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There was a Bearded Collie at the USBCHA trial this weekend.

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Running in the Novice class... quite frankly, it was sad. Embarrassing almost.

This dog, being handled by an AKC judge, was taken to the post, taken off the leash, and immediately turned tail and went running probably 100 yards in the total opposite direction of the set out to go find mom.

The handler marched up, got the dog, took him back to the post, and had to entice the dog numerous times to go out, go out, go out farther. He eventually found the sheep (I guess?) but it was clear at the post that this poor dog had absolutely no clue why he was there. This was clearly out of his element and totally different from anything he'd ever done. The sheep lifted off the dog and went running hell bent for leather back to the exhaust, and just happened to go through the fetch gates. Dog had absolutely nothing to do with it, and I hear the owner later boasting that the dog made the fetch panels.

Heard several people commenting that they have seen nice working Beardies and that there are some very nice ones overseas that don't look like running mops. Anyone ever seen any? Know of any videos of true working Beardies?

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Sad. I have no problem with a dog (full-breed or mix) that can do the WORK running at a USBCHA trial, but this situation doesn't sound anything like that.

 

The only "Beardie" I know of (and I admit to limited knowledge) is the dog(s) owned by Polly Matzinger in MD. I think James is 7/8 Border Collie, 1/8 Beardie, and his son is 15/16 Border Collie. Not a Beardie, but they certainly have retained some Beardie characteristics.

 

I will be curious to hear from others.

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My new dog is actually part Bearded Collie, though she doesn't look it. There are some very nice working bred Beardies in the UK that are registered with the ISDS. I suspect though, that the dog you saw is show bred. Like the Australian line of show bred Border Collies, they have lost virtually all the traits that made them top notch working dogs. (Genetically speaking, they are different breeds.)

 

Have any photos?

 

This is my new beast.

 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1fJdZWoauk-VEJpVUJyajBkY2o5QzJWaUk1bUJ4cktGSUJZ

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Please keep in mind the ABCA's "breed standard" for border collie is about the work not appearance; this is backed up by the ROM process. There will be dogs that by the kennel club standard may be identified as beardie but if the livestock work is of sufficient quality we would identify as border collie.

 

The kennel clubs have chosen to select for genes that produce one set of phenotypes (appearance) we have chosen to select for genes that produce a different set phenotypes (behaviors). In either case when crossing of the same phenotype "breeds true" producing the same phenotype people have declared a breed has been developed.

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Back in the late '80s I think it was Jack Knox purchased a beardie bitch from someone in the UK that was ROM. I saw her work and she worked like many border collies. She was a scruffy little prick eared dog that didn't much resemble what most people picture when they think of bearded collies. Not a lot of coat, though wiry. Looked more like some sort of big terrier type mutt, but sure worked like a collie.

 

Jack didn't keep her long. Sold her on to someone else. AFAIK she wasn't bred, but I may well be mistaken about that.

 

Donald probably remembers her and may know more about her than I do.

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Is this what's being considered a working Beardie?

13359091245_eef8a81573_c.jpg

 

(source- this isn't the one from the trial)

 

Guess I figured dogs like this were more or less a Border Collie with a throwback coat, but if this is considered a 'Bearded Collie' I can certainly see them as nice working dogs. A far cry from what's called a Bearded Collie here in the US.

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Dear Doggers,

I saw the dog Roxanne mentions. It was a goodun. Sold - I believe - to a cattleman. Polly Matzinger ran a ABCA reg Beardie for many years. I've been told (dunno) that a good working Beardie is better on larger numbers - say 200 ewes - than a Border Collie.

 

Real Beardies are rare. I've never seen one in the UK.

 

Donald McCaig

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There are two separate things here:

 

1. bearded collie which is a different breed from a border collie and presently looks like this:

 

https://curtalefarm.wordpress.com/tag/bearded-collie/

 

2. bearded border collie which is a border collie, the photo of which is above. The bearded border collie is what one may come across in the ISDS and is in the picture above, and most of them are descended from Turnbull's Blue who was ROMed into ISDS is in my Darinka's ancestry. Blue has a way of suddenly coming up in a litter without a warning ;). Blue looked like this:

 

http://www.bcpedigree.se/irena/beardis.nsf/l6vy/18152

 

 

Probably way back when these two breeds were more closely related. I've seen bearded collies work and some are good workers, and some do outruns. I think it's positive that the owner wants her dog to compete at such a venue. Maybe he just needs training.

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It seems to be a mantra in AKC that "instinct" is hard-wired in and does not need to be selected for - therefore, if a dog is descended from a working breed, you only seem to need to select for structure, coat, color, ear set, etc, most of which are pretty immaterial in the modern world (other than for esthetics for those who care about these things) and most of which are not really grounded in the reality of the breed's origins (since they have been taken to extremes over time in the show ring).

 

"Instinct" is not the same as working ability. The ability to work in many purposeful breeds ("herding", hunting, etc.) is not simply "instinct". It is very highly refined instinctive behaviors (read the Corens book on dogs for an explanation), so refined that, in some cases, it does not resemble canid "instinct" very obviously but has been developed to serve very particular purposes that aid in stock management, hunting, guarding, etc.

 

How a group can say that you have to rigorously select for a coat color, ear set (which can be surgically manipulated anyway), coat length or texture, eye color or shape, etc., and not select for *usefulness* because that's always going to be there without selection, and do so with a straight face, has got to be kidding themselves because they sure aren't fooling people who actually work with dogs bred for a useful, working purpose.

 

The kennel club "beardie" has had nothing to do with the working beardie for many generations, and that is obvious.

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There are two separate things here:

 

1. bearded collie which is a different breed from a border collie and presently looks like this:....

......

2. bearded border collie which is a border collie, the photo of which is above. The bearded border collie is what one may come across in the ISDS

 

Well, it's a little more complicated than that.

 

There is definitely a working breed of sheepdog in the UK known as the bearded collie that the present day long coated show dogs descend from. And like the widening differences between working and show lines of border collie, they've very different and maybe even more different in appearance.

 

Back in the day when shepherds freely crossed what Donald refers to as gooduns with no regard to registrations (which does not necessarily mean there was no keeping track of pedigrees, though less formally than we do now) some of the wiry coated dogs get into the mix. As a result, sometimes wiry coated border collies will still show up in litters from time to time.

 

When they were still landraces that later developed into distinct breeds, there were working collies in the border country and bearded collies, as Maja points out, two separate typess of working sheepdogs.

 

Then along came registries and those landraces started to be segregated into distinct breeds and breeders tended to want to keep their breeds pure. Thus the registries were created. But you'll notice that in Britain the "border collie" registry doesn't name the breed; it's the International Sheep Dog Society. It's founders were still of a mind that you breed the best to the best, regardless of what (then) landrace it originated from. But as registries do, it became closed; only pups from registered parents could themselves be registered and the modern border collie became a "breed."

 

However, in their great wisdom and dedication to producing good, useful dogs, the registry left open the possibility for good dogs who were unregistered to be brought into the registry. They had to prove their value as a working sheepdog by being tested, and then could be Registered on Merit (ROM) in the ISDS. Any pup then produced by that dog and another ISDS dog is eligible for registration as a purebred, well, sheepdog.

 

Theoretically any dog from any breed can be registered on merit, as long as it can be proven that they can do the work. It could be a Labrador retriever, a Shih Tzu, or a Mexican hairless. Though the odds that any dog from the non-herding breeds would ever be able to pass the test, if it did and were crossed with an ISDS dog it could be registered and eventually its DNA absorbed into the gene pool.

 

Although the later American registries used the name "border collie" in their names, they still follow the same rules; any dog ROMed can be brought into the registry and bred, with it's pups being considered purebred border collies. And, of course, the American registries have always accepted ISDS registered dogs, so any dog descended from one of these mixes or itself ROMed by ISDS can be brought into ABCA as a full border collie.

 

It's not easy to get a dog ROMed. Most that make it are border collies. But there have been a smattering of beardies throughout ISDS history, and perhaps some other landrace collie breeds as well. There are still excellent working Welsh collies for example, though I don't know how often, or even if, they get brought into ISDS through ROM. But theoretically they could.

 

This selection for working ability rather than appearance and the willingness to bring in new blood when the dog demonstrates its ability is the reason there's a wide range of appearance in working border collies. I've seen dog at trials that I wouldn't have guessed were purebred border collies until I saw them work. Two in particular come to mind -- one looked for all the world like a miniature version of a well muscled racing greyhound. The other looked like a scruffy mutt of indeterminate origin. Both were poetry in motion once they started working their sheep and there was no doubt whatsoever that they were sheepdogs.

 

The photo JaderBug posts above looks to me like it could either be a wiry coated border collie (probably a descendant of the early beardie outcrossings) or a cross between a border collie and a bearded collie. If the latter it could still be a registered border collie.

 

The beardie Donald and I both recall was scruffier looking and wouldn't have been readily IDed as a border collie or border collie mix. It looked like another breed of dog, as technically (or genetically) it was.

 

BTW, I'm sure our resident historian of all things border collie and most things dog, Donald, will correct any mistakes I may have made in the info above.

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Very interesting take on instinct, and I of course agree with most, but me being left-handed, I tend to go the other way:

 

I tell people that instinct is not merely circling and showing interest in sheep. It is a set of complex behaviors in a coherent behavioral repertoire called stockwork. And because of its complexity you have to breed specifically for working ability which blossoms best from a full package of instinctual behavior where all the elements are not only present but come in proper proportions. This can't be bred for properly unless the dog works. If you breed without looking at the working ability you have no idea which elements you are breeding away from and which are augmented.

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The photo JaderBug posts above looks to me like it could either be a wiry coated border collie (probably a descendant of the early beardie outcrossings) or a cross between a border collie and a bearded collie. If the latter it could still be a registered border collie.

 

This is bearded border collie that comes from the ISDS lines and are descendants of Trurnbull's Blue.

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One of the dogs in the album that JaderBug gave the link to is Tiili ISDS 321809, she is from a litter of 4 pups and two were bearded. They come from a Serge van der Sweep female. There is another beardie that was produced also by Serge. Pictured dog's grand mother is a sister to the other dog's mother.

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Here's a photo of Polly Matzinger's Sirius (referred to by Jovi in her comment above). He's mostly Border collie, but the bearded collie shows through. I've seen him trial (and also his father James), just not recently.

 

7685619006_e3d6ee814a_k.jpg

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I knew a Bearded collie in the UK back in the 1970s. He was strictly a pet. Looked like a small Old English Sheepdog. Was brighter than the OESs I've known (thank goodness - most of those have been dumb as rocks!), but it didn't strike me as possessing a fraction of the intelligence of a Border collie, so I'd guess even then there were "pet" lines.

 

I've met one or two Beardies in the US in the last couple of years. Also pet quality, and in one case at least, the owner had aspirations of showing their dog(s). I don't know whether it's the owner/trainer or the dog, but based on those I've met, I wouldn't want one. Working Beardies could well be a completely different thing - I wouldn't want an ACK Border collie either.

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I was in Scotland at an agricultural station and one of the demos was a sheepdog demo. The handler worked both his Border Collie (he would have called it a sheepdog or working sheepdog) and his Bearded Collie. The Beardie looked rather like a Border Collie but with the bristly coat, but did not work quite like the typical Border Collie, and he was quick to point out that the working Beardies tended to work in a more upright fashion, sometimes barked, worked more closely than the typical Border Collie, and had a few other working habits that were not those you normally associate with the working sheepdog or Border Collie.

 

Landrace? Separate breed entirely? Border Collie with a genetic coat variation? I think all of these can be found, or might have been found in years gone by. It is obvious (from seeing James and Sirius working) that they are pretty much Border Collies with a different coat texture. They work like Border Collies and if you were to discount the coat, that's what you'd say they were. But the dog I saw in Scotland, and others bred like him, according to the handler, were a related but still distinctly different breed in which somewhat different working styles had been selected for. Different horses for different courses, different dogs for different jobs or handlers.

 

I *think* James was 1/8 Beardie and Sirius maybe 1/16th?

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This is bearded border collie that comes from the ISDS lines and are descendants of Trurnbull's Blue.

 

Uh, huh. And if, hypothetically, one of its parents had been an ISDS border collie and the other a beardie registered with ISDS on merit, it would still be an ISDS border collie despite it's DNA being half beardie. That's the way ROM works. :)

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The DNA being half "beardie" is no different than the DNA being half smooth vs rough as long as the DNA of a gathering livestock dog like our working border collies is there.

 

The kennel clubs sure have done a great job in defining in everyone's mind a breed is based upon appearance.

 

Look at so many other kennel club breeds, they have given different names to dogs of the same origin based only upon coat type of color.

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I remember seeing old trial programs (early days of trialing in the UK) where an entrant was simply listed as "bearded" as in not rough or smooth, specifically, but bearded. It was used as a descriptive term for a particular dog in that program similar to how different dogs are described in Barbara Carpenter's books, just as descriptions of the individual dogs.

 

Remember that Lassie collies were once part of the larger sheepdog/border collie gene pool. I don't find it a large leap of faith to believe that someone took bearded border collies and continued to breed them for a distinctive look until they had what is now referred to as a beardie in KC circles. No different than the development of the Lassie collie.

 

If you go to the gallery and search on beardie, you should find at least one or two threads with pictures of working beardies in the US. Most are Polly's/Suzanne Craddock's dogs, but they don't all look exactly alike, even when all related. Sirius is the offspring of Polly's Lily and James. Lily was a smooth coat and James was part beardie. Only a couple of the pups in the litter, including Sirius, were bearded.

 

Rachel, some years ago at the Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier SDT, someone showed up with a show type beardie and asked to run their dog. The run was much as you described except that this dog never even made it out to the sheep. It was all rather strange.

 

J.

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The Working Bearded Collie Society has a fb group.

 

I'm surprised that there should be any doubt that they are a distinct breed from the BC. If you mention a Beardie here in the UK I've yet to meet anyone who would imagine a scruffy BC.

 

I do know a Beardie (Bearded Collie) that is ROM. Not a BC cross.

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You know, about 5 years ago I met Lone at a clinic whom I had known virtually before through these boards (Lone lives in Germany). Lone is a bearded border collie. One of the participants of the clinic saw her and whispered to me in a conspiratorial voice:

- And what is that dog?

And I, being me, send her way a withering look and said:

-That's an ISDS border collie.

 

Lone has, as I wrote earlier, Turnbull's Blue in her genealogy, I think 5-6 generations back, more ore less the same as the Norwegian dogs whose pictures were shown here. Turnbull's Blue was born 1978 and he was ROMed in 1984. For some reason the beards started to pup up in Serge's kennel, even though they are not inbred on Blue. I think I wrote that at least half of the litter out of Tiili's mother were bearded.

 

The aforementioned friend, after promptly withering under my withering look, went on with the clinic training her not-so-very-sheepdogging border collie and later was subjected to lengthy lectures on what a border collie is and who Blue was and what ROM is about. Four years later she bought her second dog - a working BC with whom she is now successfully competing in trials with another one on the way.

 

In the meantime, I have been hammering into the heads of everybody who didn't run fast enough that the a border collie is defined by its work. Work is what makes or breaks a border collie. I think I have convinced some people.

 

And today, I find myself defending the "bordercolliness" of working border collies from solid working lines on a forum for working sheep dogs just because they happen to have some whiskers and a funny coat. If I were younger I think I would lose my religion at this point :lol: .

 

So I have pictures for you of a real Border Collie of Border Collies:

 

14045616_10208004346404348_6535710407187

 

11119803_10204755046853890_2634916418684

 

Did you look at her and think, "Yeah that's a border collie indeed unlike the other ones"? No? Good!

 

But if you did, it's a day of great victory for the Kennel Club, because this dog has about as much Turnbull's Blue in her as the bearded border collies, she just happens to have a different coat. (Hence my interest in the topic - I happen to own this beauty).

 

Mark,

Thank you for your post, I was just about to take the pedestal on which the working US sheepdog community is standing and put it up in the attic among other unused items ;) but then I changed my mind :lol: .

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The DNA being half "beardie" is no different than the DNA being half smooth vs rough as long as the DNA of a gathering livestock dog like our working border collies is there.

 

That's a very good way of illustrating this.

 

I'm a little (OK a lot) confused by some of the later comments. I'm not seeing where anyone's doubting bearded and border collies are distinct breed. It doesn't negate the information that individuals from one breed can be absorbed into the other if they measure up to the working criteria, with no regard to the dog's appearance.

 

And I'm also unsure why, based solely on this thread, any of these dogs need defending. I'm not seeing anyone maligning them or their ability to work. :huh:

 

I think everyone's religion is safe here. :)

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Most people use the conformation ideology for distinguishing breeds (if they look different they must be different breeds). For us who breed working border collies, we reject the concept appearance defines our breed. This thread is riddled with people falling back into the conformation definition of breeds. Turnbull's Blue was a Border Collie (by our definition of our breed) regardless of appearance. Turnbull's Blue was not a Beardie or part Beardie, because of Blue's working ability. The same is true for other Border Collies (part of our breed based upon their working ability) that happened to look like dogs in another breed which is based upon appearance.

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Hmm, in the UK at least there are indeed working bearded collies that are not BC crosses.

 

This breeder here:

http://www.spanglefish.com/brambledalebeardedcollies/

Has apparently been breeding her own line of bearded collies and never crossed them with border collies. She didn't like the direction the breed was going in so started her own lines, but I don't think her dogs work any sort of animal. I don't think that makes her dogs proper working bearded collies though, but I don't know, I'd rather ask her directly how she breeds for working ability with sheep than judge on her website.

 

There's the working beardie society of course, which they do own dogs which are for working sheep (and has already been mentioned?):

http://www.workingbeardies.co.uk/

 

Working bearded collies are not registered with the KC, but they do exist in the UK, and while they have been outcrossed with border collie from time to time, but I think they are still majority bearded collie.

I have met some at the agility shows I have gone to, and they are so much better than the show bearded collies. They are not beardie crosses

 

 

There are some videos of working bearded collies out there, but I wouldn't be sure if they really are working bearded collies and not beardie bc crosses. And there certainly aren't many videos out there at all. I don't know, I have never seen one working sheep.


Either way, owners of working bearded collies seem to have pride in the breed, and so for the most part breed beardie to beardie.

 

I guess another way to look at it would be looking at welsh sheepdogs. They may look just like border collies, and you may never even know if its actually a BC mix based on appearance, but those that own the breed try to preserve it in the way they can.

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