Is the Bearded Collie the right breed of dog for you?The Bearded Collie can trace his origins back a long way. Beardies are depicted in the paintings of Gainsborough and Reynolds in the 1770's, and some reports have suggested that they were developed in Scotland from Polish lowland Sheepdogs in the early part of the 1500's. One thing is for sure: they're one of the oldest herding breeds in the UK.
Once known as the Scottish Bearded, or Highland Collie their ability to herd sheep and cattle over the rugged terrain of the Scottish Highlands, through all types of weathers, earned them many followers amongst the herders and drovers of the region.
The breed suffered a major setback as shepherding went in to decline after the first world war, however it was revived in the 1940's through the efforts of Mrs. G. O. Willinson of Bothkennar Kennels, who started with a breeding pair; the founders of the modern day Bearded Collie.
It wasn't until 1967 that the first litter of Beardies was whelped in the U.S, and recognition by the American Kennel Club became effective in 1983 when they were classified in to the Herding Group. The Beardie measures between 21 to 23 inches at the shoulders and weighs in at around 45 to 60lbs.
The Bearded Collie has a magnificently shaggy coat, which changes colour during the early years of his life. The coat comes in fawn and brown, black, and a blue-gray, and can be solid or mixed with white; these colours often fade and then darken as the dog matures. These are beautiful dogs,sturdy and muscular, with a constantly wagging tail.
Beardies' are active, inquisitive, intelligent dogs and they really need plenty of off the lead exercise. Their not suited to apartment life, and need a yard and an owner that likes rambling, and the 'great outdoors' as much as they do.
They're not a first time owner's dog or an everyman dog. The coat needs daily grooming; otherwise he will end up a mass of tangles. Plenty of owner's clip their dogs to make the daily maintenance a less frequent task. Bathing regularly is also necessary as their dense, weatherproof coats starts to smell after a while. The Beardie's personality is also very characteristic of a true working dog.
Herding dogs like the Beardie, and Collies in general, are naturally inclined to herd or shepherd anything that they consider to be under their charge. Children, other dogs, joggers, cyclists, and even cars can fall in to this category. It's something that a prospective owner needs to be aware of, and that's one reason why training a Beardie is so important.
You need to start training a Beardie from day one. They're headstrong, outgoing, always exuberant, and you must establish that you are in charge right from the start. Puppy socialisation classes are an excellent idea, and so too is obedience training, as these dogs excel at any work that requires intelligence and agility. They love to have fun, and you can quite easily be at the receiving end of their joke.
Common health problems in the Bearded Collie are arthritis, Addison's disease, various skin problems, and a few cases of hip dysplasia. Otherwise this is a relatively healthy breed.
Feeding a Beardie should present no problem, they're heart eaters, and you just need to keep a watchful eye on their waistline.
If your looking for a dog that loves children and family life, who is loyal, confident and full of life, but whose background needs to be understood; then perhaps a Bearded Collie is the right breed of dog for you.