RETIRED York shepherd John Atkinson sold his rising four year-old red and white bitch Stella for £7,245 or A$12,616 at the recent Skipton Auction Mart’s ‘live’ summer sale of working sheep dogs.
Mr Atkinson runs Whiterose Sheep Dogs in Escrick, York, and until his retirement at 74, worked as a shepherd on the Escrick Park Estate, owned by renowned conservationist and sporting gun Charlie Forbes-Adams.
Stella is bred out of well-known Silsden handler Andrew Throup’s Marchup Bess and by Hilston Spot, from Graham Blyth, of Hilston Sheep Dogs on the east coast near Withernsea. The bitch has been placed in nursery trials.
Mr Atkinson is an accomplished dog trainer and triallist, responsible for two Scottish National champions and an International champion. He has had multiple high profile successes on the trials field, most notably with Whiterose Queen, with whom he won over 20 trials, including a Double Gather Championship. He has also sold dogs extensively across Europe, Japan and America.
Mr Atkinson sold his first dog at Skipton a decade earlier and said Stella’s price was his highest ever sale price at the North Yorkshire venue. The stylish bitch attracted keen interest from live and online bidders, but sold to T&G Farrow, of Richmond, as part of a brace of buys on the day. He also paid 3000gns for rising two-year-old black and white dog Swift, from Irish vendor Declan Neary, of Castlebar in Co. Mayo.
The Farrows returned the sale on 29 July to seek replacements for two good dogs previously bought out of Skipton ten years earlier which had more than proved their worth at home, before unfortunately passing away within months of one another.
Stella’s sale-topping performance further cemented the growing popularity over recent years of Border Collies with the red gene, which are now being increasingly bred and perhaps even convincing black and white traditionalists that a red dog can do the job just as well.
Again supported by a real-time online bidding facility, the summer fixture especially catered for prospective purchasers who prefer to see fully broken dogs perform live on the trials field, with an increased feel-good factor clearly in evidence among a decent crowd, reflected in top end selling prices.
Second top price of 6000gns (£6300 or A$10,973) was achieved by first-time vendor from Cheshire, Macclesfield’s Andrew Heathcoate, with his October 2019 born black and white bitch, Beaut, who is out of Lyn, bred by his half brother Steven Massey. The sire is Moor Lodge Ben, bred locally in Oakworth, above Keighley, by Carol Mellin.
Mr Heathcoate is a sheep farmer runing a 200-strong North of England Mule and Texel flock. He has been training sheep dogs for eight years and has just started trialling himself, making an immediate impact with Beaut’s brother, Roy, who has qualified for this year’s English Nursery final.
The sale price to Scottish hill farmer Iain Logan was Mr Heathcoate’s highest ever. Mr Logan runs a flock of 650 Scottish Blackface sheep, along with a small mixed native cattle herd on Scotland’s Isle of Arran. Beaut will be used primarily as a work dog, possibly also running in local trials.
The Skipton sale attracted 42 dogs and 34 were sold, with eight selling at 3,000gns and upwards, a trio at 2,000-3,000gns, a brace at 1,000-2,000gns, and 21 up to 1,000gns, these predominantly in the unbroken pen.
Source – Moule Media.