Bearded Collie

A Wonderful Long-Haired Dog who Loves Lots of Outdoor Activity

Bearded Collie

A Wonderful Long-Haired Dog who Loves Lots of Outdoor Activity

The Bearded Collie made its first reported appearance about 1514, when Kazimierz Grabski, a Scottish shepherd, supposedly traded several of his sheep with a Polish sea captain and got several Polish lowland sheepdogs in exchange. Subsequently, the sheepdogs were bred with Scottish dogs to produce predecessors to the Bearded Collie. These were subsequently called the "Highland collie," Highland sheepdog," or “Hairy moved collie." Excellent as working dogs, they herded cattle and sheep for local shepherds for centuries in Britain. However, during the Second World War, like many other cat and dog breeds, this dog became almost extinct.

In 1944, that changed when a Mrs. G. Olive Willison reportedly was to receive a Shetland sheepdog, but received a Bearded Collie instead. She was so intrigued by this dog that it spurred the advent of the modern Bearded Collie and the breed's ultimate resurrection. She bred her female Bearded Collie, Jeannie of Bothkennar, with a male named Bailie of Bothkennar who became the original founders of the breed, with only a couple of other registered bloodlines in its history.

It wasn’t until the end of the twentieth century that the Bearded Collie found popularity. In addition to being a very good-natured dog and wonderful pet, it is also a very good worker and an accomplished show dog.

The first Bearded Collies were produced in the United States in 1967, with the breed fully recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1976 and added to its "herding" classification. While still considered quite rare, they are nonetheless relatively popular as pets.


The Bearded Collie gets its name from the long hair or "beard" on its chin. The word "collie" is Scottish for "working dog." Medium in size, this dog stands about 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder, and weighs about 40 to 60 pounds in adulthood. The Bearded Collie has a long, lean body and a large, broad flat head. The ears hang close to the head and are covered with long hair. A shaggy double coat is waterproof and hangs down over the entire body. These traits give the Bearded Collie very suitable characteristics for outdoor living when necessary, even in inclement weather or on rugged terrain. When born, their colors usually include fawn, brown, blue or black, with or without white markings, which often lighten to a cream or light gray tone as they get older. The coat will change color several times before it reaches its final color by the time Bearded Collies are about a year old.

Physically, these dogs are very agile and quite athletic with a high level of energy. Their long, slender bodies facilitate their maintenance of balance while running, even on steep, hilly terrain.


A very lively, high-energy animal, the playful and affectionate Bearded Collie is defined by its effervescent, bubbly personality. Perfect as pets for children, these dogs thrive on human companionship. While considered generally obedient and cooperative, this dog’s exuberance and natural curiosity can sometimes get it into "trouble." To curb this mischievous inclination, it is advised that you engage this dog in vigorous daily exercise to exhaust its boundless reserves of energy. Avoid leaving this dog alone for long periods without mental or physical stimulation since boredom can be this dog’s worst enemy.

Also quite intelligent, if this dog detects that you are a “meek” owner who lacks the confidence to enforce strict rules, like many dogs, it will try to become the dominant force in your relationship which will derail any hope for proper behavior. You must maintain authority over your dog to guide it with clear expectations. As long as you are an affectionate but stern owner who provides consistent guidelines with rewards for compliance, your pet will be happy to follow your rules. As natural workers, these dogs have been bred to herd, and serve as excellent helpers in a farming environment. Once trained, a "beardie" will be a stable, confident and affectionate pet.


The Bearded Collie is a very charming, "bouncy" pet. Infectiously good-natured, these dogs bond easily with human owners, and love children as much as they will love this dog. A rambunctious breed who responds well to the constant excitement of a large, rambunctious family, this dog learns its manners best from a strong loving owner who gives it the framework it will depend on for the behavior you desire. These dogs prefer lots of outdoor activity even in inclement weather, and cannot tolerate the confinement of an apartment, a pen or any small space. They should have at least a relatively large yard to run and play in. They need a daily walk and someplace to run off leash on a regular basis. This dog should never be chained up or left alone while everyone goes off to work. If you cannot spend a lot of time with this wonderfully friendly dog, it is advised that you get another type of pet.


Bearded Collies have long, shaggy coats that need daily brushing. They can become matted easily, so careful attention to brushing on a daily basis is necessary, especially when the dog is shedding. If matting becomes particularly bad or daily brushing proves too difficult, engage professional grooming and clipping services every two months, to keep the coat tangle-free and comfortable.

Although Bearded Collies don't need to be bathed often, an occasional bath will be needed whether with dry shampoo or a traditional method. Because Bearded Collies spend so much time outside, they will be prone to picking up ticks and fleas, which will be hard to find within their long, hairy coats. Check often to make sure your pet has not become infested.


Bearded Collies are quite hardy, as you might expect, given their natural tolerance for outdoor life. They can be susceptible to Addison's disease, which occurs in about 2 to 3% of the population. They're also quite prone to "larger dog" diseases like hip dysplasia. However, their longevity is quite good, with an average life span of 14 to 15 years. Regular veterinary checkups should be maintained, as should regular checking for ticks and fleas whenever the dog has been out. Remember, the Bearded Collie's thick coat can conceal these pests quite easily, which can become a problem.

Are There Any Situations Where You Should Not Have A Bearded Collie As A Pet?

Although these extremely devoted and loyal dogs offer exceptional companionship, their exuberant energy level may make them a bit of a handful for older owners or those who don't have the time or energy to walk and exercise their pets as much as they should. A "quieter" and more sedate breed is recommended for anyone with physical limitations who may not be able to keep up with this very physical pet. In addition, if you live in an apartment, a Bearded Collie will not be happy. It cannot be stressed enough that these lovely, affectionate and very active pets are most content when kept occupied with lots of room to run and play.


AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Border Collie.

Retrieved March 24, 2013.


Retrieved March 24, 2013.

Border Collie.

Retrieved March 24, 2013.

Border Collie.

Retrieved March 24, 2013.


Retrieved March 24, 2013.

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