World Trials

There were occasions in the past when one or two handlers from the UK travelled overseas to take part in a large competition, but these were not really world events. 

There has always been great interest in the ISDS from dog handlers outside the four home-nations. Many see the International as the ‘ultimate challenge’ and towards the end of the 1990’s there was talk of whether the top Continental handlers could run at the International. Sheer numbers, logistics and politics said it could never work.

In 2001 the Society and its members suffered a great set back from the UK foot-and-mouth epidemic. As an idea to help the recovery of the Society, and to meet the deep-felt wish of overseas members to compete with those from the home nations, the Society, led by members from Wales, organised the 2002 Bala World Sheepdog Trials. It was an invitation trial, as there was no time for nations to qualify, and was enormously successful and popular seeing 160 dogs from 13 nations compete through qualifying, semi-finals and finals over four days.  Over the 4 days more than 18,000 people turned up to watch the handlers and dogs in action. Although there had been earlier overseas trials described as world events, they involved only a few individuals from the home nations. The 2002 Bala event was the first, truly world-sized gathering and competition.

In 2005 the Society staged its second world trials, in Tullamore, Ireland. This time, 241 dogs from 21 nations competed, each having qualified to represent their country. The winners after four days of competition were Gordon Watt and York. To become a champion, York had to be at or near his best in each of three separate trials.

The competition is a tri-ennial (every 3 years) event.


Year Location Winner
2002 Bala, North Wales Aled Owen (Wales) with Bob
2005 Tullamore, Ireland Gordon Watt (England) with York
2008 Llandeilo, South Wales Aled Owen (Wales) with Roy
2011 Lowther Estates, Cumbria James McGeee (Ireland) with Becca
2014 Fearn Farm, Tain, Scotland Michael Shearer (Scotland) with Bob
2017 Hoogwoud, The Netherlands

Torbjørn Jaran Knive (Norway) with Gin

2020 None. Postponed due to COVID-19
2023 TBC TBC


In 2017, for the first time the World Trial was staged outside the home nations.

The next World Trial will be held in 2023. 


Aled Owen and Bob competing at the First World Sheepdog Trials 2002 at Bala, North Wales (Winners)


Jim Cropper and Sid competing at the First World Sheepdog Trials 2002 at Bala, North Wales


You can find out more information about the World Trial by visiting the World Trial website