Record price for ‘one in a million’ sheepdog

Eddie Thornalley, Shaun Richards and Marchup Midge

Eddie Thornalley, Shaun Richards and Marchup Midge

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Love at first sight has set a Suffolk shepherd back £8,400, but he insists it was worth it to secure a ‘one in a million’ sheepdog.

Eddie Thornalley, 45, paid a record price at auction for 18-month-old, border collie, Marchup Midge.

Mr Thornalley explained why he had paid so much for the dog.

“With a working sheepdog it’s a natural instinct and intelligence – this little one, Midge, shone above the rest – extremely talented, an awful lot of natural potential, and taken to training very well.

“I was determined to buy her. To be completely honest I was not surprised on the grounds she is one in a million.”

“On top of working ability her temperament, I knew she was going to go for a lot.”

Mr Thornalley had visited Midge in Lancashire, where she was trained, six times in the six months prior the auction.

He said: “I fell in love with her when I first saw her.

“This little dog will spend the rest of her life with me. I spend more time with my dogs than any human being – I actually prefer their company.”

Midge was bought from CCM auctions, in Skipton, Yorkshire, last Friday.

The purchase smashed the previous record of £6,300 and the average of the day, £2,080.

Mr Thornalley said the relationship between a shepherd and his dog was a complex one that required friendship, mutual respect and admiration.

“The dogs won’t work for you if they do not love and respect you – we are a team.”

“Yesterday, she ate my sandwiches – we have our ups and downs.”

Despite the odd, hiccup he said Midge was well on the way to becoming a man’s best friend.

“It really is a long going thing, she really is remarkable, we have started to develop a strong bond already.”

Mr Thornalley has worked as a shepherd in West Suffolk since the age of 16.

He said in her new job Midge can expect to have an early start each day, setting out with him at 5.30-6am.

She will be accompanying him to complete tasks including moving animals, penning animals, and catching sheep that may need medical attention.

Mr Thornalley said: “I can’t do my job without a dog it’s an essential part of my work – it’s a working partnership, so to have a dog with extraordinary natural ability.”

Due to the flat terrain in East Anglia Midge can expect to run at his side until the age of nine or ten.