Vibrant and highly intelligent, Bearded Collies have minds of their own. They are the ideal loveable and entertaining companion for children and adults in active households.
Known initially as Highland Collie and Mountain Collie, the energetic Bearded Collies were rugged herding dogs that helped control cattle and drove them to market.
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Where Did the Bearded Collie Dog Breed Originate?
The origin of the Bearded Collie remains shrouded in mystery.
Working dogs with shaggy coats like the Mountain Collie, Highland Collie, or Scotch Sheepdog have existed in Scotland and other European countries for many centuries.
The Bearded Collie is a descendant of the Polish Lowland Sheepdogs brought to the Scottish Highlands in the 1500s. Dogs recognizable as this breed appear in the portraits of wealthy Scots during the 1700s.
In Victorian times the Beardies were popular show dogs on the Scottish circuit.
This herding breed almost became extinct during World War ll and is still a rare breed today.
The Bearded Collie became very scarce by the 1940s, but the breed was revived when Mrs. G Olive Willison asked for a Shetland Sheepdog but received a Bearded Collie puppy instead.
Mrs. Willison was very fond of her bitch and searched for a mate for her, establishing the Bothkennar Bearded Collies, which provided the foundation for the modern breed.
The Bearded Collie eventually spread to other continents. The first litter of Beardies was born in the US in 1967.
The Bearded Collie dog breed entered the American Kennel Club (AKC) Stud Book ten years later, and it became a charter member of the AKC Herding Group
What Does a Bearded Collie Look Like?
The Bearded Collie’s large, expressive eyes are set far apart, which gives the dog an intelligent and enquiring expression.
You cannot be blamed for thinking this furry companion understands every word you are saying. The dog’s general appearance conveys power and strength.
The Bearded Collie has a deep chest, which reaches its elbows, with powerful and muscular hind legs. Its strong and slightly arched neck is in proportion to the length of its long and lean body.
Your Beardie has a broad and flat skull with a robust and full muzzle and large, square nose.
The shoulders slope well back, while the legs are straight and vertical.
The dog’s medium-length coat follows the natural lines of its body. This furry creature has long hair covering its hanging ears, its tail, and its arched toes.
How Big will Your Beardie Get?
Your bearded buddy will only reach their adult size at two or three years old. An adult male stands 21 to 22 inches and the females 20 to 21 inches at the shoulder. Their weight can range from 45 to 55 pounds.
Coat / Hair
Bearded Collies are born either black, blue, brown, or fawn and with or without white markings. As your Beardie matures, its coat will lighten.
A puppy that was born black may become any shade of gray from black to slate to silver. Brown dogs will lighten from chocolate to sandy, and the blues and fawns will show shades from dark to light.
Dogs without the fading gene will remain the color they were at birth.
They occasionally have tan markings on their eyebrows, inside their ears, on the cheeks, under the tail, and on the legs where the white joins the primary color.
Pigmentation follows the coat color of the dog. The eye rims, nose, and lips are black in a born black dog, while born blue pigmentation is blue-gray.
Ideal Beardie Home
If you have a large yard with a high fence, you can provide the ideal home for a Bearded Collie. Beardies enjoy a good run or climb and can jump a standard four-foot fence. They are also enthusiastic diggers.
Make sure that you have the right size fence in place to keep your furry friend safe. If you live in an apartment or smaller home, you’ll have to take your Beardie for regular walks.
Personality: Are Bearded Collies Good Family Pets?
The Bearded Collie is an active and intelligent working dog. He has been bred as a companion and is stable and self-confident, showing no signs of aggression.
Even though your Beardie will be super protective of your family, he won’t make a good watchdog. If you need a vigilant watchdog, consider a border collie.
Bouncy, Bubbly Companion
He has a bouncy, bubbly personality and makes a boisterous playmate for children. Some Bearded Collies like to swim, but that depends on the individual dog.
He can be a great companion to older people too, but needs training not to jump, as Beardies tend to jump up to greet you.
It’s best to have your furry companion obedience trained as Beardies are extremely independent and can be stubborn.
The Bearded Collie is a working dog that must use its energy.
Boredom can make them do naughty things such as opening cupboards and taking food, stealing food from kitchen counters, and chewing your television remote control.
Boredom can also lead to barking, and they shouldn’t be left alone for too long as they’re attached to people.
Barking is their form of communication, and sometimes they bark because they love getting attention from humans and other animals.
Your puppy’s temperament will be affected by heredity factors, training, and socialization. Choose a puppy who is curious, playful, and sociable. Be wary of puppies who attack their littermates or hide in the corner.
Individual dogs have different temperaments. A breeder can help you choose a dog to fit your personality and lifestyle.
It’s also essential to meet one of the parents to ensure that you’re comfortable with their temperaments. If you want to know what your furry friend will be like when he grows up, it is essential that you meet his relatives.
How to Care for Your Bearded Collie
Besides the regular brushing of their coats, the Bearded Collie also needs dental hygiene and nail care.
You’ll find that brushing your Beardie’s teeth at least two or three times a week helps prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Do Bearded Collies Shed a Lot?
Your furry companion’s double coat needs a lot of grooming – at least a weekly brushing for 30 minutes to an hour with a bristle or pin brush to remove tangles and reduce shedding.
The undercoat is soft and furry, while the outer coat is harsh and shaggy.
Brush your Beardie puppy of up to 18 months at least three times a week. You need good combs and brushes for grooming, as your dog’s skin and health will suffer if you don’t keep mats and tangles out of its coat.
You’ll want to give your Beardie a daily brushing when he sheds once a year, for two to four weeks, as this will keep the level of loose hair under control.
You can shave your furry friend, but he might look silly without his coat.
Cut your dog’s nails regularly to keep them short and prevent yourself from being scratched when he jumps up to greet you. It will also keep his feet in good condition
Get your dog accustomed to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy as it’ll make it easier to take him to the vet and groomer when he’s older.
Touch his paws frequently and look inside his mouth and ears. Give rewards during praise and grooming and make it a positive experience.
Weekly Health Exam
It’s essential to do a weekly exam for potential health problems. Check for sores, rashes, signs of infection, and inflammation such as redness or tenderness on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet.
Your dog’s ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and the eyes must be clear without redness or discharge.
Beardies are adaptable dogs, but their exercise and grooming needs make them high-maintenance dogs to own, especially if you’re a first-time dog owner.
They’re energetic dogs that need a lot of exercises – at least half an hour three to four times a week.
However, they make great pets for families that can keep up with their high energy levels and exercise needs.
They’re well suited to compete in dog sports such as obedience, rally, and agility.
Feeding /Bearded Collie Food Consumption
How Much to Feed Your Bearded Collie?
Feed your Bearded Collie puppy three to four small meals a day. A mature dog should receive two meals per day.
- Your Beardie should get 20% to 22% protein per day, of which the primary source is beef, fish, egg, and lamb. Protein is an essential nutrient as it’s the building blocks of muscles, hair, skin, and nails.
- They also need 5% to 8% fat in their diet. It provides energy and maintains normal kidney functioning, as well as a shiny coat and skin.
- Fiber will help maintain your dog’s body weight and helps manage constipation and diarrhea. Bearded Collies should have 2% to 5% fiber in their diet.
Multivitamins, Antioxidants, Fish Oil/Omega-3, and 6 Fatty Acids need to be included in your dog’s diet as these will help with digestion, reproduction, and metabolism.
What’s the Best Dog Food for Your Bearded Collie?
In the United States, dog food must comply with the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ nutritional standards. Don’t feed your Bearded Collie dog food that doesn’t meet these standards.
Look for the nutritional adequacy statement on the food’s packaging. Ensure that the life stage specified is appropriate for your dog; for example, puppies shouldn’t be eating adult food.
Puppies need enough protein to facilitate proper growth. Eating adult dog food can also leave a puppy with permanent damage.
Your dog’s food must predominantly consist of meat. Non-meat proteins may lack the amino acids required by dogs.
How Long do Bearded Collies Live For?
The life expectancy of Bearded Collies is 12 to 15 years. They’re healthy dogs in general, but they’re prone to certain diseases and health conditions.
- They can develop cataracts when they’re two to five years old. Bearded Collies can develop progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), retinal dysplasia, and corneal dystrophy.
- Hip dysplasia is the only orthopedic disease that occurs regularly in Beardies.
- They can suffer from Autoimmune diseases such as hypothyroidism, lupus, and blood clotting diseases.
- Beardies seem prone to Addison’s Disease, which occurs when the adrenal glands fail to produce enough hormones to keep the body functioning normally.
- They can develop hypothyroidism when the body doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms can include dry skin and coat, hair loss, susceptibility to other skin diseases, weight gain, and behavioral changes.
- Allergies can cause itchy skin.
- The hair in their ear canals makes them prone to ear infections.
- Bearded Collies can also suffer from a rare skin disease – follicular dysplasia.
- They’re increasingly suffering from heart disease and epilepsy, and obesity can be a significant problem for them.
How Much Is a Bearded Collie Puppy?
A Bearded Collie puppy can cost you anything from $1500 – $2500.
The average litter is five or six puppies. If you’re going to buy a puppy from a Bearded Collie breeder, consider the following:
- Ask to see where the breeder is raising the puppies. Make allowance for puppy odor, but it should not be unhygienic.
- Does the mother dog look happy and healthy? Ask to see the sire as well, if possible.
- Does the breeder have a good relationship with the dogs, e.g., unknowingly stroking the dog’s head/the dog looking adoringly at the breeder?
- Do the dogs in the household appear happy and healthy?
- Does the breeder belong to dog clubs, and how much experience does the breeder have?
- Do the dogs have any titles?
- What is the longevity of their lines?
- Ask about guarantees and if you can expect anything in return if something should happen to the puppy?
- Ask to see pedigrees, certificates, medical records, and so on.
Bearded Collie Breeders
You can obtain more information about reputable breeders from the Bearded Collie Club of America.
The website advises you on what to look out for when buying a puppy from a breeder: Suggestions include looking at where the breeder is raising the puppies, the mother’s condition, and the dogs’ relationship with the breeder.
The American Kennel Club has a marketplace for puppies.
Bearded Collie Rescue / for Adoption
The following websites contain details about Bearded Collie rescue organizations:
Bearded Collie vs. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog originated in Britain while the Bearded Collie is from Scotland.
The Old English sheepdog is bulkier and heavier than the Bearded Collie. It’s also considered more intelligent than the Beardie, but has a shorter lifespan.
The bark of the Old English sheepdog is different from that of the Beardie. The dog has a strong, deep bark with a rough tone.
Curious about Bearded Collie Mixes?
Poodle and Bearded Collie Mix (Beardoodle)
The adorable Beardoodle is a combination of the Poodle and the Bearded Collie. It’s an excellent family dog that loves playing with children and other pets. It also does well when left on its own.
The Beardoodle came into being when breeders began mixing purebred dogs to produce puppies with both parent breeds’ desired traits. The adult dog weighs 40 to 60 pounds and can live 12 to 13 years.
It’s a very active dog that will need 60 to 90 minutes of exercise a day, and a lack of exercise can lead to boredom and destructive behavior.
Is the Bearded Collie the Right Dog for You?
The Bearded Collie can be one of the best dogs you’ll ever own if it gets the proper training, exercise, and care.
It’s an excellent dog for active families but can become destructive with a lack of exercise. It’s a high maintenance dog for first-time dog owners, as it requires extensive grooming and exercise.
Consider your living situation when you want to adopt or buy a Beardie. Do you have enough space at home, such as a big yard or time to take the dog for regular long walks?
The dog also requires regular human interaction and might not do well in families who are at work for most of the day.
Further reading: Similar Breeds to the Bearded Collie
You can click on the links below to read more about dog breeds similar to the Bearded Collie.
Consider activity levels, temperament, grooming, potential health issues, and trainability to choose the dog that’s best suited to your and your family’s lifestyle.
If you make the right decision, getting a dog will be the best decision that you ever make. Compare the breeds before making a decision.