Acquired: Breeder (professional)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom
Posted February 8, 2015
Bearded Collies like Border Collies were originally working dogs. Border Collies were used to round up the sheep on lower ground whilst the Bearded Collie was used to round up the herds on higher ground hence the hair that covers their eyes.
As both breeds were bred to be working dogs, they need lots of exercise. Maddie is walked at least seven miles a day in the countryside where she can roam free and leisurely explore her surroundings and gain the exercise she needs. In the evening she is taken on am leisurely stroll through the streets where she can sniff out scents left by other dogs. To Maddie this is the equivalent of a human reading a book to keep their brain active. The reason this particular type of exercise is important is because Bearded Collies are exceptionally intelligent, so not only do they need physical exercise they also need mental stimulation as well.
If Beardies are lacking exercise and both mental stimuli they can become destructive, therefore, Beardies are not the type of dog to be kept inside for long periods of time. They need an active and loving home where their needs can be met.
When we bought Maddie she was black and white but by three years old her coat had changed to slate grey in colour. A Beardies fur is quite coarse and can be left to grow long which would be essential if you are going to show them. That was never our intention with Maddie; her coat is kept at medium length but still needs to be groomed regularly.
Once we did allow Maddie’s fur to grow longer than usual but we found it was a nuisance on our walks because she was constantly getting caught in brambles. To put it bluntly, long hair and Maddie’s lifestyle are like oil and water, the two don’t mix.
At ten years old, Maddie has reached what is classed as the danger age for Bearded Collies. One particular weakness is they can have issues with their hips. When we bought Maddie, the breeder warned us about this weakness and advised steps that should be taken from Maddie being a puppy to minimize her chances of developing hip problems in her twilight years. The main thing we were told was not to over walk Maddie when she was a puppy. We had to take things slowly and build up her stamina gradually. Maddie was absolutely not allowed to climb the stairs until she was six months old which meant we had to invest in a baby gate.
Once a Bearded Collie passes the danger age of ten years old they can live until they are twenty two years old, although the average life span after this point is fourteen year old, so they cannot be seen as a temporary part of the family, they are there for the long haul.
Beardies are very free spirited and excel within families that are active. They are exceptionally good with ball games so if you have a child who is interested in a ball sport they make excellent training partners.
Beardies are free spirits, they have a mind of their own which is their appeal so if you want a dog you can brow beat into doing what you want forget it. Maddie can be incredibly stubborn and it has actually become worse as she has got older. If Maddie doesn’t want to go for a walk she won’t, simple as that, she will frequently put her back brakes on and refuse to move.
Beardies are really easy to train, they pick things up very quickly so you shouldn’t find a pile of poo anywhere in your home but like I said previously, Beardies are not a dog that should be left for hours on end to their own devices, their active minds will find something to do and that is when they could become destructive. In essence, if you are going to be out at work all day, do not choose a Beardie.
As I write this review, it is Maddie’s tenth birthday. The time has passed so quickly and she has been worth every penny, she has given us joy by the thousand.
If you are looking for an active, friendly and loving dog I would definitely recommend a Bearded Collie. Our Maddie is just simply the best!