Who will be Top Dog?

The most prestigious sheep dog competition in the world is coming to Dumfries & Galloway on 10-12 September. The International Sheep Dog Trials 2015 will be held at Meikleholm Farm. Thousands of spectators are expected to attend to watch the most highly skilled sheep dogs in the world compete for the title of Supreme International Sheep Dog Trial Champion 2015 – the highest accolade in the International dog trial circuit.

The International lands in Dumfries & Galloway at a time when the profile of sheep dog trialling has never been higher, with ITV’s celebrity sheep dog show, ‘Flockstars’, hitting TV screens on 30th July.

Increasingly regarded as a spectator sport for all ages to enjoy, sheep dog trials take core, traditional shepherding skills and showcase them in a spectacle of tough manoeuvres that test the skills of each competing dog and handler to the limit.

Event Organiser and Chairman of the International Sheep Dog Trials, Fiona McMillan from Moniaive, says Dumfries & Galloway is an ideal host venue for the event.

The Mair Family from Meikleholm Farm
The Mair Family from Meikleholm Farm

“Dumfries & Galloway has a long association with sheep farming and the skills demonstrated by these competitors are used regularly to manage flocks. It is more than 35 years since this competition was last in Annandale, and I’m delighted that it has returned this year.”

More than 13,000 visitors attended the 2014 International Sheep Dog Trials which were held in Ireland and were believed to have injected £2.5million into the respective local economy. Organisers are aiming to achieve similar results for Dumfries & Galloway in September, and to help realise this the event has received funding from Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Festivals & Events Fund and from EventScotland, a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Event Champion said:
“I’m delighted to see an event of such regard choosing to take place in Dumfries & Galloway. The Trials create a wonderful opportunity for us to let visitors and TV audiences see all that Dumfries & Galloway has to offer.

“This is a sport that plays well to Dumfries & Galloway’s strengths – beautiful scenery, a rich agricultural heritage and a fantastic tradition of appreciating and promoting traditional rural skills and crafts.”

VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said:
“I hope that as many people as possible – from the local community as well as from outwith the region – will come along to Meikleholm for The International Sheep Dog Trials, which promises to be a really entertaining, unmissable event. The Trials are expected to attract thousands of visitors so will not only provide important benefits for businesses here and our local economy, but also offers us a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful region and the wonderful range of things to see and do which Dumfries & Galloway offers.”

The International Sheep Dog Trials 2015 take place on 10-12 September at Meikleholm Farm, half way between Moffat and Dumfries. Day tickets cost £8 and children under 14 can attend free of charge. Tickets are available from www.internationalsheepdogtrials.org.uk and they can also be purchased during the Moffat Sheep Races on 9 August and at the Galloway Country Fair on 22-23 August.

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