A TOP price of 7,600gns (£7,980) was achieved at one of the most successful working sheep dog sales ever held at Skipton mart.

An entry of 163 also saw two 6,000gns plus sales; eight at more than 4,000gns; a centre record average of £2,910 for broken registered dogs; and the second highest ever price in the unbroken pen of 2,450gns.

There was also a good cross-section of more affordable dogs with 15 selling for up to 1,500gns, six making 1,500-2,000gns, 18 at 2,000-3,000gns, and nine selling for up to 4,000gns. Vendors came from all parts of the UK, Ireland and Belgium along with telephone and on-line bidding.

The top price went to Welshman Ross Games, from Talgarth, with his home-bred August, 2018, black and white dog, Bill, which went to an anonymous Scottish buyer.

Mr Games, a well-known trialist, will represent Wales at the 2020 World Sheep Dog Trials to be held in September at Castle Howard Estate, near York.

Welsh handler Dewi Jenkins, of Tal-y-bont, Aberystwyth, sold two dogs for a combined 11,100gns. Doing best at 6,500gns was his 18-month-old red and white bitch, Graylees Dollar, bred in Northumberland by Bellingham-based Michelle Anderson’s Red, out of near neighbour Emma Gray’s Glan y Gors Peg.

Emma, who farms near Morpeth, hit the headlines at Skipton in February when establishing a new world record price for a working sheep dog bitch at an official sale of 14,000gns. Mr Jenkins' other dog sold for 4,600gns to Kim Barker, a phone bidder from Pennsylvania in the USA.

Local vendor Willie Bell, from Foulridge, achieved 4,000gns with his three-year-old black and white bitch, Ruby, which sold to Keswick’s G Fearon.

Laura Barnes, from Pickering, achieved 3,300gns with a field run dog, and John Bell, of Howden, Selby, achieved 2,800gns with tri-coloured Parks Farm Sam, the youngest broken entry who was out of Florence, by Emma Gray’s 2016 All-England Nursery champion Tweeddale Jamie.

In the unbroken pen, the top priced bitch at 1,050gns went to Staffordshire handler T Smith, with six-month-old black and white Mileburne Bonny, whose parents were both bred locally by Beverley Fort of Steeton who returned to the ring to claim Bonny for herself.

Irish pup pen regular Pat Byrne, of County Roscommon, made 1,000gns with a six-month-old black and white bitch which fell to Skipton’s David Wood.

A good clearance rate of 141 dogs saw 58 field-run entries and 39 in the unbroken pen successfully sold. Broken registered dogs sold to 7,600gns, averaging £2,910. Broken registered bitches sold to 6,500gns, producing an average of £2,798. A single unregistered dog made 1,150gns. In the unbroken pen, registered dogs sold to 2,450gns (av £707), registered bitches to 1,050gns (av £623).