If you are looking for a dog that marches to the beat of its own drummer, loves to round up the kids for dinnertime and has a happy go lucky attitude, then you may want to take a look at the Bearded Collie.
This breed, which has been seen as far back as 1514 in Scotland, is a direct descendent of the Polish Sheepdog. It is fairly likely that the Bearded Collie is also related to the Old English sheepdog because of the obvious similarities.
Some of the Beardie's talents are tracking, herding and performing tricks. The Bearded Collie was used in Scotland as a herder of both sheep and cattle. Since collie is the Scottish word for herding dog, it makes sense that the breed eventually became known as the Bearded Collie.
This breed, which is still fairly rare in the U.S., is registered with AKC as a member of the Herding group.
The Beardie is a robust, hardy and active dog. This medium to large sized dog weighs in at a solid 40-60 pounds with a height of 20-22 inches. The Beardie has a shaggy coat all over his body, including under the chin, which makes him look as if he is sporting a beard. That is why lovers of this breed refer to it as Beardie.
The Bearded Collie is not recommended for apartment life. These dogs are fairly active, even indoors, and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. This is a dog that needs lots of exercise, preferably running free. Beardies do not like to be confined and your dog should have a place to run off of its lead.
Obedience training is important for this breed because although they are intelligent, these dogs can be very headstrong. Since it was bred to be an independent thinker, the Beardie may resist training. The Beardie is a natural herder of people and animals. They are noisy barkers, but most Beardies do not make good watchdogs.
Grooming for the Bearded Collie involves daily brushing of its long, shaggy coat. If you don't maintain your dog's coat, it will become so matted that you will have to have the dog shaved to remove the matts.
You should use a brush to thoroughly groom your dog's coat once a day. A fine mist of water will help to tease out any matts. A spray on conditioner can also be helpful. Pay extra attention to the coat when the dog is shedding. Grooming can help gather up all of that loose hair before it hits the ground.
You might want to consider having your dog professionally groomed every few months. A daily check of the eyes, ears and paws is also a good idea. Bathe your dog or use a dry shampoo when necessary. Check regularly for ticks on the thick undercoat.
Overall, Beardies are a sturdy breed that enjoys good health. However, problems do occur within the breed. These include allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, auto-immune disease and some eye problems. Also, the breed's dense coat may conceal external parasite infestation.
If you're looking for a dog that is a good family companion that has a tail that is almost constantly wagging, then the Beardie may just be the perfect breed for you and your family.