(aka: Highland Collie, Mountain Collie, Beardie]
This breed is commonly referred to as the "Beardie". They are a medium-sized agile herding dog that is an ancestor of the Old English Sheepdog. Originating in Scotland, this breed was used for centuries to herd flocks of sheep and cattle. They were developed to be independent workers and made decisions concerning their charges without human guidance. The Bearded Collie nearly disappeared in the early part of the 20th century, but were saved from extinction in 1944. They are still fairly rare in the United States today, but their popularity is growing.
The Beardie is medium-sized and very agile. A herding dog of great stamina and high intelligence, the Beardie is noted for its shaggy coat and never flagging wagging tail. Related to the Old English Sheepdog the Beardie has a broad head, short muzzle and a shaggy coat all over - including under the chin - which is where the nickname Beardie came from.
They have a dense, weatherproof outer coat with a thick, soft undercoat. Its head and teeth are large. The eyes are wide set and high on the head, and match color with its coat. The ears are close to the head with a long tail carried low unless the dog is excited.
Bearded Collies can and do sleep outdoors and also make excellent farm dogs. They are good to go in windy, rugged or wet areas since the dogs are out in all weather conditions to herd. It does not like to be confined and should have a place to run off of its lead. The Beardie loves to be outdoors, but also wants his place inside with his family (pack). These dogs are notorious escape artists so it's best to make sure they are happy and well exercised.
Beardies were first recognized by the AKC in 1976, and is part of the Herding Group.
Bearded Collie Temperament
This dog is without a doubt one of the largest clowns in the canine world. Many seem to think he has pogo sticks in his legs, or at the very least was crossed with a grass hopper. His bounce and charm are addicting and he is always joyous and affectionate. Playful and a tad cheeky, his tail is always wagging. He has a lovely sense of humor and that combined with his high energy levels make for some pretty funny episodes. Males tend to be more outgoing and bold, while females are calmer and more submissive.
He's really terrific with kids and thrives, but NEEDS to be with people. He needs to be a part of the family unit and would wither without human contact. If he is left alone without human contact and has nothing to do, he will get into trouble. He certainly can be trained to do just about anything, but not to be a watch dog. They are noisy barkers yes, but not watch dogs. Their forte is herding animals - and their people (with a grin!) You don't need a doorbell when living with a Beardie.
Beardies jump and can even clear very high fences, if they don't have something to do that appeals to them. They'll also jump up to greet you, kiss your nose and look you straight in the eye. Great trick, but it can scare little ones and others who aren't used to such enthusiastic greetings.
This breed does well at intermingling with other animals particularly if they were raised with them. Some can be bossy about possessions and hoard all the toys in their den, and being herding dogs, they will chase things if tempted.
The Beardie may have gotten one of its other names - bouncing beardie - because when working in thick undergrowth on a hill, they bounce to catch sight of their sheep. It's also speculated this name came from the way they face a stubborn ewe, barking and bouncing on the forelegs. The bearded moves stock using body, bark and bounce. Very few beardies show "eye" when working, most are usually upright.
Daily brushing of the long, shaggy coat is important. Mist the coat lightly with water before you begin. Tease out mats before they get bad, and give extra attention when the dog is shedding. Use the comb sparingly. If you prefer, the coat can be professionally machine-clipped every two months or so. Eyes, ears and paws should be checked daily. Bath or dry shampoo when necessary. It is difficult to locate ticks in the thick undercoat, so check regularly.
The Bearded Collie (first introduced into Scotland in 1514) was developed in Scotland as a herding dog with ancestors including herding dogs from the European continent - the Poland Lowland Sheepdog (Polski Owzcarek Nizinny) and the Komondor, blended with sheep herding dogs in the British Isles. The Bearded Collie is in all likelihood also related to the bobtail (Old English Sheepdog).
It was developed as an independent worker, capable of thinking on its own and making decisions about the safety of their flocks without depending on the shepherd who might be miles away. Beardies have never brought home a wrong sheep despite the practice of flocks intermingling while out to pasture. The Beardie is still used as a shepherd's helpmate in Scotland, and in the U.S.
The breed almost disappeared in the early part of the twentieth century, but was rescued through mating a pair in 1944. Even today, it isn't very widespread and it's still fairly rare in the United States. The first US litter of Beardies was whelped in 1967.
The Bearded Collie is very intelligent and quick to learn. However, he is an independent thinker and can be very stubborn. Obedience training must be fun, consistent and fair. It should also start at a young age and continue into adulthood.
These dogs can be master manipulators, and are very adept at getting their own way. The hardest thing about owning a Beardie is not teaching him the wrong things. If you don't stay mentally one step ahead of your Beardie, your Beardie will do a very good job of training you.
Your youngster is like a 2 year old child pushing his luck to see what he can get away with. If you do let him get his way, you will eventually end up with about 50 lbs of dog who 'won't walk on a leash' or 'doesn't like to be brushed' because when he was younger he found out that throwing a tantrum got him out of doing anything you wanted him to do. This behavior often can reappear around the teenage stage when they start feeling full of themselves and test to see who's in charge.
This is about the time when your pup also becomes deaf to your commands. Not literally, but he's chosen to ignore you to see how far he can push you. Had the experience where you've said "come" over and over, and still nothing? Well, he's just had a successful training session. He's trained you to keep on asking for something while he sits there. He'll respond eventually when you lose your cool and change your tone and your attitude.
If you want your dog to obey on the first command, don't repeat a command while your dog ignores you. Give the command once, and if he doesn't respond, go to him, take him by the collar. Repeat the command and then physically help him obey. If you never repeat a command without using the collar, he will realize he might as well obey the first time.
The main health problem in to watch for Bearded Collies is hip dysplasia. Their long, dense coat, may conceal external parasites, so it is important to check regularly during grooming.