Bearded Collie

Written by: Jamie
Updated: October 15, 2020

Sadly, Bearded Collies are now a vulnerable breed. Learn all about the wonderful Beardie and why it’s struggling in our latest breed guide.

Old english sheepdog Bearded Collie at green grass outdoors

Height: Male 21-22 inches, female 20-21 inches
Weight: 18-27 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

The following are the positive and negative traits linked to the Bearded Collie:


  • Highly intelligent and easy to train
  • Very friendly and affectionate
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Doesn’t drool


  • Regularly sheds fur
  • Stubborn, may be tricky for first-time owners
  • Prone to weight gain
  • Not a good breed choice for allergy sufferers


The Bearded Collie is recognised by its distinct, shaggy looking features. Every Beardie has white fur with another color combination that could be black, blue, fawn, or brown. Their coat is of medium-length sometimes long and shouldn’t be trimmed.

The personality of a Beardie is what makes them so ideal as family pets. The breed is pretty much friendly with everybody! It is the attention and affection they crave, no matter who it’s from! Yet still their watchdog skills give them a fine balance, so you should expect to be alerted when somebody is approaching your home.

Bearded collie laid down in the grass

Beardies don’t like to be left alone. At least one person from the household should be indoors to stay by their side. You can pop out for a few hours here and there, but if the Beardie is left alone repetitively bad habits will form. This could include nuisance barking and chewing.

Ideally, Bearded Collies should have access to a small or medium sized garden. These pooches were bred as working dogs and love the great outdoors! The downfall is they love to explore and may wander off if they aren’t on a leash. Beardies don’t suit apartment living.

Unfortunately, the Bearded Collie has lost its popularity compared to its working days. Currently, they are listed as a Vulnerable Native Breed due to declining registration numbers.

Recommended: Our much anticipated Welsh Springer Spaniel dog breed guide is out!


Bearded Collies are one of the UK’s oldest native breeds dating back to the 1500s. It is believed that they originally descended from the Polish Lowland Sheepdog. Scottish Shepherds were impressed with the canines herding skills and decided to trade in sheep for the dogs. They were then bred with Scottish dogs to create the Bearded Collie we know today.

A working Bearded Collie would herd cattle and sheep in the Scottish Highlands. It takes a tough pooch to keep up with the harsh weather and moody livestock! The underbrush in the region is thick, the Beardies coat did a great job at protecting them from this.

The United States and Australia love this breed for their hard work and herding capability. Unfortunately, Scottish and Welsh shepherds have shown disinterest in the breed hence the decline in numbers. See if you can find any Bearded Collie rescue centers that may be local to you, before looking to purchase.

Nowadays they make excellent family companions in the UK.  As this dog is purebred they are often seen competing in popular dog shows like Crufts and the Westminster Kennel Club.


Bearded Collie Temperament:

Energetic, loveable, affectionate, friendly, happy, and excitable, these are all words that perfectly describe the Bearded Collie. There is nothing more this dog loves to do than to spend quality time with their owner! Beardies are very easy going. They are perfect to take on group walks and could even be your jogging partner!

Careful, it’s not all good! Bearded Collies do have a stubborn side so you must show your leadership. No matter how much this dog melts your heart!

Bearded Collie sitting at the shore

Are Bearded Collies Good With Strangers?

Yes, the Bearded Collie will get along with strangers. Licking and a wagging tail will be their show of approval! Although they are friendly to strangers, they do make good watchdogs. Aggression isn’t a trait of the Beardie.

Are Bearded Collies Good With Children?

This breed absolutely adores children! The attention they receive is more than they could ever ask for! Playing ball games with somebody who is just as excitable and energetic as them, it couldn’t get any better! An excellent playmate and loyal companion for kids.

Recommended: Discover more about the Scottish Deerhound, one of the largest dog breeds, in this guide.

Are Bearded Collies Ok With Other Dogs?

Beardies are friendly with everyone and that includes other dogs! All they want is to do is just meet new friends and play! Bearded Collies were bred to protect livestock so living with a cat and other smaller animals isn’t an issue for them.


The Bearded dog will need up to one hour of exercise each day. Bearded Collie puppies may occasionally need longer. Split their daily exercise time into a number of different walks. As this pooch likes to roam be sure they are kept on a lead at all times.

Find an enclosed space where they can really let loose, enjoying games and quality time. Escaping is something they are very good at! Remember these dogs are smart and love a challenge.

As a working dog, the Bearded Collie will highly benefit from dog sports such as obedience, rally, and agility. They are very intelligent and need mental stimulation. Beardies really excel when their minds are put to the test.

Old English Sheepdog Bearded Collie stands on the grass

If they aren’t regularly exercised bad habits are sure to follow. Destructiveness, excessive barking, and clear disobedience is something that should be expected.

The Bearded Collie size could increase dramatically if their food intake isn’t being monitored. This breed is prone to weight gain which is why exercise is so important for them.


Below are the breed-related health conditions linked to the Bearded Collie:

Bearded Collie puppies, 6 weeks old, around their mother sitting against white background

  • Allergies- Skin allergies such as allergic dermatitis is the most common allergy that affects the Bearded Collie.
  • Hip Dysplasia- Poor development of the hip joint will lead to swelling, pain, inflammation, and lameness. Eventually leads to arthritis.
  • Immune-Mediated Haemolytic Anaemia- An auto-immune disease where the immune system, designed to fight infection, attacks the red blood cells. These carry oxygen around the body. Urgent veterinary attention could be required.
  • Addison’s Disease- This condition will leave a dog feeling some of the following symptoms: lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, thirst, shaking, loss of weight, and possibly shaking.
  • Pemphigus An auto-immune disease where the immune system attacks the connections of its own skin cells.

Intelligence & Training

A highly intelligent breed, the Bearded Collie proved their capability in their working life. Now more known as a family companion, more training, exercise, and mental stimulation are needed to keep their well-natured behavior. If you don’t have at least one person in the household regularly, this breed won’t be a good choice.

These dogs want to learn and impress their owners so keep training sessions short and simple. If they are too long your pooch will most certainly lose interest. Up to 15 minutes per session. Begin with respect training and follow this up with obedience.

Respect is important to gain from your pooch. Beardies are notoriously stubborn on occasion and dominant. If you don’t take the lead, they will! Focus mostly on praise. The Beardie is prone to weight gain so a reward showing love would be best.

Beardies are easily trainable at all ages. Once you have started some form of respect training, obedience can begin. Teach your dog some simple commands along with your house rules. Let this pooch know whose in control! Things like table manners, barking, chewing and other attention-seeking behaviors need to be controlled immediately.

Mental stimulation is important for this dog. In order to satisfy your Beardies love of work, get them focused on some dog sports. It’s the perfect way to keep them and their brain exercised! Try out some games, especially if you need to pop out. Treat finders are a good way to make your dog think and work for a food reward!

Recommended: Do Harrier dogs make good pets and watchdogs? Get the answers in our guide.


Bearded Collies have a long coat and are high shedders. The double coat will require grooming once weekly for over half an hour. You may prefer to do this multiple times a week instead for about 10 minutes to prevent knots and tangles. A pin brush, bristle brush or large-toothed comb would make the best tool.

A leave-in conditioner spray is recommended when brushing through the coat. This is because the fur can become static. Lift up the coat and brush through in sections. Use a variety of different brushes but always use a comb last as this can hurt your dog if the tangles haven’t been removed properly.

Baths shouldn’t be taken until the Beardie has been brushed through first. Tangles are much harder to clear when wet.

Shampoo and conditioner will both be needed for a Beardie. Naturally, the breed doesn’t require trimming, the long fur is what defines their features. Do however trim the fur in between the paw pads and also the anus to prevent staining.

Ears need to be checked and cleaned each week. Remove any fur obstructing the ear canal. Nails should be trimmed or filed every 8 weeks and teeth should be brushed daily.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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