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Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie




The Bearded Collie evolved from Polski Owcz-arek Nizinnys, which were left on the shores of Scotland in the 1500s and bred to native herding dogs. One of the earliest notes on the breed described them as: "A big rough tousy-looking tyke with a coat not unlike a doormat, the texture of the hair hard and fibry and the ears hanging close to the head." In 1898, Alfred Ollivant's book Owd Bob carried a description that closely suits the modern Beardie. "Should you, while wandering in the wild sheep land, happen on a moor or in market upon a very perfect gentle knight, clothed in dark grey habit, splashed here and there with rays of moon; free by right divine of the guild of gentlemen, strenuous as a prince, lithe as a rowan, graceful as a girl, with high king carriage, motions and manners of a fairy queen, should he have a noble breadth of brow, an air of still strength born of right confidence, all unassuming; last and most unfailing test of all, should you look into two snow-clad eyes, calm, wistful, inscrutable, their soft depths clothed on with eternal sadness—yearning, as is said, for the soul that is not theirs—know then, that you look upon one of the line of the most illustrious sheep dogs of the North."

The modern breed as we know it today was introduced to the public sector in the 1940s by its British devotee, G. Olive Willison. An accidental acquisition of a Bearded Collie pup, "Jeannie," so entranced her, she was determined to continue the breed and, after diligent searching, she finally obtained "Bailey" as a mate for Jeannie. Willison's Bothkennar Beardies set the modern lines. Most, if not all, pedigrees lead back to Jeannie and Bailey of Bothkennar.
The Bearded Collie was met with amazing success in Canada and the USA and were accepted under the ranks of CKC and AKC dogs in nearly record time. They have a steady following, keeping them near the middle of all registrations.
The Bearded Collie breed is one of the few that carries a dominant fading gene. Pups that are born black can begin graying by eight weeks. Blues turn silver, browns lighten to a cinnamon or milky chocolate and fawns become a champagne color. They continue fading until about the age of one year, when the process reverses and they darken again, although they rarely become as dark as they were at birth. The exceptions, of course, are the dogs that do not carry the fading gene. These are called "stay-blacks" (or browns, and so on). Any white markings on these dogs should appear only in the Irish pattern.
Grooming is necessary on a weekly basis, brushing to the skin to remove tangles and prevent mats. Many, seeing the breed for the first time, ask if they are miniature undocked Old English Sheepdogs.
They are becoming one of the most recognizable shaggy sheep dogs, along with their cousin, the OES. The breed's winsome appearance causes them to be in frequent demand for commercials. Beardies are handsome show dogs and loving family pets. Some are therapy dogs and are greeted enthusiastically by residents of nursing homes and hospitals. The breed's parent club is active in encouraging natural instincts and has instituted herding trials.
Beardies are bouncy, bubbly and sometimes boisterous. They are also strong-willed, sturdy and sensitive. Many owners find them both a challenge and a pleasure to train in obedience.



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