- The Beardie is a medium-size dog with a rectangular body and a shaggy coat that can be black, blue, brown or fawn, with or without white markings.
- A Beardie’s eyes are the same tone as his coat color, so black and brown dogs have brown eyes while blue dogs have grayish-blue eyes. Fawn-colored Beardies have an unusual light-brown eye with a touch of hazel or lavender.
AKC Classification: Herding
UKC Classification: Herding Dog
Energy Level: Very Energetic
Longevity Range: 12-14 yrs.
Height: 20-26 inches
Weight: 40-60 pounds
Coat: long double coat with furnishings
The Bearded Collie’s history is a combination of fact and legend. Kazimierz Grabski, a Polish merchant, reportedly traded a shipment of grain for sheep in Scotland in 1514 and brought six Polish Lowland Sheepdogs to move them. A Scottish shepherd was so impressed with the herding ability of the dogs that he traded several sheep for several dogs. The Polish sheepdogs were bred with local Scottish dogs to produce the Bearded Collie.
It is generally agreed that Mrs. G. Olive Willison founded the modern Bearded Collie in 1944 with her brown bitch, Jeannie of Bothkennar. Jeannie was supposedly a Shetland Sheepdog, but Mrs. Willison received a Bearded Collie by accident. She was so fascinated by the dog that she wanted to begin breeding, so she began searching for a dog for Jeannie. While walking along the beach, Mrs. Willison met a man who was emigrating from Scotland; she became the owner of his grey dog, David, who became Bailie of Bothkennar.
Bailie and Jeannie of Bothkennar are the founders of the modern breed; there are only a few other registrable blood lines, preserved in large part by the perseverance of Mr. Nicolas Broadbridge and Mrs. Betty Foster. These are based on Turnbull’s Blue—a Bearded Collie from pure working stock, registered in ISDS when ISDS still registered non-Border Collies. He sired three litters of registerable Bearded Collies.
The breed became popular during the last half of the 20th century—propelled, in part, by Potterdale Classic at Moonhill, a Bearded Collie who won Best in Show at Crufts in 1989. The Bearded Collie Club celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 2005.The bearded collie is also very good natured and is good as a family pet and a working dog and a show dog.
A Beardie is smart, resourceful, and confident. His bouncy, bubbly personality makes him fun to be with, but when it comes to training he can be an independent thinker who likes to have his own way. He’s a boisterous playmate for children and has a sense of humor that makes him a joy to be around.
When choosing a Beardie puppy, remember that temperament is affected by a number of factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who’s beating up his littermates or the one who’s hiding in the corner.
Temperament varies in individual dogs. Some Beardies are sweet and quiet, while others are loud and enthusiastic. Tell the breeder what you’re looking for in a dog, and she can help you choose the puppy that will fit your personality and lifestyle.
Always meet at least one of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you’re comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.
Although the Bearded Collie is a healthy breed, some problems owners may be faced with may include Addison’s disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, cerebrovascular disease, congenital elbow luxation, eye issues, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.
The Beardie is an indoor/outdoor dog. He needs to live inside with his people with access to a yard or fenced acreage where he can run. He’s not suited to apartment life. Beardies enjoy being with their people, whether they’re indoors or outdoors. They’ll be satisfied with a couple of half-hour walks or play sessions with a ball daily.
Obedience training is a must if you are going to establish order and discipline in your dog’s life. Make learning fun, and teach them with positive reinforcement techniques such as food rewards, play, and praise. Bearded Collies do not learn under abusive or harsh conditions. Begin training early and you will obtain excellent results. To ensure that he doesn’t accidentally knock over a toddler or older person, teach him to sit for attention.
The Bearded Collie is not recommended for apartment life. They are fairly active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized yard. Beardies can sleep outdoors and make excellent farm dogs. They are also good in windy, rugged or wet areas since the dogs will go out in all weather conditions. It does not like to be confined and should have a place to run off of its lead. The Beardie prefers to be outdoors.
Bearded Collies are trainable and thrive with obedience, agility, herding, utility and/or other performance tasks. Their enthusiastic personality makes them stand out in the conformation show ring as well. Obedience training can be a wonderful performance activity for both owner and dog. However, Beardies do have an independent spirit that can make them challenging to train. They are easily bored, so keeping the training interesting is important. When done with patience and good attitude, the results of training Bearded Collies can be incredibly rewarding.
This is a herding dog, so the Bearded Collie needs to be active. It’s what the breed was developed to do, so they need to be put to work. Because it needs to be kept busy, this breed wouldn’t be the best choice for an apartment – the Beardie would do best in a large yard or even in a farming environment.
Smart and energetic, you’ll want to keep your Bearded Collie happy by keeping it busy. There are plenty of ways to do that. This breed loves the outdoors, so brink it along on a long walk, jog, hike or bike ride. Or take training up a notch and get your dog into agility competitions. Or put your Bearded Collie to work in a way that benefits the community and train it as a therapy dog, a job well suited from this breed. The Beardie has had much success in hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers.
The glory of the Bearded Collie is his coat. The most difficult part of caring for a Beardie is also his coat. Expect to half an hour to an hour weekly grooming it. Brushing and combing with a pin brush or slicker brush and stainless steel comb will keep his double coat tangle-free. Mist the coat with water or anti-tangle spray before brushing so you don’t damage the hair. It’s a good idea to have the breeder show you how to brush the coat of an adult dog. Bathe your Beardie every six to eight weeks or more often, particularly if (or when) his furry hindquarters become soiled with feces.
Along with time devoted to coat care, be prepared for dirt, mud and debris tracked in on the dog’s furry feet. A light trim may lessen the mess a bit and gives the feet a neat appearance.
If you groom him regularly, the Beardie shouldn’t shed much, but he goes through a heavier shed each year that lasts two to four weeks. They also shed heavily during a two- to three-month period when their puppy coat is coming out and their adult coat is coming in. Grooming a puppy takes very little time at all, but you want to start early so he can become accustomed to sitting still while you work on his coat.
The rest is basic care. Trim the nails as needed, usually once a month. Brush the teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath. Check the ears weekly for dirt, redness or a bad odor that can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian.
Children And Other Pets
Full of bounce, humor, and energy, Beardies are excellent playmates for kids. Of course, it’s important to teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s sleeping or eating or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Beardies get along well with other dogs and cats if they’re introduced to them early, although they can be possessive of their toys. “Mine, all mine” is their motto. They always enjoy a game of chase, so they do best with cats that stand their ground rather than turn tail and run.
Beardie puppies are born dark, and it’s not always clear what color they will be when they grow up. The coat lightens as they mature and then starts to darken again when they are 12 to 18 months old. The coat may not reach its final color until the dog is four years or older.
In popular culture
- The role of Nana in the original production of the James Barrie play Peter Pan was performed by a Bearded Collie.
- Cole, is a Bearded Collie and is featured in the 2006 film, The Shaggy Dog.
- A Bearded Collie is also featured in the 2009 film, Hotel for Dogs.