Bearded Collie breed characteristics, origin and care

Bearded Collie breed characteristics

  • Size: Large
  • Traits: Intelligent, active, exuberant, enthusiastic, bright
  • Maintenance: Medium maintenance
  • Best Suited To: Adoring owners with time to groom pet, owners with large yard or country property

Intelligent, active and enthusiastic, the Bearded Collie, also known as Highland Collie, Mountain Collie, Hairy Mou’ed Collie, is a shaggy dog with a loving nature. This canine is good with children and looks after its animal companions too. If you train it well it will happily compete in agility trials and dog sports.

Where I'm From

The Bearded Collie is believed to have developed in the 1500s when two Polish Lowland Sheepdogs were bred with local sheepdogs however no records were kept so its exact history remains unknown. These canines were bred primarily to herd sheep and cattle and withstand the tough weather conditions of the Scottish Highlands. This breed is also known as the Highland Collie, Mountain Collie, Hairy Mou’ed Collie or less formally as the Beardie. In 1972, it was accepted for registration in Australia.

What I Look Like

The Bearded Collie looks quite similar to its mate the Old English Sheepdog but those that know the breed well can spot a few simple differences. The most obvious of which are they’re smaller and thinner dogs and their tails are not docked.

Their coats are flat and shaggy on the outside but below lies a soft undercoat to keep it warm through harsh Scottish winters. They wear a long beard proudly as the name would suggest but they also have long hair hanging off their cheeks and lips. Their hair is parted down the middle.

You’ll find the Beardie in black, blue, brown or fawn with optional white markings. Some dogs carry a gene that causes their coats to lighten as they age, while others will remain the same colour right from birth.

How I Act

The Beardie has a destructive side that may emerge if it’s left on its own for long periods. If you arrive home to a backyard that’s been dug up or a Beardie that’s barking it’s probably sending a subtle message that it’s bored. This breed is known and loved for its energy and enthusiasm so entertainment is a must!

These dogs are also intelligent and will enjoy taking part in agility competitions and doggy sports. With patience and the right training they can master obedience trials as well.

Fanciers appreciate these shaggy canines for their reliability, brightness and constantly wagging tails. They’re alert dogs that will keep an eye out for you and will let you know when a visitor has arrived. For this reason, Beardies make excellent watchdogs. These pooches want to be part of the family so you’ll need to include them in all family activities. Bearded Collies will happily play for hours with children and don’t mind other animals either.

Looking After Me

As a puppy, the Bearded Collie will keep you busy with grooming so make sure that’s something you’re prepared to devote some time to. Between the ages of nine and eighteen months your pup’s coat will start to fall out and you’ll need to brush it two or three times a week to prevent matting.

Don’t let this put you off too much. Once your Beardie matures it will generally need a weekly brush to keep its coat looking great and tangle free. Of course once a year it will heavily shed for a two to four week period and you will need to brush your dog more frequently.

Training is a must for this breed and it’s wise to start early. Beardies respond well to positive reinforcement so keep some treats on hand and give plenty of praise. Be firm but make the exercise a fun one otherwise your puppy will be less than willing to comply.

Bearded Collies are pretty happy and inclusive dogs and they won’t mind including other animals into the family they hold so dear. Overall Beardies are healthy but some may experience problems with allergies, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism and progressive retinal atrophy.

This breed is best suited to a home with a yard or life on a farm where it can get plenty of exercise. It will enjoy going for a walk twice a day for half an hour and spending time with its people.

Am I the pet for you?


  • Great with children
  • Gets along well with other animals
  • Intelligent dog suited to compete in dog sports


  • Requires two 30 minute walks each day
  • Will need to be groomed several times a week as a pup
  • Can be destructive if bored
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