What age were you and how did you become involved in the world of Dogs ?
I became involved with dogs as a young child when my aunt owned a German Short-Haired Pointer who qualified for Crufts in the 1980’s.
What Breeds of Dogs have you had over the years ?
The breeds my family have owned in the past are, Dalmatians and Border Collies.
What Breeds of Dogs have you got now ?
Bearded Collie and a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel
What would you consider to be your main Breed and the one people associate you with ?
What attracted you to this breed ?
Their intelligence, unique and stunning ‘shaggy dog’ appearance, their gentle and kind nature, their eagerness for sport and fun.
What advice would you offer to anybody that is interested in becoming an owner of this Breed ?
Bearded Collies are human orientated and cannot be left alone for long periods as they can become destructive resulting in nuisance barking and digging. A person must have time and dedication as this breed needs considerable exercise (at least 1 to 2 hours daily) and are time intensive in terms of grooming. A fenced and secure garden (at least 6 ft) and plenty of space are a must as Bearded Collies tend to make wonderful escape artists! The breed needs to be kept mentally and physically active, they love ball and frisbee games and are very quick to learn and easy to please. They are very well suited to agility. Bearded Collies are a high energy breed and tend to ‘bounce’, they can also be quite independent in nature therefore training and proper socialisation when young is a must to curb this tendency. Bearded Collies are highly sociable, friendly an excellent with young children and tend to get on well with other animals if socialised with them from a young age. Bearded Collies have few health issues and have a life expectancy of at least 14-16 years. They make wonderful loyal family pets and will reward you with years of unconditional devotion.
Does the Breed have any specific requirements by way of exercise & grooming ?
Bearded Collies have haggy double coat which must be brushed daily. They must be bathed and conditioned as required. Skin disorders can develop if the coat is not adequately maintained. The coat can be difficult to manage and this breed may need to be professionally groomed on a regular basis. Apart from daily brushing, a thorough brush and comb through is needed each weekend. Bearded Collies need considerable exercise, and should be walked twice a day, morning and evening. 1 to 2 hours exercise is needed (exercise can be a combination of games and walking) . Our Bearded Collie gets a 3 mile walk daily.
Does the Breed have any specific health tests that should be done before a Dog or bitch is used at stud or bred from ?
The Bearded Collie is generally a very healthy breed, there are limited instances of hip dysplasia and auto immune disorders. The main auto immune disorder is Addison’s disease for which parents should be tested clear. Hip scoring of this breed is recommended. This breed does not appear to suffer from inherited eye conditions common in other collie breeds such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy or Collie Eye Abnormality in the UK or Ireland but instances of same have occurred abroad, therefore it is wise to ensure the sire and dame have appropriate hips scores and eye tests.
Finally, how would you sum up the characteristics of this breed and what type of household would they best be suited too ?
Characteristics of this breed are bright, intelligent, eager to please, energetic, stubborn and confident. They are highly trainable and relish when given work or responsibility. They should have a natural herding instinct. They are very sensitive to human behaviour and rewards based training is a must with this breed. They enjoy working and accompanying their ‘humans’ at every opportunity and agility is a wonderful way of both bonding with and exercising this wonderful breed. This breed is suited to an active rural household with ample space, they thrive on human contact and get on with other pets in the household. They are not aggressive by nature and any sign of aggression is seen as a fault in the breed. A family needs to be able to devote considerable time and energy to this breed.
Síle will be representing the Bearded Collie at this years Pet Expo as part of the breed village which is being held at the RDS on the 16th & 17th November.