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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Bearded Collie Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Bearded Collie Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More!

Two bearded collies

Bearded Collies are medium-sized Scottish herding dogs with long hair that often covers their eyes. This breed stands a little under 2 feet tall and weighs about 50 pounds with a small dark-colored nose and floppy ears. Mrs. G. Olive Willison founded the modern Bearded Collie in 1944, and the breed became a member of the American Kennel Club in 1977.

Breed Overview


20 – 22 inches


40 – 60 pounds


12 – 15 years


Black, blue, brown, fawn

Suitable for:

Active families with large yards, experienced owners


Active, alert, intelligent

However, the original Bearded Collies date back to at least the 1500s when Scottish shepherds used them for herding sheep. This dog has a high activity level and will require plenty of grooming, but it’s intelligent, alert, and loyal to its family members.

Bearded Collie Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Bearded Collies Puppies

Puppy of Bearded collie standing in the garden
Image By: Zuzule, Shutterstock

Bearded Collies are not an affordable dog breed. Better breeders may have long waiting lists and charge more than inexperienced breeders, but you will have a better chance of receiving a healthy puppy that doesn’t come from a puppy mill. You will usually need to pay more for breeding rights and for a show-quality dog fit for competition than you will for a dog classified as a house pet or companion.

When you bring a Bearded Collie home, be ready to have an energetic dog wanting to play with you. They need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to avoid boredom. Try to socialize your pup as soon as you can so they can get along with other pets and animals.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Bearded Collie

Bearded Collies are extremely intelligent, and like many other smart breeds, they can also be stubborn and independent. This dog requires plenty of activity and can get destructive by digging or chewing if not allowed outside to play for a few hours each day. It’s loving and affectionate but will do better if at least one member of the home has experience with a dog with stubborn tendencies.

The Bearded Collie is smart and can learn many tricks if you are patient with it. This breed has been participating in herding and agility competitions for hundreds of years. It’s alert and makes a great watchdog and companion on long hikes.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, the Bearded Collie can make a great family pet. It’s affectionate, loyal, and enjoys being around family members. That being said, it’s not so clingy that you can’t go to work without worrying about separation anxiety. It can do quite well on its own for several hours and will spend plenty of time patrolling its living area even when you are there. It can be stubborn and fussy, which can cause some bad behavior, and it likes to run while in the house so it might knock over small children accidentally. It might also nip at the heels of family members in an attempt to herd them, which can be upsetting to children and strangers, so you need an experienced owner that can train your Bearded Collie at an early age to stop this behavior.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Yes, Bearded Collies usually get along with other house pets, especially if they are socialized early. It might try to herd cats, which can cause problems, but the cat can usually get out of reach, and the dog will get used to it quickly. It might also bark at dogs on your walks in an attempt to herd them, but this can usually be avoided by starting your walks when it’s still a puppy.


Things to Know When Owning a Bearded Collie:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Your Bearded Collie is extremely active and will need a food high in protein that offers it the energy it needs and the building blocks for strong muscles. We recommend checking the ingredients list to make sure chicken, fish, beef, lamb, or other real meat is the first ingredient. Avoid food that replaces it with a meat byproduct, meat meal, or corn product, as these ingredients aren’t as high quality and can even lead to weight gain. Brands that contain probiotics can help regulate your dog’s digestive system and strengthen the immune system. We also recommend brands that contain omega-3 fatty acids to help produce a shiny coat and reduce inflammation, among many other health benefits.

Exercise 🐕

Your Bearded Collie is an extremely active breed that will require a minimum of 40 minutes of exercise each day. Since it likes to run, frisbee or fetch are ideal, and it will likely chase after a ball all day long. Dog parks are another smart choice since they often have courses designed to help dogs burn energy. Insufficient exercise will cause your dog to gain weight, which will strain your dog’s joints, causing inflammation and pain. Your dog can also become bored if it’s not active enough and begin barking, digging, and chewing.

cute bearded collie
Image By: Melounix, Shutterstock

Training 🎾

Most owners describe their Bearded Collie as stubborn and independent, so you can expect this breed to give you a challenge when training it. We recommend setting up a training routine while your dog is still a puppy to increase your chance of success. Set aside 5–10 minutes each day at the same time for training your dog and go over your command several times. Consistency is critical to getting your dog into the habit of training and focusing on your commands. Keep a few treats in your pocket and repeat a command several times as you motion to your dog what you want it to do. If your dog gets it right, give it a treat and try again.

If your dog doesn’t understand what you are trying to teach it, don’t get discouraged or disappointed, and you shouldn’t try to push on the dog. For instance, if you were trying to teach the sit command, you shouldn’t push down on the dog’s back. Holding the treat in your hand with the dog facing you then slowly moving your hand over its head toward the tail will usually cause the dog to sit as it follows the treat. It can take many tries before your dog learns a new command and responds on the first try, so be patient and expect to hold your daily sessions for the foreseeable future.

Grooming ✂️

  • Coat: Your Bearded Collie will need a considerable amount of grooming to keep its coat looking clean and healthy. It will require daily brushing to remove dirt and tangles to keep them from becoming mats. The long hair will pick up all kinds of debris, and you will be amazed at what you find in the fur, so it is important to keep up with it. You may also need to use a pet-safe detangling spray, and an occasional trip to the groomer can also help, especially after the shedding seasons of spring and fall.
  • Ears: You will also need to pay special attention to the floppy ears, which can hold moisture and dirt, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and cause an infection. Staying vigilant about cleaning and drying the ears is the best way to reduce the risk of your dog having a problem.
  • Nails: Since your Bearded Collie is so active, it will likely wear down its nails as it runs and jumps outdoors. However, if your pet spends a lot of time inside and you hear them clicking on the floor, you will need to trim them.
  • Teeth: We highly recommend getting your dog used to manual brushing early in life. Dental decay is a significant problem for dogs, and you can help slow the progression by manually brushing the teeth with a pet-safe toothpaste and using a dry kibble which will help scrape away tartar as your dog crunches.


Bearded Collie
Image By: No-longer-here, Pixabay

Health and Conditions🏥

Minor Conditions
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
Serious Conditions
  • Cataracts

Minor Conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs in many breeds and is the result of the hip joint not forming correctly at birth. This malformed joint wears down quickly and affects the dog’s ability to put weight on the back legs. It can even lead to lameness in some dogs, and it will likely require medication and possibly even surgery. It’s especially feared in large breeds where the massive size and weight of the dog cause the bones to degenerate faster, but it can also advance rapidly in active breeds like the Bearded Collie due to their constant running and jumping.
  • Elbow Dysplasia: Unfortunately, due to its high energy level, your Bearded Collie is also susceptible to elbow dysplasia. Elbow dysplasia is similar to hip dysplasia, but it affects the bones in the elbow and can prevent the dog from using one or both of its front legs. Treatment is the same as for hip dysplasia and usually consists of medication, surgery, and weight management.

Serious Conditions

  • Cataracts: Cataracts in dogs are similar to humans and usually occur as the dog reaches old age but can occur at any time. It involves a clouding of the lenses of one or both eyes that can prevent light from entering the eye. It’s usually the result of genetics, but diabetes and other medical conditions can be behind its onset. You should take your dog to the vet if you notice the eyes clouding, and it may require medication or surgery.

Male vs Female

The male Bearded Collie is slightly taller than the female, but they are usually similar in weight. They are also the same in temperament and behavior, with very few differences between the sexes.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Bearded Collie

1. You Can Find the Bearded Collie in Paintings From the 1700s

2. The Bearded Collie Has Other Names, Including Highland Collie and Mountain Collie.

3. Bearded Collies Were Almost Extinct After World War I, But Caring Breeders Increased Their Numbers


Final Thoughts

Bearded Collies make fantastic pets for someone with a bit of experience dealing with stubborn dogs. It’s extremely intelligent and can learn several tricks if you are patient, and it will also keep a close watch over your house while you sleep or are away. The key to this dog is giving it plenty to do to keep it busy, so it burns off excess energy and is ready to focus.

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Related Reads and Breeds:

Featured Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

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