Valued farm tools of the canine variety went under the hammer this month in Mid Canterbury and people from around the country came to buy.

The top-selling dog was a 2-year-old heading bitch called Spring, who fetched $13,200 for owner Brian Wilson, of Banks Peninsula.

She was touted as a hard-running, well-mannered mainstay who had experience with both sheep and cattle.

Spring was one of 38 dogs up for sale in the 64th PGG Wrightson annual sheep and cattle dog sale at the Mayfield A&P showgrounds.

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The dogs, all of varying ages and stages, got to show their stuff to potential owners in a two-minute dummy sheep trial.

North Island farm manager Struan Currie takes an instant shine to 4-year-old huntaway Ted. Photo / Toni Williams
North Island farm manager Struan Currie takes an instant shine to 4-year-old huntaway Ted. Photo / Toni Williams

Among those out to buy were North Island farm manager Struan Currie and Grace Pettit, of Kumeroa, near Palmerston North.

The couple had driven down to Mayfield especially for the sale after the death of their mainstay heading dog, Sparkie.

The 6-year-old, who they had owned since he was 2 years old, had died the week earlier due to an injury. He was one of a few dogs used on the farm to move stock around, but most were mature in age.

Stuart Barnes, from North Otago, with children Eva (11) and Max (8) on the lookout for any deals to be had at the sale. Photo / Toni Williams
Stuart Barnes, from North Otago, with children Eva (11) and Max (8) on the lookout for any deals to be had at the sale. Photo / Toni Williams

They were looking for one or two farm dogs to take home.

The couple are on a 700ha sheep and beef farm running 3000 ewes and about 150 breeding cows.

One of their buys was Ted, a 4-year-old huntaway, who took their attention because he was a younger version of their beardie dog Gus, aged 11. They paid $6000 for him.

Also on site was North Otago dog trainer Stuart Barnes with his children Eva and Max, and the Innes family, of Levels Valley, who had "come over for a look".

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The Barnes trio were checking over dogs of interest before the auction, as Stuart was on the lookout for any deals to be had buying a good dog.

Innes brothers Matthew (8) and Tom (6), of Levels Valley, get up close to Rangi, a 6-month-old huntaway male, for sale at the auction. Photo / Toni Williams
Innes brothers Matthew (8) and Tom (6), of Levels Valley, get up close to Rangi, a 6-month-old huntaway male, for sale at the auction. Photo / Toni Williams

Dogs sold for $4200, on average; the second-top-priced heading dog went for $9000 and the top huntaway sold for $8500.

Auctioneer Greg Cook said it was a seller's market with some "very good prices" paid by buyers from Southland to the North Island.

The sale drew a big crowd and a record number of registered buyers.