The Bearded Collie is a happy, bouncy breed that looks very similar to the Old English Sheepdog. Both breeds are in the herding group and can be hard to tell apart from a distance. But Beardies, as they’re also known, have a long tail, several different coat colors, a smoother gait, and slightly different body proportions compared to OES dogs. Like other collies, the Bearded Collie has origins in Britain and would thrive in an active home that would give them a job to do (or some fun activities!). They also do well in dog sports, obedience classes, and other activities that keep them physically and mentally engaged. Temperament-wise, beardies are extremely affectionate, loyal, and upbeat.
Historically, Bearded Collies and similar breeds have existed for centuries in Britain and one of the earliest known depictions of a beardie type dog is a 1771 painting by Thomas Gainsborough. These dogs have also been known as the Highland Collie or Mountain Collie and they were bred to work in colder climates as herding and carting dogs. The Bearded Collie, as we know it today, was developed by a woman named G.O. Willison, who had started breeding them after World War II. Eventually, Beardies made their way to the United States in the late 1950s and were registered by the AKC in 1977.
Beardies stand 20-22 inches tall at the shoulder and usually weigh 45-55 pounds. In addition to exercise, training, and food, care for Bearded Collies is relatively easy but requires some time and resources. At the very least, their long, beautiful coats require weekly brushing with a pin or slicker brush and misting the coat with water, spray conditioner for dogs, or de-tangler can help make brushing a bit easier. Brushing their coats is vital to keeping their coats free from tangles and mats; it also helps with shedding! While they are moderate shedders, Beardies do shed heavily twice a year.
While they are incredibly friendly and wonderful, Beardies are not for everyone, as they definitely need an active person or family willing to keep them happy and engaged. These dogs are known to be escape artists with plenty of wanderlust, meaning any yard should have a secure fence! And without an outlet or regular activity, they can get bored and destructive. Just like any breed, training a Beardie is vital but these intelligent dogs love to be involved in activities and positive reinforcement can be a great way to bond.
Ultimately, Bearded Collies are absolutely wonderful dogs that would likely thrive in a home that’s willing to keep up with them. Fun activities, like dog sports, positive reinforcement training, and food puzzles, are all great ways to prevent a Beardie from getting bored. Other types of care for these dogs include brushing at least once a week, nail trims, dental care, and regular baths or trips to the groomer. Care for a Beardie can be more time-intensive but definitely worth the investment!
Have you ever met a Bearded Collie before? Let me know in the comments!