Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie

Other Names

Highland Collie
Mountain Collie
Hairy Mou’ed Collie
Argle Bargle


The Bearded Collie is a medium-sized, strong working dog. The body is long and lean. The head is large, broad and flat with a moderate stop. The muzzle is relatively short, strong and full. The black nose is large and square. The medium-sized ears hang close to the head and are covered with long hair. The teeth are large and meet in a scissors bite. The eyes are wide set and are in tone with the coat color. The tail is carried low unless the dog is excited. They have a shaggy, waterproof, double coat that hangs over the entire body including the chin (hence the name “Beardie”). Beardie pups are born black, blue, brown or fawn, with or without white markings and often lighten, first fading to a light gray or cream as the dog matures. The coat color changes several times before it reaches the adult color. The final coat color is somewhere between the puppy coat color and the color the coat is when the dog is about a year old.


The Bearded Collie has an air of cheerful, happy-go-lucky, tail-wagging humor. It is affectionate, playful and lively, and can make a perfect companion for children. They love to be with their people. An unexercised Beardie that is left alone without anything to do will not be happy, and you may not be happy with what it does while you are gone. If you must leave your Beardie, be sure to take it for a long jog or walk prior to leaving. Known for its “bounce,” the Beardie is exuberant and high-energy; without enough daily mental and physical exercise it may get itself into mischief. It is very trainable for many activities. An owner who displays a natural authority is a must as Beardies think a lot and will be headstrong if he sees you as meek. One needs to be calm, but firm, confident and consistent when dealing with this dog. Set the rules you wish the dog to follow and stick to them. Obedience training is recommended. The Beardie is a natural herder of people and animals. They are noisy barkers, but are not watchdogs. They should not be shy or aggressive. When well balanced between leadership and exercise they will be stable and self-confident.


Height: 20 – 22 inches (51 – 56 cm)
Weight: 40 – 60 pounds (18 – 27 kg)

Health Problems

Prone to hip dysplasia. Their dense coat may conceal external parasite infestation.

Living Conditions

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.


This is an active dog that needs lots of exercise, which includes a long daily walk. This breed also will greatly enjoy time to run free in a safe area.

Life Expectancy

About 14-15 years.

Litter Size

4 – 12, average 7


Daily brushing of the long, shaggy coat is important. Mist the coat lightly with water before you begin. Tease out mats before they get bad, and give extra attention when the dog is shedding. Use the comb sparingly. If you prefer, the coat can be professionally machine-clipped every two months or so. Eyes, ears and paws should be checked daily. Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. It is difficult to locate ticks in the thick undercoat, so check regularly. This breed is an average shedder.


The Bearded Collie originated in Britain and is one of the country’s oldest breeds. The foundation of the breed was started in 1514 when a Polish sea captain made a trade with a local Scottish shepherd. He traded three of his Polish Sheepdog (Polski Owczarek Nizinny; PON) for a ram and a ewe. The shepherd then bred these dogs with other herding and flock dogs such as the Old English Sheepdogs (bobtails) and the Komondor. The dogs were used as herding dogs for centuries in Scotland and became known as the “Highland Collie,” the “Highland Sheepdog” and the “Hairy Moved Collie.” They were excellent workers, herding sheep and cattle for local shepherds. The name “Bearded” comes from the long hairs that grow on the chin, making the dog look like he has a beard, and the name “Collie,” which is the Scottish word for herding dog. The Bearded Collie almost became extinct during the Second World War. In 1944 Mrs. G. O. Willison from Great Britain bred a pair of Bearded Collies, resurrecting the breed. In 1967 the first litter of Beardies was whelped in the USA. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1976. They are still to this day considered a rare breed. Some of the Beardie’s talents are tracking, herding, agility, competitive obedience and performing tricks.