Bearded Collie.jpg
Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-C: Medium Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country Scotland
Weight Males: 40-60 pounds. Females: 40-60 pounds.
Height Males: 21-22 inches. Females: 20-21 inches.
Other Name(s) Beardie
Breed Type Pure
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Bearded Collie

Breed Group Group 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds
Sub-group 10-C: Medium Pastoral Dogs
Origin Country Scotland
Weight Males: 40-60 pounds. Females: 40-60 pounds.
Height Males: 21-22 inches. Females: 20-21 inches.
Other Name(s) Beardie
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Origins

The history of the Bearded Collie breed is shrouded with myth and legend. Enthusiasts claim that the dogs were developed from forebears of the Polski Owczarek Nizinny (Polish Lowland Sheepdog), which were brought to Scotland by a Polish merchant in the fifteenth century. These dogs were traded for sheep to the local shepherds where they were then bred to the local herding dogs, producing the ancestors of today’s Bearded Collie. For centuries, these dogs worked alongside sheep herders in the sometimes inclement conditions of northern England and Scotland. They resembled shaggy-coated Border Collies and were renowned for their herding ability, intelligence, and endurance.

However, furnished (bearded) herding dogs have existed throughout Scotland and England for centuries, even in areas where there was no infusion of Polish Sheepdog. The occasional bearded Border Collie still pops up in litters and is a testament to this fact. Therefore, it is quite possible and likely that the ancestors of the Beardies came from native shepherd dogs carrying the furnishing genes, which were also closely related to the forebears of the Old English Sheepdogs.

Most of today’s Beardie lineages can be traced back to two single dogs of murky origin belonging to one kennel. “Willison’s Bothkennar Beardies” was established in the 1940s by an English woman named Gwendoline Olive Willison. Willison originally intended to obtain a Shetland Sheepdog puppy from a puppy broker, but instead she received a brown puppy that resembled the shaggy Scottish Sheepdog. Willison admired the dog’s loyal and affectionate temperament and intelligence, so she decided to keep the dog for breeding and showing, naming her Jeanie. Wanting to reproduce and share these qualities, Willison soon began to seek out a mate for Jeanie, and she successfully obtained a blue stud dog named David from a Scottish immigrant. David was similar to Jeanie in temperament and type, and he became “Bailey of Bothkennar,” joining Jeanie to become the foundation of the modernized Bearded Collie breed. Eventually, other dogs similar to the traditional Scottish working lines were included, broadening the breeding pool and increasing the working ability of the breed. The dogs’ handsome appearance, excellent temperament, and top-notch working abilities were quickly recognized, and the dogs quickly became very popular, especially in North America. Their reputation and numbers grew exponentially, and the dogs were recognized as purebred in a surprisingly short period of time.

However, as is often the case with popular dogs, extremes began to show up in the breed. By the 1960s, emphasis was placed on show quality, with exaggerated coats and size becoming the norm. Mrs. Willison cautioned against producing extremes in coats and size, insisting that breed aficionados keep the original type and purpose of the breed in mind. However, although today the longer extreme showier longer coats are now more prevalent in the breed, Continental Kennel Club does allow for encourages preference for the less extreme sizes and coats. While not as well-known as their Old English Sheepdog cousins, they are still a popular pet in the world of shaggy sheepdogs.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is deep, accommodating, and broad, being as wide across (from one side to the other measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The topskull may be flat or gently arched when felt from any angle. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate in size, set well apart, and oval to almond in shape. They may range from gray, hazel or amber to light to dark brown in color. Blue, bicolor, or marbled eyes are permissible in nonstandard color varieties. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, hanging or drop, and may have a slight lift at the base. They are set on level with plane of the topskull emphasizing the skull width, never above.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout. The muzzle tapers only slightly from the broad base to the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is large, well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderately long length allows for good head carriage, it is strongly muscled with a graceful arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Body: Agile and lithe, yet of sturdy bone and good substance. The body is never racy or refined, or heavy and cloddy. The shoulders and hips are approximately equal in width.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Area between the toes should be well-furred.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a downward neutral position or approximately level with the topline (but never tucked or carried up over the back). Tails are never docked. They are of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending approximately to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or with a curve toward the end of the tail.
Movement: Free, sound, energetic, effortless, and enduring, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: The Beardie’s temperament is boisterous, playful, affectionate, and steady. Being ranked high in intelligence, the Beardie makes an excellent working dog or companion. He is a great watchdog and will alert his family to anything that may be amiss. The Bearded Collie is known to be a great playmate for children, especially when socialized and introduced early on. He also excels in many areas of discipline and events, such as agility, obedience, tracking, and article search; some Bearded Collies are still used for herding today. Although intelligent and affectionate, he can be notoriously independent and strong-willed—what many people consider stubborn. However, patience, good motivation, and gentle persuasion make for a fine and compliant companion. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 10: Pastoral and Stock Dog Breeds

Proportions: Slightly rectangular in proportions, with the length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump, being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body-height-to-length ratio is approximately 5:4. Females may be slightly longer. The body is well put together, with sturdy substance and moderate, yet sturdy, bone.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull type, moderate in size, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is deep, accommodating, and broad, being as wide across (from one side to the other measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to stop). The topskull may be flat or gently arched when felt from any angle. The head is clean-cut and without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: Lively, inquisitive, self-confident, intelligent, and friendly. The expression should never be shrouded by headfall.
Stop: The stop is moderate.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1, with the topskull being equal to the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel.
Muzzle: The muzzle is full, deep, and broad throughout. The muzzle tapers only slightly from the broad base to the nose. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. Upper and lower jaws are well-developed, approximately equal in length, and have good bone substance, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. They should never appear wet or pendulous.
Nose: The nose is large, well-pigmented and black, or self-colored according to the coat. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: The cheeks are well-filled and powerful, yet smooth. They are never overly coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate in size, set well apart, and oval to almond in shape. They may range from gray, hazel or amber to light to dark brown in color. Blue, bicolor, or marbled eyes are permissible in nonstandard color varieties. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Any signs of entropion or ectropion are incorrect for this breed.
Ears: Medium in size, hanging or drop, and may have a slight lift at the base. They are set on level with plane of the topskull emphasizing the skull width, never above.

Body and Tail

General Description: Agile and lithe, yet of sturdy bone and good substance. The body is never racy or refined, or heavy and cloddy. The shoulders and hips are approximately equal in width.
Neck: Moderately long length allows for good head carriage, it is strongly muscled with a graceful arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut and without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep and broad, but never wider than deep. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows.
Topline: The topline is level from withers to croup. The back is fairly long to give the body sufficient length. It is straight, firm, and powerfully muscled. The loin may be level with the back, or it may be slightly and gently arched. The topline should never be roached or swayed.
Croup: The croup is fairly broad and gently sloped, never flat or steep.
Underline: Slight to moderate tuck-up should be discernible through the coat. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, and oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set somewhat low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually in a downward neutral position or approximately level with the topline (but never tucked or carried up over the back). Tails are never docked. They are of a moderate length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending approximately to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight, gently curved, or with a curve toward the end of the tail.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers.
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, of moderate (yet sturdy) bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, of moderate (yet sturdy) bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round and compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads. Area between the toes should be well-furred.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: The Bearded Collie comes in two coat varieties: traditional (working) or show.
Traditional (working): Protective, weather-resistant double-coat, with dense, soft undercoat. The outercoat is comprised of medium to medium-long, shaggy, harsh guard hairs. The length should be just sufficient enough to provide the dog protection from the elements and environment, without appearing in any extreme, including long and luxurious. There should be ample daylight between the ground and the underline. Coats approaching “long” or flowing are incorrect for the breed. The hairs may be straight or with some slight wave or tousling. The coat should never obstruct the outline of the body. The head is characteristically furnished with bushy “eyebrows” that should arch upward, revealing and enhancing the breed’s inquisitive expression. The eyebrows or head coat should never cover the eyes, hide the expression, or obstruct the dog’s vision. The coat on the head should never be so long as to be able to be put up in a topknot. The muzzle bridge is only sparsely coated with shaggy hair, and on the sides of the muzzle, the hair should only be sufficient to just cover the lips, resulting in a slight mustache. The underjaw is furnished with a shaggy “beard.” The tail is bushy and well-plumed.

Show: The coat of these dogs is somewhat longer, softer, and flatter. They incorrectly approach long, often having a long headfall that can and does obstruct the dog’s vision, and is easily gathered in a topknot. They obstruct the outline of the dog, leaving very little space between the ground and the underline. Although these are more prevalently seen in the breed today, especially in North American lines, it should not be preferred to the traditional coat.

NOTE: The coat should be exhibited in as natural of a state as possible. Trimming or clipping is strictly prohibited.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Bearded Collie breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.

Standard coat color variety: Black, all shades of gray, blue, liver, liver-red, sandy, or fawn (Isabella), all with or without tan points. Puppies may be born with rich color, but may fade, or phase, over their lifetime to a lighter color thanks in part to the graying gene. All with or without white markings in traditional Irish or tuxedo-piebald patterns, including the foreface, as a blaze between the eyes toward the topskull, tip of the tail, neck and chest, may form a collar completely around the neck but should not extend beyond the shoulder, never on the upper appendages, never on the body.

Nonstandard coat color variety: White extending beyond the traditional Irish or tuxedo pattern. Although most organizations claim that there are no merle dogs registered in the breed, this is inaccurate. Merle dogs have always existed in the Bearded Collie breed, with several founding specimens listed as merle (or mirle), and the original standards written to accommodate the color. Therefore, CKC permits the merle color pattern in the Bearded Collie breed. However, large patches or amounts of white indicating homogenous merle genotype/phenotype are undesirable.

Movement

Free, sound, energetic, effortless, and enduring, the characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the centerline of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

The Beardie’s temperament is boisterous, playful, affectionate, and steady. Being ranked high in intelligence, the Beardie makes an excellent working dog or companion. He is a great watchdog and will alert his family to anything that may be amiss. The Bearded Collie is known to be a great playmate for children, especially when socialized and introduced early on. He also excels in many areas of discipline and events, such as agility, obedience, tracking, and article search; some Bearded Collies are still used for herding today. Although intelligent and affectionate, he can be notoriously independent and strong-willed—what many people consider stubborn. However, patience, good motivation, and gentle persuasion make for a fine and compliant companion. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.