East Lancashire sheepdog fetches world record price

Shaun Richards with Midge and buyer Eddie Thornally

Shaun Richards with Midge and buyer Eddie Thornally

First published in East Lancashire Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Crime reporter

IT’S a dog’s life for border collie Midge, who has been sold for a record-breaking price.

The 18-month-old working dog, who was trained at Watson Laithe farm, Hapton, by Shaun Richards, is now off to start a new life in Suffolk after fetching a whopping £8,400 at Skipton Auction Mart.

Midge beat the previous record of £6,300, which was also achieved at Skipton in February last year.

Mr Richards, who lives at the Accrington Road farm with wife Jackie and children Bradley, five, and Abbie, nine, said he was delighted by Midge’s success.

The 45-year-old said: “I am over the moon, she did very, very well and we understand it is a world record at a proper sale.

“She is a tremendous happy-go-lucky dog that was easy to train and very good at her job.”

Mr Richards, who has 100 sheep on his farm, started training Midge three months ago and said she will now go on to compete in sheepdog trials. He said: “I have trained quite a lot of sheepdogs but Midge is the best I have ever had.

“I got my first dog when I was 12, I have always been a shepherd, but four years ago I decided to give it up and concentrate on training and selling sheepdogs.

“It has become a very big part of my life. I have Midge’s younger brother and sister Roy and Nell who are 10-months-old.

“They are starting their training now and are looking very, very promising.”

Midge was bought by Worlington shepherd Eddie Thornalley, of the East Anglian Sheep Dog Society, who plans to use her in local nursery trials.

What makes a good sheepdog?

  • Sheepdogs that are sold for the highest amount have excellent herding instincts.
  • They must have very good listening skills and be able to spot sheep that are up to a mile away.
  • Sheepdogs have to be very energetic and outgoing and carry out tasks with a cheerful spirit and an instinctive desire to receive approval.
  • They must be controlled and only use eye contact to move the sheep rather than use any aggression.
  • Finally they must be very keen and persevering, but also have a  calming influence on sheep.

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