There is a new national record price for a working dog, and it belongs to a family from Edenhope in western Victoria.

Key points:

  • A new national record price for a working dog has been set
  • The kelpie Eulooka Hoover sold for $35,200
  • It is more than $10,000 above the previous record

David and Sarah Lee sold their kelpie Eulooka Hoover for $35,200 in the Casterton Kelpie Association’s Annual Working Dog Auction.

That figure smashes the auction’s previous record of $22,200 and also beats the national record of $25,000 set at Jerilderie in 2019.

Hoover was sold to an anonymous sheep and cattle grazier from north-east Victoria.

A special dog

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David Lee says he is stoked the working dog sold for a record $35,200.

David Lee, who trained Hoover, a male kelpie two years and four months old, said he had a special way with stock.

“He’s just so kind to his stock and just understands what’s going on,” he said. 

The Lee family from Edenhope standing in a paddock

The Lee family from Edenhope now holds the national working dog record price.(

Supplied: Casterton Kelpie Association

)

Working dogs can often be specialists in either paddock work or yard work, but Mr Lee said Hoover was equally impressive in both settings.

“He’s a great all-rounder. He’ll go to cattle, he’ll go to sheep out in the paddock, and he’ll work them in the yards,” he said.

And on top of all of that, Mr Lee said he had a “cool personality”.

“He’s just such a happy-go-lucky lad. He’ll go to work eight days a week if you let him,” Mr Lee said.

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Hoover sold for $35,200 in the Casterton working dog auction.

“He’ll basically talk to you, so before you let him out of the cage in the morning you ask him if he’s ready to go to work, and he’ll always tell you he is.

Livestock industry boom

Mr Lee said he knew Hoover would sell well because of his attributes and demand in the industry for good working dogs.

“I had a bit of a feeling that he was going to do things that we haven’t seen, coming off the back of what’s been the greatest times we’ve had in sheep and cattle in Australia,” he said.

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Hoover almost went to another home prior to the sale, which was forced to move online this year because of COVID-19 restrictions, but Mr Lee said he was determined to go to auction.

“I got offered a fair bit of money prior to auction and close friends said I was mad for not taking it, so there were a lot of nerves in the camp for a week. But it’s paid off,” he said.

“The money’s great but it’s still a piece of my life going out the door.

“But he’s going to the right hands, someone that really recognises good stockmanship.”

Other records broken

Casterton Kelpie Association president Karen Stephens said the online format did not deter buyers.

The auction puppy record was also broken with the top price jumping from $2,800 to $9,050.

Casterton is nationally recognised as the birthplace of the kelpie because the founding female of the breed was born on a property north of the town in 1871.

‘He understands what’s going on’: Why a kelpie sold for $35,000 at auction
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