandson of Bobby Dalziel’s Spot, by D Henderson’s Burndale Chief, out of J Emerson’s Meg. It sold to a buyer from Wales.
Eminent Welsh breeder and trialist Huw Francis, of Llanfyllin, Welshpool, in Powys, was also among the leading prices when selling his two-year-old tri-coloured dog, Bill, by Pat Byrne’s Lad, for 4,000gns to a buyer from Cumbria.
Brian White and Aoife Smith, a young Irish couple from Naul in North County Dublin, came over with five fully broken dogs, all of which sold for a combined total of over 16,000gns.
Two made 3,800gns each – one a young, but highly talented 14-month-old black and white dog Bob, selling to a buyer in Scotland. The other was a three-year-old tri-coloured dog, Malta Glen, with trials experience and great potential for the future. He is by J McCaffrey’s Cap, himself a son of Moel Jock, out of Malta Pip.
Brian and Aoife, who farm pedigree Simmental cattle and Texel-cross and Suffolk-cross ewes, also made 3,500gns with their 19-month-old black and white dog Ben, by Glen, himself a son of County Antrim-based Michael Gallagher’s renowned Cap, which joined a buyer from Derbyshire.
Earlier in the day, the couple also achieved 3,300gns with their August, 2013, tri-coloured bitch, Fly, by John Maginn’s Irish National-winning dog, Mozz, out of Lil, who is herself by another Irish National winner, Frankie McCullough’s Craig. Fly will be flying off down under after falling to a telephone bidder in Australia.
Brian and Aoife also sold a fifth dog, Puck, a 19-month-old also by Cap’s son Ben, for 1,700gns.
Eammon McAuley, of Larne in Northern Ireland, hit 3,800gns with his classy all-rounder Jim, a September, 2014 tri-coloured dog by AHD Mawhinney’s Buzz, out of DJ Irivine’s Meg. The same vendor also sold Jen, a litter sister to Jim, for 2,450gns, to a Scottish buyer.
Lancashire breeder and handler, Carnforth’s Tony Birkett, also caught the eye with his December, 2014, home-bred black and white dog, Moss, by Ricky Hutchinson’s Sweep, out of his own Jess, which fell for 3,500gns to a Scottish buyer.
Mr Birkett also sold another home-bred dog, his two-year-old black and white bitch Skye, by Tom Lawrenson’s Clyde, out of his own Floss, for 2,900gns to a buyer in Northern Ireland.
Another 3,500gns achiever was local vendor Philip Mellin, of Moor Lodge Farm, Oakworth, with his two-year-old black and white bitch, Flowerscar Nell, by Scottish team member Colin Armstrong’s Mirk, out of Lancashire breeder Robert Fielding’s Bella.
Already placed in nursery trials and a litter sister to another dog that made 3,600gns at Skipton last October, Nell found a new home with Norman Balcomb & Son, from Romney Marsh in Kent. She’ll be used for general sheep work with a flock that includes Romney Marsh, Suffolk and Charollais.
Another well-bred youngster under one-year-old to make 3,500gns was a July, 2015, black and white dog, York, from Northern Ireland’s William Torrens, of Castlederg, Belfast. By W Watts’ Max, out of IA Dickson’s Fly, York sold to an Irish buyer.
Frank Satterthwaite, of Kirkby Stephen, also topped 3,000gns with his August, 2013, tri-coloured bitch, Jill, who is related to Bobby Dalziel’s Spot on the sire’s side and Aled Owen’s World Sheep Dog Trials champion, Roy, on the dam’s. The top aggregate bitch in the northern nurseries, Jill sold away at 3,100gns.
Eight further entries topped 2,000gns, while in the unbroken pen, two youngsters sold for joint top price of 900gns.
One was a January, 2016-born red and white bitch pup, Upland Meg, from Peter Hallam, of Foxt in Staffordshire. The sire, J Longden’s Storm, is a litter brother to James Magee’s Sid. Out of the breeder’s own Gem, Meg joined Keswick’s Rachel Scrimgeour.
The second 900gns sale fell to a 12-month-old black and white bitch, Kacee, from Northern Ireland’s DT MCNeill, of Ballymena. By Eammon McAuley’s Roy, out of K McFadden’s Faye, and already an Open trials winner, she sold to a Welsh buyer.
The late Spring sale attracted an entry of 120 dogs, with a total of 70 field-run dogs in total sold.
Prices and Averages: Broken section: Registered dogs to 14,100gns (av £2,678), registered bitches to 6,000gns (av £2,531), overall average for registered field dogs £2,572. Unregistered dogs – bitch to 1,000gns, Collie-cross Huntaway bitch 1,200gns. Part-broken dogs and pups – registered dogs to 1,000gns (av £359), bitches to 900gns (av £524).