Ulster sheepdog Cap sold for world record £15,000
An Ulster-bred sheepdog has just been sold at auction for the world record-breaking price of almost £15,000.
Black-and-white Cap, aged 16 months and bred in Donegal, set the record when he was sold at Skipton Auction Mart's late spring sale for 14,100 guineas, or £14,805. That shattered the previous world high of £9,240, set in 2013.
He was bought by an anonymous bidder - a sheep farmer from Northern Ireland.
Cap will be used as a work dog on the farm and is also an excellent nursery trials prospect.
The dog was bred by Padraig Doherty, who runs Ardagh Sheepdogs in Co Donegal with his brother Joe.
Padraig said even though Cap had impressed potential buyers at trial, his sale price was still much higher than he expected. "He is a special dog with genuine power and has a calming effect on sheep," he added.
Cap showed off his talents in what was described as a "sparkling display" on the trial fields in front of bidders.
But his skills were already well-known. Mr Doherty said there had been tremendous pre-sale interest in Cap because he could be seen in action on YouTube.
Cap's father, Sid, was also bred in Donegal by trialling legend James McGee, whose family runs Glencregg Sheepdogs in Creggan, Ballybofey. His mother is the Doherty family's Sue, whose own sire Dan is the 2013 Irish National champion and winner of One Man And His Dog in 2014.
Dan is also half-brother to Mr McGee's 2011 World Sheepdog Trials supreme champion Becca.
Last year at Skipton, the Doherty brothers sold litter mates of Cap, and one of them, a six-month-old black and white bitch called Ann, sold for 1,850 guineas - the highest price ever paid for a pup at Skipton.
Craven Cattle Marts general manager Jeremy Eaton said it had been one of the most successful working dogs sales at Skipton, with a record high average selling price for registered broken field dogs of £2,572.
"There was a significant amount of international interest," he added.
"We had a very good entry of high-quality dogs suitable for any type of farm work and also with trials potential. Anything well-broken was very good to sell, though part-broken dogs were harder to move on."
Eammon McAuley, from Larne, reached 3,800gns with his classy all-rounder Jim, a September 2014 tri-coloured dog by AHD Mawhinney's Buzz, out of DJ Irvine's Meg.
Mr McAuley also sold Jen, a litter sister to Jim, for 2,450gns to a Scottish buyer.
Meanwhile, William Torrens, from Castlederg, sold a July 2015 black and white dog, York, to an Irish buyer for 3,500gns. His sire was W Watts's Max and mother was IA Dickson's Fly.
And DT McNeill, from Ballymena, sold a 12-month-old black and white bitch, Kacee, to a Welsh buyer for 900gns. She was bred from K McFadden's Faye by Eammon McAuley's Roy and is already an open trials winner.