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The Bearded Collie

by ?

This article appeared in The Bazaar, The Exchange and Mart, May 12, 1909.

"By the majority of people interested in dogs only two varieties of the popular collies are recognised - the Rough and the Smooth. There is, however, a minority who recognise a third - the Bearded Collie, a dog that, so far as the southern half of this country is concerned is seldom or never seen, and only occasionally in the North and in the greatest number at the sheep markets in the vicinity of Stirling, Perth and Falkirk. The late Mr. Panmure Gordon was one of the staunchest supporters of the Bearded Collie - a variety, by the way, that many authorities fail to differentiate from the Old English Sheepdog. It is by no means a popular dog, as is the case with both collies and bobtails, and is used purely as a worker.

Without wishing in any way to deprive it of varietal rank, yet there seems to me nothing sufficiently distinctive to separate this so-called Bearded Collie from its undoubtedly close relative the English Bobtail. Indeed, to my mind it savours rather of a degraded Old English Sheepdog whose tail has been allowed to remain. As a matter of fact, the tailless dog is more or less of a myth. That there are infinitesimal number of Bobtails and Schipperkes born tailless is certain; but the vast majority are made so very soon after birth (within a week or 10 days). Moreover if we examine carefully some of the old prints of English Sheepdogs we shall find them allowed to carry their full complement of tail. So far as I can recollect, Reinagles picture of an Old English Sheepdog resembles more or less closely the Bearded Collie. Apart from the tail there are few, if any, distinctive points of difference between the two. The Bearded Collie, it is true, has not the strong, square muzzle of the English Sheepdog, neither has it the height and size of the latter. Still, this may be accounted for readily enough; the one has been taken in hand seriously by the breeder, while the other, so long as it fulfilled expectations as regards it working capabilities has been allowed to take its chance. The illustration, given is one of the late Mr. Panmure Gordon's dogs and is quite typical."

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