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J. Russell Greig authored an article in January 1913 for the Collie Folio. It was entitled "The Bearded Collie." The article has been retyped below:

'A big rough "tousy" looking type with a coat not unlike a doormat, the texture of the hair hard and fibry and the ears hanging close to the head.'

Such is the description of the Scottish Bearded Collie given by the author of Dogs of Scotland.

It is a description in which one can find little amiss, for a 'tyke' in the general acceptance of the term he assuredly is.

He has none of the polish and noblesse of his English cousin, the Bobtail, but there is a rough rugged grandeur about him, which is wholly in keeping with his natural surroundings his native hills.

His being essentially a worker, however, does not preclude his boasting an ancient lineage, but to trace his origin is no mean task.

Had the 'Beardie', like the Bloodhound and Greyhound, been owned in olden times by the noblemen and gentlemen of the country, records of his ancestry and history would have been more numerous but his deeds have not been emblazoned in the records of the trail and the chase. He is, and has always been, a hill herd's dog a humble worker.

Few dogs, except those used for hunting, were thought worthy of notice in days gone by, and the dog's origin, as a consequence, is 'wrapt in the dim obscurity of buried centuries'.

Our knowledge of the history of the British Sheepdog is, as has been indicated, extremely meagre, but is nevertheless interesting, and carries us back to earliest times.

The great biologist Buffon held that the Sheepdog was the source of all our other breeds. How far this is true is an open question.

The fact that sheep raising is one of the oldest occupations would seem to lend support to such a contention, for it would not be long before the domesticated dog would be recognised as a valuable assistant to the shepherd.

So far as our knowledge goes, it is to the Welsh King Howel Dda, who reigned early in the tenth century, that we are indebted for the first reference to the Sheepdog in Britain, for in a code of laws he personally drew up, and in that part which refers to the worth of the dogs, appears the following:

'18 Whosoever possessed a cur, though it be the King, its value is fourpence.

'19 A herd dog that goes before the herd in the morning and follows them home at night is worth the best ox.'[Dalziel]

What the actual appearance of the ancient British Sheepdog was, we have little idea. Appian's description of the dog used by the ancient Caledonians is crude, and though it would appear to be some sort of hunting terrier, no definite conclusion can be arrived at.

Dr. Johannes Caius, writing in the sixteenth century, minutely describes the work of the Sheepdog, but unfortunately omits to give any more than a very vague description of the dog itself. One has frequently heard it supposed that the bearded Collie is of comparatively recent origin, and indeed so great an authority as Hugh Dalziel suggested that he was a cross between the Collie and the Old English Sheepdog. Still there are many others who believed the Bearded Collie to be one of the most ancient breeds in these Islands, a contention which it is the author's purpose to forward.

There are two lines of evidence which support this claim  one is furnished by the dog's natural history, the other by his racial history.

Take them in turn. It is one of the most salient characteristics of the dog that he breeds 'true to type'; no matter what crosses are introduced; the typical 'Beardie' characters are predominant, and are indelibly stamped upon the offspring. This is surely not what one would expect in a recent, adventitiously manufactured breed  the result of a first cross; and one would instance it as a proof of his antiquity and concentration of strain.

As has been stated above, the Bobtail is by some regarded as a possible progenitor of the 'Beardie'.

One is firmly convinced, however, that the relationship which exists between the two breeds could be better likened to that of cousins  i.e. they are both descendants from a common stock.

The likeness between the two breeds is remarkable, but it is still more remarkable when one compares the working English Sheepdog and the 'Beardie', for we must remember that the former has been much improved since the formation of the Old English Sheepdog Club.

The author has in his possession a sketch made about twenty years ago of Mr. Weager's Grizzle Bob and Dairy Maid  Bobtails, which, although considered among the best specimens of their time, bear a strong resemblance to the 'Beardie' rather than to their successors on the show bench today.

The most noticeable difference between the two breeds is, of course, the absence in the Bobtail of a caudal appendage. We know, however, that this is not an infallible characteristic of the breed, and that many a Sheepdog puppy acquires his 'bob' by means of the docking knife.

Philip Reinagle's historic picture of "The Sheepdog', one of a series of paintings, which was reproduced in the Sportsman's Cabinet (1804) is of peculiar interest in this respect. Here we have a presumably typical Old English Sheepdog with quite a respectable tail, which, if shown to a Scottish shepherd today, would be pronounced a Bearded Collie. further, in the text we are told that 'the breed is propagated and preserved with the greatest respect to purity in the northern parts of the kingdom as well as in the highlands of Scotland.'

Gordon James Phillips, of Glenlivet, in a letter which appeared in the 'Live Stock Journal' for 15 November 1878, speaks of a strain of the Bearded Collie with a tail which he describes as 'simply a stump, generally from six to nine inches in length'. Whether this was a true 'Beardie' indigenous to the district, or merely the imported English bobtail, one is unable to learn.

When discussing the origin of the Collie, Dalziel remarked: 'I think it is not improbable that the Scotch Collie may in part be derived from the English form of Sheepdog and the Scotch Greyhound.' But in consideration of the undoubted antiquity of the Bearded Collie one is led to agree with Gray, and consider it just as probable that the Scotch Collie may be derived in part from the Scotch form of Sheepdog and the Scotch Greyhound.

When we come to consider the Continental breeds of Sheepdog we are again struck by their resemblance to our Bobtail and Beardie.

The French Cien de Berger de la Brie, were it not for his semi-prick ears, might pass for a litle brother of the Bearded Collie, while the Owtchar, found along the banks of the Dneiper, is his Russian prototype.

Indeed, so striking is the family resemblance in the Sheepdog, that one is led to believe they have all a common stock and are merely the branches of the same family tree.

Assuming this to be correct, it is possible that the British Sheepdog was imported into this country at a very early date and may possibly have a Gallic origin.

It is only within the last few days that the Bearded Collie Club has been formed in Edinburgh, under the presidency of Mr. Jas. C. Dalgliesh.

At the present moment the breed is not recognised by the Kennel Club, and it is hoped that one of the first actions of the new club will be to appeal to the proper authorities to set this matter to rights. The primary object of the club is to preserve the breed, and it has many claims for support.

The dog has been the mainstay of many generations of flockmasters, and having been exclusively bred for brains and stamina, he has an intelligence and constitution equalled by few.

The club Standard is presently being compiled, and one shall not venture to go into a minute description of his 'points', but it is resolved to keep the dog as much as possible in the state in which he exists throughout Scotland today, and at all costs let him remain a worker.

One might fittingly conclude this short article on the Bearded Collie with the following quotation from Alfred Olliphant's [sic] Owd Bob.

Should you, while wandering in the wild sheep land, happen on moor or in market upon a very perfect gentle knight, clothed in dark grey habit, splashed here and there with rays of moon; free by right divine of the guild of gentlemen, strenuous as a prince, lithe as a rowan, graceful as a girl, with high king carriage, motions and manners of a fairy queen, should he have a noble breadth of brow, an air of still strength born of right confidence, all unassuming; last and most unfailing test of all, should you look into two snowclad eyes, calm, wistful inscrutable, their soft depths clothed on with eternal sadness  yearning as is said, for the soul that is not theirs know then, that you look upon one of the line of the most illustrious Sheepdogs of the North.

 
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