The Bearded Collie is a breed of herding dog, originally bred by Scottish shepherds, now a popular family pet. The Bearded Collies origin is a mixture of fact and legend, in the 16th century, Kazimerz Grabski, a Polish merchant reportedly traded a shipment of grain for sheep in Scotland, he bought with him six Polish sheepdogs to move them. A Scottish shepherd was so impressed with the herding abilities of these dogs he traded several sheep for them. These Polish sheepdogs were bred with local Scottish dogs to produce the Bearded Collie.
The history of the modern Bearded Collie is more certain, a Mrs G. Olive Wilson founded the modern Bearded Collie breed in 1944 with her brown bitch Jeannie of Bothkennar, Jeannie was supposed to be a Shetland sheepdog, but in fact Mrs Wilson had received a Bearded Collie by mistake. She became fascinated with the dog and she began searching for a dog for Jeannie so she could start breeding, she met a man who was emigrating from Scotland and became the owner of his dog David, who became Baille of Bothkennar. Baille and Jeannie of Bothkennar became the founders of the modern breed.
The Bearded Collie can be used to herd both sheep and cattle, it is essentially a working dog, bred to be tough and reliable, able to withstand the harshest of conditions and tackle the most stubborn sheep. Its nickname bouncing Beardie may have been earned because the dogs worked in thick underbrush on hilltops, and they would bounce up and down to catch sight of sheep. They also had a unique way of facing up to a stubborn ewe, bouncing on its forelegs and barking.
After it was registered with the Kennel club, the Bearded Collie began to lose favour with the shepherds of Wales and Scotland. This was because of the show breeders lack of interest in producing hardy and reliable animals, show dogs lines were bred to be more domesticated and often had excessive coats.
Because of its good nature and temperament the Bearded Collie makes a good family pet, they have keen problem solving abilities and are fun to watch. Loyal, energetic and enthusiastic with a bouncy nature, they need plenty of attention and regular exercise to avoid getting bored. Grooming needs to be done on a regular basis, at least once a week to keep its long hair mat free.
The Bearded Collie ranks 117 out of 175 breeds in popularity according to the American Kennel clubs annual breed ranking. They are best obtained from a reputable breeder or a dog rescue centre like Bearded Collie rescue or Rescue me, these organizations are looking to give Bearded Collies and puppies loving homes. Most reputable breeders will take care in breeding and raising their puppies and will only let them go to a good home.
Bearded Collies have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. A healthy dog will weigh between 18 and 27kg (40 to 60lb), The male stands around 51 to 53cm (20 to 21in) at the withers, with the female being slightly smaller.
Owners of Bearded Collies reported that the most common health issues were musculoskeletal, mainly arthritis and cruciate ligament ruptures. Like most dog breeds they need regular check for dental and eye problems.