Sometimes the very best costs a little more. In the case of this remarkable sheepdog, quite a lot more. Marchup Midge is the world’s most expensive sheepdog after she was sold at auction for £8,400. New owner Eddie Thornalley, 45, believes her impeccable breeding, work ethic and sweet nature make her worth every penny.
Top dog: Marchup Midge, an 18-month-old, has been sold for
more than £8,000 - a world record
Old and new: World Champion breeder Shaun Richards (left), from Lancashire,
with Midge's new owner Eddie Thornalley (right)
Midge will become his right-hand border collie, taking charge of a team of five dogs which look after his flock of 200 sheep in East Anglia.
‘She’s an incredible little thing. Intelligent and stylish and with great working ability,’ he said.
Last Friday’s sale in Skipton, North Yorkshire, beat the previous world record of £6,300 set at the same place last year.
Breeder Shaun Richards was thrilled with the price. ‘I have not had a drink in two-and-a-half years,’ he said. ‘I feel like having one now!’
In action: Midge does what she does best -
whipping the sheep into shape (above and below)
Well bred: Midge has incredible strength, speed and instinct from
her world class sheepdog genes
Skills: Experts say there is a lack of well-trained sheepdogs,
which is why Midge was so expensive to buy
Midge is so valuable because she comes from a family of outstanding sheepdogs, has been trained by a former world champion breeder and has become well known for her speed and agility as well as her ice-cool temperament.
Also, a large drop in trainers means that getting a top class sheepdog is getting more and more difficult - and increasingly expensive.
Her price, reached at Skipton Auction, North Yorkshire, smashed the previous record of 6,000 guineas - £6,300 -also achieved at Skipton last year for 13-month-old Dewi Fan.
Midge’s sister Marchup Sam was sold by Mr Richards at Skipton’s summer working dogs sale in July this year for 5,000 guineas - £5,250 - at the time the second highest price in the world ever paid at an official sale.
Mr Thornalley has now bought three dogs from Mr Richards and his latest acquisition will be used primarily as a work dog, as well as being used in local nursery trials by Mr Thornalley, who is a member of the East Anglian Sheep Dog Society.
Previous record holder John Bell, who was also present at the sale, was among the first to congratulate Mr Richards on his success. 'Records are there to be broken,' he said.Sheepdog breeder Shaun Richards, who sold 18-month-old Marchup Midge, said he was 'gobsmacked' by the final price.
The 45-year-old said: 'She exceeded all expectations. When the money started to go up I was speechless.
In the family: Midge's siblings have
previously been sold for huge sums at auction
One man and his new dog: Marchup Midge and
new owner Eddie Thornalley, who will be
taking her to her new home in Suffolk
'She’ll go into the sheep dog trialling world after this, where she will excel. She has a lovely temperament, she was like a pet but also one hell of a good sheepdog as well.
'I’m sad to see her her go but I do this for a living so I am also happy to see the amazing amount of money. I got my first dog when I was 12 so I have been doing this a long time.
'I’m topping sheepdog sales all over the country and I think that’s because I don’t trial them, just train then. I don’t keep the good ones for myself.'
Contract shepherd Eddie Thornalley, 45, who bought Marchup Midge, said: 'I’m very happy to have got her. I’ve had my eye on her since she was about 12 months old.
'She is very well bred with excellent workability, she’s absolutely fantastic.'