Other names: Beardie
The Bearded Collie is intelligent and boisterous. Its stubbornness can be too much for some people and the dog needs almost constant attention to its fur: grooming will play a big part of the ownership of a Beardie. It is an independent dog but also loyal, exceptionally loving and demanding of human interaction. Here is a family dog for people who intend to be hands-on with their pet.
Key facts about the Bearded Collie
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Origins and history
The first recorded evidence of Bearded Collies came in the late 1500s. It is believed that the Beardie came about after an influx of highly successful Polish sheepdogs into the Scottish highlands. These sheepdogs were bred with local Scottish dogs (that were already hardy) to produce the Beardie. The current popularity of the Bearded Collie is said to be due to the breed’s winning of Best in Show at Crufts in 1989.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Bearded Collie
Female : Between 20 and 21 in
Male : Between 21 and 22 in
Female : Between 44 and 55 lb
Male : Between 44 and 55 lb
Beardies are born black, blue, fawn or brown. Some pups also have white markings. The colour of the fur of some members of the breed fades with age.
Type of coat
The rugged outer coat of the Beardie is weatherproof; beneath it is a thick, soft and insulating undercoat.
General speaking, the colour of the eyes of the Bearded Collie match the colour of its fur (i.e. black, brown, blue (grey-blue eyes) or fawn).
The Bearded Collie has a large head set on top of a robust and rectangular body; this gives the dog the impression of being ‘chunky’. Its eyes are set wide and high in its skull and ears are set close to the head. Its long tail is usually carried low.
Good to know
Bearded Collies can be easily bored. If they are not played with, exercised and groomed regularly their behaviour will suffer. What’s more, Beardies that feel enclosed in gardens try to escape. Their ability to bounce gives them an advantage over other dogs when trying to jump over fences.
The male of the breed tends to be more affectionate and outspoken than the female. However, both genders are exceptionally lovable and loyal. The charm of the Beardie is infectious, and its love of interaction with humans makes it a perfect family pet. This dog is affectionate but demands equal affection from its owner.
Beardies love to play. They thrive on interaction with humans and will often ‘play up’ to us if they think they have a captive audience. Their bounce brings laughter and their overall playful nature is one of the blessings of owning a Beardie.
The Bearded Collie was (and still is) a herding dog. Dogs such as these tend to be boisterous and energetic. They are not easily scared but their vitality and excitable demeanour are such that ‘calmness’ is rarely a feature of the house of a Beardie.
Beardies love connection: it is a way for them to learn about you and to seek more from your friendship (such as cuddles and play). If you have a good approach to training a Beardie you will create an exceptional loyal and obedient dog that likes nothing more than to please its owner.
Bearded Collies are not hunters. They are herding dogs, and as such do not have a high prey drive. They are reluctant to give way if they feel their way is the right way. This stubbornness can be eliminated with training.
Fearful / wary of strangers
This breed interacts well with new people and animals, and lives in relative harmony with other pets of the household. Some dogs can be protective of their owners but of the Beardie this protective manner brings no more than a bout of barking.
The Beardie was designed to work on its own. In its early years as a breed it would have herded stray animals from the foothills of the mountains of Scotland. This independence can leach into some of its other behaviour: toy hoarding and bossiness are two such traits which result from this background.
Behaviour of the Bearded Collie
Dogs need people, and the Beardie is no exception. He minds not being on his own for a limited period of time, but leaving any dog for a long time on its own is not advisable. Doing so can cause behavioural issues in even the most mild-mannered animal.
Easy to train / obedience
A very easily trained dog is the Beardie. Training however must be done right: a confident master who is consistent and varies their style of training is essential. Bearded Collies get bored easily of routine. A Beardie will eventually do what it is told but will not necessarily do so in an expected fashion. The breed’s intelligence makes it a formidable pupil!
The Beardie has an inquisitive mind; this manifests in its excellent ability to raise an alarm. Do not expect the Beardie to back up its vocalisation with aggression though. This dog is not known for its predatory exploits.
Tendency to run away
Although not possessing a high prey drive the Bearded Collie is nevertheless intrigued by small animals. The dog’s independence has a tendency to come to the fore when out on a walk, especially if its owner is not attentive.
If it finds itself in an enclosed space or at home for long periods of time without exercise and fresh air, the Bearded Collie will notify you of its displeasure by destroying your furnishings, doors, window sills and carpets.
Greedy / Gluttony
To own an active dog does not preclude someone from administering a strict dog food diet. Beardies require just two meals a day of high-quality dog food, ideally formulated for active dogs. Beardies are prone to obesity if fed too many treats or too much human food.
Great at raising the alarm with a hefty and chesty bark the Beardie is not a watch dog as such. Its strengths lie in controlling situations by vocal means. The Beardie is however a loyal dog and will not appreciate its owner coming under threat in some way.
A playful and intelligent dog, friendly and a fan of countless cuddles, the Bearded Collie makes for an excellent first dog. Be aware that Beardies like to play rough and bounce… a lot! They also require a lot of grooming.
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Bearded Collie in a flat
The Bearded Collie needs plenty of exercise. It is a dog bred for the outdoors and enjoys most of the time to be outside on an adventure. A garden dog, it can be if need be but it prefers long walks and interaction with the environment. A Beardie should have access to a securely fenced yard.
Need for exercise / Sporty
An energetic dog is the Beardie. With a dog such as this you need to be fit, and willing to devote a fair amount of time to long walks.
Travelling / easy to transport
Once trained, a Bearded Collie is exceptionally obedient, comfortable with new surroundings and enjoys new experiences. The Beardie is not a home-dog that is happier to stay in one place for a long period of time.
Bearded Collie and cats
Although Bearded Collies are not known for their high prey drive they are keen to investigate scurrying animals. Their bossiness tends to put them at loggerheads with cats, but their nature is such that they are capable of building friendships. If the cat is willing, the Beardie will also be.
Bearded Collie and dogs
Bearded Collies interact well with other dogs. They are independent but their design is such that dominance is renounced in favour of collaboration.
Bearded Collie and children
The bossiness of the Bearded Collie should not be a surprise, given its upbringing as a herding dog. Young children that run around the house may find themselves being herded like sheep by a Beardie.
Bearded Collie and the elderly
Because it is a dog that requires lots of exercise, interaction and socialisation the Bearded Collie may not be the perfect choice of dog for some of senior years. Grooming is also an essential part of Beardie ownership.
The price for a Bearded Collie can vary according to their age, gender and origins. Therefore, for a dog that is registered at the Kennel Club, they cost approximately £760.
Concerning your monthly budget to take care of a Bearded Collie, it can range between £100 to £150 per month.
Of a dog with such thick fur regular grooming is essential. In fact, the more frequent the grooming the better. Beardies should be brushed properly at least once a week for an hour to prevent their fur from becoming tangled, matted and uncomfortable.
Bearded Collies do not moult excessively but they do moult. Because they do, they are not ideal dogs to be cared for by people suffering with allergies. Cutting short the coat of a Beardie does not alleviate the problem of shedding.
Nutrition of the Bearded Collie
Bearded Collies need a diet rich in protein and calories. Refer to manufacturing guidelines for specific dog foods.
Health of the Bearded Collie
12 to 14 years.
Strong / robust
Bearded Collies demand exercise regardless of the weather. Originating in Scotland the breed is robust and not prone to illnesses, chills or sickness.
The Bearded Collie will not tolerate hot weather. Its double coat will make it particularly unhappy during the summer months.
The double coat of the Bearded Collie keeps the dog warm even in the snow.
Tendency to put on weight
Weight gain can be a feature of the Beardie. Some of the breed have a huge appetite and will eat to obesity but others are very particular about their diet.
- Addison’s disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Degenerative or inflammatory arthritis
- External parasites
- Eye problems
- Hip dysplasia
- Skin problems