As we look forward to the Scottish nursery sheepdog final at Meikleholm, Courance, Dumfries-shire, today (Saturday) the most notable feature of this year’s event is the inclusion of a team from Shetland.

With 10 teams of five dogs now competing on a short winter day, which is well-known to anyone who regularly attempts to photograph the prize giving, for its tendency to end in very poor light, the event will now commence at 7am.

In-keeping with tradition, the Shetland team features a handler with more than one dog. Jerry Ramsay’s Sango Bud (R Game’s Roy, JG Sutherland’s Nell) and Nan (P Byrne’s Moss and Di) are due to run in third and fourth places.

George Simpson is the North team’s regular multi-dog handler, this year taking second, third, and fifth places, with unregistered Ace (A Lyttle’s Jim, A McClintock’s June), Mick (F McCulloch’s Cap, JR Saunders’ Jan) and Jim (G Leslie’s Rocky and Lady), respectively.

From Central Scotland, Mosse Magnusson’s Pen-y-Borough Rag (S Holt’s Hybeck Blake, E Hawkins’ Jess), Don (DK Evans’ Derwen Doug, T Procter’s Gill) and Wheatwood Eddie (DK Evans’ Derwen Doug, IR Fowler’s Fran), have claimed the top three places.

Another interesting feature for Central is that, with fourth and reserve positions also taken up by Swedish exiles – fifth-placed Peter Martin, running Ruby (S Perello’s Murgia Jim, IM Brownlie’s Lia), will be the only Scot in the team.

North Ayrshire’s Stuart Davidson captains his team with Dan (RW Harris’ Flynn and Straid Joe), followed up with Peg (SL Davidson’s Hope and Gillieglen Queen) in fourth place, while in Arran and Kintyre, John MacKillop’s Cap (B Smith’s Jim, C Mann’s Nell) and Nip (I Lockhart’s Taff, M Condie’s Eve) take up third and fifth places.

From the Lanark, Lothian and Peebles district, Ian Brownlie has Maid (D McTier’s Bob, A Sim’s Flo) and Bob (S Perello’s Murguia Jim, IM Brownlie’s Lia) in second and first reserve, places, and Dumfries and Galloway sees Alasdair Mundell’s litter-mates, Groesfaen Roy and Groesfaen Tweed (A Owen’s Llangwm Sid, G Evans’ Linburn Jess) in third and fifth positions.

Alistair Stewart’s Jim (A Stewart’s Tweed and Kemi Ruby) and Flo (A Stewart’s Tweed and Midge), second and fourth in Wigtownshire, represent two additional trends. Both were bred from dams and a sire in the home kennel – Jim’s dam, Kemi Ruby, bred by Kevin Evans, presents a hint of the popularity of Kevin’s breeding, which also features below.

Team mate, Jordan McGowan’s Bree (J McGowan’s Tony and Fly) is another, bred doubly within the home kennel. Team captain, Danny Mitchell bred Pip (I McMillan’s Lamp, D Mitchell’s Kate) from his own bitch, going no further than a team mate to find a sire, while Stuart McCrindle’s Jess (N Gillon’s Shweep, S McCrindle’s Nip) was bred at home from a near neighbour sire, Shweep, who comes off Stuart’s breeding.

Borders has three home-bred runners, with Davie Gilchrist’s Gus (D Gilchrist’s Dan and Jade) and reserve, Eddie Foster’s Bess (E Foster’s Moss and Jaybeez Jade) all ‘doubly’ home-bred and John Foster’s Graylees Tipsy (JB Foster’s Tay, E Gray’s Telf Jinx) being out of a Northumberland dam.

Stuart Davidson’s Peg is the only other dog with both parents in the home kennel, although Fraser Shennan’s Belle (F Shennan’s Spot, J Shennan’s Rose) might squeeze in to the classification, with Fraser and his father, Jamie, involved in the breeding and Belle growing up with her sire and dam beside her.

In LL and P, two team dogs are home-bred out of their handler’s bitches, Laura Hinnekens’ Zorg (MC Shearer’s Jim, L Hinnekens’ K’Eira) and Davie Wallace Jock (RB Henderson’s Skid, D Wallace’s Tess). A and K repeat that pattern with Wullie Stevenson’s Arran McLeod (N McVicar’s Bill, W Stevenson’s Maid) and James Shanks’ Joe (D Shaw’s Ben, J Shanks’ Kim).

This year’s final has three litters each represented by two dogs – Brendon Smith’s Queen and John MacKillop’s Cap (B Smith’s Jim, CM Mann’s Nell); Ian Brownlie’s Maid and Peter Martin’s Ruby (S Perello’s Murgia Jim, IM Brownlie’s Lia); and Alasdair Mundell’s Groesfaen Roy and Groesfaen Tweed (A Owen’s Llangwm Sid, G Evans’ Linburn Jess).

Although they may not be litter-mates, a number of dogs share parents. Neil Gillon’s Boss is a half brother to Maid and Ruby, while Johnnie Robinson’s Burndale Nap (MC Shearer’s Jim, D Henderson’s Burndale Queen) and Laura Hinnekens’ Zorg (MC Shearer’s Jim, L Hinnekens’ K’Eira) are half brothers and Ross Games’ Roy has Jerry Ramsay’s Sango Bud (R Game’s Roy, JG Sutherland’s Nell) and Kenny Donald’s Lyn (R Game’s Roy, A Game’s Nell) in the trial. But that’s not the end of the list.

One breeder with a very strong interest in the event is current international champion, Kevin Evans, whose name appears in the pedigree of five finalists and his stamp on another two, represented by four of his own dogs and his partner, Sophie Holt’s Hybeck Blake, which won the International with Kevin’s handling.

Blake is the sire of Mosse Magnusson’s first-placed, Pen-y-Borough Rag and of D and G captain, Duncan Robertson’s Derwen Roy (S Holt’s Hybeck Blake, G Jones’ Derwen Mali) while Mosse’s second and third-placed, Don and Wheatwood Eddie represent Doug, who, along with Knockmaa Bec, secured the International brace championship for Kevin.

The Borders’ Cameron Dickson’s Tom (DK Evans’ Ace, U Stromer’s Caeflyin Gwen) is half brother to A and K’s Alex McCuish’s Scott (DK Evans’ Ace, DSM MacAuley’s Mo), while Chris Toner’s home-bred Niro Reg (DK Evans’ Dan, C Toner’s Ali) brings another of Kevin’s dogs into the trial.

Nature or nurture? Come Saturday, the judge, David Henderson, of Allendale, Northumberland, will decide just which line is best.

The teams for 2020:


1, B Smith’s Queen, Dunrossness, 44/50; 2, AWP Hughson’s Nortrow Lol (Ola), Girlsta, 40; 3, J Ramsay’s Sango Bud, Ollaberry, 35 Outbye; 4, J Ramsay’s Nan, Ollaberry, 35; 5, D Murray’s Jill, North Roe, 34 outbye; first reserve, R Colclough’s Rosefield Pip, Westsandwick, 34; second reserve, C Williamson’s Sweep, Ollaberry, 31.


1, K Brehmer’s Thistledown Fern, New Bythe, 86; 2, G Simpson’s Ace, Forgue, 66; 3, G Simpson’s Mick, Forgue, 52; 4, J McKenzie’s Sweep, Turriff, 43; 5, G Simpson’s Jim, Forgue, 43; first reserve, S Campbell’s Queen, Skye, 41; second reserve, I Sutherland’s High Ash Hugo, Strathnaver, 32.


1, CM Magnusson’s Pen-y-Borough Rag, Mid Derry, 55.5/80; 2, CM Magnusson’s Don, Mid Derry, 51.5; 3, M Magnusson’s Wheatwood Eddie, Mid Derry, 51; 4, A Olofsson’s Templehall Fred, Alyth, 50.5; 5, P Martin’s Ruby, Glenlyon, 42.5; first reserve, M Young’s Midderry Mic, Coupar Angus; second reserve, K Dickson’s Chip, Fintry.

L,L and P

1, I Fleming’s Glen, Douglas, 58/70; 2, IM Brownlie’s Maid, Deuchrie, 44; 3, J Hill’s, Ben, Heriot, 39; 4, L Hinnekens Zorg, Quothquan, 37; 5, D Wallace’s Jock, Blyth Bridge, 35; first reserve, IM Brownlie’s Bob, Deuchrie, 31; second reserve, GC Gardner’s Bonnie, Lesmahagow, 28.


1, C Dickson’s Tom, Coldingham, 49/64; 2, J Robinson’s Nap, Coldingham, 39; 3, A Dickman’s Meg (Kate), Oxton, 36; 4, JB Foster’s Graylees Tipsy, Earlston, 35; 5, D Gilchrist’s Gus, Oxton, 28; reserve, E Foster’s Bess, Westruther, 22.

D and G

1, D Robertson’s Derwen Roy, Langholm,76/80; 2, JW Common’s Jimmy, Lockerbie, 64; 3, AR Mundell’s Groesfaen Roy, Moffat, 61; 4, J Thomson’s Shilo, Penpont, 40; 5, AR Mundell’s Groesfaen Tweed, Moffat, 40; reserve, J Thomson’s Sid, Penpont, 35.

Novice – 1, J Thomson’s Northtyne Spear, Penpont, 69; 2, M Wilson’s Jill, Corsock,19; 3, M Wilson’s Kilcreen Meg, Corsock,17; 4, M Forster’s Meg, Irongray.

North Ayrshire

1, SL Davidson’s Dan, Sandbank, 47/50; 2, C Toner’s Niro Reg, Drimsynie, 35; 3, N McVicar’s Baledmund Pete, Benmore, 34; 4, SL Davidson’s Peg, Sandbank, 29; 5, F Brown’s Jake, Glendaruel, 18; reserve, I Lockhart’s Jed, Dalrymple, 16.


1, D Mitchell’s Pip, New Luce, 47/60; 2, A Stewart’s Jim, Lockerbie, 46; 3, S McCrindle’s Jess, Stranraer, 37; 4, A Stewart’s Flo, Lockerbie, 37; 5, G Mitchell’s Lass, New Luce, 36; reserve, J McGowan’s Bree, Portpatrick, 27.

Argyll and Kintyre

1,W Stevenson’s Arran McLeod, Whiting Bay, Assigned; 2, A McCuish’s Scott, Skipness, 26/40; 3, J MacKillop’s Cap, Fort Augustus, 25 ; 4, J Shanks’ Joe, Ardtornish, 24 outbye; 5, J MacKillop’s Nip, Fort Augustus, 24; reserve, A McCuish’s Mirk (Mac) , Skipness, 20.

South Ayrshire

1, N Gillon’s Boss, Barr, 44/60; 2, F Shennan’s Belle, Barr, 36; 3, J Shennan’s Floss, Barr, 32; 4, K Donald’s Lyn, Dalrymple, 26; 5, I Fergie’s Cap, Straiton, 25; reserve, C Darwent’s Jill, Dumfries House, 22.