Bearded Collie


Group: Herding

Weight: 40 – 60 pounds

Height: 20 – 22 inches

Life Expectancy: About 14 – 15 years

Size of Litters: 4 – 12 puppies, with an average of 7

History The Bearded Collie originated in the hills of Scotland. Foundation stock includes the Old English Sheepdog and the Polish Sheepdog. For many years the Bearded Collie worked as a herder on Scottish farms, moving sheep and cattle. This breed went by many names at first, including the Highland Collie, the Highland Sheepdog and the Hairy Moved Collie. In the mid-1940’s, the Beardie was nearly extinct, and today it remains a fairly rare breed. The Bearded Collie first made its way to the United States in 1967, gaining AKC recognition ten years later in 1977.


At first glance, one can tell that the Bearded Collie is an ancestor of the Old English Sheepdog. This more diminutive herding dog, however, is considered a medium-sized breed. Covered head to toe with a shaggy double coat, the Beardie gets it name from the long hair covering his chin. This thick, full coat is one of the trademarks of the breed and, interestingly, can change colors as the Bearded Collie ages. Oftentimes, puppies are born with a blue, black, brown or fawn coat. Eventually the puppy coat fades to light gray or cream. Then, as an adult, the coat darkens again, eventually ending up somewhere in between. Most Bearded Collies have the trademark coloring of their close cousin, the Old English Sheepdog.


The Beardie is quick to make friends with its constantly wagging long, shaggy tail. This breed is a charmer – happy go lucky, outgoing and full of life. The Bearded Collie loves to play and makes a great companion for children as they are rarely aggressive. This dog is a herding dog, though, and will sometimes try to herd children or other pets. Bred to work long hours on the farm, the Beardie has quite a high energy level. Long daily walks and the occasional romp in a fenced-in area will help keep his boisterous energy in check. The Bearded Collie has a natural tendency to bark. This dog is a sweet, loveable companion, but not a quiet one.


Of primary concern in the grooming department is the Bearded Collie’s dense, shaggy coat. Very frequent brushing is required to avoid mats and tangles, which, if formed close to the skin, can become painful. The coat may be easier to brush when slightly damp. Some owners prefer to keep their Beardies clipped in a puppy cut, making maintenance easier, but still necessary. The Bearded Collie typically sheds an average amount. During any season of heavy shedding, daily brushing is crucial. This is the time when matting becomes a major issue. For more detailed info, take a look at the Bearded Collie Grooming page.


The Bearded Collie is a clever fellow, but a bit headstrong, so firm, consistent training is necessary. With its high energy level and bright intellect, boredom can cause problems for the Beardie. Keep your Bearded Collie busy in order to avoid unwanted behavior. This dog often excels at canine sports such as agility and herding trials.