Norway’s Petter Landfald won the World trial of 239 dogs at Dromore, Co Down, with his seven-year-old Max, by a unanimous vote of all five judges.

Petter said: “Although I missed the fetch gate, I knew I’d had a good run, but I hadn’t seen all the other runs, so I didn’t know where I might be placed. The results were read out in reverse order at the prize giving and when it came to third place, my heart started knocking!”

The newest World champion has had no major championships in Europe prior to this, although at the last World trial at Hoogwoud in the Netherlands in 2017, Petter reached 13th place in the final with Lady. That year the trial was won by fellow Norwegian, Jaran Knive with Gin, meaning Norway now has two successive wins in the 21-yr history of the trial which takes place every three years, barring 2020, cancelled due to Covid.

The Scottish Farmer: World Champion, Petter Landfald (Norway) and Max, reserve champions Kevin Evans (Wales) with Preseli Ci, and third placed Scott Glen (Canada) with Pip (Photograph: Lisa Soar)World Champion, Petter Landfald (Norway) and Max, reserve champions Kevin Evans (Wales) with Preseli Ci, and third placed Scott Glen (Canada) with Pip (Photograph: Lisa Soar)

Petter added: “I’ve had Max since he was a pup, he is a very good outrunner and good on his lift, so I felt that the field was made for him. My sheep go to the mountains in summer, so my dogs are experienced on long outruns.”

The trial was set over four days, with courses set up in three fields over two days for the first heat to whittle down the planned entry of 240 dogs to 42 which ran in the semi-final. Scotland had two dogs qualified through to the semi-final – Michael Shearer’s Viking Cap (JW Common’s Grit, B Smith’s Lass) and Michael Gallagher’s Avon Roy (A Gallagher’s Cain, A Warmington’s Kim) while Ireland had eight, Wales seven and England two.

The final course was set on rising and rolling parkland with trees surrounding the course and some specimens growing on the field. To the right, where the second packet of sheep awaited, a big fold of ground arose below them, so the sheep came down into a gulley and up and over towards the fetch gate. The drive went away to the left and crossed to the right.

Petter’s Max (AC Sand’s Graig 00/329015, M Grimelond’s Sanki 21295/08) ran out well for 10 sheep, with Petter’s command, and lifted them cleanly. He fetched them down and through the gate, leaving them there to make a good turn back for the second packet. Again he lifted cleanly but missed his fetch gate. He united the sheep and took them to Petter, round his feet and drove them away and across the course with only a slightly wide turn out of the cross-drive gate against him.

In the shedding ring, he had peeled 11 of the 15 plain sheep off but as he took the next two off a collared ewe broke and the retrieval brought two plain sheep back to join the reds. The work continued in ones and twos until five red collared remained in the ring. Max took them to the pen, put them smartly inside and Petter closed the gate on his world-beating run, earning 68/850 totalled from five judges and 80 merit points signifying a unanimous decision.

The Scottish Farmer: Tyler McKinlay (17) and Hearthstane Squiggle won the World Young Handlers title (Photograph: Lisa Soar)Tyler McKinlay (17) and Hearthstane Squiggle won the World Young Handlers title (Photograph: Lisa Soar)

Kevin Evans Preseli Ci (R Games’ Roy, LL Harries’ Groesfaen Jet) missed her sheep on her outrun and went further up the hill, and although Kevin brought her down to them, it was not a good start and the sheep swung about at the fetch gate before Ci put them through, but she made an excellent turnback and lift. Ci had an outstanding drive, but at the shed, it took time to settle the sheep for shedding and they came in smallish numbers, until with only two plain sheep left amongst the red, they left the ring and some tried to break away; they didn’t rejoin the big bulk and Ci brought them back, finished her shed and took them on to a clean pen and second place on 639 points.

Scott Glen’s Pip (RJ Hutchinson’s Sweep, DS Macauley’s Gael) had a near faultless first outrun, and although his lift did not match that, he had a good fetch. Pip needed Scott’s repeated commands on his lookback but had a good fetch and a good drive and Pip worked well with an awkward collared ewe before successfully completing the shed. A breakneck penning effort with two circuits of the pen ended in the gate closing just in time for a completed run and third place on 634 points.

Scotland’s 17-year-old Tyler McKinlay and Hearthstane Squiggle won the World Young Handler competition with a clear lead over the field.

Tyler said: “I felt good when I came off, but I had no idea that I might win. I can’t really remember much about the run – it took time to settle the sheep for the shed, I remember that. Squiggle is a tremendous working dog.”

Squiggle (H Brown’s Mac and Heatherstane Keeve) had a very good, steady run and worked particularly well on the fetch and drive, finishing with an admirable score of 200/220 and an 11-point lead over her competitors.

Tyler, who has worked as a shepherd at Parkhall and Robbiesland since she left school last summer, has already established a long trialing career. She started competing in the Lanark, Lothian, and Peeblesshire Nursery league aged 11, with Squiggle’s grandmother, Pat, and this year she finished the nursery season as team captain. This summer, Tyler won her first open trial with Squiggle at Innerleithen, and having already competed in three Scottish Nationals, and achieving creditable runs there.

Squiggle’s breeder, Hazel Brown, Lanarkshire, has been familiar travelling companions at Scottish National trials throughout the country at open trial events within reach of the Biggar area for years.

Hazel said: “She doesn’t seem to be bothered by nerves, but I was beside myself just watching her! I started Tyler off with my old Pat – she was about 10 and I had retired her. We tried her out in a field, she knew what to do and she was happy to do it for Tyler, so that worked well.

“Tyler used to come up here to Birthwood and I helped her at the start. I’ve enjoyed watching her come on and she picked Squiggle herself. I told her to come up to the farm, but I didn’t say the pups had been born. Tyler’s mouth dropped open when she saw the litter and she picked Squiggle out then. It was a good choice.”

Leading Awards

World sheepdog trial final (Judges, P Turnbull, Eng; D Birchall, Ire; J MacDougall, Scot; M Jones’s , Wales; S Hindenes, Norv;) – 239 dogs ran – 1, P Landfald’s Max (NO31849/17) (Norv) 683/850 Judges (80) Merit; 2, DK Evans’ Preseli Ci (331679) (W) 639 (71); 3, S Glen’s Pip (CBCA 16647) (Can) 634 (70); 4, J McLaughlin’s Sky (354442) (Ire) 612 (66); 5, M O’Malley’s Bruce (367443) (Ire) 566 (53); 6, D Howells’ Wyverne Pip (369857) (W) 553 (52.5); 7, D K Evans’ Kemi Jack (374101) (W) 552 (51.5); 8, R Ellis’ Tod (352010) (W) 541 (42); 9, J McGee’s Roeldog Becca (391047) (W) 534 (40.5); 10, H Kienker’s Dell (DE/347693) (Germ) 540 (39.5); 11, JA Hansen’s Akersborg Kniva (NO38414/18) (Norv) 515 (34); 12, P Fanning’s Bruce (330825) (Ire) 507 (29.5); 13, P Szarvas’ Nordevind Novel (FR/349505) (Hungary) 488 (20.5); 14, B Allen’s Joey (431061) (USA) 462 (14.5); 15, F Basson’s Elfa Finn (Elfa Finn?) (USA) 443 (9); 16, A Schiess’ Qence Von Enggetschwil (SHSB 760513) (Switz) 428 (6.5);

Young handlers (Judges, I Fleming, Scot; T Longton Eng) – 1, T McInlay’s Heatherstane Squiggle (373888) (Scot), 200 /220; 2, L Annaloro’s Casselveld Roma (373270) (Fr), 189; 3, T Foley’s Neuadd Lwyd Skye (341988) (Ire), 188.

Teams – 1, Ireland, 894; 2, Spain and Portugal, 880; 3, USA, 846.