Bearded Collie: Breed Characteristics, Training, Care & Nutrition

The Bearded Collie comes from Great Britain and is assigned to FCI Group 1, the group of herding and cattle dogs, and Section 1, the section of shepherd dogs. According to the FCI, it is considered a herding dog without a working test. He is also known as a Highland Collie, Mountain Collie, or Harry Mou ed Collie. The lively companions are considered intelligent and reliable working dogs.

Bearded Collie Dog Breed Information

Size: Males: 53-56 cm, females: 51-53 cm
Weight: Males: 18-27 kg, females: 18-20 kg
FCI group: 1: herding dogs and cattle dogs
Section: 1: German Shepherds
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colors: Fawn, black, blue, brown, 3-colour, black-brown
Life expectancy: 14-15 years
Suitable as: family and cattle dog
Sports: obedience, flyball, agility
Personality: Active, Intelligent, Alert, Lively, Winethard, Confident
Leaving requirements: high
Low drool potential
The thickness of hair is rather high
Maintenance effort: rather high
Coat structure: Smooth, hard, strong, and shaggy topcoat and soft, furry, and dense undercoat
Child-friendly: rather yes
Family dog: yes
Social: yes

Origin and Breed History

The origin of the Bearded Collie is not clearly known. This breed is believed to have descended from long-haired herding dogs from eastern Europe and parts of Asia that found their way to Britain during the 15th century through the importation of sheep and cattle. Later, in the Scottish Highlands, the lively herding dogs were used by local farmers to herd and herd their flocks. For this reason, the Bearded Collie is also known as the Highland Collie.

In the 16th century, a Polish cattle dog, known today as the Polski Owszarek Nizinny (PON for short), was imported. This breed also provided a genetic basis for today’s Bearded Collie. It is also believed to be related to the Bobtail, the French Briard, and the Tibetan Terrier. In contrast to its close relative, the Border Collie, the Bearded Collie was used for more complicated herding and herding processes and, like today, was often used as a guard and protection dog. Dogs are said to have an unbelievable talent for working independently. It has been rumored that the bearded collie made his way home independently from the London Cattle Market to the Scottish Highlands and found his way home in no time.

Like many dog ​​breeds, the Bearded Collie was also affected by the devastating consequences of the First World War. The war caused a massive cut in the development of the dog breed. It was not until 1930 that the pretty dogs could be seen again at various exhibitions. Finally, in 1944, the Bearded Collie we know today was born. The breed has hardly changed since this year and is listed in many studbooks. The herding dog was officially recognized by the FCI in 1967. The last valid standard was published in 2014. Apart from the FCI, the AKC, the ANKC, the KC (UK), the CKC, and the UKC also have different breed standards and stud books.

Nature & Temperament of the Bearded Collie

The distinctive temperament of the Bearded Collie is particularly evident in its bright nature and self-confident nature. The herding dogs have a very self-confident demeanor and are enchanted with their charming look. However, despite their agility and temperament, cattle dogs do not display aggressive or nervous behavior. You are even very sensitive and empathetic, which is often not expected from the first impression. Highland Collies are generally very attentive and orient themselves very much towards the gestures, facial expressions, and energy of their people. You quickly notice when something is wrong. This is due to their powers of observation and high intelligence. The sweet shepherd dogs put a smile on everyone’s face and like to socialize. They also take great delight in completing tasks and commands given to them. Despite their “will to please”, which means something like “satisfying their will needs”, the pretty dogs do not lose their personality.

Although shepherd dogs are not among the dog breeds that bark, they like to bark when they feel happy. Due to their watchful and protective instinct, they also guard the residential property with zeal and pride. They are very attentive and react very sensitively to their counterparts. If they don’t like someone or seem dangerous, the lively dogs stand up for themselves and their pack. For this reason, they are also often used to guard and protect property, herds of cattle, or people. Many people underestimate the enormous potential of friendly Brits. Often seen as purely a herding dog, Bearded Collies have a lot more to offer.

The Appearance of the Bearded Collie

The physique of the Highland Collies is equal parts strong and athletically slim. The dogs move energetically but elegantly and have straight and powerful legs. Males reach a height of 53-56 cm at the withers, while females only grow between 51-53 cm. The adult dogs weigh 18-22 kg, depending on size and gender.

The big dogs generally have a very significant appearance. They are unmistakable due to their shaggy fur and quickly catch the eye. The coat is harsh, of medium length, with a soft undercoat. It occurs smoothly or slightly wavy. The undercoat is intended to protect the herding dogs from the bad weather conditions they have long been exposed to in the Highlands of Scotland. Due to the changeable weather and the long hours outside, the dogs need a coat that warms them and protects them from long rain showers. Even today, the dogs are still used as herding dogs in the Highlands.

The British have a slightly longer coat on their cheeks and chin, creating the beard characteristic of herding dogs. In many cases, the fur on the dog’s face is hardly shorter than on the rest of the body, which is why the eyes are often covered. It makes sense to trim the fur on the face regularly to give the dogs a better view. You can also see her pretty face and her alert and attentive gaze.

The coat of the British can come in the colors black, brown, blue, slate gray, sandy color, or in a reddish hue. Some shades of gray are also common and allowed according to the standard. Badges appear in white only. They stand out on the paws, the neck, the tip of the tail, or as a blaze on the face.

How Big Does a Bearded Collie Get?

Males reach a stick size between 53 and 56 cm. Bitches are slightly smaller and reach a height at the withers of between 51 and 53 cm.

Education and Keeping of the Bearded Collie – This is Important to Consider

When keeping the Bearded Collie, it is important to remember that it is a breed that needs a lot of exercises. Although their level of activity does not come close to that of a Border Collie, the clever dogs are also a fan of long walks and varied activities. Whether cycling, jogging, hiking, or as a companion on the horse, the Bearded Collie loves to be with you everywhere. The heart of the Brit also beats with movement games, companion dog or herding training as well as various dog sports. When keeping the Bearded Collie, it is important to remember that enough time should be planned for the physical and mental exercise of the dog. In addition, the care of the dog is more complex than with other dog breeds due to its long coat.

The upbringing of the Highland Collie, however, is relatively simple in contrast to keeping them. Since they are very sensitive, they need a steady and sensitive hand, coupled with a certain consistency. Because of their strong personality and their natural temperament, they are quite happy to test their limits. However, they are neither rebellious nor do they have a stubborn and idiosyncratic nature. “Beardies”, as they are affectionately called, appear charming and grateful. They love to learn and work hard. If you put the work into training your Bearded Collie, you will be rewarded with a friendly and well-behaved friend by your side. Humans always come first for the herding dog, even if they get along very well with other family members, whether animal or human. However, like many other companion and herding dogs, Bearded Collies need an attentive and loving caregiver to whom they can orient themselves and who guides them gently but consistently.

What Crate Size for Bearded Collies?

It is recommended to buy a crate in size XL or XXL for the Bearded Collie. Basically, the width of the dog should be twice the width of the box. Add 10 to 20 cm to the height and length.

Diet of the Bearded Collie

The diet of the Highland Collie is relatively uncomplicated. As with any dog, the amount of food and the composition of the food depends on the level of activity and the resulting energy requirements. Basically, puppies and young dogs that are still in the early stages of growth need more food or denser, higher-calorie food than an adult Bearded Collie. Pregnant and lactating bitches also have an increased energy requirement, which can also be seen in their frequent tiredness.

Apart from that, it is recommended to provide the Bearded Collie with plenty of protein. In contrast to the couch potato among the dog breeds, the Bearded Collie, as a sporting companion, is grateful for increased protein content in its meals. If you have no experience with this, you can get advice in any feed house or small animal shop. In most cases, however, the nutrient content and distribution of nutrients can also be read on every food package, which makes feeding the dog easier. If you cook for your dog yourself, you should feed it enough meat, fish, eggs, and flakes. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also support the health of the joints, tendons, and ligaments as well as the keratin structures in the Beardies’ coat. The Bearded Collie is also a good candidate for barfing. BARF is a diet that feeds mostly raw, high-quality meat, combined with vegetables, fruit, and small amounts of carbohydrates, seeds, or oils. The word BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding. BARF often results in a healthier and shinier coat, which is why many owners of long-haired dogs resort to it.

Healthy – Life Expectancy & Common Diseases

A healthy Bearded Collie has a life expectancy of between 13 and 15 years. With regular care, sufficient exercise, and sufficient mental demand, nothing stands in the way of reaching an age of up to 15 years. Unfortunately, the Bearded Collie is also affected by common diseases. Breed-specific diseases include pemphigus foliaceus, a skin disease that causes blisters in the upper layer of the skin, elbow dislocations, corneal dystrophy, or cataracts, also known as cataracts. There is also a disease predisposition to retinal atrophy. Atrophy is a reduction or narrowing of tissue. In the case of retinal atrophy, this disease affects the retina of the eye.

Due to the thick fur of the Bearded Collie and its dense undercoat, the herding dogs are only moderately tolerant of heat. If you live in hot areas, it is best to choose another breed of dog as a pet. Anyone who owns a Beardie is doing something good for them on hot summer days by going for walks on cool riverbanks or having the dog’s coat trimmed.

How Old Does a Bearded Collie Get?

A healthy Bearded Collie has a life expectancy of 13 to 15 years.

Care of the Bearded Collie

Caring for the Bearded Collie is quite time-consuming. Although the dogs are uncomplicated and easy to train, the maintenance effort is high. The middle-aged and thick coat of dogs should definitely be brushed regularly so that it does not become matted and so that no skin infections develop due to dirt and bacteria. Especially under the armpits and in the area around the mucous membranes, the coat should be thoroughly cleaned of dirt and combed well. Extensive grooming should be done at least every two days, but daily if possible. Aside from routine brushing and shedding of eyes and ears, the Bearded Collie should be trimmed and clipped at regular intervals. An experienced groomer will have the knowledge and resources to trim the dog of excess fur as gently as possible. Often the undercoat is also straightened, which is very beneficial for the dogs in summer. When the undercoat is thickened, the topcoat is not damaged, but even better aerated, which strengthens the hair roots.

Bearded Collie – Activities and Training

Training with the Bearded Collie should be varied and playful. The active herding dogs love to move and to fulfill their owner’s every wish. Since the Beardie has a strong personality and a strong herding instinct, training should begin when the puppy is happy. In order to challenge the dog sufficiently, almost any training can be continued after the basic training in a dog school. The Highland Collie is particularly suitable for training as a companion, herding, protection, or rescue dog. The Bearded Collie also shows its best side as a therapy dog. His empathetic and sensitive nature, paired with his zest for action and his zest for life make him the perfect companion. He enjoys following commands and working with partners to achieve goals.

The Bearded Collie is also suitable for various dog sports. It doesn’t matter whether it’s doc dancing, obedience, agility, popular sports, or flyball, the clever shepherd dog finds joy in everything and puts his talent to the test.

Good to Know: Peculiarities of the Bearded Collie

A special feature of the Bearded Collie is its strong herding and guard instinct. Since, from a historical point of view, dogs have herded in their blood, a strong need for herding dogs should not be underestimated. Like its peers the Border Collie and Australian Shepherd, the Bearded Collie is keen on herding and working alongside its shepherd or farmer. If the Beardie is not used as a herding dog, it is important to ensure that it is sufficiently exercised. If the Highland Collie is not allowed to let off steam and starts to be bored over a longer period of time, the dog can develop behavioral problems. Many dogs that aren’t exercised enough develop a higher potential for aggression because of their frustration. Aggressive behavior is often misinterpreted as malicious, which is often not the case.

The Briton’s need for protection and alertness is also a trait that the owner can take advantage of, but which can turn into negative behavior patterns if not demanding enough. The Beardie prefers to live in a house or an apartment with a large garden that offers him enough space to run around. The Beardie finds tremendous satisfaction in protecting property and his pack. Although he is not one of the barkers among the dog breeds, he defends his territory proudly and with passion.

Cons of the Bearded Collie

Hardly any breed of dog has any real disadvantages. Dogs usually bring character traits or behaviors that should be worked on together with the owner. In the case of the Beardie, this includes the herding and protective instinct already mentioned. An underutilized Bearded Collie often starts out herding children, joggers, or cars, which can be nerve-wracking for the owner. However, if training is started early and the dog is sufficiently challenged, this should not be the case.

Is the Bearded Collie Right for Me?

The Bearded Collie needs a person who enjoys being in nature and enjoys exercise. Long walks should be a fixed item on the agenda and training is also time-consuming. If you like to spend a lot of time with your dog and are willing to invest a lot of time in grooming, a Bearded Collie is a good choice. It is also incredibly fun to watch the clever shepherd dog at work or during training. The Highland Collie brings a lot of joie de vivre and sunshine into the life of his master or mistress. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether the Bearded Collie really suits them.

Is a Bearded Collie Suitable for Beginners?

Some experience in dog training should be given. The Bearded Collie requires sensitive but consistent leadership. If this is also given to a beginner or is trained with a dog trainer right from the start, there is nothing to stop inexperienced dog owners from keeping a beardie.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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