You are visiting the "Similar Breeds" page.
The links in the box to the right will take you to sub-pages within
this section. The links with asterisks in front will return you
to either the parent or "Home" pages.
What was the connection between the Beardie, the
South Russian Owtchar, and the Old English Sheepdog?
Several authors have written that the Old English Sheepdog and
the Beardies once shared the same, or similar, ancestors. In olden days many breeds were similar in
appearance. That was particularly true relating to the Beardie-like dogs and
a variety of the Russian Owtchars (known as the South Russian Owtchar).
Russian Owtchars were brought to England, according to some
historians, on Baltic trading ships, and they were thought to have
been bred with the Beardie-like dogs to produce the early ancestors
to the Old English Sheepdog (OES). Both were used by drovers in the
movement of cattle along the drove trails. In the late 19th Century,
both Beardies and OES canines were no longer doing much droving
work. Like many other breeds during the latter half of the 1800s,
they began to be seen at dogs shows.
Henry Panmure Gordon (Harry) [1837-1902] attended the University
of Oxford and founded a stockbrokerage firm that still bears his
name. In the dog world, he was a founder and first president of the
Scottish Kennel Club, which drew up its constitution in 1881. He was
also Honorary President of the Scottish Collie Club for 1890-1891.
He owned both Collies and Bearded Collies.
A few herding dogs (collies and sheepdogs) were known to have
been shown at fairs in the late 1800s upon completion of the herding
trials. This was discussed in many early books such as Rawdon Lee's A History and Description of
the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland (Non-Sporting
The first Old English Sheepdog Club was founded in 1888—the same year that a representative of the OES breed was imported into America.
A retyped document from The American Kennel Club indicated a
Highland Collie had been shown in America in 1902. This document can
be found on the "Other" page. In Britain, a page from a show catalog
indicated a few Beardies were entered in a 1908 show. A copy of that
document appears in the "Timeline" subsection entitled "1900-1919."
Mr. R. S. Piggin, who judged the Wiltshire-Gloucestershire
trial of July 28, 1910, may have been one of the first people to
recommend the Beardie-like be given a class when he wrote, in
part: "to those in authority that this deserving and useful type be given
a class amongst Sheepdogs on the show bench."
Bearded Collies were first registered by the Scottish Kennel Club in 1912, but
registrations stopped after April of 1914 until June of 1923 (WWI
started in July 1914 and ended in 1918). Dogs began to be registered
again by 1923, but again the registration stopped from December 1939
through July 1948 (WWII began in 1939 and ended in 1945). The dogs
registered by the Scottish Kennel Club are listed on a page entitled "Kennel Club"
located in the "Other" section of this website.
As it turned out, it was a very long time before the Beardies
would have a breed club recognized by the Kennel Club. After WWII
ended, a Bearded Collie named Jeannie of Bothkennar was registered by
Mrs. Olive Willison in July of 1948. However, it was not until 1959 that the Kennel Club formally recognized a
Bearded Collie Club (71 years after the first OES Club was
recognized). The Bearded Collie Club of America was
not recognized by the American Kennel Club until 1979.
A history relating to the Beardies, the South Russian Owtchars
and the Old English Sheepdogs can be found on the link in the box to
The Smithfield, residing in Tasmania, can likely trace its roots back
to the Beardie-like collies. Click on the "Smithfield" link above to
As the "Confusion" page illustrates, if a dog was once called a
"Border Collie," it might have actually been some other breed of
dog. The Border Collie did exist as a working collie herding dog
long before it received its official breed name in 1910. Dogs of
many types within the borderlands often were referred to as
"border collies." Also, there were, and are, red merle
Beardies, as well as Beardies with different coloured eyes. Images
of both also appear on the "Confusion" page.