Bearded Collie admirers agree that anyone who does not know this breed has to get to know them at once! Once you discover how the Bearded Collie runs around the field with its fluttering fur, the joy and energy with which it plays, and, at the same time, how attentive it is to the wishes of its owners, it is not easy to forget the incomparable charm of this original herding breed.
Characteristics Of The Bearded Collie
Bearded Collies, also called beardies, are active and vital dogs that walk through life confident of themselves. Due to this, they require daily exercise to expend their large energy level. Despite their strong character, they do not show any hint of aggression or nervousness; quite the contrary, they are sensitive and attentive.
Thanks to their great intelligence and high power of observation, they seem to know exactly what behavior is expected of them. They like to please their owners and, although this characteristic is not part of the official breed standard established by the International Cynological Federation (FCI), it can be said that they are animals with a remarkable capacity for adaptation that feel great sympathy towards humans.
They enthusiastically fulfill the tasks that life and their owners ask of them without neglecting their own personalities. Their cheerful character seems unalterable, and it is not surprising that while playing, they show their happiness by barking.
They do not like loud noises too much and, when there is a storm, some prefer to retreat to a quiet corner. Because of this trait, they have received the undeserved nickname “shaking hairball.” They are sensitive but not sentimental, and although a noise may scare them, it does not mean that they become restless or lose their emotional balance.
Among the descendants of Scottish sheepdogs, Bearded Collies are the only ones that, like sheepdogs, were originally in charge of both herding livestock, as well as their vigilance and protection. Although they have not lost their innate attention span to this day, they always remain calm and impassive and do not show severity in their actions.
Even in their own upbringing, they reject harshness and harsh commands. So much more is achieved with calm, soft tones when it comes to training. They are perfect companions for families or people who live alone; they will always be there when needed.
Appearance Of The Bearded Collie
There is no doubt that a Bearded Collie will fill the house with joy and, of course, some dirt with its paws. During walks in the countryside, sticks or dirt can get tangled in its long double coat. His hard, straight hair holds dirt, but luckily not for long. Most of the sand and dirt fall off on their own, and the leaves and branches can be easily removed by hand or with a comb through daily brushing.
According to the breed standard, the outer coat is smooth, although slight undulations are allowed, and under this, there is the lower coat of soft and velvety hair. Despite his strong and unkempt coat, he doesn’t look clumsy. According to the official breed standard established by the FCI, the coat must be, on the one hand, thick and long enough to provide good protection, but, on the other hand, not so long as to hide the body contour.
The Bearded Collie’s strong and athletic build has to be seen under his coat of hair. As a former herding dog, the Bearded Collie is lean, active, well-proportioned, and anything but clumsy. The height at the withers, in males, is 53 – 56 cm; in the case of females, it is slightly lower; it can measure between 51 and 53 cm.
Although the hair around the nose bridge is somewhat poor, it lengthens in the area of the cheeks and chin to form the particular beard on the Bearded Collie. This characteristic hair gives the dog breed its name: Bearded Collie, or simply Beardie.
As for its color, there is a wide variety. When they are born, the main colors of the puppies are black and white, brown and white, bluish and white or beige and white; When they reach adulthood, the colors range from slate gray, reddish, fawn, black or blue to all shades of gray, brown and sand. In addition, they may have white spots on some areas of their body, such as the face, muzzle, chest, legs, or paws, and the tip of the tail.
History And Origin Of The Bearded Collie
Not much is known about the origin of Bearded Collies; they are believed to come from the furry sheepdogs from Eastern Europe and Asia that came to England as early as the 15th century, along with the sheep and cattle acquired there.
In Scotland, they were used for grazing cattle. However, unlike other sheepdogs, Bearded Collies were also responsible for guarding and protecting livestock from predators and livestock thieves, so that some of the shepherds of that time delegated all responsibility for the care of the herd to this herding breed. They turned out to be so reliable that there was even talk of dogs being shipped alone from the London cattle market to Scotland.
There is hardly any data on the beginnings of the breed. This is because the first owners of Bearded Collies were shepherds, who almost did not record information about their dogs due to lack of education. At the beginning of the 20th century and during the difficult times that followed, the trail of these hard-working animals was almost completely lost due to the two world wars.
In 1944, the breed was rediscovered by chance. At that time, the English dog breeder Mrs. G. O. Willison asked for a Shetland Sheepdog puppy, and from the basket she received came a brown and white puppy that the breeder, at first, considered a mongrel. Four months later, an old shepherd recognized the Bearded Collie in that supposedly mixed-breed dog.
Mrs. Willison was so excited about her new puppy that she helped bring the breed back. He searched tirelessly among British Shepherds for the unique bearded collies to lay a new breeding ground. The woman spread her enthusiasm for the rediscovered breed to other colleagues and encouraged them to join these dogs’ breeding.
Breeding Of The Bearded Collie
There are associations of Bearded Collies to which well-known breeders regularly expand their knowledge and train young breeders. Fortunately, most professionals have already distanced themselves from the “modern Bearded Collie.” The so-called “show beardies,” or competition bearded collies, arose from aesthetic breeding, which degraded the Bearded Collie, among others, to an overly groomed and showy show dog.
Those that come from overly selective breeding have artificially long hair and often suffer from hair problems. Because the calf focused only on the physical aspect, changes in the character went unnoticed. Modern Bearded Collies react more fearfully or aggressively than normal.
Savvy breeders have rededicated themselves more to the “old model” bearded collie, with a goalless geared towards winning beauty awards and more towards breeding the strong, intelligent, athletic and characterful family dog.
Caring For Your Bearded Collie
Bearded Collies are a relatively sturdy dog breed that are not particularly prone to health conditions or diseases. A responsible breeder will screen their Bearded Collies to prevent health conditions from forming such as hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, allergies, and eye problems.
The medium-length double coat of the classic Bearded Collie is just as beautiful and much easier to care for than the moderately long coat of the “show beardie.” Of course, this coat, despite being shorter, is long enough to retain some dirt, although less than that of other short-haired breeds.
Thanks to their hard and soft hair, it is enough to brush them once to twice a week. What does require more work than grooming is entertaining these active and dynamic dogs. They love long walks where they can move freely and naturally. If people have the right attitude to educate them, they enjoy learning tricks and practicing dog dancing; of course, they also like agility or treibball sports a lot. In addition to physical exercise, intelligent dogs love the mental exercise offered, for example, intelligence games or puzzles.
Bearded Collies are easy to train, making them perfect family dogs. They can’t stand harshness; however, they need a consistent education. If you can dedicate yourself to them in this way, you will be rewarded with a grateful, kind, and charming companion. Thanks to his meek nature, he gets along well with other dogs, but for him, the people he lives with will always come first. Admirers of Bearded Collies agree that anyone who knows this breed will never forget it!