THE top price dog at the annual spring sale of working sheep dogs at Skipton mart belonged to a 16-year-old schoolgirl from Northern Ireland.

However, O' levels prevented Shannon Conn, of County Londonderry from seeing her two-year-old red-and-white bitch, Rosie, achieve the 6,800gns (£7,140) top price.

Shannon, who won through to the junior handler finals in 'One Man and His Dog' as a 13-year-old, has had Rosie for 12 months.

She has trained her but trusted her father, Loughlin, to put Rosie through her paces at Skipton. She was bought by an anonymous Scottish buyer.

Another highlight was a new centre record price of 6,700gns (£7,035) for a dog under a year old, achieved by Tony Birkett, of Carnforth, with his 11-month-old black-and-white bitch, Ruby.

She was by Littledale-based Ricky Hutchinson's celebrated International Reserve Supreme Champion Sweep, out of Mr Birkett’s own red-and-white bitch, Jess. Ruby returned to Lancashire with another anonymous buyer.

Earlier, Mr Birkett took the third top call of 6,000gns (£6,300) with Jaff, a black-and-white dog with the same parents as Ruby. The two-year-old, already placed 12 times, including three firsts in local trials, sold to Craig Davidson, Argyll.

Middlesmoor sheep farmer David Verity paid 4,600gns for Ruby, an August 2016 tri-coloured bitch from JD McAllister, Antrim.

Top price in the unbroken pen was 1,400gns for a six-month-old black and white dog, Ben, from WH Huddlestone, Carnforth. By Pen-y-Borough Jeff, from North Craven’s Shaun Richards, out of Mr Huddlestone’s own Tanhill Meg, he sold to John Handley, Westhouse.

Many dogs sold between 2,000 and 3,000gns including. –

2,900gns: Glen, October 2016, black-and-white dog from Shaun Richards, Eldroth, who also made 2,200gns with Tom, a September 2014, black-and-white dog; 2,800gns: Tanhill Nidge, November 2015, black-and-white dog from Alec Baines, Kirkby Stephen; 2,600gns: Floss, ten-month-old black-and-white bitch from John Bell, Frosterley; 2,200gns: Wainstalls Meg, February 2017, black-and-white bitch from John Bell, of Howden, Selby; 2,200gns: Sam, January 2014, black-and-white dog from Leighton Bancroft, Barnoldswick.

A total of 94 dogs were forward, including 57 field-run dogs. Top prices and averages: 22 registered dogs from 500gns to 6,000gns (av £2,678); 21 registered bitches from 1,000gns to 6,800gns (av £3,040); 1 broken registered bitch 700gns; 43 registered broken dogs and bitches averaged £2,029; 12 registered unbroken dogs from 150gns to 1,400gns (£622); 15 registered unbroken bitches from 280gns to 1,200gns (av £579); 1 unregistered unbroken bitch 180gns.