Origin: United Kingdom (Scotland)
Dog Breed Group: Pastoral(herding Dog)
Life Span: 12-14 years
Weight: 45-55 pounds
Height: 21-22 inches (male), 20-21 inches (female)
Origin of Name: The Bearded Collie is used to herd both sheep and cattle.
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Originally known as such names as Highland Collie and Mountain Collie, for centuries bearded collies earned their feed on the highlands of Scotland to feed on rugged shepherds and dogs prized for grazing. Used to feed, which was a difficult task in the raw climate and mountainous regions of Scotland. The bears were expected to help control the cattle in the pasture and bring the herd to market.
Origin stories vary. It was once believed that the beard is an ancient breed, dating back to the Roman conquest of Britain in the first century BCE. These days, the prevailing theory is that the Beardies are descended from Central European stock, notably the Polish Lonland Sheepdogs and Komondoroks, which were brought to Scotland in the 1500s. As with most of the breed, which is mostly used by farmers and shepherds of the distant past, no definitive record of the manufacture of beards has come to us.
We catch a glimpse of the breed in paintings from the 1700s, a golden age of British depiction. Owners such as Reynolds and Gainsborough identified the dogs as bears in portraits of well-heeled Scottish customers. It shows that somewhere a humble cowboy dog has become a fashionable ornament of high society.
By the early 1800s the form and appearance of the breed as we know it was set. In Victorian times they were popular on the Scottish show circuit, but World War I disruptions reduced the population of beards and other popular breeds. But you cannot keep a good breed low. Britain's dedicated breeders rebuilt the beard population in the years between the two world wars. The first litter of American bears was born in 1967, the breed entered the AKC stud book 10 years later, and was a charter member of the AKC herring group formed in 1983.