Although it is possible to keep a Bearded Collie as a pet, they are very energetic dogs, and as such, they work well as herding dogs for both sheep and cattle. Their history takes them back to the Scottish Highlands where they performed their duties as a working dog doing just that, herding the sheep. They are a very strong and reliable breed that is able to endure the harshest working conditions, even that of a difficult herd of sheep or cattle.
During the last few decades the working class of bearded collies started to become obsolete, but with the efforts of some shepherds and breeders, it survived and began to become more popular. Although native to the Scottish Highlands, the Bearded Collie has been exported to Australia and the United States but is most at home among people who desire the services of a sheepdog that is both independent and possesses a high level of intelligence. The sole purpose of the Working Bearded Collie Society is to preserve the abilities of non-registered class of working Bearded Collies from that of their ancestors.
The registered bearded collie is not well-liked by the shepherds of Wales, Scotland, and other places because the show breeding communities put little attention toward breeding them to be "hardy and reliable." In addition, those that are bred as show dogs tend to have excessive coats. In order to combat this problem, some countries such as Sweden and the United States have created breeding programs specifically for working bearded collies. Both countries have breed clubs who take a stand toward encouraging breeders to concentrate on qualities outside of what one sees on the dog's exterior.
The bearded collie has gained the nickname as "bouncing beardie" possibly because of its tendency to work in areas hidden from the sight of the sheep, and then bouncing in order to keep the herd in sight. It may also be the result of the way it handles a stubborn member of the herd, barking and bouncing along on its forelegs in an effort to gain control of the ewe. Whatever the reason may be, it's obvious that the bearded collie is a working breed that must use both bark and bounce motions in order to maintain control of the sheep or cattle under its watch. They also tend to stand upright when working rather than lurking in the underbrush or other areas.
A bearded collie has been bred for many years as a working dog, and with the increase in popularity today, they will regain their rightful place as a preferred sheepdog. They have survived in spite of a temporary decline in popularity, and with breeding clubs encouraging the breeding of working dogs instead of just show dogs, there is hope that the breed will soon regain any popularity it lost in the past few decades.