In a first impression, the Bearded collie’s long hair and sweet and expressive eyes stand out. Their appearance may remind us of the Bobtail or the Polish Shepherd Dog of the Plains but, although they share some features, they are different breeds.
They are very well known dogs, especially in the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. They are noted for their friendly and active nature. This makes them excellent family dogs, as well as hiking companions.
Characteristics of the Bearded Collie
Its appearance is reminiscent, as we said, of the Bobtail or English Shepherd, but its body is considerably more elongated. The tail is also long, low set and completely covered with hair. Its average life expectancy is between 12 and 13 years. Of medium-large size, it weighs between 18 and 27 kg and measures about 51-56 cm.
Its characteristic two-color coat can combine white with gray, blue, brown, black or sand. The coat is naturally divided into two equal parts that fall on both sides of the body. This coat is so long that it completely hides the ears, which are pendulous and of medium size.
It is an ideal dog for people with time and energy who can accompany him and provide him with the activity he needs. On the contrary, it is not suitable for sedentary households or for those who intend to turn it into a property guard dog.
Temperament of the Bearded collie breed
The Bearded collie is a friendly dog, very sociable with children. In general, he also accepts without problems the coexistence with other dogs. It is not aggressive at all, so it is unlikely to give us problems in the park or in the street when it crosses paths with other dogs.
He adapts to living in the city, so it is possible to keep him in an apartment, as long as we respect his daily walks and his need to release energy. But it could also live without problems in a house and outdoors, as its coat protects it from inclement weather.
On the other hand, it can be complicated to educate him due to his great personality, so it will be more advisable for people who already have some experience and knowledge about handling dogs. He can practice, and it would be beneficial to channel his energy, sports such as agility.
Of course, their long coat requires frequent care. They should be brushed regularly to avoid tangles and keep their hair loose. In addition, their paws also have a lot of long hair, so it is easy for them to get dirty during walks, get wet or get leaves, sticks, thorns, etc., stuck to them.
Even if we scrupulously deworm them, it is important to check them, especially after stays in risky places, such as the forest, to detect the presence of parasites such as ticks as soon as possible. We should also watch his eyes and clean his characteristic beard.
As for the psychological aspect, it is an animal that requires constant stimulation, also at a physical level, so it will need attention and the possibility to burn its overflowing energy. Besides, they are not dogs that can spend hours alone. They need company and cannot stay in farms with little contact with the family.
Common health problems in Bearded Collies
Bearded Collies are generally healthy dogs and are not prone to any disease. However, we should pay attention to their ears, since their long ears, also covered by hair, hinder ventilation, which can lead to otitis.
As he has so much hair, it is important that whenever we bathe him we dry him completely with towels and a suitable dryer. Otherwise, the humidity could cause dermatitis. The same happens in the area of the beards that get wet or stained when drinking and eating. We can resort to a dog groomer, at least for baths.
In addition, due to the breed’s need to be active both mentally and physically, if we do not give them enough opportunities to exercise the consequence can be separation anxiety, excessive barking or vandalism.
Origin of the Bearded collie breed
There were already references to this dog of Scottish origin in the 16th century. It was a breed dedicated to the care of flocks of sheep, a function that has been lost today. Nowadays we can find it mostly as a companion dog.
In fact, when these dogs stopped taking care of the flocks they practically disappeared and it was not until 1944 when the breed was revitalized thanks to the breeding started by the owner of a female, Jeannie, when she acquired Bailie, a male she discovered on a beach in Sussex. It is said that today’s Bearded Collies are descended from them.
As for the crosses with which the breed has been formed, there are doubts. For some, the Hungarian Komondor is among their ancestors, but others consider them to be a cross of the Polish Shepherd Dog of the Plains, since some of these specimens had arrived in Scotland.