There are some things you expect to be constants. Things you don't need to question.
For example, I've spent the majority of my life surrounded by Bearded Collies. I have always explained this by saying, they are a nightmare to keep clean but that have the loveliest natures. Complex and entertaining, sensitive but basically lovely. Some super bright, some (often the boys!) very definitely not pin-sharp - but all gentle souls that love people with differing levels of bounce.
In all my time around the breed I had only found one that was sharp, that bit without growling and meant it. But he had a weird growth on his head so I assumed he was slightly brain damaged.
My own lovely Sal loved people, but didn't like other dogs - but her excuse was having been isolated for her key learning months when she had parvovirus.
So yesterday I was stunned when I picked up Oscar from the groomers. He hadn't done anything bad, far from it.
"We love Oscar so much, he's so gentle - not like the other Beardies we see."
Apparently the others are really snappy, and that's an experienced groomer speaking - used to dealing with all sorts of bad behaviour.
That reminded me of a chap I'd met a few months before, I'd admired his Beardie and he'd shown me his arm. Many years previously he'd been grooming his dog when he says "it suddenly" bit him. The scar was enormous. He'd kept the dog and loved it to pieces, but had ever after booked him in for grooming at a salon.
I find this puzzling. Are grumpy, bitey Beardies national or local? Is our local groomer's experience isolated? Has someone mucked up the temperament in breeding for other qualities?
Or is it more complex than that? Is it that people who aren't very assertive feel drawn to Beardies because of their big-softy reputation. They don't groom the dog until it's full of knots. Then when it hurts and the dog bites the comb (all mine have tried that one!) the unassertive owner shows fear, backs off and calls up the grooming salon where another bitey Beardie adds to the emerging stereotype.
Oscar loves being groomed. Yesterday morning he was squeaking with excitement to see his lovely groomer, and he loves flirting with all the Poodles in there!
I do hope the essence of Beardies isn't being lost. The dog I love is beautiful on the outside, but it's the inner qualities that I admire the most. There's a poet inside every Beardie, look into those eyes and you are lost!
Do you groom? Is my perception of the Beardie of today still being big softies naive?