In March of 2006, the remake of Walt Disney’s “The Shaggy Dog”, starring Tim Allen and Coal the Bearded Collie, was released. After seeing the sudden rise in demand for Dalmatians — and the inevitable increase of Dalmatians ending up in shelters and rescues — the BCCA founded a Public Education Initiative designed to help people get to know our breed before bringing one home.
The Public Education Initiative created boilerplate press releases to help spread the BCCA’s educational message through local media, as well as clothing bearing the “Not all Bearded Collies are movie stars” artwork. The AKC cited the BCCA’s educational efforts in this article.
Even though the movie’s release did not cause a huge demand for cute shaggy dogs, it’s still important to note that Beardies are not for everybody. The Educational Initiative has produced a brochure that affiliate clubs and individual members may print and distribute at events.
Download the brochure here.
The following statement was released by the BCCA Educational Initiative. This statement is available for reprinting and re-use.
A Statement From The Bearded Collie Club of America, Inc.
In an effort to preserve, protect and advance the interests of the Bearded Collie through responsible ownership and breeding, the Bearded Collie Club of America (BCCA) encourages anyone thinking of adding a Bearded Collie to their family to make sure this breed fits your lifestyle. As depicted in the movie, “The Shaggy Dog,” this breed is quite active, outgoing, bouncy, and affectionate. Not all Bearded Collies are movie stars. Here are some basic facts you should know about Bearded Collies before buying:
- Bearded Collies, also known as Beardies, were bred for sheep herding. Like most herding dogs, Beardies will chase kids, cars, other dogs, even planes flying overhead, as well as nip at ankles or eye-level bottoms — all in an effort to satisfy that herding instinct.
- Beardies were bred to be independent thinkers. They require a patient, loving trainer.
- Beardies are people-oriented dogs. They need to be with their family and must be socialized as youngsters to ensure a well-adjusted dog. If left alone for long periods, they will become frustrated, depressed, and destructive.
- Beardies are bouncers. If you live with toddlers, elderly or physically challenged people, remember Beardies are naturally vigorous, bouncy dogs that like to jump up to look you in the eyes or kiss your nose. They must be trained from infancy not to jump up.
- Beardies are barkers. Certain things will set off their “alarm” system. They bark when excited, while playing or bored — and sometimes just because they can!
- Some Beardies are noise-sensitive. They will shy away from people or run away from the source of the noise.
- Beardies require a lot of exercise. They are most content when they are able to run and play. A fenced space is mandatory for this breed.
- Beardies shed. If groomed properly they shed minimally, BUT… Beardies need regular grooming. A Bearded Collie is a high maintenance dog. Matted coats lead to problems of all kinds. A thorough brushing/combing, at least once a week — about 30 minutes to one hour — is a must.
- Beardies, like other breeds, have health problems. These include allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, auto-immune diseases and some eye problems.
The sad truth is that many Bearded Collies are impulse purchases, and people who think they can live with one find out quickly how challenging it can be. Remember, adding a “Shaggy Dog” to the family is a 12-15 year commitment. Please do research first in order to ensure success for your family and the dog. Ask before you buy!
Those interested in learning more about the breed should visit the BCCA website, www.bcca.us, and read “What is a Beardie?”, “A Lifetime of Friendship… The Bearded Collie”, and the other very good articles about the breed.
Other sites that will assist you in determining if a Bearded Collie is the right dog for you:
- Reasons Not to Own a Bearded Collie
- Is a Beardie For Me? Determining the Proper “Fit” for Your Family
If, after careful consideration, the decision to get a Bearded Collie is made, please buy a Beardie from a reputable breeder, not a pet shop! Consider your decision carefully. Protect yourself. Be critical of what the breeder tells you and what you see. An ethical breeder will interview you and not agree to sell you a dog on the spot. Read the following article for more information:
Utilize the BCCA to find a reputable breeder. Look through the breeder and litter listings on the BCCA website (www.beardedcollieclub.us); contact the corresponding secretary or an affiliate club in your area to locate breeders near you.
For various reasons, many very nice Bearded Collies end up in BCCA Rescue.
The Bearded Collie Club of America thanks you for taking the time to read this information.