Developed in Scotland, the Bearded Collie was bred to be hardy, reliable, and able to stand up to the harshest conditions. Besides herding sheep, they also assisted in driving flocks to the market during the 17th and 18th centuries. The exact origin of the breed is uncertain, but there are a couple of theories: first, it is believed that they were developed from crossing the Polish Lowland Sheepdog with other native herding breeds or second, they descended from the Old English Sheepdog. The breed is nicknamed "Beardie" and is also referred to as "bouncing beardies" to reference the jumping that these dogs are known for doing when they are trying to see sheep over the thick undergrowth on high hills.
Although resembling the Old English Sheepdog, Beardies are the leaner of the two breeds, giving them the impression of strength and agility. The undercoat of the Bearded Collie is soft and furry, while the topcoat is flat, strong, and shaggy in order to be more weather-resistant. Their coat comes in a variety of colors that may or may not lighten with age and requires weekly brushing or more during their shedding season. They have large eyes, giving them a soft and affectionate expression, and medium-sized ears that are covered with long hair. The muzzle of the breed is strong with a large, square-shaped nose that matches the color of the coat, either black, blue, or brown. The Beardie has a fairly long tail that is equally as furry as the coat.
Despite being energetic and enduring, the Bearded Collie typically demonstrates the qualities of stability and self-reliance. They are intelligent, confident, and independent while showing no signs of shyness or aggression, however, their independence can be taken as stubbornness during training. A little patience and a firm owner during obedience training can go a long way to have a well-behaved Beardie. Bearded Collies are quite active because of their heritage as working dogs and will also bark to let their families know of strangers, making them a great watchdog. Due to their working nature, this breed does not do well in confined areas and can become frequent barkers if they are left alone for long periods of time. Beardies require plenty of daily exercise in the form of long walks or vigorous playtime to keep them happy, healthy, and out of trouble. They are a great breed for families with children and other pets in the household, especially if they have been socialized from a young age. However, small children may need to be supervised to prevent being overrun by the breed's natural energy. In addition to being an excellent herder, Bearded Collies can be a great playmate for children and a wonderful companion for an active family.