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Northumberland shepherdess smashes world record for selling a sheepdog

Emma Gray farms at a National Trust owned farm in Northumberland. Credit: ITV News

A Northumberland shepherdess who made headlines when she took tenancy of a remote farm at the age of just 23 has sold a sheepdog for £18,900 - smashing the world record.

Emma Gray, who farms the National Trust owned Fallowlees Farm at Harwood Forest, is now set to part from two and a half year old Megan as the star dog embarks on a new life in the USA.

The 34-year-old, who wrote a memoir about her experiences as a shepherdess called One Girl and her Dogs, shot to fame over her usual, solitary life and her quest for love, which led to her appearing on a number of TV series.

Megan sold for a record £18,900 at auction. Credit: ITV News

Emma sold Megan at Skipton Auction Mart last week, easily breaking the previous record of £14,805 paid for a male dog from Northern Ireland in 2016.

Emma, who is now married to fireman Ewan Irvine, 41, and a mum to ten-month-old Len, said: "I was hoping Megan would sell well, but I didn't expect her to go for quite so much.

"I am just really happy that her skill has been recognised and all her hard work has paid off.

"She really deserves it. I have been training her since she was a puppy, every day.

"Right from the start, I knew she was going to be talented, but the road to success was not always smooth.

"Training any dog is a lot of hard work.

"All the dogs have their own personalities, and will go through a teenage phase. They are learning so much all the time. Forming a strong emotional bond with them is very important.

"Megan is just a workaholic. She absolutely loves to work. She could never be a pet, she's a working dog."

Megan impressed so much on the field at Skipton she attracted attention from a number of bidders. Credit: ITV News

Black and white Megan impressed so much on the field at Skipton she attracted attention from a number of bidders, before selling over the phone to a farmer in Oklahoma.

Emma, who currently has 12 sheepdogs and says she will be pumping the money back into the farm, added: "She's going to be doing the same work over there, but in much warmer weather. I am jealous!

"I will be really sad to see her go, but I have known we would have to part ways since I first started training her.

"I am just very pleased that people have recognised her talent. It is an amazing achievement. To put it in context, the average sheepdog will sell for between two and three thousand pounds."

Emma has been training Megan since she was a puppy. Credit: ITV News

Emma began working with dogs at the age of 13, and later became the first woman to win the prestigious Northumberland Sheepdog Trials League in the contest's four-decade history.

She was also English Nursery Champion and Reserve National Champion with another dog, Tweeddale Jamie.

Emma is originally from Hawick in the Scottish Borders, and became the UK's youngest solo shepherdess when she took over 150 acre Fallowlees Farm.

Megan is about to embark on a new life in the USA. Credit: ITV News
Megan is 2 and a half years old. Credit: ITV News