Bearded Collies are thought to be one of Britain's oldest Breeds,
also called the hairy Mou'ed collie, the mountain collie, or the Highland Collie,
existing since the 1600-1700's and possibly before.
The Bearded Collie is one the oldest breeds originated in Great Britain,
although being a working dog makes their origin and development as a Breed hard to trace.
In the 1880's D. J. Thompson Grey suggested the working Shepherd's dogs were bred mostly without any planning.
There are many theories, though none that can be proven due to the lack of records.
It wasn't until the early 1900's an attempt was made at standardising the Breed.
The common theory is the Bearded Collie Originated from mixing with the Polish Lowland Sheepdog, also known as the PON.
Polish Merchants traded grain for sheep in Scotland in 1514, & bought Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to help move the sheep.
PON became mixed with other local herding dogs and the Bearded Collie emerged.
Another theory is the introduction of the Komondor to Scotland led to the development of the Bearded Collie
where the breed was used to herd sheep and drive off cattle for many miles without tiring over cold, rough terrain.
However, some believe long coated sheep dogs have been in Britain from as early as 2000 BC.
A study conducted in Britain in 1987 by Iris Combe's "Herding Dogs, their Origins and Development"
favoured the idea that the ancestry of Hill Dogs can be traced back to the Romans
with some experts claiming the bearded collie was around to witness the Romans invading Britain.
The uncanny likeness of the Bearded Collie to the Egyptian Sheepdog, also called Armant, leads some credibility to this theory.
Real evidence of this dog isn't found until the early 1800s when a written description of the breed was published.
Some also say they were intermixed with the Old English Sheepdog, also know as the OES.
Drawings and Paintings show a remarkable resemblance to the Breed,
a 1771 portrait of the Duke of Buccleigh done by Gainsborough features one of the earliest known pictures of a bearded collie
giving evidence the Bearded Collie had been present in a similar form for hundreds of years
in the British Isles, to the North of England and Scotland.
There were over 1000 recognizably different types of herding dogs in the Northern of Britain and Scotland by the late 1800's,
in effect any or all theories may be correct & true.
Most agree at some point the Old English Sheepdog was intermixed into the Breed
when the Breed was transformed into a fixed Recognizable Breed.
It was after the Victorian era that the bearded collie also became popular as a show dog.
A handful of breeders interested in showing the bearded collie were eventually successful
in bringing the breed to England and later to the United States.
Originally there were two different types of the bearded collie breed,
the border strain that featured a brown and white, slightly-wavy coat
and the Highland strain having a gray and white coat.
These two types were interbred, and eventually they were merged into just one breed.
The bearded collie was close to extinction during the early part of the twentieth century.
Mrs. G. O. Willison, the owner of Bothkennar Kennels, is credited with saving the breed.
She began breeding the bearded collie as show dogs, and is also responsible for establishing
the Bearded Collie Club in Britain in 1955.
In the late 1950s, this breed was first introduced to America.
The first litter of bearded collies was born in the United States in 1967,
and by July 1969 the Bearded Collie Club of America was formed.
The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1977.
While the bearded collie is still a hard-working herder, it has gained more popularity as a show dog,
a competitor in herding trials and agility, and a great companion.