National Sheep Dog Trials

The National Sheep Dog Trials are being held at Castle Hill near South Molton, North Devon this weekend.

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Cold baths for competition collies

Dogs competing in the English National Sheep Dog Trials in North Devon are being given cold baths to help them keep cool. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Dogs competing in the English National Sheep Dog Trials in North Devon are being given cold baths to help them handle the heat-wave.

150 dogs are taking a dip before and after competition and there's water available for them to drink on the course.

Handlers have been instructed to work their dogs calmly and judges will call off any dogs which push the sheep too hard.

David Kennard from the International Sheep Dog Society, which runs the trials, and is a local sheep farmer, said that the animals’ welfare was their primary concern:

“Sheep dog trialling is all about improving the welfare of sheep by working with highly trained dogs. The welfare of the dogs and sheep is central to how we run this event.

“Collies work in extreme heat and cold as part of their working lives and are fairly tough.

“This is not the first time that the trials will be run in such high temperatures and we will take all precautions to ensure both dogs and sheep don’t suffer.

“The irony is that after two years of worrying about what happens if the weather is a wash-out, I’ve spent the last two weeks planning for a heat-wave.”

The National Trials are taking place together with the Devon Country Fayre at Castle Hill.

A glorious day in beautiful surroundings at Castle Hill near South Molton. Credit: ITV News West Country