The Bearded Collie - A Scottish Shepherd Dog

The Bearded Collie originated in Scotland where they developed it for herding sheep and cattle in any kind of weather and terrain.
The Bearded Collie - A Scottish Shepherd Dog

Last update: 16 February, 2020

The coat of the Bearded Collie gives it a charming and dreamy look. In its early days, this kind of Scottish shepherd dog was used mainly used for herding. The typical family dog, their appearances in children’s films, and characteristic friendly look has made them very popular.

Origins of the Bearded Collie

This dog has been in Scotland and northern England for over 500 years, or at least specimens with similar characteristics to those we know today. We believe it descends from some dogs abandoned on the Scottish coast, and their native descendants gave rise to the current Bearded Collie.

In Victorian times, they were show dogs as well as working dogs. It wasn’t until 1912, however, when the breed standards of the Bearded Collie were defined. This is because they’re clearly different from the Polish Lowland Sheepdog in spite of their similarities.

Despite their recognition as a breed, their population diminished so much it almost disappeared. However, their numbers increased around the 1940s thanks to G. Olive Wilson. This woman was looking for a Shetland Sheepdog puppy, but a farmer gave her a young bearded collie. Given that she was concerned about finding a dog with the same characteristics, the breed flourished again.

A Bearded Collie by a lake.

Characteristics and morphology

According to the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the bearded collie belongs to group I of shepherd and herding dogs. Despite their thick coats, they’re medium-sized and don’t usually get overweight.

The Bearded Collie is a slim, active dog that’s longer than it is tall. The ideal height in males is between 21 and 22 inches; in females, between 20 and 21 inches. If you live in an urban area and are opting for a Bearded Collie, you must keep in mind that they’re quite expressive and bark a lot.

The most remarkable thing about this breed is their coat, of course. In fact, they have a double coat: the inner one must be woolly and tight; the outer one, smooth and strong. It shouldn’t have knots or curls, although some wavy spots are normal. The range of colors varies, but the most common shades are:

  • Slate grey
  • Reddish tan
  • Black
  • Blue
  • Different shades of grey, brown and sand

The white color will be scattered all over the animal’s body, such as on the tips of their tail, chest, and neck. Breed standards determine that white should not appear above the ankles nor behind the shoulders.

Exercise and care

A dog running.

The Bearded Collie is a lively, alert and confident dog. Its life expectancy is between 12 and 14 years. It’s stable and intelligent as a working dog, and particularly friendly and loving. So, any sign of aggression or nervousness may be a sign that something isn’t right.

For a Bearded Collie to stay in shape, they must exercise at least one hour a day. Keep in mind that this animal, despite its domestic appearance, is still a herding dog. On this note, if you want them to work with herds, you must train them for it.

As for the more specific care of this breed, keep their coat in mind. That is you must brush them often and consult your vet if there’s an anomaly in it.

If your bearded Collie has an active life in the countryside, they must wear an anti-parasite collar and you must try to keep them free of mud and other elements. This is because the density of their double coat is the perfect housing for all sorts of parasites.

Some of their most common diseases of this breed are elbow or hip dysplasia. However, there are no hereditary or disorders specifically associated with it. Physical and mental stimulation are both very important for this and any other dog’s quality of life.

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