THE BEARDED COLLIE
T here are many responses when people see a Bearded Collie for the fi rst time. “What is that?” “How much time do you have to spend brushing?” “What a great dog!” Th at is the correct response and happily the one I hear most often. Th e Beardie is an aris- tocrat among dogs, which is quite something since their appearance thousands of years ago was as a lowly dog work- ing livestock for the nomadic herding peoples of Central Asia. When those nomadic herders settled in the Middle East, believed to be where sheep originated, they kept their dogs with them. Th ese dogs were selected for their skill in gathering and driving many kinds of animals: horses, yaks, camels, sheep, cows, for guarding herds and family, and for their hardiness. Th e Armant of Egypt is possibly a working ancestor of the Bearded Collie. Shaggy herding dogs, travelling with migrations of nomadic settlers from the east arrived in Brit- ain across a land mass, now gone. Th en in the early 1500s a momentous event occurred and, more astonishingly, it was recorded. A Scottish shepherd, trading sheep for grain
By Christiana Taylor
Photo by owner Amy Steltz.
with a Polish ship captain, saw the cap- tain’s Polish sheep dogs move only designated sheep from a huge fl ock onto his ship. A trade was made that brought the Polish Lowland Sheepdog into the lineage of the indigenous shaggy herd- ers of Scotland. Hardy, intelligent, loyal and independent, the ‘Beard’ or Bearded Collie, emerged and became the domi- nant herding and driving dog of the hills of Scotland. Ok, hardy you say? Yes, a lithe, strong dog, with a weatherproof harsh coat and warm undercoat. A coat that fends o ff burrs, rain and snow, and has shaggy bangs that protect dark mystical eyes. In fact, it’s common for male Beardies to wish to stay outside in wind and cold. Th e girls, not so much. Intelligent are they? Oh my yes! Th ey’re reputed to have been able to drive a herd of sheep 458 miles from Scotland down to Smith fi eld Market with a rally team of shepherds. Th en, sent to fi nd his
Old Gang Classical Beardies; Owners: Julie Kempster and Bea Swaka.
t4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& 0 $50#&3
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