The Bearded Collie is a popular herding breed that was primarily put to use for tending livestock by the Scottish shepherds. These medium-sized dogs with a longish body stature are characterized by a broad head, lean and sturdy built, big, expressive eyes, hanging ears covered with hair, broad chest and a low set tail. Its main USP lies in its dreamy eyes and long hair hanging down its chin, giving the impression of a beard.
|Other names||Highland Collie, Hairy Mou’ed Collie, Mountain Collie|
|Coat||Double coat- Undercoat: Soft, furry
Outer coat: Flat, shaggy, harsh
|Color||Black, fawn, brown, blue, black and brown, black and white, blue and white, blue and tan, brown and white, gray and white, liver and white, white, red and white|
|Lifespan/ Life Expectancy||12 to 14 years|
|Weight||45 to 55 pounds|
|Litter size||4 to 12 puppies|
|Temperament||Energetic, smart, bubbly, bouncy, enthusiastic|
|Good with children||Yes|
|Climate Compatibility||Adaptability to all climate particularly cold weather|
|Shedding (Does it shed)||Moderate|
|Competitive Registration Qualification/Information||FCI, ANKC, AKC, KC (UK), CKC, NZKC, UKC|
Having an ancient lineage, they are said to have existed in Britain since long, being perfect helpmates to farmers.
Various stories have been circulating about the origination of this breed. Specific sources mentioned it to have existed before the 1st century B.C., prior to Rome’s conquest of Britain.
Some documents even state the Beardies to be descendants of Komondorok and Polish Lowland Sheepdogs imported to Scotland in the 16th century.
Another story suggests that a Polish merchant named Mr. Kazimierz Grabski had purchased 6 Polish Lowland Sheepdogs for herding his sheep. They came into the notice of a Polish shepherd who being impressed with their herding skills bought a few of them in exchange for his sheep. They were further crossed with the local dogs of Scotland, resulting in the development of the Bearded Collie.
Paintings of eminent personalities like Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough in the 17th century portrayed breeds similar to the Collie accompanying Scottish aristocrats, thus indicating its popularity with the upper strata of the society too, besides being herding companions to farmers.
Popular in show circuits in the Victorian era, the numbers of this breed diminished rapidly post World War I. However dog enthusiasts took initiatives in recreating it again post the two devastating wars.
The existence of the present-day Bearded Collie has been accidental and the credit for the same goes to Mrs. G Olive Wilson. She had asked for a Shetland Sheepdog from a farmer but ended up getting a Bearded Collie. Utterly fascinated by its charm, she called it Jeannie and began to search a companion for her. Bailey of Southern England became her mate, and both these dogs were the forerunners of the present day breed.
Besides Britain, the breed gained popularity in the United States of America with the first litter being born in 1967. The Bearded Collie Club of America was founded in 1969, while this breed also attained recognition in AKC’s Working and Herding Group in 1977 and 1983 respectively.
Smart, energetic, vibrant, bubbling with energy— this is what describes the disposition of the Bearded Collie in short. Their high level of enthusiasm can be seen through their bouncy nature which could perhaps be due to the manner in which they tended sheep, where they would bounce up for tracing the sheep and even to warn it if it got stubborn or showed an unwillingness to move forward.
They are great entertainers, keeping everyone amused with their clownish antics, which makes them used as therapy dogs in nursing homes, hospitals and schools for autistic kids, to cheer up those in distress.
Despite the Beardies sociable, affectionate and friendly nature, they suit only those who can keep pace with their high levels of energy, as it is challenging to keep these intelligent dogs entertained for long since they get bored quickly.
Though they share a great rapport with children, emerging as their perfect playmates, these dogs have a rambunctious nature. Hence parental supervision is necessary when the young ones interact with them.
Because of their herding instinct, they are wary and suspicious towards strangers, letting out a loud bark quite often if they sense anything unusual in their domain, which indeed makes it an effective watchdog though not a guard dog.
They would get along well with other dogs, and cats provided socialized with them since childhood. However, they are possessive and would not be comfortable enough in sharing something that belongs to them. If you have smaller pets at home, it is better to keep them away from the Beardie because of their herding instinct.
Bearded Collie x Poodle = Beardoodle
Bearded Collie x Beagle = Beacol
These intelligent dogs may be a challenge to train, and following the same schedule, every day could make them bored. They are strong-willed and might at times try to get independent, thus needing a skillful master to handle him with a firm hand.
High-Quality dry dog food would be best suited for your Bearded Collie. The inclusion of a homemade diet would also be okay when given in measured amounts, though with the consultation of a veterinarian.