A FREELANCE shepherd from mid-Wales was top dog on price with a 9,000gns (£9,450) sale at Skipton Auction Mart’s autumn sale of working sheep dogs.

John Griffiths, of Garthbrengy, near Brecon in Powys, headed the field with his three-year-old fully broken black and white bitch, Oaktree Dot, christened Ellie.

A solid and talented all-rounder, she is by Tanhill Alex, bred in Cumbria by Alec Baines, a dog that finished third in the 2017 International Supreme Trial in the hands of fellow Welsh handler Nigel Watkins, out of Thornbury Meg, whose own sire was Kevin Evans’ ‘old’ Spot, a multiple winner for the Welsh trialling legend.

Ellie was bred in mid-Wales by Glyn Davies, who operates under the Oaktree prefix, and went to Warwickshire sheep farmer, Duncan Hawley, of Henley-in-Arden.

Skipton’s latest live sale attracted a large crowd and was again supplemented by a real-time online viewing and bidding facility for those unable to attend in person. A total of 33 dogs went under the hammer, with total clearance achieved for fully broken entries.

Prices for part-broken dogs peaked at 2,400gns (£2,520) for Copperthorns Gem, an eight-month-old black and white bitch sold in the pup pen by Paul Bouch, who farms 1,000 North of England Mules at Kirkoswald in Cumbria’s Lower Eden Valley.

By Liddledale-based Ricky Hutchinson’s Jonah, one of the Brace Champions at this year’s recent International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) Trials, Gem is out of a solid farm dog, Kim, and a half sister to another talented Copperthorns bitch sold by Mr Bouch at Skipton in July this year for 5,500gns (£5,775). She found a new home in Holmrook, Cumbria, with the Harrison family.

County Durham regular Jean Howes made 3,000gns (£3,150) with her 15-month-old black and white bitch, Redgate Maisie, which went down country to Herefordshire with ML Pugh, of Clifford.

Registered broken bitches sold from 1,500-9,000gns, averaging £3,657, registered broken dogs 1,250-4,300gns, averaging £2,828, part-broken bitches to 2,400gns and part-broken dogs to 900gns, average £643. Unbroken pups sold to 350gns.