VICTORIAN stock manager Jack Leonard yesterday turned a $700 pup into a $12,000 dog, to equal the Clark Rubber Working Dog Auction’s Australian record price set in 2012.
Jack’s 18-month-old bitch Moora Dotti, bred by Macarthur farmer Barry Price, was the top priced dog in 57 Kelpies offered in the 2017 auction in Casterton on Sunday.
Auctioneers Riverina Livestock Agents’ James Tierney and LMB Linke’s Bernie Grant sold 49 dogs for the highest average in the auction’s history of $4319, $556 higher than last year.
Buyers came from Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.
Dubbo truck driver Craig Lockyer paid the $12,000 willingly after seeing Dotti back and bark her way around sheep in the auction demonstration. Mr Lockyer said he had returned to the livestock business in the last 12 months after five years as a motel manager. He liked Dotti because she was obedient and had “plenty of go.”
“She’s a good backing dog and I don’t want to bark myself.”
Jack, 30, is the livestock manager at the big Melville Forest sheep farming operation Jig Saw Farms and bought his first Moora Kelpie from Barry Price as a 15-year-old stockman. He paid $700 for Dotti as an eight week-old puppy and has bought a pup from Barry each year after the auction. Jack is a well-known as a trainer of working dogs and in recent years has sold Moora bloodline dogs at the Casterton auction for $6000-$8000.
Jack said Dotti was trained and experienced, and has been working sheep in yards, trucks and in the paddock at Jig Saw Farms. The bitch barks freely on command and is easy to work with a great nature, he said.
Barry Price said Dotti was bred as an all-round dog for sheep and cattle out of Moora Cody by Moora Suey. He has been breeding Kelpies along similar lines for 35 years and sells about 30 pups each year.
“Jack got one last year, but he said he’s not selling it – it’s too good.”
In 2012, Tasmanian breeder Matthew Johnson sold 26-month-old Kelpie Tom to set the $12,000 record at the Casterton auction.
Fifteen other dogs, or about a quarter of the 2017 catalogue made $5000 or more at the auction, including $9500 for Lot 37, Matthew Mooney’s Jilly, a 13 month-old well started red and tan bitch sold to the Nareeb Nareeb Partnership at Glenthompson, Victoria.
Gazette stockman Ryan Lenehan sold his 25 month-old trained black and tan bitch Sovereign Lucy for $9250 to the Kerin Poll Merino Stud, Yeoval, New South Wales. Ryan and Lucy also won the vendor exhibition trial on Saturday before the auction.
The full-trained dogs in the auction, aged 12 months and older, averaged $5230. The started dogs, 4-12 month-old, averaged $2500 and sold to $4000 for a four month-old red and tan dog, Elfinvale Paddy, bred by Tom Austin at Melville Forest. The top-priced pup was Darren and Nicky Holmberg’s eight week-old bitch Clout which made $3000.
Auctioneers at the 2017 auction were Riverina Livestock Agents’ James Tierney and LMB LInke’s Bernie Grant. Bernie sold the top-price dog this year and said the $12,000 price was equal to 40 $300 first cross ewes, at today’s breeding sheep prices.
The dog prices were underpinned by the currently high sheep and lamb prices and expected the auction’s overall average would be higher than last year.
“There were a lot more dogs making $6000, $70000 and $8000 than last year.
“It’s like anything, the good dogs sold well.”
Tom steers Lincoln to success in Stockman’s Challenge
In the Casterton Kelpie Muster’s Saturday program, the Stockman’s Challenge was won for the first time by Tom McMahon from Camperdown riding seven-year-old stock horse Lincoln with his Kelpie bitch Suzzee handling the sheep.
The RMA Futurity trial was won by Tricia Carter from Melville Forest with her dog, three year-old Jet, with a score of 141 over two rounds, with Luke Twigg and Earl in second place from Ricky Jones with Bindi, third, and Shane Beauglehall with Saffron, fourth.
Tricia bought Jet at the auction last year for $6000 from Tim Hall in Tasmania and won $1250 in prizemoney by winning the trial.