Breeding history of the bearded collie

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Breeding history of the bearded collie
Breeding history of the bearded collie

General description of the dog, versions of breeding bearded collies, their name and pedigree, evidence in art, fame and decline in numbers, its restoration, recognition and popularization. Bearded collies are known for their beautiful long coats and very affectionate and energetic personalities. They were bred to graze flocks of sheep in the highlands of Scotland. These dogs have a reputation for being amusing and extremely human companion animals. They are an intelligent and playful breed, usually suitable for any stimulating activity with their family. The species are affectionately referred to by their hobbyists as "beardie" and are also known as highland collie, highland sheepdog, mountain scotch collie, old welsh gray sheepdog, loch collie and hairy moved collie.

These dogs are medium in size. Although most of the canine's body is shaded under a generous coat, it is a muscular and athletic breed. The Bearded Collie is a well-distributed animal with a long, low-set tail. They are covered with a significant amount of long hair. The undercoat is soft and fluffy, the outer layer is flat, harsh, hard and shaggy. The "coat" is split into two sides at the back. In some bearded collies, the eyes are covered with hair, although in most they are clearly visible, there is shorter fur on the bridge of the nose, and a characteristic beard below. Dogs are black, brown, fawn and blue and may have white markings.

Versions of the origin of bearded collies and their name

Dog breed bearded collie for a walk

Bearded collie natives of Scotland. In their homeland, dogs are considered one of the oldest dogs, the age of which can be attributed to at least the 1600s. "Collie" is the name given to the shepherd dogs of this region. There are several other species known by this name. The most famous of these are the border collie, the smooth collie and the rough collie, known as Lassie. The word "collie" originates from the Scottish word "coaley", and is applied to a breed of sheep with certain distinctive features. Their heads are painted black. The canines that worked for these sheep were "coaley-dogs" or "collie dogs" and then just "collies".

There are many legends and stories surrounding the origins of the bearded collie. But, little of what was heard can be substantiated. The most common of these are the stories of the ancestors of these dogs, which were brought across the ocean. It is said that in 1514, a sea captain named Kasimierz Grabski of Polish roots, arrived in Scotland with offers to establish trade relations. He wanted to sell crops. He had three or six shepherd dogs at his disposal to help him when he bought or exchanged local livestock (sheep and rams). It is believed that these dogs were the Polish Lowland Sheepdog.

Subsequently, in order to create a bearded collie, local farmers crossed these Polish shepherds with local Scottish collies. According to this story, it is possible that the "entrepreneurs" used other alien species to improve the resulting specimens, including the Hungarian komondor. Tragically, there is no evidence to support this theory.

Of course, it is true that the bearded collie is very similar to the Polish lowland sheepdog, but no more than many similar other species. The specificity and prevalence of such a story, it would seem, make it the most plausible, but it is impossible to say for sure about this. However, it seems unlikely that distant Scottish farmers in the 1500s would have had access to the Hungarian Komondor, a breed known to not leave its homeland side until the early 1900s.

Another version regarding the origin of the bearded collie is that it is a descendant of long-haired shepherd dogs brought to Britain by Roman settlers.According to this theory, after the conquest of England and Wales in the 1st century, citizens from all over the Roman Empire moved to the British Isles, and with them sheep and dogs such as the shepherd. Later, dogs spread north to Scotland, where they became bearded collie. Supporters of this concept note the similarity of the representatives of the variety with such breeds as the bergamasco from Italy and especially the armant from Egypt.

However, there is very little reasoning to support such claims. Such judgments are unlikely because the Romans seem to have been much more impressed with the British canines than the other way around. Dogs were one of the main animals exported from Britain during the entire Roman occupation. It is not known what kind of breeds they were. But, it is suspected that many of them were: mastiff (mastiff), Irish wolfhound (Irish wolfhound) and dogs similar to foxhounds (foxhound), beagle (beagle), harrier (harrier), terrier (terrier) and even sheepdog (sheepdog).

The final generally accepted and perhaps most likely opinion is that the bearded collie is a native of the Scottish Highlands, where the breed was developed almost exclusively from local shepherd dogs. It is known that the ancient Picts and Celts were engaged in herding activities long before the arrival of the Romans, and archaeological finds prove that sheep were present in the British Isles from 5000 to 7000 BC. It is almost impossible to graze flocks of sheep without the help of the canines, especially in the rolling hills of Scotland. Since even the earliest Middle Eastern shepherd people possessed shepherd dogs, it is highly likely that the pre-Roman British were also equipped with such animals. It can also be assumed with great accuracy that these dogs had long coats, which served as excellent protection for them from the inexorable climatic conditions of the Scottish Highlands. These native varieties likely overlap with "brethren" brought in by the many armies that have invaded Britain over the centuries, including the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, and the French, either intentionally or unintentionally.

Application and features of the pedigree of the bearded collie

Dog breed bearded collie lies on the grass

However, when the progenitors of the Bearded Collie first arrived in the Scottish Highlands, the breed was ranked as excellently adapted to the harsh climate and highly skilled in its sheep breeding job. These dogs were mainly used for herding reindeer, gathering sheep among hills and rocks, and were able to pick an individual sheep and separate it from the flock. They bark regularly when handling livestock, usually refraining from strong or tingling bites. Unlike some shepherd dogs, the species are also effective drivers. These dogs are capable of leading large herds of sheep, cattle and other similar animals to the market.

At one point, there may have been at least three varieties of the bearded collie. The smallest type had a shorter, wavy coat, usually brown or brown with white markings, typical of their native highlands. The largest type had the roughest coat, black or gray with white markings, common in border areas. The third type was considered intermediate between the two. Mountain dogs may have been mainly shepherds, and frontier dogs primarily served as drivers. It is possible that all three varieties are combined in modern breed representatives. It is also likely that lowland individuals were not a unique variety, but rather a cross between the bearded and border collie.

There is considerable debate about the related genetics of the bearded collie with other British herding species. The bearded collie is believed to have a common ancestry with the Old English Sheepdog.Some hobbyists have gone on to claim that both varieties were at some point the same breed, with pedigrees separated by the Anglo-Scottish border. However, there is little evidence to support this position. Almost all experts agree that the Bearded Collie is the older of the two breeds. It has been suggested that members of the species could greatly influence the development of the Old English Sheepdog. In Scotland, it is common practice to cross all of the Shepherd Dogs with each other quite often. Therefore, it is likely that a very close "relationship" exists between the bearded collie and all other Scottish herding dogs, especially the border collie.

Testimonies of the Bearded Collie breed in literature and art

Puppy dog ​​breed bearded collie

There was very little written mention of the dogs of Northern Scotland prior to the 1800s. In fact, until that time, almost nothing had been written about anything happening in this area. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of the evidence for bearded collies before 1800 is even sometimes anecdotal. However, this breed has been perfectly documented throughout the 19th century. In 1803, a painting by the British landscape painter and animal painter Ramsey Richard Reinagl shows the bearded collie variety of mountain species, and much the same is represented by Smith's work.

In 1867, the English writer John Henry Walsh, better known by his pseudonym Stonehenge, described several Scottish herding species, possibly including the bearded collie, in his Dogs of the British Isles. In the 1880s, the first names for the bearded collie breed appeared in magazines, and in 1891 Thompson Gray first described the species in his work entitled Dogs of Scotland.

The first notoriety and decline in the number of bearded collies

Two bearded collie dogs

The Scottish Kennel Club has put up a request and great interest in presenting bearded collies at the show. These canines were shown in 1897. Breed representatives were not shown until then, since most amateurs did not care about their show career. People were more supportive of their ability to graze livestock. Up to this point, most individuals had a significantly shorter coat than their modern descendants.

For a long time, the bearded collie remained mainly a working animal. Although at some point their livestock began to decline as Scotland's agricultural economy changed to industrial. Numerous photographs of the bearded collie from the 1920s and 1930s clearly show the long-haired representatives as they look today, although most references to the breed at that time describe its relative rarity and declining numbers.

The events of World War II practically led to the extinction of these dogs as the food rationing of human food changed. A large number of shepherds serving in the war, general poverty and other hardships, suffered negative influences on the species. Fortunately, a few working bearded collies have survived to continue their lineage. Although, if not for the efforts of a few amateur enthusiasts, they would have disappeared altogether. But, they were most likely bred along with border collies and at some time they cease to exist as a unique breed. These dogs became so unusual that they were practically not known even in England.

The history of the recovery of the bearded collie

Dog breed bearded collie lies on the bench

The modern bearded collie is largely due to the work of Mrs G. Olive Willison of the United Kingdom. In 1944, Mrs. Willison ordered a Shetland Sheepdog from a Scottish kennel. However, at that time there was not a single copy available. As a replacement, the kennel sent a bearded collie.Instead of getting angry, the lover was fascinated by the resulting female with a beautiful brown coat, which she named "Jeannie of Botcannar."

After a short period of time, Mrs. G. Olivet decided to start breeding "Ginny", but she could not find an acceptable "groom", since bearded collies became extremely rare at that time. She first tried a dog of "uncertain" lineage, and the resulting puppies were born, apparently, more like a type of border collie.

One day while walking along a beach in Scotland, Mrs. Willison met a man with a purebred bearded collie. Here is what a lucky chance fate has given the lover. The owner of the dog was in the process of emigration, and the woman made him an offer to buy his pet. The gray-colored male, who later acquired the nickname "Bailey of Bitkennar", was successfully crossed with Ginny.

Their offspring became the basis of the species' modern day, although several lineages can be traced back to other bearded collies that survived the tense events of World War II. Other early breeders who have retained the lines that are now registered include Mr. Nicholas Broadbridge and Mrs. Betty Foster.

Recognition and popularization of the bearded collie

The appearance of a dog breed bearded collie

Led by Mrs. Willison, the bearded collie population began to increase rapidly. The British Kennel Club first learned about the breed in 1959. In 1957, the species arrived in the United States of America as pets. Only in 1967, the first offspring of bearded collies were born in the United States. These dogs were bred from two imported dogs that belonged to Larry and Maxine Levy.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) first recognized the Bearded Collie in 1976, and in 1979 the United Kennel Club (UKC) was formed. The Collie club of America (BCCA) was founded to protect and promote the breed in the United States. Its original president was Mr. Larry Levy. In recent years, with great success, bearded collies have begun to compete in tests of obedience and agility.

The popularity of the variety has grown steadily in both America and the UK since the 1970s. In 1989, the Potterdale Classic Bearded Collie won the Best-In-Show at the Crufts dog show organized by the UK Kennel Club. Such a competition is considered one of the most prestigious, where many representatives of breeds from all over the world participate.

This pushed the breed to greater demand and fame. Such pets are known as animals of a loving and affectionate nature and their boundless energy. A growing number of hobbyists are discovering the bearded collie and their reputation as wonderful pets is growing. Despite the steady growth in the number of livestock, the bearded collie remains somewhere in the middle.

Following AKC registration statistics, they ranked 112th out of 167 breeds in 2010. While a number of bearded collies are still used as working shepherds in both Scotland and the United States of America, most of them are now family companions, with which they are extremely successful.

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