- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Group: AKC Herding
- Best Suited For: Families with children, active singles and seniors, houses with yards, farms
- Temperament: Independent, enthusiastic, intelligent, obedient
Great Scot! The Bearded Collie is one of Scotland furriest and loyal imports. Cheerful and happy-go-lucky, the Beardie, as this breed is affectionately called, is affectionate, playful and lively. A wonderful playmate for children and a friend for life, the Bearded Collie loves to be near its family. Smart, strong and focused, this breed is still a staple on Great Britain farms as it puts in a solid day’s work and never complains (he works for treats and belly rubs!).
One of the things you’ll notice about the Beardie is that it has a bounce in its step, which can no doubt be attributed to its exuberant and high-energy personality. But even though this dog is bubbly and boisterous, it can also be stubborn and strong-willed as well. Read on to learn if the Bearded Collie is the right fit for your lifestyle.
Cheerful and happy-go-lucky, the Beardie, as this breed is affectionately called, is affectionate, playful and lively.
One of Britain’s oldest dog breeds, the Bearded Collie became popular in Scotland at the end of the Victorian era. Valued as both working and competition show dogs, the Beardie was also known as the Highland Collie, the Hairy Mou’ed Collie, the Mountain Collie and the Hairy Mountain Dog.
It’s hard to trace the Bearded Collie’s roots, but photographs date the breed back to the 1770s. Experts argue about the linage of the Beardie. Some say it’s the result of breeding the Scotch Collie and the Bobtail, or Old English Sheepdog. Others say this dog is a cross between the Polish Lowland Sheepdog and Old Welsh Grey. Another school of thought believes the Bearded Collie came from the Icelandic Dog or the Polski Owczarek Nizzinny.
Food / Diet
If you’re feeding your Bearded Collie a store-bought dry kibble, always go for a high-quality brand or food. If you are making the food yourself, be careful of adding too much protein. This can cause allergic symptoms. The proper amount should fall between 18 and 25 percent protein. Be aware of other ingredients in your dog food of choice. Avoid wheat, soybean and preservatives, and never feed your dog table scrapes.
A wonderful playmate for children and a friend for life, the Bearded Collie loves to be near its family.
Like most herding breeds, the Bearded Collie is quite trainable. This dog needs performance-based tasks, and loves any kind of obedience, agility, herding and utility training. Sporting an enthusiastic personality, you can take your Beardie out of the field and put it in the show ring as well. But owners should be aware that the Bearded Collie has an independent streak that can make training a challenge at times. But remember, this is a great way to bond with your dog and burn off excess energy. Because this breed gets bored easily, you’ll need to change your training tasks in order to make these sessions interesting.
A Bearded Collie will stand about 20 to 26 inches and weight anywhere between 40 to 60 pounds.
Temperament / Behavior
A happy breed, the Bearded Collie comes complete with an inquisitive personality. This breed loves its family without being possessive or protective. You’ll find this dog to be attentive and self-confident, as well as happy-go-lucky. The Beardie is a natural herder, and will not only herd animals, but people as well. Even though this breed is famous for being a noisy barker, the Beardie doesn’t make a good watchdog. The Bearded Collie shouldn’t be shy or aggressive. For the best training results, you’ll need to be a firm leader, and always provide plenty of opportunities for exercise to ensure a stable dog.
Common Health Problems
Although the Bearded Collie is a healthy breed, some problems owners may be faced with may include Addison’s disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, cerebrovascular disease, congenital elbow luxation, eye issues, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
The Bearded Collie has an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years.
This is a herding dog, so the Bearded Collie needs to be active. It’s what the breed was developed to do, so they need to be put to work. Because it needs to be kept busy, this breed wouldn’t be the best choice for an apartment – the Beardie would do best in a large yard or even in a farming environment.
Smart and energetic, you’ll want to keep your Bearded Collie happy by keeping it busy. There are plenty of ways to do that. This breed loves the outdoors, so brink it along on a long walk, jog, hike or bike ride. Or take training up a notch and get your dog into agility competitions. Or put your Bearded Collie to work in a way that benefits the community and train it as a therapy dog, a job well suited from this breed. The Beardie has had much success in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
A happy breed, the Bearded Collie comes complete with an inquisitive personality.
The American Kennel Association says this about the breed: “With an aura of strength and agility, the Bearded Collie was bred for centuries as a companion and servant of man. Collie is the generic Scottish word for dogs that herd sheep, and the Beardie’s long, lean body and agile movement make him well-suited to that task.” The AKC first recognized this breed in 1976.
The Bearded Collie’s fur was developed to protect them from Scotland’s harsh weather. Parted down their back, this dog’s fur falls at the same length on both sides. In terms of colors, Bearded Collies have black, blue, brown or fawn, along with white markings. As the dog gets older, the Bearded Collie’s coat can lighten, but only if it has a “fading” gene.
Look at all that long hair – you know that your Bearded Collie is going to need a lot of upkeep to keep it looking its best. You’ll need to brush it at least once a week (for up to an hour) in order to keep tangles and mats at bay. You may want to consider using a conditioning spray to keep fur manageable between brushing sessions. If this seems like too much work, you can always keep your Beardie’s fur trimmed to a manageable length. An average shedder, the Bearded Collies will shed year round, but during the change of seasons, its coat will shed more.
Cute little bundles of fur, Bearded Collie puppies grow up fast. With its long coat, you’ll need to start brushing early, as this breed loses its puppy coats between the ages of 9 and 18 months.
Photo credit: Eric Isselee/Shutterstock