Dog Health & More
The Bearded Collie dog breed was developed in Scotland to herd sheep and cattle in any weather or terrain. They function today as excellent family companions, show dogs, working sheepdogs, or even all three. Because of their energy and quickness they are well suited to competing in obedience, rally, agility, and other dog sports.
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When anyone describes a Bearded Collie, the adjective most often used is enthusiastic! That word, along with hardy, exuberant, active, energetic, bright, reliable, and trustworthy should give you the beginnings of a picture of this well-loved breed. The Bearded Collie, known affectionately as the Beardie, is the ultimate shaggy dog. The name Bearded Collie comes from the hair that hangs down from the chin and forms a beard.
The Beardie's enthusiasm is displayed in his bouncy nature. It's said that Beardies working in thick undergrowth in Scotland would bounce up to see where the sheep were and that when confronted by stubborn sheep they bark and bounce in front of it to get it to move. Whatever the case, Bearded Collies bounce along through life with a constantly wagging tail and an upbeat, clownish attitude.
Nonetheless, they're not the breed for everyone. Beardies are highly intelligent, active and resourceful. It takes a smart and energetic person to keep up with them. People who live with Beardies must enjoy brushing long hair and be willing to deal with a beard of hair that drips water after every drink and hairy feet that track in mud and debris after every venture outdoors. Bearded Collies are sociable and will demand to be included in all family activities, indoors or out. A bored Beardie will put his considerable intelligence and energy into causing trouble.
Bearded Collies are excellent with children; their high energy level makes them active playmates who will spend hours running and playing. They are rambunctious, however, and young children should always be supervised when interacting with any breed of dog to prevent injury to both.
Beardies are outgoing, affectionate dogs, but they can have a stubborn and independent streak from a heritage that required them to make their own decisions while herding sheep. Obedience training is a must if you are going to establish order and discipline in your dog's life. Make learning fun, and teach them with positive reinforcement techniques such as food rewards, play, and praise. Bearded Collies do not learn under abusive or harsh conditions. Begin training early and you will obtain excellent results.
Because of their herding heritage, Beardies are alert and make good watchdogs, barking to let you know that someone has arrived. They'll also bark to tell you that they're happy or excited or that they're bored or alone and would like some attention. Teach them to control their barking when they're young, or you'll have a nuisance barker on your hands.
Beardies will include other animals in their family "flock" if introduced to them properly, preferably when young. Being herding dogs, they're always open for a game of chase the cat if the cat wants to play, and sometimes even when it doesn't! They are not dog-aggressive and will play happily with other dogs from Chihuahuas to Great Danes.
If you're looking to add a little Beardie bounce into your life and you believe after meeting some Beardies and breeders that this is the breed for you, then you can look forward to having an active, lively companion for 12 to 14 years. A Bearded Collie is always ready for whatever is up next, whether that is competing in the show ring or in obedience or agility trials, herding sheep as an occupation or for herding trials, chasing Frisbees in the backyard, playing with the kids, or hanging with the family. A Bearded Collie is ready to do it all.