Generally believed to have been founded by Mrs. G Olive Willison, the Bearded Collie has long been known in the Scottish Highlands and Northern England where it was primarily bred for sheep herding. It is widely considered one of the country's oldest working breeds; due to the working heritage of this dog it is part of the 'pastoral' branch of canines, however it has established a following far outside of the farming community. During WWII the Bearded Collie faced near extinction, yet was fortunately re-established by breeders in 1944. Today it remains a rare breed.
A hardy dog to look at, the Bearded Collie is easily recognisable for its shaggy, weatherproof double coat which acts as protection against extreme temperatures. Other characteristics include a relatively short muzzle and wide-set eyes of a colouration matching the coat. Pups are commonly born in colour variations of black, fawn, blue or brown which lightens to a cream or light grey as the dog matures. Due to its strong hunting and tracking instinct, the Bearded Collie is an active and vigilant breed, possessing a natural authority. It may have a tendency to bark loudly, but is an excellent companion for children with an obedient and playful temperament.
Popular within the farming community and modern family alike, the Bearded Collie is best suited to a country environment, benefiting from outdoor spaces in which to exercise and play. The average Bearded Collie weighs between 18-27 kg with discrepancies across gender, and has a life expectancy of approximately 15 years when shown appropriate care.
Documented health complaints specific to the breed are limited, due to the inherent strength and resilience of the Bearded Collie. However, the leading causes of mortality include cancer (19%), cerebravascular disease (9%) and kidney failure (8%), with owners further reporting that hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as arthritis, were common afflictions. Due to the breed's dense coat, parasitic infestations are also found in the breed, so regular grooming is essential.
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