WORKING SHEEP DOG REPORT - JANUARY 2021

Kevin Evans headline performer again at Skipton online sheep dog sale with high price hat-trick and £14,300 top call Dad David sets new world record price of £6,100 for unbroken pup Welshman Kevin Evans was top dog on price yet again at Skipton Auction Mart’s first online working sheep dog sale of 2021, selling three fully broken dogs for a combined £35,600, while his father David established a new world record price of £6,100 for an unbroken pup.



 

While none of the top-notch Evans trio was able to get near the £20,000 all-time world record price he established at Skipton last autumn with a red bitch, Henna, almost four-years-old, all three dogs at the latest sale achieved five-figure prices for the legendary breeder and triallist, who has been setting the working sheep dog world alight of late with his charges, many related to the handler’s high profile trials champions.

The three-day virtual timed sale (Mon-Wed, Jan 18-20) saw Mr Evans, of Llwynfedwen Farm, near Brecon in Powys, head the prices at the North Yorkshire venue for the third sale in succession when achieving £14,300 with his fully broken March, 2019-born tan and white bitch, the aptly named Pink.

The top price performer is by fellow Welshman Ross Games’ chocolate and white dog, Caefelin Clem (Taff), out of Roy Price’s Blue. Mated in December and scanned carrying pups to Mr Evans’ five-year-old Jaff, a litter brother to his world record price Henna, Pink fell to an undisclosed buyer. 

Mr Evans was also represented by two further young up-and-coming fully broken 2019 dogs, both rising two-years-old. First forward was a February-born black and white bitch, Groesfaen Leny, a grandson of his own dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion, Tanhill Glen, out of Glen Evans’ (no relation) Shell. 

The buyer at £11,100 was 37-year-old Northumberland cattle and sheep farmer James Pritchard, custodian of 2,500 acres of hill land in Otterburn, where he runs a 1,500-strong mixed sheep flock of Swaledales, Scottish Blackface, Scotch Mules and pedigree Texel, along with pedigree Limousin and Belted Galloway cattle, and a 150-head commercial herd, on which his new acquisition will be put to work.

Mr Pritchard was actually raised a few miles down the road from Skipton Auction Mart in the village of Farnhill and while his family had no connection with agriculture, it was clearly in his blood and the former Giggleswick School pupil learned the ropes when helping out well-known local farmer John Roberts, before moving lock, stock and barrel to Northumberland in 2007 to take up farming in his own right.

Tanhill Glen had a major influence on Skipton’s opening sale of 2021, with the top stud dog’s breeding having a direct bearing on a good number of well-sold entries. Bred by Kirkby Stephen’s Alec Baines, Glen was acquired by Mr Evans at just 15 months. He is now eight-years-old and still going strong.

Last up for Mr Evans and making £10,200 was the slightly younger March-born black and white dog, Zac, a son of Lyn Howells’ red dog, Boss, and also carrying the gene which will produce red pups. Out of another Howell family dog, Millie, Zac, who is regarded an excellent nursery prospect, found a new home in Belgium with Jo De Meyst, who hails from Oost-Vlaanderens in the province of East Flanders, and has himself sold dogs at Skipton in the past.

Triallist dad David Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Brecon, was himself represented by three youngsters full of promise, with the headline performer his £6,100 new world record price pup, an 11-week- old black and white bitch, Bet, who smashed the previous unbroken sale record of £3,700 established by Northern Ireland’s Donal Mullaney at Skipton last October.

It was certainly a question of keeping it in the family, as Bet is by son Kevin’s own red dog, Spot, recently acquired from Germany and already proving his worth as a top-class sire. Out of John Bowen’s Tess, a leading Open trials female, she returned to Wales with an unnamed buyer. 

Mr Evans Snr also hit £3,800 – that too would have been a new world record unbroken pup price if not for Bet - with a second 11-week-old black and white bitch, Karven Flash, another daughter of Tanhill Glen, out of Steve Lewis’s Elsa. Flash found a new home with an online buyer from Norway, Hilmar Eide, of Torvastad on the island of Karmøy.

David Evans’ leading performer on price at £9,100 was a 12-month-old fully broken black and white bitch, Beacons Peg, by Welsh team member David Howell’s Nip, a World Sheep Dog Trials finalist, out of David’s own Welsh team member, Kemi Maid, herself also by Tanhill Glen. Peg sold to a Scottish buyer, Dunfermline’s Philip Jones.

It proved an exceptional at the office for the Evans father and son brace, who with six dogs between them netted almost £55,000.

A stronger entry of 19 Scottish-bred dogs produced the day’s second top price of £12,000 for Sion (Shaun) Morgan, who moved from Carmarthenshire to Galashiels in Scotland in 2016 in pursuit of his dream shepherding job and is now in charge of several thousand Scottish Blackface ewes on a local estate. He is also a keen triallist, with several Open wins and a Scottish Nursery reserve championship under his belt.

Mr Morgan’s fully broken October, 2018, black and white dog, Moss, is by North Wales handler, Dylan Edwards’ own trials-winning dog Ben, out of Jess, now with Adam Griffiths, but who was also bred by Mr Edwards and is herself by Tanhill Glen. Another strong all-rounder, Moss remained in Scotland with an undisclosed buyer.

Irish dogs were again well in the ascendancy with a 53-strong entry. Doing best of them on price at £9,300 and with a part-broken dog was Brian Farrelly, from Letterkenny in Co Donegal with his11-month-old black and white bitch, Emmy, whose back pedigree was packed with some outstanding dogs, including past International Supreme Champions. She is by none other than Tanhill Glen, out of Seamus Byrne’s Meg, and with prospects of making an excellent trials bitch, joined a Welsh buyer. 

There were 21 entries from England and top dog on price at £9,200 came from Derek Cheetham, of Bamford in Derbyshire’s Peak District, with his16-month-old black and white bitch, Queen, whose parents are both New Zealand heading dogs, a sturdy, long-legged and even-haired breed famed for their working and herding abilities. Queen fell to Welsh buyer Hefin Evans, from Tal-y-Bont in Ceredigion.

Ewan Irvine, from Fallowlees in Northumberland, was represented by a March, 2018, black and white bitch, Graylees Rita, bred out of his famous shepherdess wife Emma Gray’s Brenna and sold by her to an American buyer for a then world record price of 14,000gns at Skipton two years ago. Emma followed up at Skipton’s February sale last year – the last live dog sale at the North Yorkshire venue before lockdown - with a then new world record price of £18,900
 
A daughter of her English National Reserve Champion and 2017 World Sheep Dog Trials finalist, Tweeddale Jamie, bred by Lockerbie’s Dean Aiken and himself a son of Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s 2014 Reserve Supreme Champion, English National Champion and International Brace Champion, Sweep, Rita sold for £8,600 to another buyer who requested anonymity.

She was the first dog to be trained and sold at an official sale by former fireman Ewan, who has now given up fire fighting to farm and train working sheep dogs full time. The couple, who are based at Harwood Forest, Morpeth, have retained two further pups from the same litter.

Back with the Irish, Brian White and Aoife Smith, from Naul in North Country Dublin, who have done really well in the past with some high-priced dogs at Skipton, make a welcome return to the online sale arena when claiming £7,700 with their rising two-year-old black and white bitch Bec, by David Howell’s Nip, out of Brian’s own top-notch breeding bitch, Malta Gwen, who also bred Pat Byrne's Moss which made 9,200gns top price for the Irish couple in a previous Skipton sale in 2017.  Bec joined a Scottish buyer.

Scotland was responsible for the next highest price of £7,100 for a fully trained September, 2019, tri-coloured bitch, Cap, known at home as Nap, from Belgium-born Laura Hinnekens, who now runs Limestone Hill Sheepdogs near Biggar in Lanarkshire. Another son of Ross Games’ Caefelin Clem, the dog remained in Scotland when sold to S McKillop, of Inverary in Argyle.

Two further dogs made £6,000-plus. Doing best of the duo at £6,600 was a September, 2018, black and white bitch, Nip, from Welsh handler G Gordon, of Swansea. Fully bred by Welsh triallist CJ Gordon’s Glen, out of Rosewood Sky, Nip caught the eye of Scottish buyer, Berwick-upon-Tweed’s Amanda Grey.

Making £6,300 for another Scottish handler, George Simpson, of Kirkland in Aberdeenshire, was an August, 2018, black and white bitch, Gin, by another Kevin Evans top-class trials dog, Derwen Doug, a European Nursery Champion and dual Welsh and International Brace Champion. Out of RFM Ellis’s Glen and already placed in five nursery trials, Gin joined a regular buyer from the far north of Scotland, Jock Sutherland, of Sangormore, Durness, in the north-west Highlands.

Five dogs sold at £5,000 and above, two making £5,300. First was Field Hill Rex, a May, 2018, black and white dog from James Gilman, of Macclesfield in Cheshire, which found a new home in Cumbria with Wigton’s CA Johnston, followed by a further Caefelin Clem son, the September, 2018 tri-coloured Moss from Cumbrian handler Ross Watson, of Millom, which sold locally to Peter Simpson, of Dacre, Harrogate.

Three more broken dogs each made £5,000, beginning with Skye Penny, a June, 2018, fully home-bred black and white bitch from Seumas Campbell, of Balnacnol on the Isle of Skye, followed by a 22-month-old black and white son of the Lyn Howell’s Boss from Skipton regular Shaun Procter, of Great Musgrave, Kirkby Stephen. Both dogs also sold to Cumbrian buyers, respectively, Peter Harrison, of Penrith, and Millom’s JD&M Capstick.

Local interest was provided by Oakworth’s Carol Mellin with a two-year-old home-bred bitch, Moor Lodge Maisie, by her own Ben, a dual purpose work and trial dog Carol still uses to marshal the sheep at Skipton’s ‘live’ working sheep dog sales. With multiple nursery trial placings, Maisie also made £5,000 when joining the Dunstall Estate near Burton-on-Trent.

For many years Carol has successfully bred and trialled working dogs under the Moor Lodge prefix and she had earlier gone to £4,100 to claim the very first dog to be offered for sale, Lyn, an 11-month-old part-trained black and white bitch from Neil Hirrell, of Cloontagh in Co. Donegal. She is a daughter of Pat Byrne’s Moss, out of a Knockmaa Jack bitch.

No less than ten dogs made between £4,000 and £5,000. Hitting the top end of that price bracket at £4,900 was Middery Meg, an April, 2019, tri-coloured bitch from James Campbell, of Strathaven in South Lanarkshire, which remained north of the border when claimed by Ayr’s Scott Rorison.

Thomas Longton, a member of the renowned Red Rose sheep dog trialling family from Quermore, Lancaster, also caught the eye with a £4,800 sale of his June, 2017, tri-coloured bitch, Wyverne Sal, a daughter of Ross Games’ Roy, who joined TH&DM Cornthwaite on Cartmel Fell in South Lakeland. 

The sole Belgian entry, a 17-month-old tri-coloured dog, Foxridge Nuke, from Ben De Kerf in Nieuwe, sold well at £4,700. He is a well-bred son of Supreme Champion, Hybeck Blake, himself a full brother to Kevin Evans’ Foxridge Drake, whose own father was an International Supreme Champion, out of a sister of Tanhill Glen. The Scottish buyer was K Donald, of Dalrymple in East Ayrshire.

Again from north of the border, Strathnaver’s Ian Sutherland made £4,500 with a two-year-old black and white Irish-bred dog Moss, by Pat Byrne’s Lad, out of Co Donegal-based Donal Mullaney’s Queen. Already placed in nursery trials, she joined local husband and wife and familiar Skipton faces, Ashley and Rachael Caton in Otterburn.

Three further dogs sold at £4,100. Letterkenny’s Donal Mullaney, who last year set not one, but three world record prices at Skipton with unbroken pups, returned with an older six-year-old tri-coloured bitch, Jess, again by Pat Byrne’s Lad, which fell to David Morrison, of Girvan in South Ayrshire.

One eye-catcher making £4,100 at the younger end was a part-broken eight-month-old black and white bitch, Glaven Ella, from Norfolk’s Graham Baldry, of Hillington, near Kings Lynn, and yet another Tanhill Glen daughter, out of the breeder’s own Floss, by Ricky Hutchinson’s Sweep. She sold to an undisclosed buyer.

Completing the £4,100 sales was a June, 2016, black and white bitch, Ruby, from Cumbrian handler, Gavin Fearon, of Grange, Keswick. The buyer was John Brewer, of Bleasdale in Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland.

It was by far the most successful of Skipton’s four virtual online sales conducted to date, both in terms of entry numbers and trading levels. New vendors were seen alongside long-standing regulars and of the 112 dogs forward, comprising fully broken, part broken and unbroken, 89 found new homes.

As well as the dogs making £4,000-plus, another 20 sold in the £3,000’s, 16 in the £2,000’s, 23 in the £1,000’s, plus a single three-figure sale of £950 for the cheapest dog. While the UK’s leading sheep dog sales venue remains renowned for selling dogs at some astronomical prices, it also continues to offer a varied cross-section of readily affordable dogs, both solid broken entries for work and up-and-coming youngsters to further bring on and run in trials.

For the opening fixture, the mart adapted conditions of sale to recognise the fact that commercial carriers must now be fully registered in order to legally move dogs across Irish and European borders post-Brexit, exacerbated by the fact that there are currently delays in registering carriers.