Tyne & Wear

World's most expensive sheepdog sells for £18k

Emma Gray and Megan the sheepdog Image copyright Glen Minikin
Image caption Emma Gray trains sheepdogs full time and has about 20 on her farm

A border collie from Northumberland has become the world's most expensive sheepdog after being sold to an American ranch owner for £18,900.

Two-and-a-half year-old Megan was sold by shepherdess Emma Gray at an auction in North Yorkshire.

Ms Gray, 33, who farms and trains sheepdogs near Morpeth, has broken her own record set a year ago, when a similar dog sold for almost £15,000.

The average price for a working dog is about £2,000.

Megan will go from herding sheep in the north-east of England to rounding up Wagyu cattle in Oklahoma.

Ms Gray, who has represented England at the World Sheepdog Trials, said she had to double-check the price after the auction in Skipton on Friday.

"I had to ring the auction and just make sure it wasn't a hoax and that I wasn't dreaming," she said.

"Afterwards I went to Marks and Spencer and bought Megan some chicken and let her sleep on my pillow."

Image copyright Glen Minikin
Image caption Megan will be herding American cattle when she reaches Oklahoma

Megan is the offspring of several top-performing trials dogs and has an "impressive bloodline" according to Ms Gray, who trains up to 20 working dogs at a time.

"Megan is the full package. She's a really talented little dog and has all the best bloodlines in her," she added.

"It's really unusual for a dog like her to come on the market.

"Had circumstances been different I would never have sold her.

"But I already have two really, really good sheepdogs so I had to make the decision to sell her."

Ms Gray, who took on the remote National Trust-owned 150 acre Fallowlees Farm at Harwood Forest 10 years ago, said she had put videos of Megan online hoping to attract interest.

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She said: "I'm really pleased someone has recognised Megan's value, because I think sometime border collies and sheepdogs are undervalued, considering how talented they are.

"Herding cattle is not that different to herding sheep. And to be honest Megan will herd anything."

Megan is due to travel to the United States in about three weeks.

Her new owner, Brian Stamps, who owns a ranch in central Oklahoma, said: "I have followed the Skipton sale for several years as I used to run border collies here Stateside.

"I figured it would be the best place available to secure a dog which would meet our needs."

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