Leading Welsh handler and triallist, Dewi Jenkins, achieved the principal price yet again at CCM Skipton Auction Mart’s online-only Spring working sheepdog sale when claiming £19,100 with his two-year-old Mirk, going to Monty Motto of the Shetland Islands, Scotland.

Dewi, of Tynygraig, Ceredigion, speaks highly of the eye-catching Mirk; a homebred dog with class, natural ability and quality breeding behind him. Adept at farm work and ready for trials, Mirk is a grandson of Jenkins’ prized dog, Jock, with whom he won the International Supreme Championship Sheep Dog Trials in 2022. Also in October, 2022, Mirk’s mother, Jill, sold for a record price of £26,000 at Bala Auction Mart’s field sale in Gwynedd. 

Dewi Jenkins’ Mirk £19,100 top price
Dewi Jenkins’ Mirk £19,100 top price (Supplied)

Following Dewi’s top price, other notable prices for fully broken dogs included two-year-old Fern, sold by Scottish vendor S. Massey, of Dumfries, for £5,000. Fern was sold to Ross Clarke, also from Dumfriesshire.. A. Ledgar, of Cheshire, wasn’t far behind, selling one-year-old bitch, Vicky for £4,300 to H Chapman & Son, Carnforth, Lancashire.

The Spring sale also saw some high prices for part-broken and unbroken sheepdogs. Elaine Hill, of Holmrook in Cumbria, became the happy new owner of young Aran Jet, a nine-month-old, part-broken bitch sold by well-known handler and trainer John Bell, of Howden, Selby, for £4,200. Similar to the top-priced Mirk, Jet is a granddaughter of Dewi Jenkins’ champion dog, Jock, and is proving to be a spectacular working dog.

Karen Karkow, of Oxford in the USA, purchased a part-broken dog, Hilltop Stan, from JD Wood, of Derbyshire, for £6,500, plus an unbroken pup, also Mirk, for £1,100 from Carol Mellin of West Yorkshire.

However, prices in the unbroken pen peaked at a solid £2,700 for a 13-week-old red, tan and white bitch, Wyverne Winnie, from top Welsh breeder and triallist, Kevin Evans, of Llwynfedwen, Brecon, also a frequent price topper at the North Yorkshire venue.

The class act, already showing great potential with focus and natural ability, is a son of his Open trials winner Middery Frank, out of fellow Welshman David Meek’s Wyverne Tango - he runs Wyverne Border Collies in Maesteg - with bloodlines to some famous trials dogs, among them Kevin’s own Tanhill Glen, a dual European Nursery and Royal Welsh Champion who has had such a major impact on selling prices at Skipton in recent years.

The top price pup fell to David Murray, from North Roe, Shetland, who has been training sheepdogs for over 35 years, performing successfully in trials across the United Kingdom and becoming the only Shetland trainer to compete on the continent, as well as the only triallist from the archipelago to qualify twice for the Supreme International as a member of the Scottish team. He has both bought and sold dogs online at Skipton in the past, saying the system works well for one living so far away.

David and his wife, Isla, run Shetland Rural Experience Centre, whose remit includes working dog demonstrations and Winnie will form part of a team that continues to prove so popular among tourists. The couple run some 350 Shetland sheep.

There was a good trade throughout, with 25 of the 32 fully broken dogs and bitches entered sold. All those put forward were registered. The bitches averaged £3,202.50, and the dogs averaged £4,546.50. 17 of 35 part-broken dogs were sold, comprising five registered bitches averaging £1,701, two unregistered bitches averaging £1,155 and ten registered dogs averaging £1,706.25. 

Trade was strong for unbroken pups, too, with six of eight sold. Two further registered bitches sold averaged £1,680 and one unregistered bitch sold at £525, along with two registered dogs averaging £708.75 and one unregistered dog also sold at £525.