ShowSight Presents The Bearded Collie

˃eaTFeF EQllK̒ Q&A

The Beardie is more a series of rectangles than squares. Long bodied (short loins) is correct whereas squarer heads (muzzle and head) and bodies are gaining popu- larity. Trimming (used to neaten the feet) has moved up to the whole body, squared off beards and ears… I ask myself why? Are we going to end up with OES trimmed Beardies? I hope not. Lastly is the dreaded (in my opinion) kick up of the back feet. This is an unbalanced Beardie and a waste of energy that would eventually tire out a working dog. NB: Over the years I have been privileged to see many lovely representatives of this breed. At times it has been diffi- cult to choose among the nice dogs presented to me. The breed seems to be in good hands. IC: The biggest change I have witnessed over the years is the quality and quantity of coat. More Beardies are being presented with exceptionally long coats and not always of the correct texture. Fortunately, square Beardies with shorter muzzles, which seemed to be in fashion a few years back, have decreased. Some loins are tending to be over long. I also see far too many level bites. I know that it is accepted within the breed standard but it is a concern. PH: I worry about this breed becoming a generic show dog. They are losing their proper length which is so critical to type in this breed, they are getting way too much coat most of which is also an improper texture and it is almost rare to see a great temperamented Beardie in the show ring. They are supposed to be a bouncing Beardie that is full of life with a bright inquiring expression. RH: They started becoming too short in body length and too straight in the shoulder. MME: Oh my yes, they have changed; I started in 1978 so the breed has gotten more consistent in some things but there are a couple of things breeders and judges need to watch. Beardies are not square; nor is the Beardie long and low—the length of leg is necessary on the herding field for quick turns, jumps and the ability to do blind outrun. CN: I have seen several things that have crept into our breed over the years, not all for the better. LS: A trend that has been ongoing for years are fronts that go nowhere with steep shoulders causing an up and down choppy gait causing them to expend too much energy covering ground. CW: Like many breeds, we’ve lost shoulder layback in some. Reward it when you see it! With coat conditioning, we find few rough coats anymore. 3. Is there anything Beardie handlers do you wish they would not? CA: Show the dogs on tight leads or keep jerking the heads up. The faster the dog moves the more the head and tail go down. I use the analogy that the head, topline and tail set should look like a saucer under a teacup. Same angles at both ends of the topline and not exaggerated.

Beardies should not move with their heads up in the air, they are not sighthounds. NB: Beardies are an exuberant breed, especially the young ones. They seldom keep their feet still. When stacking them, don’t fuss too much. Many can walk into a reason- able stack and I’m fine with that. Oftentimes, less is more. IC: The trimming of coats is something that handlers tend to do more than the breeder/exhibitors, although breeder/ exhibitors have seen that by trimming they can win. Who is at fault? I blame not only those individuals who practice this, but the judges who place these dogs. Judges must read the standard and see this is a naturally present- ed and unspoiled breed. I was given a Group 2 placement recently, and was told by the judge that if I had bothered to trim the dog we would have won the Group. We had a long discussion, but I will never show to that judge again. I do not like to see dogs moved at breakneck speed and on tight leashes. The breed is supposed to be shown on a loose leash at all times. PH: Scissoring the coat. There are only 5 serious faults in their standard, one of which is trimming or sculpturing so why do they want to add a serious fault that they don’t have? RH: Yes. Racing the dog instead of letting it gait at its natural pace and stringing it up at the neck. MME: The standard says Beardies are active, but that does not equate to out of control. Somewhere along the way it seems to have become the practice to demonstrate their liveliness. CN: I do not like to see our breed shown with leads so tight that the dog cannot move in a natural manner. A Bearded Collie is not Afghan Hound, therefore it should not be shown or move like an Afghan Hound with its head held high. LS: Not race them around the ring because it doesn’t show their light ground covering gait! CW: No trimming! 4. Any grooming practices you see that bother you, or that you think other judges should be more aware of? CA: I go back to the trimming, teasing, parting and white on the body—all considered faults. Yes, they are man-made (except for the white behind the withers) and judges let that slide as it is not structural, but allowing it to con- tinue is only encouraging the neophytes to start doing what the “winners” are doing. The dogs are good enough to win without trimming, parting and teasing. Exhibitors should be proud of what they have and win for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. PH: Again, scissoring and sculpting. The standard says, “This is a natural and unspoiled breed”. All exhibitors and handlers should routinely read the standards, just like the judges do. RH: The Beardie standard is very clear that this breed should be shown naturally. I abhor seeing them trimmed as

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