The Judges

Each year, the United States Border Collie Handler's Association (USBCHA) solicits nominations from the USBCHA membership of individuals to judge the National Sheepdog Finals. From these nominations, four people are selected. 

Sheepdog National Finals Judges 2016


The Judges are as follows:

Andrew Dickman 
Michael Gallagher 
Johnny Robinson 
Patrick Shannahan
Johnny Robinson and Patrick Shannahan will judge the Open. 
Michael Gallagher and Andrew Dickman will judge Nursery. 
All judges will judge the Final Round.


Andrew Dickman, Oxton, Scotland, UK


A lifetime of working sheep and dogs has given Andrew a reputation as a fine judge, stockman and dog man. He is from the village of Oxton, in the Lauderdale region of the Scottish borders about 25 miles from Edinburgh. He judged the Scottish Nationals in 2012 as well as the Meeker Classic.

Andrew and his wife, Frances, are also active volunteers lending their time to organizations and dog trials. Coming from a family of shepherds, Andrew's late great Uncle Tom Watson was a great dog man, an Internationalist and also judged in the USA - it was he who encouraged Andrew from an early age.

Andrew really enjoys training young dogs. Having had great success in nursery trials, he has qualified for the Borders Nursery Team numerous consecutive years. He has represented Scotland 4 times in the Internationals with Rob.

Andrew spent 31 years as a fulltime shepherd, then, in 1999, began working for local livestock auctioneers procuring sheep and cattle. When not training and trialing dogs, Andrew works as a livestock fieldsman from June until mid-March. March finds him lambing his 120 grey faced ewes that he runs along with another flock he tends at Carfrae Farm. In April he then goes down the road to a large sheep operation, where he helps lamb around 3000 ewes.



Michael Gallagher,Armoy, Ireland UK


Michael Gallagher is an accomplished handler who at 31 years old in 2005 was the International Young Handler of the Year. He was the 2010 International Supreme Champion, 2013 & 2014 Canadian National champion 2013 & 2014, Kingston Double Lift Final Champion, 2014 USBCHA Final 4th place finisher, 2008, 2010 and 2011 North of Ireland Double Lift Champion, 7 times Irish National Team Member and place 3rd at the 2011 World sheepdog Finals.

Michael has judged major trials in the UK, Europe and North America including the Belgium Nation Finals, Kingston, the Bluegrass Classic, USBCHA Finals and the All Ireland Inter Provincial Double Gather Final.



Johnny Robinson, Coldiugham, Berwickshire, Scotland, UK


Johnny Robinson, from Coldiugham, Berwickshire, Scotland, has been a Hill Shepherd for almost all his life, the majority of it working in Scotland. The herding life took him from the Cheviots of Northumberland to the Lammermuirs of Scotland, where he has worked teams of dogs over vast ranges of hills comprising thousands of acres.

In 1996, after 22 years, he left his position as Livestock Manager and Head Shepherd for the Duke of Roxburgh, where he managed a flock of nearly 2000 Scottish Blackface ewes over 8000 acres, to join fortunes with his new partner and soon to be wife, and to purchase a farm on the moorlands of the Scottish Borders in Coldingham. Here he has continued to breed his own line of dogs and to both compete and judge on the National and International level.

Over the years he has won various trials and team cups and shields, and been on the Scottish team twice at the International Sheepdog Trial. He was also a Finalist in the 2005 World Trial, His expertise and love of judging first to the USA in 1994 and he has since repeatedly judged in Oregon and Missouri. As a respected judge, he has been much in demand for various European qualifiers in Germany, Italy, and Denmark, as well as judging Nationals in Italy, France and Holland and the Continental European Championships. Johnny has judged the Scottish National, the International, and the World Trial, as well as the respected television series, "One Man and his Dog".

Johnny has been a Director of the ISDS (International Sheep Dog Society) for 10 years as well as serving on the Council. He was Chairman in 2014 and Secretary in 2011 of the Scottish National Sheepdog Trials. He is committed to the Borders Nursery League which organizes the winter trials for the younger dogs. He has frequently had a dog in the Scottish Nursery Final.

He has bred and trained dogs which have gone on to compete successfully at the national and international level, exporting dogs to Europe, Scandinavia, South Africa, and the USA. He also has helped train novice handlers and their dogs at his farm. He continues to breed excellent trial and working dogs from his home farm, Springhill, and also puts on one Open Trial and two Nursery Trials at Springhill Farm every year. He enjoys competing and traveling to outstanding competitions worldwide.




Patrick Shannahan, Caldwell, Idaho, USA


Patrick has been herding with sheepdogs for over 20 years, both competitively and on his farm. He is recognized as one of North America's leading handlers, judges and trainers. Patrick is well known to USBCHA board members as a former board member himself.

Patrick got his start in the livestock industry without the help of dogs. He soon learned that a dog could do the work of several men and women. His dogs have now become a full-time occupation. Patrick has experienced great success in the competitive world. He is a two time US National Champion, first with Hannah in 1994 and more recently in 2010 with Riggs.

Patrick has judged nearly every major trial in the United States and Canada, including the Canadian National Finals, the USBCHA Finals, and Soldier Hollow, and he is widely loved as a clinician.

Although successful competitively, Patrick's goal is to also provide good work dogs for the livestock industry. Patrick lives on a small sheep ranch in Caldwell, Idaho where he runs a commercial flock of Katahdin hair sheep. He writes frequently about training, breeding and livestock handling.