TOP dog on price with an 8,100gns (£8,505) call at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest ‘live’ field-run working sheep dogs sale was Welsh wizard Dewi Jenkins on May 20.

Mr Jenkins, of Talybont, near Aberystwyth, arrived with a single entry, his18-month-old black and white bitch, Aran Kate, said to be an excellent prospect for nursery trials this year.

She is another well-bred daughter of the Ceredigon handler’s main stud dog Jock, who finished eighth in this year’s Supreme and has been responsible for many top price Skipton-sold dogs at both live and online sales in recent years

Jock was also the father of two 8,500gns dogs sold the previous weekend at Bala, his Skipton daughter, out of Rosewood Meg, from Alun Jones in North Wales, selling to an undisclosed Scottish buyer.

Travelling all the way down from near Inverness and making the journey well worthwhile when claiming second top call of 6,100gns (£6,405) was John Macinnes, of Westford, Alness, with his January, 2020, brown and white bitch, Vhairi.

By Upland Moss, out of Liz, from Derwent’s JD Wood, a bitch sold out of Skipton in 2019, the stylish two-year-old, a solid all-rounder, was the first dog ever to be sold at the North Yorkshire venue by Mr Macinnes, a dyed-in-the-wool Scottish Blackface sheep farmer and shepherd who, now aged 79, says this year’s crop of lambs will be the last he will ever sell as retirement finally beckons.

However, the former trialist will continue to bring on and improve working sheepdogs, having trained them for many years on behalf of other people. Vhairi returned to her place of origin when sold via a telephone bid by to a contract shepherd from Inverness.

Shaun Richards, who runs Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs - - at the foot of Penyghent in Eldroth, another local handler who has regularly figured among the top prices at Skipton, was represented by a brace of bitches, also running a third on behalf of his wife Sue, the trio netting 13,900gns (£14,595) in total.

First up and topping on price at 4,900gns was his main work dog, Ora, an experienced four-year-old black and white bitch by the home-bred Vic, himself a son of the breeder’s own Meg, whose own sire was Welshman Aled Owen’s renowned World Sheep Dog Trials champion Roy. Out of a well-proven dam, Rita, Ora joined familiar Skipton face Granville Fairburn, of Apperley Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Next up was Mrs Richards’ two-year-old black and white bitch Nell, a daughter of Hemp, from Shap’s Richard Harrison, out of North Craven-based David Farraday’s Tiny, who also sold well via an online bid of 4,600gns, travelling to Powys in Wales with Geraint Evans.

Mr Richards’ third dog was a newly broken October, 2020, black and white bitch, Liz, a home-bred out of Shaun’s own Pen-y-Borough Whizz, since sold locally to Tosside’s Clive Robinson, and a daughter of Dean Addison’s Elan Valley Roy. She completed a good day for the North Craven handler when going to Perthshire in Scotland with K Taylor & Sons, of Killin for 4,400gns.

Welsh brothers Ross and Arran Games, from Talgarth in southern Powys, were both well represented with two fully broken dogs each. The second runner for Ross, who works as an agricultural contractor and sheep shearer, and is a well-known triallist, having represented the Welsh national team, was a young improver, the November, 2020, black and white bitch, Jet, by JD Mills’ Venn Lock, out of R Edwards’ Pat. She commanded 3,900gns when catching the eye of Bangor’s M Jones.

His first runner and the first entrant on the trials field was the December, 2019, black and white dog Jed, fully bred by M Heraty by his own Jed, out of Jess. Ready to progress further in new hands, the promising nursery trials prospect sold for 2,200gns.

The first of Arran Games’ two field-run 2020 dogs was his June-born black and white Bryn, trial-trained and ready for nurseries. By Caefelin Clem, acquired from fellow Welsh breeder Maxy Edwards, this dog also travelled north of the border when claimed for 4,200gns by Perth’s Bruce Flockhart.

Next up was Max, an April-born son of Preseli Bronk, out of Oaktree Lynne, who also did well at 3,800gns when going to Wales with John Roberts in Betwys-y-Coed.

Arran also made his mark in the unbroken pup pen when topping this part of the sale at 1,100gns with his 11-month-old up-and-coming black and white dog, Glen, which travelled north to Sutherland to join new owner Janice Sutherland.

One of the best-known names in the business, Alec Baines, who runs Tan Hill Sheepdogs high above Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria, was represented by a three-year-old black and white dog, Nap, by his own Tan Hill Alex, placed third in the 2018 Supreme, out of Clwyd Megan. Nap figured among the day’s leading prices at 4,200gns when going to Ulverston in the Lake District with AL Edmondson.

County Durham regular Jean Howes was double-handed with a brace of black, white and mottled bitches, first the part-broken January, 2021, Hendre Casi, by top Welsh trialist, Kevin Evans’ Spot, out of DT Edwards’ Bell. Casi made 2,200gns.

Her second entry and doing much better at 4,000gns was the fully home-bred and broken August, 2020, Redgate Spotty, by Redgate Dylan, out of Jess. In need of further work experience, she will get just that with her new local owners, Horton-in-Ribblesdale husband and wife, Stuart and Debbie Robinson.

Still with the fully broken field-run dogs, a selling price of 3,600gns was achieved by another Welshman, A Thomas, of Abersytwyth, with his December, 2020, black and white bitch, Neil, by ML Evans’ Kinloch Shep, out of GD Jones’ Lassie. A solid all-round farm bitch, she joined T Buck, from Yaxham in Norfolk.

Back in the unbroken pup pen, the Byrne family, from Knockcroghery, County Roscommon, were well represented, claiming a top of 800gns with a four-month-old black and white bitch Lulu.

The sale attracted a total entry of 44 dogs, with a solid clearance rate achieved. Apart from the leading prices and again showing Skipton’s ability to sell dogs suitable for both work and trial and for all tastes and pockets, five further dogs made 2,200-2,600gns, along with two at 1,100gns and 1,200gns.

Selling averages shaped up very well as follows: Broken – registered dogs from 1200g to 4200g, av £3115; registered bitches from 2200g to 8100g, av £4467. Pups/part and unbroken – registered dogs from 100g to 800g, av £497, registered bitches from 400g to 800g, av. £595. Unregistered dogs to 1100gns. Bearded Collie dog pups to 300g.

The latest sale was sponsored by Farmers Guardian. Skipton’s next working sheep dogs sale, scheduled for Tuesday, June 14, will revert to an online format, with live sales due to return on Friday, July 1.