A kelpie described as the “complete package with a cool personality” has been sold for $35,200 (£19,200), breaking the world record for the sale of a working dog.
Eulooka Hoover, a two-year-old male dog, was sold to anonymous buyers at the Casterton Kelpie Association’s annual working dog auction in Victoria on Sunday, beating the previous auction record of $25,000 (£13,650) set in 2019.
Kelpies are a uniquely Australian breed of sheep dog that are descendants of the British border collie and were developed for herding both sheep and cattle.
Karen Stephens, the president of the Casterton Kelpie Association in Victoria, said she did not expect the dog to fetch such a high price given the auction was moved online at the last minute due to Covid.
“We had 51 lots and we knew those dogs … were good dogs but we certainly didn’t expect to make a new world record as we did.”
Trainer David Lee bred Hoover on his Edenhope farm. In the auction guide, he described Hoover’s ability to work with sheep, cattle and goats, both in the yard and paddocks.
“Great all-round dog. Great natural feel for stock in paddock … had lots of work on large mobs and is complete package with a cool personality,” the guide said.
He added: “I knew when I first got Hoover he had potential and the auction has proven that.
“He’s a good solid working dog and I now look forward to working with his new owner to transition him across.”
The winning bid was made by an anonymous sheep and cattle grazier from north-east Victoria.
Stephens said she believed a shortage of farm workers had increased demand for working dogs and she expected the high prices would continue.
“I think there is a lack of people willing to go out to properties and work so I see that the farming community is really looking for options there and the working kelpie is a really good option for farmers, and that has been evident in the prices we have been achieving this week.”
A kelpie puppy was also sold for a record price of $9,000 (£4,915), well above the previous record for a puppy sale.
While this year’s virtual auction was a success, Stephens said she hoped to return to conducting in-person auctions.
“We will be asking our kelpie vendors … what they prefer but certainly there is nothing better than getting people able to see the dog physically work,” she said.