Riverina livestock agent Michael Flagg, Barellan, travelled to the northern Tablelands on the weekend to bid $22,000 for a mature and athletic kelpie at the ninth annual RMA Network working stock dog auction at Glencoe.
Organised by Say and Co at Glen Innes, the demonstration and auction held at Peter and Margo Hogan's property, Collette, was also live streamed through Auctions Plus with the sale averaging an impressive $7790 for 24 dogs all sold to four states, with one after the bidding finished.
Mr Flagg said he made the effort to travel and bid after seeing the four and a half year old Tally Ho, after he performed on a video hosted by Auctions Plus.
The competent working dog was bred by Barry Grills, Guyra and purchased by Rabobank manager and breeder Michael Clark, Mikella Kelpies at Armidale as a sire dog.
"I have been looking for a dog like this for a long time," he said. "He's got great stop, on command. I like that. He's also got a real presence and turn-on force. It appears he's got the ability to move stock when required.
"It's hard to find a dog of that quality. When they get older like that rarely do people want to sell."
Second priced Peterson Houston sold for $14,000 and also went to Mr Flagg for a client. The 22 month old Kelpie was bred by Peter and Margo Hogan, Peterson Kelpies, who hosted the sale at their property.
Sire Giles Creek RN from breeder Jake Knowlan, Bigga, took advantage of a sudden bitch on heat, the Hogan's main breeder Kip who tends to do that without warning. This was during a trial held in Tamworth and as females in heat can't compete she was made comfortable in a nearby stable which smoothed the union. The progeny have proven successful.
"He's got a lot of power. A lot of bark and push," Mr Hogan said. And from the dam he's got a sensibility.
"I've brought Kip out of retirement to do some sheep work," he said, going on to explain how a few ewes with flystrike on their shoulders couldn't be yarded for fear of abandoning their lambs so he used Kip to gently push a couple at a time up against a corner of the fence without frightening them very much.
"You can only do that with a good dog," he said.
Picking the right pup from the litter comes back to instinct, temperament - which is ability to train and pull as a team "my way" - and a real desire to work every minute of the day.
"Houston was always the one who would jump up and shout "Pick me! Pick me!" Mr Hogan recalled. "He's a real workaholic."
Third top priced dog was the rising four year old bitch Milly bred by Grace Halsted, Bulga, which sold for $12,250.