Bearded Collie

Here’s another dog with a nickname: the Beardie, a herding dog from Scotland. This dog’s long-ago origins probably include herders from all over Europe, from Poland to Great Britain. Herders, like hunting dogs, have long been bred to think independently and make their own decisions,  as their shepherds are not always in close proximity in the field.

Why, many ask, is this breed called a “collie”?  She looks nothing like Lassie! Well, the term collie is a generic one used to describe any number of shepherding dogs, not simply one dog of one appearance.

Their owners describe the Bearded Collie personality as affectionate, curious, loving, at times sulky, and always persistent. Training one is similar to training a two-year-old child — so adorable it can be difficult to correct them without laughing. Training should be considered a must, considering the breed’s high intelligence and energy level.

Bearded Collie image

But make no mistake, the Beardie makes a loving, entertaining and BOUNCY family member. When running toward you at full speed, her approach looks like that of of a short, black-and-white tornado.



History

Long-haired and bearded sheepdogs have served European shepherds across the centuries, and the Bearded Collie is thought to derive from this stock. They are deadly accurate herders. It is said that although Scottish sheep were known to wander into the wrong flock, the disciplined Beardie never returned the wrong sheep to his master. Bearded collies help shepherds yet today not only in Scotland, but in the U.S. as well.


Size

For adult males, the ideal height is 21 to 22 inches from ground to withers; 20 to 21 inches for adult females. The requirements exist to makes sure the Bearded Collie remains a medium-sized dog.

Bearded collies are born black, blue, brown or fawn, with or without markings. Their colors may lighten as they age.


Personality

“Nana” in James Barrie’s Peter Pan was portrayed by a Bearded Collie, a fact that underscores the breed’s affection for children. Even with her high energy level, she can be tired out by energy, making her calm and laid-back around the family. At other times, though, when not trained against it, Beardies have been known to happily jump on family visitors and/or “herd” the family children and small pets. If these strike you as undesirable traits, talk to your breeder before purchasing a dog, so you can discuss your needs and choose a Beardie will keep you and your family happy for years to come.


Health

The median longevity of the Bearded Collie is between 11 and 13 years. Leading causes of death differ between the U.K. and the U.S./Canada.

U.K.

U.S./Canada

Old age (26%)

Old age (18%)

Cancer (19%)

Cancer (17%)

Cerebrovascular disease (9%)

Kidney failure (8%)

Chronic kidney failure (8%)

Cerebrovascular disease

Addison’s disease (4%)


U.S. Beardie owners must be aware that although Addison’s disease is relatively rare among the breed, it needs to be watched for as the disease exhibits only vague, non-specific systems. Frequent gastric disturbances and uncharacteristic lack of energy are clues owners can look for.


Care

Long-coated from head to tail, the Beardie requires regular grooming by her owner. This is essential and requires the owner’s commitment to one-half hour to one hour per week for grooming in order to prevent mats and debris from embedding in the coat. Beardie owners recommend you start when your dog is a pup and can be groomed in no more than one minute. This sets her up to expect the ritual as she grows older. The pup will shed her puppy coat sometime during her first year; there will be extra hair, and grooming twice or three times per week during this season is recommended. You can also use a groomer; however, with the frequency of grooming this dog requires, grooming can quickly become expensive.

Nail length varies; some dogs need their nails cut every other week,while others can get by with a monthly trim.

One unusual trait in the Bearded Collie is that she may have a bad reaction to the typical monthly heartworm treatment most vets recommend. Talk to your veterinarian before administering this treatment. He or she can disclose the best heartworm treatment for your dog.


Rescue

The Bearded Collie Club of America wants to be certain no Beardie is ever without a home, so they’ve established an extensive Rescue page on their site, complete with nationwide adoption administrators and regional rescue coordinators. Go to http://beardedcollieclub.us/rescue/rescue-contacts/ to get in touch.  


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