Border closures may have prevented Tasmanian kelpie breeder Matthew Johnson from attending the inaugural Lucindale Working Dog Auction in person but he is determined he won't miss out again.
When entries for the 2022 sale opened earlier this month Mr Johnson - who sold the sale's $27,000 second highest priced dog - last year was one of the first to nominate.
"We were disappointed we wouldn't get there last time and had to follow it on AuctionsPlus," he said.
"It is a big cost for us to get on the boat and get there but we have a lot of friends over there in the dog community."
Mr Johnson and his wife Margie from Exeter are keen to bring two dogs if numbers allow for the September 25th auction.
Their number one pick is an 18 month old son of last year's dog Bruno called Diesel which Mr Johnson describes as a "good all rounder".
"He is a young dog that is fully trained, that backs really well and has a lot of bark on command," he said.
Mr Johnson has more than 30 years experience breeding kelpies and his list of successes is nearly as long as the pedigree of his dogs.
As a teenager he was the youngest person to win a Tasmanian yard dog championship which set the course of his future. He now has 12 state titles to his name.
"I wasn't much good at school but I loved training dogs," he said.
Mr Johnson still enjoys competing in trials and giving demonstrations at shows and field days but his main focus is managing a sheep and cattle property in northern Tas where his dogs are put to the test nearly every day.
Since he set a $12,000 Australian Working Dog Auction record at Casterton in 2012 with a dog called Tom- which stood for five years- he has seen the price tag of dogs rise significantly. He still believe they are worth every cent.
"They (Dogs) are one of the tools of the trade that you can't do without, they can do the work of four or five men," he said.
"They keep the sheep flowing up to the Combi Clamp (sheep handler) by themselves and people often can't be in the right position in a paddock but one or two dogs can easily get around the mob."
LWDA secretary Kylie Ware said entries had been coming in strongly in the first fortnight and she expected dogs from four states.
She said the committee hoped to build on its big debut where 32 dogs topped at $29,000.
The plan for 2022 is to cap the catalogue at 40 dogs along with five pups ( five to nine months of age).
Prospective vendors can enter up to three dogs with first preference in a ballot system if needed given to those breeders who supported the first auction, Ms Ware said.
"We don't want to be too much bigger than the numbers we are hoping for and think we will easily get or we risk passing in dogs," she said.
"We think balloting if we need it will ensure we keep a really high quality of dogs and keep the prices and averages up without prices going too crazy and have enough time to demonstrate each dog."
Ms Ware said the strong demand for good working dogs had not waned in the past 12 months with interest already from several potential buyers.
"Nothing has really changed from last year, the average bracket for a trained, ready to work dog is $10,000 and up and pups from proven bloodlines can make anything, often people don't stop at a certain price they just keep bidding if they trust in the breeding," she said.
The event raised $20,000 last year from the gold coin for entry and auction entry fees.
The committee has distributed half of this money to seven local community organisations and hopes to give away even more this year.
The sale will again be interfaced with AuctionPlus.
Nominations for the auction close on August 14.
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