A BORDER COLLIE named Cass was back at work guarding her flock of sheep last week after becoming the most valuable sheepdog in Britain.
The collie became most expensive dog to be sold at auction in Britain after fetching 3,125 guineas (nearly £3,300) at Skipton market after frenetic bidding.
The following day, Cass her full name is Lynwood Cassie was apparently oblivious to her newfound fame as she worked a flock of 2,000 sheep at Great Howle Farm, near Ross-on-Wye.
Her new owner Paul Evans, 37, a tenant farmer, said that he had been determined to clinch the sale after seeing the year-old sheepdog during a visit to her trainer.
The usual price for a sheep dog is about £600, and the previous highest price was £2,500.
Experts believe that the high value is down to a shortage of top sheepdog trainers and a growing interest in sheep trials.
"I knew immediately that Cass was the one I wanted. Everything was so natural about her and she was also very pretty, a mottled black, white and tan," Mr Evans said. Cass will work each day with Mr Evanss six other dogs, but he is convinced that she will be a star at leading sheep trial events.
He is so concerned about rustlers and envious competitors that the dog has already been fitted with an identity microchip. Her kennels have also been fitted with alarms and cameras.
Jeremy Eaton, the auctioneer, said that 700 farmers and sheep trial enthusiasts had come from Wales, Scotland and Ireland for the sales.
"I thought she would go for a lot of money but never thought it would get that high. Every time she pulled off a move the bidding rose," he said. "She knows all the moves and can already perform far better than older, more experienced dogs."
The top prize for the Best in Show at Crufts is £100, compared with prizes worth about £25,000 in America.
A Kennel Club spokesman confirmed that Cass set a new record price, saying: "I have never known a dog sell for as much at auction."