Sheepdog breeders and trainers around Ireland are reporting unprecedented prices being paid for sheepdogs and other dogs of all varieties.

Demand and prices for dogs began to rise during the first COVID-19 lockdown and haven’t shown any signs of stopping since, Wicklow sheep farmer and Border Collie breeder Winston Pierce told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Everybody wants a dog these days, no matter if they live in the countryside or town. I hope when the pandemic passes over, we aren’t left with a country full of unwanted dogs,” Pierce said.

“Currently, I’d make more selling pups as pets than working dogs. I hate to see them go as pets because they are capable of so much more. An eight-week-old unregistered pup could be sold as a pet for up to €700 today.”

Derry sheepdog breeder Adam Porter told the Irish Farmers Journal that prices for elite sheepdogs have quadrupled over the past year.

“The prices are crazy, with nearly €30,000 being paid for some dogs. I don’t see it slowing down any time soon either, with demand growing all the time. People entering trialling as a hobby has driven demand greatly. “Any dog that fails training I usually sell for £50 to £100. You could probably get more for it these days, but in the past I used this price to gauge if the dog was going to a good home. Anyone who will part with £100 for a dog will look after it.”

Prices for trialling dogs hit new highs at every auction, Donegal sheep farmer and sheepdog breeder James McCloskey said.

“It seems to be new world record prices are set at every auction in recent times,” he said.

“Trialling dogs were always a good price, but the prices for your ordinary pet have gone insane. A pup of any breed could fetch €2,000 at the minute.”