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South African National Championships
29th Sep – 2nd Oct 2022

Farm Kinko, Buffeljagsrivier, Swellendam



The farm Kinko lies some 25kms south-east of the Western Cape town of Swellendam.  Johan Swart together with his brothers, run a large mixed farm operation comprising a dairy, crops and sheep.  Kinko is a well-known Dormer stud but Johan also runs a large flock of Merinos, for the competition he supplied us with 450 adult ewes.  

The trials field slopes down from left to right as one looks out from the handler’s post and also opens out further to the top right at about 500m, ideal for this event.  Underfoot the ground is hard gravel with stones and had recently been sprayed for weeds.
We were very fortunate to get Paddy Fanning to judge the event at very short notice after the previous incumbent withdrew.

Thursday afternoon saw the event kick off with the novice championships.  This is open to any beginner dog or any dog currently in the junior class and consists of a 200m outrun, full drive and pen, total 90 points.  The handler may walk with the dog on the drive for this competition but is penalised accordingly.

The merinos, true to form proved very testing, being flighty and once they took off they kept going and would only turn if the dog was almost level with them, and then they’d take off in another direction.  Penning was also a challenge but for this class there is a wing on the pen and the handler may move around freely.

Results as follows:
1. Ragni Pretorius    Tess      67     SA Novice Champion
2. Johan Swart        Pennie   65    Res Novice Champion
3. WA Hugo            Sally      63
4. Jurie vd Vyver     Cap        61
5. Bertus Greeff       Lily        57

Friday was the first round of qualifying including the crowning the junior champion, which goes to the highest placed dog which started the season as a junior.  The course consisted of a 300m outrun, full drive, shed (any 2 sheep) and a pen with a time limit of 13 minutes.  
Once again the sheep proved difficult and keeping them in the ring for the shed was also a challenge, not to mention penning.  Results as follows:

1. Yvan Fourie        Kwagga    85
2. Mark Trollip        Diesel       81
3. Ragni Pretorius   Elke         78
4. Johan Swart       Bourne     71
5. Ragni Pretorius   Jack         70

WA Hugo’s Adam & Sally were crowned Junior Champion and Reserve respectively.  

The top 30 dogs progressed to the semi-final where a full international qualifying course awaited them.  A 400m outrun, full drive and a marked shed, pen and single.  The top 15 dogs would progress to the finals for an international style double lift.  Results as follows:

1. Ragni Pretorius     Elke       95
2. Bridget Lloyd        Plaidy     90
3. Henry vd Merwe   Jem        90
4. Rose vdRuit          Hemp     84
5. Rose vdRuit          Pip         83

Saturday evening and the traditional annual prize-giving dinner was held in the barn on the farm.  Catering was provided by the local primary school who provided us with a delicious 3 course meal.  Awards for achievements during the season are handed out here, with the notable ones being as follows:

   Best Beginner                                   AJ v Wyk & Roxy
   Junior Dog-of-the-Year                      WA Hugo & Adam
   Senior Dog-of-the-Year                      Ragni Pretorius & Elke
   Reserve Dog-of-the-Year                    Pierre Strydom & Kyla
   Dog-of-the-Year                                Mark Trollip & Diesel
   Most consistent dog over 2 years        Mark Trollip & Diesel.

For the finals on Sunday the weather forecast was for a hot day with a light wind.  They weren’t wrong with the temperature getting into the 30’s from quite early in the day.  
For the dog’s safety a water trough was placed at the handler’s post for them to stop for a dip and cool off.  
Once again the sheep proved a real test with the ewes being really flighty and the going underfoot hard on the dogs.  Also, keeping the flock of 20 in the ring whilst drafting, proved nearly impossible.  
Only two handlers completed the course, the last run of the day with Pierre Strydom and Kyla and the second run with WA Hugo and Adam.  They would end up SA Champion and Reserve Champion respectively.  Results as follows:

1. Pierre Strydom          Kyla        112        SA Champion
2. WA Hugo                  Adam      108        Res SA Champion
3. Attie Gunter              Molly       106
4. Yvan Fourie               Kwagga   106
5. Henry vd Merwe        Jem        102

Thanks to our sponsors, SSK for their financial support allowing us to fly out an international judge, and Montego dog food for the long term support and dog food prizes.  
Also, to Paddy for coming out at short notice, we really appreciated your involvement.  
A special thank you to Johan Swart for all his efforts and providing a wonderful venue and a testing but fair event.

World Trial 2023


The International Sheepdog Society (ISDS) held the first World Sheepdog Trial in 2002 in Wales. Since then the event has taken place every three years with the exception of the 2020 event which was initially postponed due to COVID-19 and then eventually cancelled. South Africa has been able to compete since 2014 when the UK relaxed their quarantine regulations.


The next event takes place in Northern Ireland in September 2023 and we have once again been awarded 5 places. The Zimbabwean Sheepdog Association has been included for the first time and has been allocated 2 places. Some 250 dogs from 40 countries will be competing. Competitors are drawn in 6 groups of 42 with the top 7 from each group competing in the semi-finals (42 dogs) and then the top 16 competing in the final to crown the World Champion.


SASDA’s 5 places are awarded to the 5 top-dogs that accumulated the most points during the season’s trials. Our team is as follows:

Mark Trollip & Diesel

Ragni Pretorius & Jack

Pierre Strydom & Kyla

Pierre Strydom & Mac

Andrew Philip & Mirk

Henry vd Merwe & Jem - 1st reserve


More information on the event and past events can be found on the ISDS website


Latest DOY points available here

December 2022 newsletter is available here

We are very grateful to our long term sponsor Montego Pet Nutrition for once again supporting us for this trialling season.
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