The record-breaking £7k sheepdog pup bought by Preston dog trainer

A sheepdog puppy has become a world record holder after being bought for a whopping £7,600 at a Skipton auction just last week by a Preston-based dog trainer.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 11:28 am

Expert dog trainer Damian Barson, from Preston indulged almost £8,000 in bidding for the nine-week-old Border Collie pup and gained a world record in doing so.

Sheepdog Lassie was born on March 12 in Wales, on the farm of Glynne Jones from Pentir and has broken the record for the most expensive untrained sheepdog puppy, beating the earlier world record of £6.1k for an 11-week-old black and white puppy.

But this was no impulse buy for Damian, a gundog trainer and dog behaviourist based in Woodplumpton, who was able to make his dreams a reality and started his own flock of Ryelands during the pandemic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The little sheepdog broke the record for most expensive untrained sheepdog bought at auction.Dave Swinburn Photography.
The little sheepdog broke the record for most expensive untrained sheepdog bought at auction.Dave Swinburn Photography.

He said: “Skye is a pup with everything. She’s part of the foundations of the farm I am building and I can’t wait to get started with training her.

"I didn't expect this reaction or intend on paying this much for her. I just showed up to the auction, bid for her and woke up and it had just gone viral.

"Even though it is expensive, there is a point to buying a working border collie. It replaces the work of men on quadbikes on a farm to bring in flocks of sheep, so they are a really valuable asset to you.

"It is incredibly difficult moving sheep without a dog, so I bought her with the intention of building her up ready for the lambing season next year, so she will help me as I continue to grow the flock and grow my business."

Damian works as a dog trainer from his home in Woodplumpton. Dave Swinburn Photography.

Working dogs are thought to usually sell anywhere from £2,000 upwards - but dog trainer Damian, who has lived around farms all his life, said that the pandemic has increased their prices to 'ludicrous' amounts.

And he has upped security measures at his large holding in Woodplumpton, to protect his new pride and joy as he prepares to grow his flock and farm sustainably, supporting British food producers.

With a pack of gundogs, Damian was not short of four-legged assistants for his new Tessleymoor flock but decided that owning and training a Border Collie would be a rewarding experience.

And after following the progress of Emma Gray, the shepherdess featured on BBC’s This Farming Life, Damian was interested to hear that there was a litter coming from her dog, Reiver Gray.

This led him to Glynne Jones of Pentir Sheepdogs, near Bangor in Gwynedd in Wales, who has bred the litter with his own Graylees Cêt, producing the stunning pups, including some in a rare lilac colour.

He added: "There has been so much that has happened in the past 12 months that I knew this was the right time to do it. People are rethinking their lives and this is something I have wanted to do for years and decided to make a reality.

"I have a lot of land perfect to grow my flock - it is not easy to set up even the smallest of farms and I admire farmers in this country because so much work goes into it."

Find out more at his dog training website.

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, take out a digital subscription today by ​clicking here.