Four five-figure sales to a top of £13,800 for fully broken dogs, plus a new world record price of £7,600 for an unbroken puppy just turned nine-weeks-old, were recorded at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest two-day timed online working sheep dog sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 18-19.
Setting the world record price for a pup achieved an official sale was Welshman Glynne Jones, of Pentir, near Bangor in Gwynedd, with his March 12-born Pentir Lassie, an unusually lilac coloured bitch, which smashed the previous record of £6,100 established at Skipton’s previous online sale in January for an 11-week- old black and white bitch, Bet, from another well-known Welshman, David Evans, who also clinched £13,800 top call at the latest renewal.
Lassie, described as a lively, confident and healthy pup, is a product of outstanding parents, coming from the first litter of pups by Reiver Gray, bred by well-known shepherdess Emma Gray, now farming in Scotland on the Isle of Bute.
Lassie’s dam, Graylees Cêt, has been owned and trained by Mr Jones since being purchased as an eight-week-old pup in August 2014, to lay a very solid foundation for his Pentir Sheepdogs breeding programme.
As well as Lassie, who is from Cêt’s sixth and last litter, the outstanding mother has produced a number of ISDS pedigree pups with Tweeddale Jamie, described as an amazing match from the outset.
Full-time sheep and cattle farmer and sheep dog enthusiast Mr Jones farms 100 acres in and around Pentir, nestled in between the Snowdonia mountain ranges and the north Wales coast.
Lassie was his first offering at Skipton. He said: “My aim is to breed top quality working sheepdog pups from the best DNA tested bloodlines in the UK.
“I’m obviously over the moon. Lassie is a dog with everything in my opinion.”
Her new owner is Damian Barson, of Tessleymoor Gundogs, a dog behaviourist and gundog trainer based in Woodplumpton, near Preston, who is now taking an increasing interest in sheep farming, running a flock of Ryelands, with plans to diversify into Herdwicks – and seeking a high-class four-legged companion to assist.
Put in touch with Glynne Jones, Mr Barson explained: “I have trained dogs all my life and have my own pack, so I wanted to get the best, a dog with both style and character.
“It was all down to colour and breeding. I just had to have the wee pup, though I do think I went a bit wild!”
Top dogs yet again on price were Powys father and son breeding and trialing legends David and Kevin Evans, who between then sold six fully broken and unbroken dogs for a combined £50,000-plus.
David Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Brecon, was May sale topper at £13,800 with a November 2017 black and white dog, Pen-y-Borough Spud, by son Kevin’s Kemi Ross, a member of both the 2015 and 2016 Welsh National teams, also a 2016 European Nursery finalist, as well as running in the same year’s International.
Spud, better known at home as Buddy, is another impeccably bred dog from the Evans fold, being a grandson of dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion Tanhill Glen, while the dam, Derwen Wot, bred locally by Shaun Richards, of Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth, near Settle, is a full sister to another top-notch Evans trials dog, Derwen Doug, a European Nursery Champion and dual Welsh and International Brace Champion.
Already boasting multiple trials placings to his name, Buddy fell to American buyers Kellie Herrington and her husband Terry Dear, who are located in Ponder, Texas.
Kellie is a small animal vet who enjoys trialing and Buddy was purchased purposely for her husband to both trial and use at home, where he is currently raising a small set of Fullblood American Dorper sheep.
Kevin Evans, of Llwynfedwen Farm, near Brecon, then achieved second top call of £12,800 with his smart 16-month-old black and white dog, Wyverne Brodie, another fully trained son of Derwen Doug, out of David Meek’s Wyverne Meg, herself a daughter of a twice International Champion.
The solid nursery prospect also travelled abroad when joining a buyer from Norway, Jon Arnesand, of Lier in Viken County.
A Derwen Doug daughter also made £9,900 for Kevin. His June 2019 black and white bitch, Pat, herself out of a daughter of Netherlands-based former World Sheep Dog Trials champion Serge van der Sweep’s Gary, fell to a buyer from the West Midlands, Oldbury’s Laura Field.
A slightly younger September, 2019, black and white bitch from the same home sold with a £6,200 price tag.
Foxridge Layka is a daughter of Kevin’s Supreme Champion, Hybeck Blake, while her dam is DW Edwards’ Tanhill Lilly, a full sister to top stud dog Tanhill Glen, bred by Kirkby Stephen’s Alec Baines and acquired by Kevin at just 15 months.
Glen is now eight-years-old and still going strong. Layka found a new home north of the border with William Tod, of Langholm in Dumfries & Galloway.
Back bounced dad David with a brace of well-sold unbroken pups both by son Kevin’s own red dog, Spot, acquired from Germany and breeding well.
The youngest of the duo, Conn, a red and white 10-week-old dog, sold for £5,100 to a French buyer, with a five-month-old black, white and mottled bitch, Jess, making £4,050 and also heading to Scotland with Argyle’s Mark Reid.
Another renowned Welsh handler and top triallist Dewi Jenkins, of Tal-y-bont, near Aberystwyth – he too has sold many top price dogs at Skipton in recent years – again did well when claiming £10,700 with his sole entry, a highly promising home-bred 10-month-old red and white bitch, Tynygraig Lil Red, by fellow Welshman Ross Games’ chocolate and white dog Caefelin Clem (Taff), out of Mr Jenkins’ own Mia.
The prolific Clem also sired Kim, a 12-month-old dog that earlier this year set a new world record price of more than £27,000 for the Ceredigion handler at a Welsh sale, bettering the previous world record price of £20,000 established at Skipton last autumn by none other than Kevin Evans. Red sold to an undisclosed buyer.
Wales was also responsible for the next best price of £10,000 for a two-year-old black and white bitch, Lexi, from Lyn Howells, who farms near Port Talbot in West Glamorgan and is by his own red and white dog, Boss, and a granddaughter of Welsh team member David Howell’s Nip, a World Sheep Dog Trials finalist.
With litter brothers all sold at online sales for £10,300, £6,000 and £5,000, Lexi remains in Wales with Phil and Amy Jones, of Raglan in Monmouthshire. The couple breed North Country Cheviots.
In fact, Welsh-bred dogs were prominent throughout. Also from Ceredigion, Reece Griffiths, of Ty Coreswyntoedd, made £8,000 with his March 2019, fully broken black and white dog Bryniau Celt, sold locally to Silsden’s Martin Throup.
Next best at £6,900 was very first lot to be offered at the online sale, a fully home-bred black, white and mottled January 2019 bitch Belle, from North Wales handler Dylan Edwards, of Maes Hendre in Gwynedd.
By own trials-winning Ben, Belle joined past Skipton buyer Frank Hickson, of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders.
Several English-bred dogs also sold well. The best of them at £6,300 was Musgrave Skye, a June 2019 black and white bitch from Simon Cottrell, of Congleton in Cheshire.
The daughter of Caefelin Clem fell to another Norwegian buyer, H Brevick, of Torpo in Buskerud County.
More local interest was provided by Oakworth’s Philip Mellin, who achieved a £6,000 sale with his June 2018 tri-coloured dog Spot, by Serge van der Zweep’s Mac, out of a dam by the same handler’s World Sheep Dog Trials-winning Gary.
Having already won a nursery trial and been placed in others, Spot also found a new home across the pond with Oklahoma’s Nancy Nunn, a past buyer at Skipton.
Four broken dogs sold between £5,000 and £6,000, the leading price in this range being £5,800 for a November, 2109, black and white bitch Jet, by Llangwm Dan, from Daniel Purtill, of West Houghton, near Bolton, followed at £5,600 by a 20-month-old white and black dog Snow, a product of New Zealand heading dogs, from Derbyshire sale regular Derek Cheetham, of Bamford, who also made £4,300 with a 10-month-old black and tan Huntaway bitch, Ruby, whose parents are also New Zealand imports.
Two further entries made £5,000, the first a July 2019 red and white Irish dog Moidoch Dice, from Greg Leslie, of Ballymagroarty in County Donegal, the second a March 2019 tri-coloured dog Shadwell Steve, also by Llangwm Cap, from Goole’s Stuart Walton. A further 14 dogs made between £4,000 and £5,000, another 12 selling in the £3,000s, 28 in the £2,000s, 24 in the £1,000s, plus 15 at three-figure sales down to £500 for the cheapest dog.
The sale attracted another record entry of 149 fully broken, part broken and unbroken dogs, of which 108 successfully found new homes.
While trade was good throughout, with some outstanding performers, prices were described as being “more realistic” than of late, with plenty of readily affordable dogs to suit all tastes and pockets, both solid broken entries for work and up-and-coming youngsters to further bring on and run in trials.
Skipton’s next working sheep dog sale is the summer fixture scheduled for a Friday in July, with the actual date yet to be finalised.
However, it is hoped it will herald a welcome return to the trial and sales field at the UK’s leading working sheep dog sale venue, with bolt-on online bidding facility also likely.