ShowSight Presents The Bearded Collie

˃eaTFeF EQllK̒ Q&A

though a ruler was used to achieve a straight line under the body and on the beard. Also, I’m not fond of seeing them parted down the back. MME: When I see a Beardie with no hair moving, I just shake my head. Do not build me a football helmet head—my hands will be in the coat so it is a waste of time. For other judges I can only say get your hands on the body under the coat. Good sculpting can change your perception of the dog. We have some masterful groomers showing this breed. CN: My pet hate with how beardies are presented in the ring is those with a parting down the middle that looks like they have been done using a ruler! A dog with correct texture to its coat will have a naturally formed parting that is still weather proof. I am not a fan of trimming either; in countries outside of the UK it is, I believe, com- mon practice, but can be/is a disqualifying point here in the UK depending on the degree of trimming. The whole essence of our breed is that it is a natural breed. LS: Removing the hair between the eyes too much which gives them a severe expression, the pompadour head tease, which is incorrect and the back comb over trying to hide a poor topline. The topline should always be level. 5. What is proper Beardie movement? CA: I would say effortless; front paw to under the nose, without a break in the leg action and rear end balanced with the front end—no kick up! Agile and lithe. They have to make quick turns and low hocks permit the “Beardie bounce” (the straight-up-in-the-air jump from a stand-still position). You will often see a Beardie almost walk up to a high jump in obedience, where you think he will not make it over the jump. Then, you blink and the dog is on the other side and has cleared the jump with room to spare. Judges beware of the puppy when you bend down to examine it and you are butting heads in the next instant as the pup jumps straight up to greet you. An owner with a bloody nose is not that uncommon (unless you have a well-behaved pup, which I don’t). NB: As the standard says: free, supple and powerful. IC: When moving, a good Beardie should simply float round the ring effortlessly with long reaching strides, keeping a level topline. PH: It is very unique and very unusual to see proper move- ment in the show ring. Again the Standard says, “Move- ment is free, supple and powerful. The feet are lifted only enough to clear the ground, giving the impression that the dog glides along making minimum contact.” RH: Free, easy, supple and ground covering. MME: The perfect Beardie, for me, floats around the ring, feet barely clearing the ground. I want to see reach and

drive with little or no kick up in the rear at a reasonable speed. The topline stays level moving and standing and the tail is not waving to the space station. CN: Correct movement in a Bearded Collie should be a joy to watch, it should be supple, with long ground covering strides, and yet seemingly effortless. LS: Moving, they should be light and effortless, barely lifting their feet off the ground with no wasted motion covering the ground expending minimal energy as if they are glid- ing, with good reach and drive. CW: Easy, floating gait with good reach. 6. If you have participated with or watched Beardies herding, has that influenced what you look for in the ring? CA: The ability the Beardie has to outthink the sheep or ducks is amazing. What the Border Collie does with the ‘eye’ the Beardie does with the ‘bark’. Beardies are barkers, but usually for good use, either to move stock if needed (and then a good nip will suffice) or to notify the shepherd that something is amiss. They are agile and quick to determine their next move to out thwart the stock. They are happy in their work and I look for that in the ring… a happy dog. IC: Beardies were originally herding and droving dogs that needed to be hardy, strong and agile, and able to work effortlessly all day. One really needs to watch a Beardie herding sheep to truly appreciate the breed. MME: I bought sheep for my Beardies when my youngest daughter moved out. Watching these dogs problem solve, leap above the height of tall grass and change direction mid-air or leap on the back of the flock to walk up to the lead ewe who isn’t moving makes me so aware of the sound structure and sound mind needed to do these things. More than once I have stood in awe—I couldn’t have trained that maneuver, since my brain would not have thought of it! A forever moment was having my beloved Tootsi get between me and a very annoyed steer. She turned it away from me and that was the last time we herded cattle. The dog was fine, but this city girl was scared! CN: Sadly the opportunity to test our dogs herding instinct in the UK has not exactly taken off unlike other coun- tries. Many years ago l did have the chance to test mine on dog-friendly sheep, to watch a natural instinct kick in and see them work was inspiring. I cannot say that the ability to herd has influenced what l look for in the ring. LS: Whether herding or in the conformation ring, they should move according to the breed standard: “The feet are lifted only enough to clear the ground, giving the impression that the dog glides along making minimum contact. Movement is lithe and flexible to enable the dog

“the perfect BeArdie, for me, floAtS Around the ring...”

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