This hardy herding breed was developed in the 1500's from Polish Lowland Sheepdogs and other eastern ovcharkas crossed with various working herders of Scotland. The Egyptian Armant and the Old English Bobtail have been suggested as possible ancestors, as was the Border Collie. The Armant connection hasn't been proven and the Bobtail theory doesn't make much sense, since the Bearded Collie is an older breed than its English cousin. However, the use of Border Collies is almost certain, especially in the development of original incarnation of the so-called Border type of the breed. The Bearded Collie used to be a common cattle drover and sheep herder and protector throughout the country for ages, but since it was bred primarily for work, it varied in appearance depending on home region. By the 19th century, two popular strains became prominent, these being the straight-haired gray/white or fawn/white Highland type and the wavy-coated black/white or brown/white Border variant. These two bloodlines were crossed to create a single Bearded Collie breed which proved itself to be a superb worker and attractive Show dog. During and following the World Wars, the breed became very rare, but was eventually introduced to England and America, where it enjoys moderate popularity to this day.
Smart, playful and even-tempered, the Beardie makes an agreable family companion, but it requires plenty of excercise and regular grooming. Its alert personality makes it a good watchdog, although it isn't an efficient protector, due to its people-friendly nature. Well-boned and muscualr, this is a rugged and resilient working breed.
The coat is long, soft and shaggy, coming in all colours, usually with white markings. Average height is around 21 inches.