Windheath Bearded Collies

 

Herding

Bailie fetching sheep to owner

The Canadian Kennel Club Bearded Collie Standard describes beardies as:

"One of the oldest of the British herding breeds, the Bearded Collie has for centuries been the Scottish hill shepherd's dog, used to hunt and gather free-ranging sheep on the Highlands. The breed was also popular as a cattle drover. Both jobs required a hardy constitution and intelligence, initiative, strength, stamina, and speed."

Robbie holding sheep to owner

Herding with a beardie seems to be a daunting task to many who have seen their beardies bouncing, playing, running and generally being a "beardie". But for centuries the bearded collie has been a highly valued breed among the shepherds of Scotland and continue to be used for herding to this day.

 

Robbie keeping the sheep in place

If you are thinking about herding with your beardie,
the first step is to determine if your
beardie has herding instinct.

 

Kyla seeing sheep for the first time

Kyla fetching sheep to owner
Bailie sniffing an ewe If your young dog has not seen sheep before and isn't sure what this is all about, let him approach the stock in a safe manner to get the scent and discover stock.

 

Mom, this isn't a beardie - what is it

A novice dog frequently has difficulty moving
the stock out of a corner. It is important to help
the beardie be successful

 

Summer receiving help to
move the sheep

Summer getting sheep out of a corner
Bailie getting help with relucant sheep

It is important that a novice dog has a positive first experience with stock.

It is also important to watch the stock when working with your dog. It is especially important with a young novice dog.

This ewe was "sizing" Bailie up and began to stomp her foot - a sign that she might come at him. In order to ensure that Bailie wasn't charged or butted, he was moved back a foot and the ewe settled down.

When herding, your beardie is to move the
stock from one point to another.
This should be done in a calm manner.
 

Bailie calmly moving the
sheep around the pen

Bailie moving sheep
Robbie covering an escaped ewe A herding dog's instinct is to keep the stock together to
bring to the handler.

 

Robbie going to get the "escapee"

The handler needs to watch that the dog is not in the
sheep's flight zone. Here the sheep are pushing
past the handler since Robbie is getting too close.

 

Shown here at 10 years old, Robbie is practicing for a trial.

 

Robbie pushing sheep
Robin working a group of rams

It takes years of practice and work for your dog to be able
to control a flock of flighty rams, such as these.

This is Robin (Ch. HCh. WTCH Glen Elder Silver Artisan),
owned by Ann Witte of Nebraska, USA.
Robin had his herding championship title from
both the AKC and ASCA

Once you have decided to begin herding, it is important that when in the pen or field with stock, your beardie learns to control the stock, but you control your beardie.

Learning the herding terms is part of the human's job when training your beardie.

Training your beardie can present challenges, but there is always a solution to the problem.

An increasing number of people in Canada are participating in herding activities with their dogs, including beardies. The Bearded Collie Club of Canada hosts a Canadian Kennel Club licensed all-breed herding trial each year. In addition to CKC trials, one can also find AHBA and ASCA trials being held in Canada.

 

 

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Last revised: September 12, 2017