The Shepherd – Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie, classified in the herding group, is a breed well known for its long body, shaggy coat, and its herding abilities. The word “Collie” is actually a generic Scottish word which is used for dogs which herd sheep.

A brief history of the Bearded Collie

Bearded_CollieThe Bearded Collie is believed to be one of Scotland’s oldest dog breeds. However, the exact nature of their history is unknown, as exact records of their development throughout the centuries were not kept. According to legend, the breed began to be developed in the early 16th century, after a Scottish shepherd traded with a Polish merchant for his Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. These Polish dogs are believed to have then been bred with local Scottish dogs, eventually producing what became known as the Bearded Collie.

The modern history of the breed is better documented. Olive Willison, a dog breeder, bred her Bearded Collie Jeannie with another Bearded Collie, owned by a man named David. The dogs from this line are considered to be the foundation of the modern Bearded Collie breed.

Characteristics

The Bearded Collie is typically about 21 to 22 inches in height at the shoulders and reaches 40 to 60 lbs. in weight as adults. There are particularly known for their long, shaggy fur as well as their lean and agile bodies. Their fur coat requires daily brushing and combing to prevent matting and tangling. Their coats come in a number of colors; the most common colors are grey and white, although variations of coats with tan, red and brown are also found in the breed.

Personality wise, the Bearded Collie is known to be an excellent pet for owners who are able to handle their high energy level and their need for extensive grooming. Because Bearded Collies were bred to herd sheep, they require daily exercise and do best with exercise that stimulates their mind as well as their bodies. They are loyal dogs who, when socialized properly, can get along with other dogs and animals as well.

The breed is especially prone to Addison’s disease, which is a disease that causes insufficient production of glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids in the adrenal cortex; it is believed to occur in up to 3.4% of Bearded Collies. Symptoms are often ignored because they are readily mistaken for symptoms of other conditions. Symptoms include lethargy, gastric disturbances that occur with frequency, and an inability to tolerate stress.

Did you know? Trivia

  • The Bearded Collie is still used by farmers to herd farm animals such as sheep and cattle; however, some farmers in Scotland and Wales have expressed dismay at the abilities of many modern Bearded Collies, who are usually bred with appearance–such as a magnificent coat–in mind, rather than their agility or hardiness.
  • The Bearded Collie has the nickname “bouncing Beardie,” due to its need to bounce up and down to see sheep when hiding in long grass or bushes.
  • In the original production of James Barrie’s play, Peter Pan, the role of Nana the nursery dog was played by a Bearded Collie.

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