Bearded Collie

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Get the information you need to know if the Bearded Collie's a good match for you in our guide.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
12 to 14 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

High

Shed Level:

High

Temperament:
Quick LearnerAdventurousHigh Energy
Coat Color:
BlackBlueBrownFawn

Best For

Bearded Collies are best for pet parents with homes with ample outdoor space; these pups love outdoorsy activities. Beardies are friendly pups who are good with kids, other dogs and cats in the home, and they're a great choice for a first-time pup parent.

Bearded Collie Traits

What makes the Bearded Collie a Bearded Collie? Let's find out how they stack up.

Bearded Collie Temperament

Inquisitive and independent, Bearded Collies are born leaders. These highly intelligent dogs thrive on activity, so you’ll want to keep their minds and bodies busy. Otherwise, if they get bored, Beardies might come up with their own list of fun activities (think: herding friends and family, stampeding wildly through the house or destroying the furniture).

Like Border Collies, Beardies were bred for herding sheep. Their herding behavior can be an issue in chaotic households with young kids and other animals. But this doesn’t mean they can’t excel in family homes. In fact, your ever-alert Beardie will eagerly steer friends and family out of danger. With early training, you can help your Beardie know when it’s OK to use those herding instincts.

Bearded Collies are rambunctious at all ages, which can be entertaining for friends and family. These athletic dogs love chasing, playing and running alongside you while doing everything from hiking to running errands. Instead of being left at home while you jog, Beardies would love to come with you. There’s no such thing as too much activity for these pups.

Bearded Collie dogs’ high energy level and keen intelligence can sometimes lead to a bit of a stubborn streak, especially in training. It’s not that they don’t want to obey; they just think their way is better. Starting their training while they’re puppies will help them see that you’re pretty smart yourself.

How to Care for a Bearded Collie

Bearded Collies are incredibly smart, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need help from their human families. This medium-sized dog needs lots of exercise, daily grooming and plenty of human interaction. As independent thinkers, they thrive with firm structure and expectations so that they don’t stray too far off course.

Bearded Collie Health

Bearded Collies are a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 14 to 15 years, but they are prone to a few health issues. Look out for these Bearded Collie health conditions in advance so that you can keep your pet healthy and happy.

  • Cancer: As with many dog breeds, cancer is the No. 1 cause of death in Bearded Collies. The best method of prevention and identification is to schedule annual or semi-annual physicals, depending on your vet’s recommendation. If your Beardie gets cancer, your vet will help you figure out the best treatment depending on your dog’s age and type and stage of cancer.
  • Autoimmune Disease: It’s uncommon, but some Bearded Collies develop autoimmune diseases, like hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease), thyroiditis, or low platelet or red blood cell count. If your vet suspects an autoimmune disease, they will probably order blood tests. Most autoimmune diseases are treatable with medications.
  • Hip Dysplasia: Though they’re less prone to joint issues than large breeds like Saint Bernards or Newfoundlands, researchers have found that about 5.3 percent of Beardies develop hip dysplasia, the condition where the hip joint is malformed and rubs, causing your dog pain. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping or decreased mobility. Treatments range from weight management to physical therapy to surgery, depending on the severity.
  • Eye Problems: Those warm, inquisitive eyes? Sometimes they cloud over with cataracts as your Beardie ages. Fortunately, cataract surgery is common and effective.
  • Ear Buildup: Your Bearded Collie’s hairy, floppy ears can get dirty and infected without frequent cleaning. Especially after hiking, swimming or frolicking in dirty places, your pup’s ears should be checked for debris and wax buildup. Canine ear care could include ear wipes, liquid ear cleanser or medicated ear flushes, the latter only at your vet’s recommendation.

Bearded Collie History

The Bearded Collie breed’s origin and history can be traced back to the Scottish Highlands, where the dogs were raised to help shepherds by herding and driving sheep across the rugged land. The dogs were prized for their energy, wit and stamina—they worked long days. Because of their role and geography, they were often called Highland Collies or Mountain Collies. Somewhere along the line, these humble herding dogs found their way into the homes of the Scottish elite. They became quite fashionable, even appearing in portrait paintings with their families. By the early 1800s, the Bearded Collie types had developed a rather standard look, temperament and set of traits that match the breed of today. Beardies were a well-kept secret of the Scottish Highlands; they made their way to the United States only in the mid-20th century. The American Kennel Club formally recognized the breed in 1983.

So, where should you look for Bearded Collie puppies? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. The cost of a pup can range from $1,500 to $2,500. For that price, you’re likely getting a pup who’s been screened for health and temperament issues and may come with pedigree papers. If you’re interested in adopting a Beardie, reach out to a Bearded Collie rescue organization or your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Do Bearded Collies shed?

Yes, Bearded Collies shed moderately, so prepare to sweep and vacuum regularly! However, daily brushing can help reduce the effects of your Bearded Collie’s shedding.

How long do Bearded Collies live?

Bearded Collies’ life expectancy is 12 to 14 years. Providing your dog with high-quality food, consistent exercise and regular visits to the vet will boost your pet’s chances of a long, healthy life.

Are Bearded Collies good family dogs?

Yes, Bearded Collies are good family dogs. Raising a Bearded Collie with kids is a great idea; with all their energy, your kids and your Beardie can wear each other out.

Do Bearded Collies bark?

Yes, Bearded Collies do bark, but not excessively. This herding dog breed will bark to greet guests or when “rounding up” the family during playtime.

How big do Bearded Collies get?

Bearded Collies don’t get very big; they’re considered a medium-sized dog. They can get up to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 55 pounds.

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Top Takeaways

Bearded Collies are clever and energetic, making them great pets for outdoorsy families or active couples or singles. They need a lot of exercise, attention and daily grooming to stay happy and healthy. However, pet parents willing to put in the work and time will be rewarded with an incredibly friendly, loving, rambunctious sidekick for runs, hikes and daily adventures.

Expert input provided by veterinarians Amanda Williams, DVM, of Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in Jupiter, Fla., and Linda Aronson, DVM, of PetShrink, Emilia Byrum, KPA-CTP, RVT, owner and head trainer at Maggie’s Foundation: Pet Training LLC in Indianapolis, Ind.

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