The Bearded Collie is a rowdy, agile and bright dog with its homeland in Scotland. It was initially bred to control and drive livestock in any weather condition and on any terrain. Currently it operates as an outstanding companion animal and show dog as well as remains a fairly popular shepherd. Nonetheless make sure that you will be able to put up with extensive grooming requirements of this breed as well as its somewhat mulish character before adopting its specimen.
The true origin of such an ancient breed as the Bearded Collie will probably forever remain under a veil of mystery. Thus first documental evidence of its existence dates back to the 70s of XVIII century but this dog is most certainly much older. There are a few hypotheses as to how this breed was initially developed. Some experts propose that it appeared as the result of crossing the Scotch Collie with the Bobtail (or Old English Sheepdog). Other theory claims that it inherited its shaggy coat from the Polish Lowland Sheepdog or the now-extinct Old Welsh Grey Sheepdog. It’s also likely that forebear of this breed was the Icelandic Dog.
However the Bearded Collie was initially created to become a highly fashionable herding and show dog in its native land at the end of the Victorian era. As the First World War broke out the breed’s number went into a steep decline. So by the 30s of the XX century its systematic breeding was completely shut down in Great Britain. Luckily enough, the Scottish sheepherders set great store on their herding dogs and kept breeding them during this difficult time.
After the Second World War several dog lovers in Britain became involved in the breeding of the Bearded Collie solely for Dog Show. The Kennel Club of England (KC) admitted this dog to participate in dog shows in 1959 and since then its popularity in this country slowly but steadily grew.
The breed was brought to the United States in the late 50s of the XX century and deserved recognition of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1976. The Bearded Collie is still used as a reliable herder and guardian of both cattle and sheep in its homeland. It’s especially prized for its ability to work without constant supervision of the shepherd. And the breeds’ cheerful and gregarious nature is responsible for its popularity as a family dog throughout the world.
Energetic, sociable and loving, the Bearded Collie can become an excellent family dog. Clownish and mischievous personality has a great appeal for children who eagerly include this nimble and smart dog in their games. However it can’t be reckoned as a perfect pet for families with small kids because of its impetuous nature. The dog tends to form tight bonds with its people and craves for constant human contact. Severe separation anxiety quickly develops in this dog if you often leave it for long hours alone.
The Bearded Collie is welcoming and friendly with unknown people and loves receiving petting from them. The breed will make a great watch dog loudly informing its master about the approach of a stranger but its high-pitched bark rather indicates its excitement than aggressive intentions. Generally speaking, it’s too laid-back and out-going to make an adequate guard dog.
The Bearded Collie usually enjoys the company of other canines and very rarely becomes an instigator of conflicts with unfamiliar dogs. Nonetheless timely socialisation is a must if you want your pet to treat all other dogs respectfully. As a herding breed it isn’t keen on killing other species of animals although it may chase them passionately. This dog can be kept alongside with cats and other non-canine pets with few problems especially if it has been introduced to their existence in its puppyhood.
The most common problems for the breed include:
congenital elbow luxation;
canine hip dysplasia;
The grooming of the Bearded Collie takes substantial amount of time and efforts. It’s essential to brush its long and dense coat at least once a week in order to keep it free of mats and tangles and reduce shedding. Spay the hair of your pet with special conditioner so they won’t become electric or get broken. If you came across any tangles or knots, try first to work them out manually instead of using a brush immediately. It usually takes half an hour to a whole hour every week to put the dog’s coat in order.
The Bearded Collie gets rid of its soft puppy fur at the age between 9 and 18 months. At this time frequent brushing will speed up this process and make it much more bearable. This dog requires only occasional bathing. Other than that it needs regular nails trimming and weekly teeth brushing. The breed loses its hair lightly year round and more intensely at the change of seasons.
The Bearded Collie is known for its attentive and inquisitive personality, which makes it a very capable learner. Nonetheless this dog is also an independent thinker so its training can be associated with certain difficulties. Your efforts will render the best results if you become an unshakeable authority for your pet.
Keep the training sessions short and entertaining as this dog can’t stand repetitive and senseless tasks. The properly trained Bearded Collie performs well both in dogs shows and agility trials. The handler should never raise voice or use force while working with this breed since such treatment will only intimidate the dog and makes it totally unmanageable.
The Bearded Collie is an lively and naturally tough dog with high requirements for vigorous exercise. It was initially designed to operate in the most challenging conditions and therefore it won’t be completely satisfied with its life without regular job to do. The dog isn’t recommended for a city dweller or for an extremely busy person who won’t be able to dedicate enough time to his pet.
Thanks to its great endurance there is virtually no outdoor activity that the Bearded Collie won’t enjoy. It will make an enthusiastic companion for a jogger and biker although it would surely prefer to frisk and play in a safely enclosed area. Without sizeable amount of daily exercise this dog will ill-behave at home and can even become unpredictably aggressive und unruly.