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Mike Condie wrote an article for the Working Bearded Collie Society Newsletter, Issue No. 5, June 2002. With Mike's permission, it is retyped below:

Merton Holly (Sock's)

Having previously worked with someone who had a cracking wee Beardie when I was a stockman/shepherd in a livestock mart, I'd always had a notion to get one myself. Its been 11 years since I worked alongside that Beardie bitch as she eagerly helped load up virtually every one of the 5,000 sheep or so which were sold every week.

Last year I began my search for one of my own. I heard about the W.B.C.S. and spoke to as many people as I could to get a feel for what types of dog were out there. Eventually I went to collect a pup from Peter Dickson near Biggar. His dogs amazed me, very friendly, quiet and the maternal/paternal instincts were astonishing. "Joe" is now ten months old.

Not long after this, I got a call from Eddie Mc (note: left out the last name due to Eddie's request) alerting me to a bitch he bred which was not settling in its then home. I phoned the people in question and eventually acquired her ("Socks"). Initially she barked at everyone, didn't eat much, insisted on a biscuit before bed! Or she would howl, nipped legs, hands and went for other dogs, chased cars and generally failed to acknowledge my presence. This was a bitch that was confused about her place in the pecking order and purpose in life, and generally got away with murder.

Work began, walking on a lead, put in a run with our dominant Border Collie bitch and generally got nowhere and nothing until she did as she was told. To cut a long story short she came right in about 3 weeks, hard up the heals of cattle, healing as required, hard as nails. Sheep are a different story, as stylish as most trialing Border Collies, plenty power, nice square turns, a good stop (miraculously!), still a bit prone to coming in tight and over-flanking but generally a fantastic work dog and loyal family pet. I've discovered Beardies are more independent free-thinking and pushy compared to most Border Collies but quick learners and once they've grasped a command can adapt it to suit the situation without prompting a useful skill especially in a hill dog.

I've since got a third Beardie. Peter Dickson retired from farming and is pursing a career elsewhere (who can blame him!). I got his Stumpy bitch, a naturally bobtail bitch again with power to spare, nice nature, good all-round stock dog and what a conformation she has, small but incredibly well built. I'll always have my Border Collies but for as long as I can keep this quality of Beardie and assuming they produce similar types I'm hooked on Beardies.

Socks in 2003:

         
 

 

 

Hugh

Isted, Peter

Morland, Ronnie

Muirhead, Tommy

Norman, Jack

Paul and Carol

Pringle, Drew

Pringle, Janet

Reid, Kit

Robertsons

Baxter, John

*Scotland

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