Both the top price 8,100gns broken dog and 1,600gns pup went home in the same vehicle with shepherdesses and near neighbours from the Derbyshire High Peak District following the annual winter sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton Auction Mart (Friday, February 23rd).
Welshman Dewi Jenkins put in a faultless display on the trials field with his 15-month-old black and white bitch, High Peak Gem, which attracted keen interest before falling for 8,100gns – more than double the day’s second top call – and returning to her breeder Rebecca Spooner, of Turn Meadow, Chinley.
Earlier in the day, Caroline Hamilton, who farms ‘just over the hill’ in Chisworth – the two ladies travelled to and from the sale together – had gone to 1,600gns to claim the top price pup, Ann, a 12-week-old impeccably bred black and white bitch from 18-year-old Shaun Procter, who farms sheep and cattle with his father Trevor at Great Musgrave, Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria.
Twelve months after selling dogs to 4,000gns at last year’s corresponding Skipton sale, Ceredigion’s Mr Jenkins, who farms Welsh Mountain ewes and Welsh Black cattle at Tynygraig Farm, Tal-y-bont, Aberystwyth, returned to the venue to achieve his best price ever with Gem, fully home-bred by Rebecca Spooner’s Benny, whose own father was a full brother to top trials dog Seth, from Co Donegal’s James McGee.
Gem was one of six pups in a litter out of Bedlwyn Nell, who has been retained by the breeder and is herself a granddaughter of former International Supreme Champion Dewi Tweed. Two other dogs from the same litter have also been retained for potential sale by Rebecca, who runs High Peak Sheep Dogs and also runs a flock of pure Swaledales.
She explained: “I’d seen Gem at work with Dewi Jenkins and liked her then. She has settled in well and went to work the next day. It’s like she’s never been away. The immediate plan is to use her as a working dog, then perhaps for trialling and breeding in the future. Myself and my friend Caroline travelled home with a very expensive load.”
I’d seen Gem at work with Dewi Jenkins and liked her then. She has settled in well and went to work the next day. It’s like she’s never been away.Rebecca Spooner
Back in the unbroken section, Shaun Procter’s 1,600gns pen leader, Ann, is a daughter of another Ann, who set a then Skipton record pup price of 1,850gns when bought out of the pup pen as a six-month-old in July, 2015.
By Derwen Doug, from renowed Welsh handler and triallist Kevin Evans, the dam is herself a daughter of Sid, another top-notch trials dog from Ireland’s James McGee, who runs Glencregg Sheepdogs in Creggan, Ballybofey, and a litter sister to Cap, sold for 14,100gns, again at Skipton in 2016, by Padraig Doherty of Ardagh Sheepdogs in Co Donegal. It remains a world record price for a dog sold at an official sale.
Buyer Caroline Hamilton, who has a Lonk commercial flock, said: “Ann will be used purely as a work dog and for breeding in the future.”
Shaun Procter remained at Skipton’s opening 2018 fixture long after his top price pup was sold – until lot no 109 out of 120, in fact – to pay the day’s second top price of 3,800gns for Nell, a classy red and white bitch originally bought for a high price out of Skipton’s pup pen and returning with North Wales handler A Jones, of Mold.
Out of Staffordshire breeder Peter Hallam’s Gem, Nell will be used on the Procter family’s mixed sheep flock, which includes Swaledale, Mule and Bluefaced Leicester, and their suckler cattle herd, as well as for breeding.
A good number of dogs sold from 3,000gns upwards. Third top call of 3,750gns fell to a home-bred December, 2016, tri-coloured bitch, Dot, from another Welshman, Eifion Hope, of Trefelli Farm St Davids in Pembrokeshire, by Kevin Evans’ Jim, winner of last year’s South Wales Nursery championship, out of the first litter of 11 pups from Mr Hope’s own Dot.
In July last year, another dog from the same litter set the current Skipton unbroken pen record price of 2,500gns for Mr Hope, who farms sheep, predominantly Mules, as well as suckler cattle, His latest Dot found a new home north of the border in Ayrshire with an undisclosed buyer who hopes to go trialling with the dog.
Earlier in the day, Mr Hope also achieved 2,950gns with another tri-coloured dog from the same litter, bought on behalf of a Welsh handler.
Kevin Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Modrydd, Brecon, Powys, himself took to the trials field with Tess, a May, 2015, black and white bitch run on behalf of fellow Welsh triallist, Brecon’s Sophie Holt, by Kevin’s own 2014 all-Wales nursery champion Moss, out of John Saunders’ Gwen. Tess, who had just reared a litter of six pups, sold for 3,700gns to an undisclosed buyer.
Mr Evans also hit 2,000gns with one of his own entries, a September, 2016, black and white dog and promising nursery prospect, Ted, again by the breeder’s own 2016 South Wales nursery champion, Jim, out of D Addison’s June.
Catching the eye at 3,300gns was Meg, an 18-month-old black and white bitch, from North Wales sheep farmer and dog trainer Sion Jones, who runs Cefn Eithin Sheep Dogs in Corwen and runs a flock of Texel-cross and Welsh ewes.
By his own Llangwn Rex, out of Arthur Hughes’ Nel, Meg found a new home in Scotland with Morayshire’s Walter and Valerie Leith, of Grange Keith, who were making their first-ever visit to Skipton and will put their new acquisition to work on their Scottish Blackface and Mule sheep.
Also selling well at 3,300gns was an older four-year-old black and white bitch, Glant Gweno, from Idwal Glant Griffiths, of Geryllan, Aberystwyth. The full sister to John Elliott’s Glant Roy, also with breeding lines to both Michael Gallagher’s Cap and Kevin Evans’ Jeff, joined J Uys in Stroud, Gloucestershire.
Again from Ireland, J D McAllister, of Cargan in Co Antrim, did well at 3,200gns with his March, 2016, red and white dog, Jim, by north Co Dublin breeder Brian White’s Malta Glen, out of C Chamberlayne’s Bessie. The dog sold to a buyer from the Midlands.
Later in the day, another fully trained, well-bred April, 2015, black and white bitch, Sue, from Ben Moore, of Newton-le-Willows, sold for 3,150gns. A daughter of Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s celebrated International Reserve Supreme Champion Sweep, out of D R Harrison’s Highfield Meg, Sue joined a Scottish Highlands buyer, Paulo Berardeli, of Spean Bridge.
Close behind at 3,100gns was Jade, a July, 2015, black and white bitch from local breeder Leighton Bancroft, of Lower Spen Farm, Barnoldswick. Out of his own Pip and by Burndale Chief, the dog also sold locally to Thomas Binns, of Downham, Clitheroe.
Five dogs made 3,000gns. Setting the early pace was Lass, a two-year-old black and white bitch from up-and-coming Mid Wales handler Dan Rees, of Tregaron, Ceredigion, who only started breeding dogs two years ago and trialling last year. Fully home-bred by fellow Welshman Henry Hughes, by his Glen, out of another Lass, the dog, already a nursery trials runner-up, returned to Wales when claimed by J M and A M Lewis, of Llanwrda in Carmarthenshire.
Also making 3,000gns was another promising young Irish prospect, Meg, a 13-month-old black and white butch from Guy McMullan, of Larne in Co Antrim. By Allistair Lyttle’s Jim, out of Mr McMullan’s own Nell, Meg fell to G Davies, of Wrexham.
Another 3,000gns performer came from S Roper, of Cleator Moor in Cumbria. His three-year-old black and white dog, Ted, with breeding from Arthur Temple dogs in Holmrook, returned to Cumbria with Keswick’s S Robinson.
Barnard Castle’s Rob Hutchinson also hit 3,000gns with his June, 2015, black and white bitch, Midge, whose parents Roy and Trixie were both bred by L Moorland. The dog joined Macclesfield’s Ben Kidd.
The fifth 3,000gns sale was Pete, an August, 2016, black and white dog from regular Irish vendor Michael McAllister of Glenariffe in Co Antrim. Fully bred by E A McAuley, by his Roy out of Jill, Pete joined N and M E Harrison in Shap.
The sale once more attracted dogs from all corners of the UK, with Irish vendors again travelling over in considerable numbers, along with plenty from Wales.
There was also a brace of from Belgium. Doing best at 2,250gns for Jo De Meyst, from Eigenlo, in the Flemish region south-west of Antwerp, was his May, 2015, black and white dog, Glen, which last winter finished second in the aggregate of a Belgium class 1 nursery. The buyer was L Buchanan, a lady handler from Strabane in Northern Ireland.
Once again, many dogs sold between 2,000 and 3,000gns as follows:
2,800gns – Redgate Becky, January, 2016, tri-coloured bitch from Jean Howes, of Bishop Auckland.
2.800gns – Burndale Kate, January, 2016, tri-coloured bitch from Sam Brough, of Buxton.
2,750gns – Coal, August, 2016, black and white dog, from the Isle of Man’s Richard Crowe.
2,600gns – Meg, July, 2016, black and white bitch from H Bouch, of Penrith.
2,500gns – Shep, May, 2013, tri-coloured dog from Sammy Long, of Carrickmagrath, Co Donegal.
2.500gns – Rojo, three-year-old black and white dog from Michael Kelly, of Crockaraggert, Co Derry.
2,500gns – Glenn, April, 2016, black, white and mottled dog from William Gallagher, of Bavin, Co Donegal.
2,250gns – Spottie, June, 2016, black and white bitch from Alwen Price, of Llandrindod Wells.
2,000gns – Scott, June, 2016, black and white dog from Barry Kyle, of Ardatole, Co Donegal.
2,000gns - Lad, May, 2015, tri-coloured dog from Louise McGoldrick, of Meenadreen, Co Donegal.
2,000gns – Zac, July, 2015, tri-coloured dog from Thomas Longton, of Quernmore, Lancaster.
Another solid turnout of 129 dogs was sold from early morning until late in the afternoon, with 60 broken entries, comprising 34 registered dogs and 26 registered bitches, which were particularly strong on price, successfully finding new homes, along with 28 unbroken dogs.
Craven Cattle Marts’ general manager Jeremy Eaton noted that while trade for unfinished broken dogs was cautious with lambing time just round the corner trade for well broken dogs was very good.
Top prices and averages: Broken registered dogs to 3,200gns (average £1,821), broken registered bitches to 8,100gns (average £2,661), broken unregistered dogs to 650gns, broken unregistered bitches to 1,900gns (average £1,103), unbroken registered dogs to 900gns (average £519), unbroken registered bitches to 1,600gns (average 659), unregistered dogs to 400gns (£173), unregistered bitches to 450gns (average £315).
Future seasonal working sheep dog sales at Skipton throughout this year take place on Fridays, May 18th, July 6th and October 12th.