The Bearded Collie is one of the oldest breeds in the UK. These dogs have been known to people for a very long time, which is confirmed by many documentary evidence. Some of the earliest depictions of bearded collies are shown in a portrait by Gainsborough in 1771 and in a portrait by Reynolds in 1772. Also, a description of the breed was published in the 1818 issue of the Live Stock Journal. But, in fact, the breed has more ancient roots, although there are no earlier images of these dogs.
They were also called the Highland Collie, Mountain Collie or Hairy Collie. Shaggy, long-haired dogs like these have helped on farming for centuries, being versatile and very helpful animals. The absence of earlier evidence is explained very simply – farmers in the Middle Ages did not know how to read and write at all, respectively, they could not keep any records. But dogs were bred solely on the basis of their useful qualities.
Consequently, there is no exact evidence of exactly how the dogs got into medieval England. But the dominant assumption is that a Polish trader who visited Scotland in the early 16th century traded a pair of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. They were destined to become the basis for the future breed, which would later be associated with England, but not with Poland.
Probably, Polish Shepherds were crossed with local shepherds, and other dogs (which one is difficult to say, since over the centuries they could freely interbreed with many breeds), and the result was an excellent dog with a very noticeable coat. The bearded collie helped herd sheep and even find the missing, strayed from the herd – to drive them back, the dog barked loudly and jumped in front of such a sheep.
Despite the fact that the breed was a bearded collie and did not have its own club, and they also did not have any specific written standard, these dogs were very popular in the Victorian era, and even participated in agricultural shows. The greatest support was provided by shepherds, who used these dogs precisely as shepherds.
However, the modern bearded collie is the merit of G.O. Willison. After the Second World War, dogs began to be bred for participation in the show ring. Also, this man played an important role in the creation of the Bearded Collie Club in Great Britain – this happened in 1955. In 1959, the Kennel Club granted the right to compete.
The Bearded Collie is a medium sized dog with an abundant and thick coat that is usually not cut. The physique is large, the limbs are medium, the head is round with hanging ears. Muzzle with a “beard”. The tail is short. The color can be slate gray, black, blue, all shades of gray, brown and sand, with or without white markings.
The Bearded Collie is a dog with a soft and kind character. It is well suited for people who have never had experience with a dog before, or very little experience. These pets rarely create problems, love harmonious relationships with everyone, and are happy to build them in almost any conditions. There are no exceptions – other dogs in the park, your friends who come to visit you, just strangers – the dog tries to make friends with everyone.
They almost never show aggression, the maximum that can be is restraint towards strangers on the street, although upon closer acquaintance, your pet will most likely behave friendly. Despite the fact that in terms of character these dogs are very open and harmonious, in fact, if you want to have such an animal, you should know that it has a very high level of energy.
Therefore, you will need to devote at least an hour a day to active activities, and the pace of your life should be in line with the energy of the dog. After all, if she is bored, then the energy will be directed in the wrong direction. First, the dog may start to simply grab your attention, and sometimes you may not like the way it does it. Secondly, she may begin to behave somewhat destructively, but not in order to attract attention, but simply to throw out energy somewhere.
They love to play, they love to spend a lot of time on the street, they love children very much, since they are their first partners for games. They have an excellent understanding with children, also because this breed has a great sense of humor. However, these animals can be very emotional and even hot-tempered, especially when a small child overcomes their threshold of patience. So the child needs to be taught how to handle it properly, and children under 5 years old should not be left alone with a dog at all.
The Bearded Collie is a very intelligent dog that always understands when it comes to it, understands the owner perfectly and can learn a lot of commands. The negative aspects include self-confidence and stubbornness, as well as a tendency to make decisions on their own. This stemmed from the past of herders, when dogs were forced to make decisions under the influence of circumstances in the absence of owners. In addition, they can sometimes bark excessively to express their emotions. But this also has a positive side, as the dog can effectively perform guard functions, reporting the approach of strangers.
Despite his kind and harmonious nature, he can sometimes show stubbornness. It is possible and necessary to fight this and it is necessary to start from a very early age, establishing discipline in the house. However, this should be done in a friendly manner, with a sense of humor and without unnecessary negativity.
The same can be said about the training process – training should be fun and varied, otherwise the dog will start to get bored. The bearded collie needs both encouragement and praise, as well as austerity when needed. Food reward, playful form and consistency are your allies. On the other hand, in harsh and rough conditions, the dog will not develop normally.
You should understand that you will often have to brush your long hair, including wiping the beard from which water drips after drinking and in which food gets stuck. In addition, the long hair is covered with dirt and debris after each step outside. During molting, you will have to do this more often.
Although the thick coat also covers your eyes, you should check them daily for deposits and clean them, and remember to clean your ears at least twice a week. The dog is bathed at least once a week, claws are trimmed three times a month. The bearded collie does not tolerate heat very well.
Here is a list of some of the most common diseases in this breed:
- dysplasia of the hip joint;
- progressive retinal atrophy;
- persistent pupillary membrane.