Bearded Collie Dog
Information, Behavior and Training

The Bearded Collie dog will make a loyal and playful companion. This breed is commonly referred to as the "Beardie" and is known for its famous "Beardie Bounce", a cheerful bounding to greet you, to check what's over that fence or just to play.

With a history of herding sheep for the Scottish shepherds, Birdies have lots of energy to spare.

As the name implies, Birdies have long facial hair that distinguishes them from other types of collies.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

Breed History

Also known as the Highland Collie, Highland Sheepdog, Mountain Collie and Hairy Mou'ed Collie, the Bearded Collie dog's history is shrouded in mystery. There are several theories and legends regarding its origin.

According to one story, in the early 1500s, a Polish merchant traded a shipment of grain for sheep. He brought 6 Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to move the flock. A local Scottish shepherd was so impressed by the herding abilities of these dogs that he traded several of his sheep for them. These dogs were then bred with local Scottish sheepdogs and, soon, first working Bearded Collies were born.

According to another theory, the Bearded Collie dog, along with other shaggy haired herding breeds, descends from the Komondor of Central Europe. This theory has more proponents than the first one.

This breed became particularly popular at the end of the Victorian era when they were cherished both as working dogs and show dogs. The appearance of the modern Bearded Collie Dog is attributed to G.O. Willison, who bred many Bearded Collies for the show ring in the post-World War II era.

The first specimens arrived in the United States in the late 1950s. A couple of decades later, in 1976, the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club and categorized under the herding group. Today, this breed is kept mostly as a popular family companion.

Bearded Collie Puppy

Physical Characteristics

Overall, the Bearded Collie is a medium-sized dog with a distinctive coat and bright, intelligent expression. Boasting an aura of strength and agility, this breed appears perfectly suited for the work it was purposely bred for.

The body of a Bearded Collie dog is overall long and lean, without appearing heavy. The strong neck is kept slightly arched and blends well into the shoulders. The deep chest leads to well-sprung ribs. The back is level. The tail is set low and boasts a noticeable upward swirl at the tip. When the dog is aroused, the tail may be raised but is never kept beyond a vertical line.

The forelegs are straight and covered with shaggy hair. The flexible pasterns appear strong. The muscular and powerful hind legs are also thoroughly covered with shaggy hair. The feet are oval in shape, with arched toes and hair between the pads.

The Bearded Collie's well-proportioned head boasts a broad, flat skull. The eyes are large and very expressive. The large nose is square in shape. The medium-sized ears hang low and are covered in long hair. The strong, white teeth must meet in a scissors bite.

The coat is double, with a soft, furry undercoat and a harsh, shaggy top coat. The coat drops naturally to either side. The long facial hairs form the typical beard. Newborn puppies are black, blue, brown or fawn with or without white markings. As the darkest specimens mature, their coat lightens in color, transforming into various shades of gray.

    Height Weight
  Male 21 to 22 inches 40 to 60 pounds
  Female 20 to 21 inches 40 to 60 pounds


The Bearded Collie dog is described as being the perfect example of enthusiasm. Romping from one room to another, it's assumed that this breed's bouncy nature derives either from his herding style, which encompasses barking and bouncing around to get a stubborn sheep to move, or from his tendency to bounce among the thick vegetation in hopes of locating stray sheep. Whatever the case, in a domestic setting, this breed will continue to bounce about, spreading joy with his clownish demeanor.

Bearded Collie Sitting

If you are looking for a keen watchdog, this breed fits the role perfectly. It's in these dogs' nature to sound the alarm for anything unusual. However, when the barking is targeted towards people entering your property, it's usually more a warm welcome than anything else.

Bearded Collies love children, and their high activity level makes them active playmates. However, never leave a dog and a child unsupervised and alone. Young children in particular are at risk of being involved in overly rambunctious play which can lead to injuries.

This breed is, for the most part, non-aggressive and will welcome other dogs to his "flock" as long as they are introduced properly. He may be tempted to chase the average fleeing cat, but mostly out of play. Other small pets do best if introduced from an early age, but their interactions may require close supervision. Early socialization in Bearded Collie puppies will increase chances for a pieceful coexistence with other pets.

Bearded Collie training can pose some challenges, but obedience training is a must with this breed. While they are eager to learn, they also have a bit of a stubborn, independent streak. Use positive reinforcement training to motivate them.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

Bearded Collies are not a breed for everyone. They require lots of exercise, training and grooming, which may be a whole lot for somebody leading a busy lifestyle. The best owner has space, time and the will to meet this breed's needs. If you are away for most of the day, your pet will get bored, feel lonely and may feel compelled to engage in destructive behaviors.

Because the Bearded Collie dog doesn't like confinement, it's best not to keep him alone in the yard or at home for too long. You may also want to check that fence line; these dogs are talented escape artists! Life in the city is typically not suitable for this breed due to its tendency to bark excessively and its need for vigorous exercise.

Activity and Exercise

This breed requires loads of exercise and mental stimulation in order to be happy and healthy. When young, Bearded Collies tend to be avid jumpers and rowdy dogs that engage in rambunctious play.

Channel this breed's energy with at least two long walks a day and some interactive, fun games. This breed excels in several doggie sports such as dog agility trials and basic and advanced obedience. Once those exercise needs are met, you can relax and enjoy a much calmer dog: a tired Beardie is ultimately a good Beardie!

Bearded Collie Laying Down

Bearded Collie Grooming

As you may imagine, a Bearded Collie dog can be quite a handful when it comes to grooming. If you live on a farm, expect just about anything to cling to his coat. Expect to find mud, burrs, snow, and even fecal matter. If you are a fastidious housekeeper, this shaggy breed may not be for you.

Without frequent brushing, the Bearded Collie dog will transform into a matted mess. As an average shedder, you will also need to brush the coat to collect the dead hairs that get trapped within the coat instead of falling to the ground. And don't forget to clean that beard after each meal! If you are not up to task, you can always ask your groomer to trim that coat into a cute "puppy cut".

Health Concerns

While Bearded Collies are overall healthy dogs, some of the conditions this breed is predisposed to include hypothyroidism, Addison's disease, hip dysplasia and allergies.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Purchasing a Bearded Collie puppy from reputable Bearded Collie breeders may help reduce the chances for hereditary disorders.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Three Bearded Collie Dogs

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Bearded Collie puppies is between 13 and 15 years.

Final Thoughts...

The Bearded Collie dog breed is not a very common breed. Yet, those who adopt these dogs often give them up because they fail to fully understand their needs. If you think you have what it takes to own this breed, you can look for your best friend in a Bearded Collie rescue or you can find a reputable Bearded Collie dog breeder.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Bearded Collie rescue and adoption center. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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