ALL DOG BREED PROFILES

Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie dog breed
John Walton
Written by John Walton

23The Bearded Collie, also known as Beardie and Highland Collie, is a dog of medium size that originated in Scotland. This beautiful dog’s original purpose was as a herding dog. An excellent working and sheepdog, today this dog breed is known as an affectionate family dog that is also great when it comes to dog sports and competing.

The Bearded Collie has a strong and lean body that can endure almost any weather and terrain. Their most famous characteristic is the fluffy and long double coat that covers the chin as well hence the nickname ‘Beardie’. In this article we are going to cover the most important characteristic and traits of this amazing dog breed. Whether you are interested in purchasing a puppy of this breed or you are just curious, read on to find more about the magnificent Highland Collie!

Breed Characteristics:

AdaptabilityAbove Average
TrainabilityHigh
Health and GroomingAbove Average
All Around FriendlinessHighest
Exercise NeedsHigh

Dog Breed Group:Herding Dogs
Height:1 foot, 8 inches to 1 foot, 10 inches tall at the shoulder
Weight:Generally 45 to 55 pounds
Life Span:12 to 14 years

When we speak of adaptability, the Bearded Collie adapts relatively well to most conditions; however, if you live in a small apartment then this dog breed might not be the one for you. That is because Collies are energetic and love to move a lot even though they are of medium size. Having this in mind, they would prefer either a spacious apartment with longer daily walks or a house with a big yard.

The Bearded Collie is not a bad choice for people who are inexperienced with dogs because they are not very stubborn and they love to learn so the training is easier from the start. However, they are very sensitive in a sense that they do not like grumpy owners or noisy environment. Yes, they are energetic and playful dogs but that does not mean that they would appreciate a chaotic household or a chaotic owner who leads a hectic life.

It is also logical to assume that Bearded Collies do not tolerate being alone. They love their owners so much that they cannot stand being alone for a long period of time. If you ignore or leave your pet alone he will most likely become depressed, self-destructive or ill.

Bearded Collies tolerate cold weather well due to their long and thick coats. When it comes to hot weather they are a bit less tolerant so you should take better care of your dog during hot summers and make sure that he is never dehydrated.

Bearded Collies are extremely friendly, playful, energetic, lovely and enthusiastic. They are family dogs even though their history is related to working and herding. They are also known as an incredibly kid friendly dogs that are also dog-friendly. Additionally, they are not suspicious towards strangers, which makes them bad guardian dogs.

When it comes to health and grooming, you should know that Bearded Collies shed a lot. Their coats are thick, long and you will need to perform everyday cleaning, grooming and brushing in order for your pet to maintain his beautiful coat and great health. The good news is that they have 0 drooling potential and they are generally healthy. However, grooming is very difficult and if you are an inexperienced owner you will very possible need to hire a professional to take care of your dog’s coat from time to time. Their medium size means that they need more space than small dog breeds, which also includes everyday exercises. They also have a potential for weight gaining, which means that you should never overfeed your Collie.

Bearded Collies respond amazingly well to training and positive reinforcement. They are highly intelligent dogs that love to please their owners. Having in mind that it is in their blood to herd and be trained in general, they are pretty much accustomed to rough environments and being useful.

They do have a certain level of potential for mouthiness and prey drive, but it is not extreme. However, they have an extreme wanderlust potential, so you should never keep them off leash in dangerous or wild places. They will probably wander off and get lost. All in all, they love training, games and exercises so they need owners who know how to give them all that.

When it comes to exercise needs, they are pretty high. Bearded Collies are highly energetic dogs who require daily walks, games, playing and training. They should be trained from an early age in order to be socialized and trained properly. They respond the best to positive reinforcement and you should never be rough to them. The intensity of exercise depends on your Collie as an individual, and whether you spend more time outside or inside. It also depends whether you want your Collie to compete in dog sports or to do real herding.

Main Highlights
  • Bearded Collies do not like being left alone for a long period of time and they especially do not like being confined. They might become trouble makers or self-destructive otherwise.
  • This dog breed requires a lot of training and exercises, at least one hour per day.
  • It has been noted that some Collies react to monthly heartworm preventive, so it might be a better choice to go with daily preventive.
  • The Bearded Collie is known for having a thick coat that requires weekly brushing and regular grooming. It is also difficult to groom it by yourself so you might need a professional to do it instead.
  • This dog breed is not a good guard dog because he gets too friendly with strangers.
  • There are some famous Collies portrayed in popular media, such as the one in The Shaggy Dog and Hotel for Dogs.
  • In the original production of the play Peter Pan, the role of the dog named Nana was performed by a Bearded Collie.
  • This dog breed is excellent in dog sports, especially obedience and dog agility.
Breed History

The Bearded Collie’s country of origin is Scotland; however, this dog breed’s history is still pretty much mysterious. It is believed that a Polish merchant named Kazimierz Grabski brought a couple of Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to Scotland in the 16th century. Scottish shepherds were so much impressed with these dogs’ agility, speed and herding ability that they started breeding them with local Scottish dogs, which produced the Bearded Collies that we know today.

However, the person that is believed to be the original founder of this breed is Mrs. G. Olive Willison, who created the modern Collie in 1944 by mixing a Shetland Sheepdog with a gray dog from Scotland. These dogs are considered the founders of the modern breed we know today. G.O. Willison began actively breeding this breed after World War II, and by the 21st century this breed had gained popularity. The Bearded Collie Club of America was formed in 1969. This breed is ranked among the 100 most popular dog breeds according to AKC.

Size

The Bearded Collie is a dog of medium size. The males are a bit bigger and heavier than females. A male Bearded Collie is usually tall around 53–56 cm (21–22 in) while the female is 51–56 cm (20–22 in). The weight for both genders varies around 18–27 kg (40–60 lb).

Personality and Character

A Collie is famous for being energetic, intelligent, confident, enthusiastic, lovely, gentle and playful. His personality is often described as bouncy and independent which means that being with him is a joyous experience. Additionally, he is a wonderful playmate who loves being part of the family and hanging around with children.

You should be aware of the fact that every dog has a different personality, even though there are some specific traits for each breed. These are some of the most known ones for Bearded Collie, which means that as long as your puppy is healthy and trained properly, he will get most of this characteristics. Collie’s bubbly and fun personality is his most famous trait and having him as a family member is definitely fantastic.

Health and Potential Problems

Bearded Collies are known as generally healthy; however, this breed is prone to certain conditions and diseases that affect it more than other pure breeds. This does not mean that all of the Collies will get these conditions, but it is important to be aware of them so you can react on time and save your dog.

  • Allergies are pretty much common in all dog breeds, but it seems that Bearded Collies are more common than in the others. It has been noted that they react negatively to monthly heartworm preventive, which means that you should discuss this beforehand with your vet in order to avoid any unpleasantness. Other allergies might include skin and airborne problems. Ear infections are also some of the most common side-effects of allergies. The reason for allergy should be discovered as soon as possible so that the dog can be treated.
  • Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition which is when the thighbone does not fit properly into the hip joint. It can be diagnosed with X-ray screening. Some signs include lameness and pain. These dogs should not be bred as well. Arthritis might be one of the consequences of hip dysplasia.
  • Hypothyroidism is the condition which is caused by the extremely low level of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Some of the side effects include: low energy, obesity, mental dullness, infertility, drooping of the dog’s eyelids. It might even be the cause of irregular heat cycles in bitches. Hypothyroidism might even affect dog’s fur by making it darker, to fall out and brittle. In order to treat this condition a dog must receive daily medications.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is a disease that affects the eyes and leads to the gradual deterioration of the retina. Collies affected by it may become night blind, and later on even become completely blind; but they can lead normal lives as long as their surroundings remain the same as before.
  • Persistent Pupillary Membrane (PPM) represents the remnant of the fetal membrane that nourished the lenses of the eyes before birth and it should disappear before the puppy is 8 weeks old. However, if that does not happen it can lead to some minor eye problems which should be treated successfully with eye drops.
  • Addison’s disease is the condition that is caused by the insufficient production of glucocorticoids. This condition is rarely diagnosed because its symptoms are vague and include lethargy, gastric disturbances and an inability to tolerate stress. If a dog is treated with lifelong medications, he can lead a normal and happy life.
  • Other diseases include: cancer, arthritis, urologic diseases, cruciate ligament rupture (CLR) and skin problems.
Care Features

A person who wants to get a Bearded Collie should know that his coat is very difficult to groom and it is not unusual to hire a professional to do it instead. Additionally, unless you live in a huge and spacious apartment, this dog breed is not for you because these dogs are full of energy and love running around.

All in all, obedience training is a must, no matter which breed a dog belongs to. Having in mind that Bearded Collies’ original role was to herd cattle and sheep, they respond amazingly well to this kind of training and they love to please their owner. Just make sure to implement positive reinforcement, games, rewards and most importantly – patience and love.

Feeding Schedule

When it comes to recommended daily dosage of food, it should be 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dog food per one day, which should be divided into two meals, usually breakfast and lunch. Puppies should eat 3 to 4 cups daily.

However, according to your Beardie’s energy level, metabolism and the intensity of exercises, you should give him more if he spends more energy or less, if he is more of a couch potato type. Any extremity should be avoided because each can lead to health problems. Make sure buy food of high quality and include vitamins, vegetables and proteins.

Coat, Color and Grooming

The Bearded Collies are known for their thick, long, harsh and shaggy coat that protects them from harsh winters and rough terrains. That is also the reason why they used to be such great herding dogs and why they can tolerate cold winters. Additionally, it is also the reason why they got a nickname “Beardie”, because of long hair on their cheeks and lower lips. The recognized coat colors are: black, blue, brown, or fawn, with or without white markings.

Grooming is the difficult part here. The Bearded Collies require weekly grooming which sometimes require the help of a professional. Of course, you would need to brush and clean your pet every day, but the cutting of the fur should be done on a weekly and monthly basis.

When he is still a puppy with his soft fur, he would need grooming two or three times per week, but as he grows up, only once per week would be enough. Other necessary parts of care include regular teeth brushing, nail clipping and check-ups to make sure there are no injuries or infections on the body.

Children And Other Pets Compatibility

The Bearded Collies are famous for being affectionate, not only with their owners, but other family members and children as well. Filled with energy and love, they would make your days more joyous and your children would love him or her. Of course, training the puppy from an early age and teaching your children how to behave in their presence is a must for a happy household.

It has been noted that Collies go very well with other dogs (of the same or another breed), animals and even strangers. They are generally good-natured and that is why they are not suitable for the guarding post.

To sum up, we have covered the most important characteristics of a dog breed called the Bearded Collie, also known as Beardie and Highland Collie. You are now familiar with his physical traits, personality quirks and most importantly – his basic needs. If you are an active person who has time for spending time outdoors and lives in a big, cozy and spacious house or an apartment – then this dog breed might be for you.

He might be of medium size, but he loves moving around! He is also very affectionate and loves being loved, so you should never keep him alone but give him all your attention and love because you will feel as happy as your furry friend.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

Share On