Bearded Collies (Beardies, as they are affectionately known) are an old breed, originating from the Scottish Highlands. They were originally kept and bred by farmers as working stock, mainly as drovers. Their speed, stamina and harsh double coats enabled them to spend long hours outside in all kinds of weathers. The Beardie's shaggy coat, also covering the dogs face and chin, gave the breed its name as we all know it now.
Beardies could have been lost from history if it had not been for Mrs Willison, who, in the mid 1940's, ordered a Shetland Sheepdog from an agent of a Scottish farmer. By mistake, she got instead a red-brown Beardie, to become known as Jeannie of Bothkennar. Mrs Willison found a mate for Jeannie, a grey Beardie who became Bailie of Bothkennar. These two dogs became the foundation of the breed, as we know it today.
The Bearded Collie is a medium sized dog, which is active, alert and highly intelligent, with a soft, enquiring expression. They are quick to learn, making them easy to train, but they can just as quickly learn the wrong things too, without correct guidance. With kindness and patience they make wonderful companions. They do not respond well to harsh training methods, being quite a sensitive breed to human mood and certain noises.
The breedís double thickness coat is something to be considered before bringing a Bearded Collie into your family. You must be dedicated to grooming your Beardie at least once or twice a week. Their sometimes bouncy, boisterous attitude and "lateral thinking" ensure that they are a rewarding, if not entirely predictable breed to own. A sense of humour is a necessary attribute for a Beardie owner.
This is a fairly healthy breed. Hip Dysplasia can be a problem but this is of relatively low incidence compared with a large number of other breeds. Both parents should be hip-scored before mating (the breed average score is 11). Although not a problem within the breed within the UK, it is highly recommended Beardies should be regularly eye tested and be clear from hereditary eye disease. Potential puppy buyers should ask to see all health certificates. Autoimmune disorders can occur within the breed and the thick, shaggy coat can create skin problems if not groomed regularly or if not dried off in wet weather, especially on the feet. Average life expectancy is about 14 years.