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Bearded Collies "Beardie" is not a "Lassie" dog

Updated on October 15, 2014

The Bearded Collie is not what most people think of as a Collie. The Books of Albert Payson Terhune set in my mind that a Collie should be what we call the Rough Collie. For other people it was Lassie. Whatever the case the Bearded Collie is only related to the rough collie in the sense that they are both herding dogs.. According to Glenn D. Short in an article entitled Early History of the Bearded Collie the term collie is a word that describes the function of the dog. In other words, the name collie might refer merely to a” herding dog.”

According to Short, the Bearded collie has been known “as the Mountain Scotch Collie, Old welsh Grey Sheepdog, Highland collie, Loch Collie, or the Hairy Moued Collie.” Now we call them “Beardie.”

Bearded Collie
Bearded Collie | Source

History of the Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie may have been around since the 1600’s or earlier. According to Mr.. Short, formal breeding records weren’t kept on herding dogs as they were bred for usefulness rather than show. In the early 1900’s some standardization may have been tried but it would have been for work standards. Mr. Short references the book “The dogs of Scotland,” by D.J. Thompson Gray published in the 1880’s as having the first written descriptions of the breed.

It’s possible the Bearded Collie came from cross breeding with the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Some records show the dogs brought to Britain in the 15th and 16th centuries.. Another view is that a Polish merchant, Kazimierz Grabski in 1514 traded for some sheep and also bought some Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to help with the sheep. The theory is that other sheepdogs got mixed in and eventually evolved into the Bearded Collie.

Iris Combe, in a study, felt that hill dogs in the north or Britain are traceable to Roman occupation. Mr. Short’s article is skeptical of this theory but notes an”…uncanny likeness of the Bearded Collie to the Egyptian Sheepdog.

Wikipedia relates that Mrs. G. Oliver Willison founded the breed in “1944 with her brown bitch, Jeannie of Bothkenner.” Apparently she had ordered a Shetland Sheepdog but because there was a shortage of Shetland Sheepdogs, a Bearded Collie was substituted. She liked the dog and searched for a mate. An immigrant from Scotland let her have a dog named David that later became Bailie of Bothkenner.

Some think that a strain of the Bearded Collie was developed to work in the Highlands or hill country to find stray sheep on the mountainside. Others would be used as drovers herding the sheep to market. They were probably used for working cattle too.

Were you aware that The Bearded Collie is not in the same group as Collies like Lassie

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Bearded Collie Introduced

The Bearded Collie was introduced as pets in the United States in 1957.The United States the American Kennel Club reported the Bearded Collie as ranking 104 out of 155 breeds in popularity in the United States as shown in Wikipedia.

They can be excellent pets but like most working dogs are high energy dogs. Because of their long hair they need weekly brushing to keep their coat from matting. Some owners keep them in a shorter cut. The Bearded Collie is very loyal and family friendly.

The females may be more outgoing and headstrong while the males are more likely to follow instructions. The female is likely to be the Alpha dog if there is more than one Beardie in the household.

They have an “advanced age of maturity. That means that some puppy traits will last longer and they might have to be trained at a later stage.

In Summary

The Bearded Collie is a breed of herding dog. It is not a “Collie” in the sense of that famous Lassie was a Collie. Except for the breed of Collie like Lassie collie should be considered a term for a herding dog. Like many other herding dogs the Bearded Collie originated with Scottish breeds of dogs. The Breed was founded in 1944 by Mrs. G. Olive Willison, according to Wikipedia.


Wikipedia article on Bearded Collie

Early History of Bearded Collie by Glenn D. Short

© 2012 Don A. Hoglund


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    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      cfin, there are a lot of factors involved in choosing a dog for a family. In general I think herding dogs are good family dogs. If possible I suggest you find some owners and talk with them. Look for a club for the breed near you and talk to some people there. It is usually a matter of matching the dog with the family.

      Thanks for reading my hub.

    • cfin profile image


      6 years ago from The World we live in

      I love these dogs. They are my favorite and my wife and I really want one for our kids. I grew up with german shephards and they were great with me and all the other kids because we thought them well. Do you think these dogs are suitable for little kids in general? We are good with animals and would be the kind of people to bring him/her up right.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      coolmon, nice to see you here. I'm glad you like the hub on the Bearded Collie. Thanks for commenting.

    • Coolmon2009 profile image


      6 years ago from Texas, USA

      Nice article on Bearded Collies; It was educational and informative.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thank you for reading about the Bearded Collie.I appreciate your comments. Take care.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      The Bearded Collie was the cute dog. Very interesting hub about this dog. Thank you very much for share with us. I love all pictures here. Good job, brother. Rated up!


    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      KoffeeKlatch Gals, does get confusing. The Collie Breed which Lassie belongs to has the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie. The difference is that the Smooth Collie has a short coat. Lassie is a male Collie by the way.Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dahoglund, the bearded collie looks like a sheepdog to me - at least what I have always thought of as a sheepdog. They really are beautiful dogs. I had no idea that collie described the dog'd function. I always thought a collie was a collie like Lassie. Very interesting. Up and interesting.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Peggy,

      I picked this dog to write about because of the confusion of the name. Whenever we would see a picture of a Bearded Collie Rose would say they don't look like Collies.Curiosity got the best of me. I didn't know either that collie was a generic term for a dog that does herding. Thanks for commenting, voting and sharing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Don,

      Very interesting article about the bearded collies. From the looks of them not only are they very different from collies, but as you mentioned, they would certainly need regular brushing to keep their coats unmatted. They sound like lovely dogs to have if one has the room and energy to keep them active. Useful, interesting and will share.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Lassie, it is probably hard enough for a male dog to play the part of a female. Growing a beard might make it worse.

    • profile image

      Lassie (Vern) 

      6 years ago


      I'm glad you cleared that up. My master's been trying to get me to grow a beard. He wouldn't listen when I told him "My breed doesn't grow beards! Those are the mountain Scotch collies!" Maybe now he'll listen. Thanks.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks Frog. The compliment is appreciated. They are nice looking dogs but what is called high maintenance so they are not for everyone. Glad you enjoyed reading about them.

    • The Frog Prince profile image

      The Frog Prince 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      dahoglund - Usually every time I read one of your Hubs I learn something. That was the case here and I appreciate you sharing your knowledge. Quite beautiful dogs indeed.

      The Frog

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Robwrite, Thanks for commenting.afraid I have made both mistakes. I used to think a sheltie was a "miniature collie" I still like both.

    • Robwrite profile image


      6 years ago from Oviedo, FL

      I used to work with dogs so I knew the difference but many people don't. People always confused Shelties with Collies, too.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Hi Dexter and thanks for commenting. I like most dogs but I am drawn to the Working breeds although they are a bit too energetic for someone my age. Glad to have brought back some pleasant memories.

    • Dexter Yarbrough profile image

      Dexter Yarbrough 

      6 years ago from United States

      Hi Dahoglund! Bearded collies are such beautiful and lovable dogs. My neighbor had one and he was just friendly and loyal. I loved that dog! This hub brings back wonderful memories.

    • dahoglund profile imageAUTHOR

      Don A. Hoglund 

      6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Thanks for commenting Susan. People including myself have thought the were part of the Collie breed. It is the reason I decided to look this breed up. At least I learned something.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I would not have thought that the bearded collie was the same breed as the collie such as Lassie as to me they look quite different. Very interesting hub. I always enjoy reading about the different breeds.


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