Working dog records broken at online UK sale

Terry Sim, October 21, 2020

World record price sheep dog Henna in action. Image – Moule Media.

A NEW world record price of £20,000 or A$36,600 has been set for a working dog at an online auction in England.

The price for a fully trained and broken in rising four year-old tri-coloured collie bitch was one of three world record prices set at the Skipton Auction Mart latest virtual sale on 19 October.

The other two record were £4200 (A$7686) for an eight month-old part-broken bitch and £3700 (A$6771) for an unbroken five month-old pup.

Top Welsh breeder and trialler Kevin Evans sold his rising four year-old bitch Henna to South Wales hill farmer Donna Jones. Mr Evans also set the part-broken bitch record with eight-month-old Nant-y-Moel Tara, to Orkney farmer Sean Cursiter, off the north-eastern coast of Scotland. Mr Evans comes from Llwynfedwen Farm, near Brecon in Powys.

Henna’s price eclipsed the previous world record price of £19,451 for a bitch sold earlier this year at a virtual sale in Wales – by Kevin’s father, Brecon triallist David Evans. This pipped the former world record price of £18,900 established at Skipton in February – the last live dog sale before lockdown – by another bitch from Northumberland shepherdess Emma Gray.

Welsh breeder Kevin Evans and buyer Donna Jones with world record price sheep dog Henna. Image – Moule  Media.

Henna was described as a class act with many trials placings, and is a daughter of Mr Evans’ own Moss, a red dog that won a couple of nursery trials before being sold privately to Norway a few years back. The dam is fellow Welsh breeder Ian Fowler’s Fran, whose own father was Mr Evans’ old Jaff, a dog that won multiple trials at the highest level and also successfully represented the Welsh national team on several occasions.

Ms Jones first viewed online video footage of Henna and then made the half hour trip to Kevin’s farm on the final morning of the sale to work Henna herself, before joining the online bidding frenzy for the top-notch prospect.

“And, believe me, I had to press the online bidding button many times as the price rose and rose in order to get her,” Mrs Jones said.

“However, Henna reminded me so much of my old home-bred bitch, Tikka, being exactly the same colour.

“She is the spitting image, so I just had to have her.”

Mrs Jones farms on her husband and father-in-law’s farm at Llanbedr, Crickhowell, and Henna will be put to work on the family’s two sheep flocks comprising 500 Suffolk cross ewes and 250 Welsh Mountain ewes, as well as store cattle.

Mrs Jones once trialled sheep dogs locally and has aspirations to return to the trials field now that her three children – Bethan, Ryan, and Megan – are fast growing up.

Kevin Evan’s bitch Tara. Image – Moule Media.

Kevin Evans, who has set the working sheep dog world alight with multiple top price and other leading four-figure sales this year alone at Skipton, had two further stand-out successes with impeccably bred bitches at the autumn fixture, both carrying bloodlines from some of the Welsh handler’s top dogs.

He achieved second top price of £13,500 with a fully broken two-and-a-half-year-old Welsh-bred black, white and mottled bitch, Floss, by Gerard Lewis’s Sam, out of Roy Price’s Nell, who is herself by Mr Evan’s own Caleb and whose breeding goes back to another of his famous dogs, Mirk, a former International Supreme Champion and dual World Sheep Dog Trials finalist. Like several of Mr Evans’ past Skipton sales, Floss found a new home across the pond in the United States with a buyer from Oklahoma, who requested anonymity.

The £4200 paid for Mr Evans eight month-old bitch, Nant-y-Moel Tara, is believed to be the highest price ever paid at an official sale for a dog under ten months-old. She is by Mr Evans’ own Tanhill Glen, a dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion, out of Floyd Farthing’s Wheatwood Sue, a daughter of Mr Evans’ European Nursery Champion and dual Welsh and International Brace Champion, Derwen Doug.

Tara’s buyer farms sheep and cattle at the family-run Laga Farms in Evie, home to flocks of 750 pure Lleyns and 280 New Zealand Romneys, along with a 100-strong suckler cow herd. As well as working on the farm, Mr Cursiter also has a farm contracting arm undertaking work with his dogs and travelling extensively across the UK as a sheep shearer and as far south as Devon and Cornwall. The 31 year-old also hit the headlines last year when crowned ‘Britain’s Fittest Farmer,’ after beating hundreds of competitors in a UK-wide competition designed to promote mental and physical health in agriculture.

Mr Cursiter said he first took a fancy to Tara after seeing her at work via online video footage, before entering the online bidding.

“She appeared a class dog who I could bring on. I also wanted a bitch to breed from and eventually start selling my own dogs.”

Irish breeder shatters his previous pup record

Donal Mullaney with his top-priced pup.

Irish breederDonal Mullaney, from Letterkenny in Co. Donegal, shattered his world record pup prices of £2700 and £2350 at Skipton’s previous two online sales with his latest £3700 for Jack, a litter mate of his two top-performing forerunners.

Jack is yet another top-notch son of fellow Irishman Martin Feeney’s famous trials dog, also Jack, a multiple open trials winner, and semi-finalist in the 2014 and 2017 World Sheep Dog Trials, finalist in two Supreme Trials and placed in the Irish National team on seven occasions. The dam is Mr Mullaney’s own Nell, who is herself by Lad, a renowned Irish dog from Roscommon’s Pat Byrne.

The new world record price pup returned to Co. Donegal when sold to a very good friend of the Mullaneys, Michael McHugh, of Milford, who describes himself as a part-time sheep farmer. He has sold dogs himself at Skipton and is planning to use Jack for breeding.

“Then I can perhaps sell more dogs and beat Donal on price!” he quipped.

Source: Moule Media.


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