This handsome breed first became known in 18th century Scotland. A herder of both sheep and cattle, the Bearded Collie is still activity-minded and likes nothing better than having a job to do. An affectionate dog, they are also highly sociable and like to have company at all times.
The Highland Collie was one of three or four different names given to the working dog of Scotland’s hill shepherds.History
Beardie history is incomplete and undocumented but the breed is apparently one of Great Britain’s oldest. Some evidence has led to the belief that it was established before the Roman invasion but other stories vary somewhat from this theory. A dog that resembled the Beardie appeared in British portraits and writings in the 1700s.
The Highland Collie filled the role of a working companion for Scots instead of performing as a show breed intended to please the fancy of noblemen. Stockmen used these dogs as drovers during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Driving cattle and sheep to market through the windswept hills of Scotland challenged the human drovers and their four-legged assistants.Appearance
The Bearded Collie should be of medium size. It should also be hardy, active and agile. The height of an adult should range between 20-22 inches/50-56 cm at the withers.
The Beardie is a natural looking, working animal, and its coat provides protection from the wet weather, cold and wind typical of the moors. The coat must appear natural, with no trace of trimming. Fanciers prefer that the breed remain free of artificial change of any kind. This maintains the working qualities of the breed without alteration.
Coat and Grooming
Height: 51-56 cm at the shoulder
Weight: 19-25 kg
The mid-length shaggy coat comes in a variety of colours. The Bearded Collie requires special coat care — a grooming method that fanciers call “line-brushing.” This involves separating the coat into sections while the dog lies on its side. The groomer then brushes from the skin out to the end of the hair shaft. A well-groomed coat requires this procedure once a week, before each bath and again after drying. Bathing only when necessary helps to conserve the natural oils in the skin and hair. A healthy, well-groomed coat will result.Health
There have been some cases of hip dysplasia and eye problems in the breed. However, this is a generally hardy dog and should live between 12-15 years.Adaptability
The Bearded Collie has an inherited instinct to herd. This attribute makes it a particularly good family dog because it is expected to gather its flock together. The family members become the flock of sheep that they must guard and watch. The breed readily adapts to family life, yet it has all the qualities of a strong outdoor dog.
Beardies have a highly developed personality required for the job of herding. In addition, history credits the breed with the instincts of a cattle drover. This is a dog capable of either driving cattle or herding sheep — unusual dual talents. Beardies do well in a kennel when given sufficient human contact and opportunities to socialize.Environment and Exercise
The Bearded Collie needs access to at least a large suburban yard. This dog will enjoy running off the leash, playing games or a long walk each day.
Training should begin early because it is difficult to get rid of bad habits once they become ingrained. The Bearded Collie is a sensitive dog. It accepts trainers who use a firm hand, but harsh methods will break its spirit. Handlers must take care to use the right balance of freedom and fun when training their dogs for obedience. Time allowed for play and exercise free of restraint, plus an equal amount of time devoted to disciplined training, is the way to develop a well-adjusted dog.Compatibility with Kids and other Pets
Even though the breed likes children, the Beardie may try and herd small children. They are, however, a better match for active school-aged children. Reasonably friendly with dogs and other pets, but they may try to herd them.