Jack fetches record price for ex-dog triallist

Peter Boys and his dog, Rick, move sheep into the Maltese cross at the Levels Sheepdog Club's Tux yarding event in 2011. Photo: Allied Press Files
Peter Boys and his dog, Rick, move sheep into the Maltese cross at the Levels Sheepdog Club's Tux yarding event in 2011. Photo: Allied Press Files
''A tricky ticker'' has forced retired farmer Peter Boys (79), of Timaru, to step back from his active involvement with sheepdogs but he has bowed out on a high note.

His 2½-year old heading dog, Jack, fetched a record price of $10,000 at the annual Ashburton Sheep and Cattle Dog Sale at the Mayfield A&P showgrounds, the highest price paid for a working dog in the 63-year history of the sale.

''That was my last dog, my very last dog,'' Mr Boys, who is now living at Strathallan Retirement Village, said.

Peter Boys has many memories from his days in dog trialling. Photo: Chris Tobin
Peter Boys has many memories from his days in dog trialling. Photo: Chris Tobin
''I was thrilled to get that price but I have topped sales on quite a number of occasions. I think I might have got a sympathy vote this time.''

After a bout of ill health last year, Mr Boys gave Jack to his nephew's son, Jack Mansfield, who manages Lake Hawea Station where the dog remained up until the sale this month.

Mr Boys owned Jack's sire and Mr Mansfield bred the dog and gave him to Mr Boys when the pup was 2 months old.

Mr Boys started dog trialling at Ngapara, near Oamaru, in 1959.

''I came from Waimate and my parents used to holiday on farms and stations. I used to dream about dogs and horses.

''I went to Waimate High and left at 15 to work on a sheep station at the back of Waihaorunga.''

From there, he worked as a married shepherd on various properties and managed a farm at Raincliff before, in 1980, obtaining a ballot block in the Hakataramea Valley, Caberfeidh, where he farmed for 22 years.

''It was ... mainly hill sheep and cattle. It was a very good place to farm.''

In recent years, he has owned land at Landsborough Rd near Timaru but after health issues late last year, he had to go to Strathallan Retirement Village.''

As a dog triallist, he won South Island championships and figured highly at national level and went to the world championships at Tullamore, Ireland. For 12 years he served on the NZ DogTrials Council and judged at South Island and national championships.

His highlight as a competitor was winning the South Island straight huntaway at Waimate with Fern in 1973.

''A big appeal of the sport is that everyone can take it on. Over in the UK you get a lot of business people and ordinary working people competing.''

As far as dog trialling is concerned, Mr Boys said you put in all you could from the time the dog was a wean pup.

''They've got to respect you and you've got to be on the same page.

''Then give them farmwork. When I started dog trialling the top men told you nothing. You had to watch and pick up hints.

''Today you've got the best advice that is widely available in books.''

Mr Boys said he owned several hundred dogs over the years.

''When I first farmed, I sold a lot of dogs. It was a source of income to educate the kids at boarding schools.

''They've always been a source of income and I never sold a dog I didn't stand behind.

''Generally I had five dogs in my team in the latter years, three heading dogs, huntaways and a pup coming on.''

Mr Boys said his wife, Ann, and three children - they have two sons and a daughter - have been a big help over the years supporting his interest in dogs.

''It's sad that Jack is my last dog but I'm lucky I can still appreciate the company of good friends and watch their dogs.''

Jack was bought by Joe Catherwood, of Charing Cross.

-By Chris Tobin

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