The Bearded Collie, sometimes called the Highland Collie, or the Mountain Collie, is one of Britain's oldest breeds with a long history as a sheep and cattle dog. In Britain, and especially in Scotland, they are still highly valued as a working dog. The breed was also used as a hillworker, as his agility and surefootedness together with his thick skin and weatherproof coat meant that he could work in the rainy and cold climate over any terrain. Great intelligence and independence made him an ideal working partner for the shepherd and drover. The Beardie was capable of being sent on a task alone, returning a few days later when his work was complete!
Bearded Collies enjoy being around people, including children (whom they try to herd) and other animals. They may bark when visitors arrive but are not known for protecting property. The Beardie is lighthearted and sometimes rambunctious. He is a sociable, charming companion and a great family pet. He needs lots of exercise and his coat requires frequent combing. Bearded Collies should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming but the coat must not be trimmed in any way. Because of their similarity to a lot of "shaggy dog" types, the Bearded Collie is sometimes confused with the Old English Sheepdog.
In many parts of Britain, the Bearded Collie was known as "Barking Dog" due to his habit of continuously barking while working the livestock. If you are considering acquiring a Bearded Collie, remember this trait as it has not been lost over the generations. Bred for centuries as a companion of man, the Bearded Collie is a devoted and intelligent member of the family. Stable and self-confident, the breed is well suited to the energetic, outdoor-loving owner with children around eight years of age or older.
Bearded Collie Breed Outline
Other Names: Beardie
Country of Origin: Great Britain
FCI Classification: Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs);
Section 1: Sheepdogs (without working trial); AKC Classification: Herding Group
Size: Medium (20-22 inches at shoulders)
Colors: Any solid color or particolor is permitted, except albinos which should be disqualified.
Litter Size: 4-8
Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Brush regularly. Bathing will encourage the coat to maintain good condition. Never leave your Bearded Collie to dry on his own: his hair needs continuous brushing while being blow-dried. Use a tidy topknot to prevent staining of the hair around eyes. This staining may be caused by hair falling on the eyes and causing them to water. Watch for tangles which start to appear around ears and on pads at six months.
Personality: Very intelligent, active, self-assured, independent and lively.
Social skills: Usually gets along with other dogs and animals, but can pick up aggressive habits from other dogs.
Suitability for Children: Although considered to be one of the most suitable dogs for families with children, Beardies do better in the company of well-mannered children of around eight years of age.
Exercise Needs: High. Being very active dogs, they need lots of daily exercise in ALL weather. An adult Beardie needs a lot of free running. They love to chase balls and play with other dogs.
Train Ability: Bearded Collies are highly trainable and quick to learn basic obedience.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock for hereditary diseases, which include:
- Hip Dysplasia - OFA certification of hips after 2 years of age is required; preliminary x-rays may be done at an earlier age.
- Progressive retinal atrophy - CERF certification is required.