Top dog: Eve the kelpie sells for $49,000 and sets a new Australian record | dogs

Eve the Kelpie is not yet two, but half a century of work has gone into making her a star.

The classic black and tan working dog, from Capree Stud in Newbridge in central western New South Wales, set a new Australian record for kelpies when she sold for $49,000 at auction on Thursday.

Breeder Chris Stapleton said it seemed to be his lucky number as he celebrated 49 years of marriage to his wife Pauline on the same day.

“I was pretty happy yesterday,” Stapleton said Friday morning.

The previous record, set last year, was $35,200. Stapleton had expected to get about $30,000 for Eve and was surprised by the result.

“She’s a pretty good little dog and she’s really well-bred. She was no accident, she was bred to be as good as she is,” he said.

Eve’s bloodline dates back 50 years to some of Stapleton’s original dogs.

“She’s pretty laid back and goes with the flow, she doesn’t get too excited about things,” he said.

“She is a very nice dog to have around as she is not hyperactive and if you have a job to do she is willing and able to do it. She is the perfect dog.”

When bids reached $46,000 from onsite buyers in Newbridge and online through AuctionsPlus, auctioneer Jason Pearce quipped, “It’s fair to say she’s in the market.”

Pearce, of Elders in Mudgee, said working dogs were in high demand due to a shortage of farming skills.

“With demand comes a rising price, as with any commodity. There is more emphasis on the fact that there are fewer workers, fewer skills, so there is a requirement for a dog to potentially do more,” he said.

Eve’s fit physique and her unique ability to work with cattle, sheep and goats attracted buyers.

“She had pedigree bloodlines, the physical features, she was trained at 20 months, which is quite rare,” Pearce said. “She was the complete package.”

Eve’s new home is at a sheep farm in nearby Oberon.

Stapleton, who has about 20 dogs, including puppies and retired kelpies, said the ultimate reward for a working dog was a warm kennel.

“I like to keep my dogs in retirement, so I’ve always had quite a few.

“You praise them verbally and they know when they’ve done something right. I like to give them a pat.”

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