12 - 14 years - although some have lived a lot longer
4 - 12 average 7 puppies
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Black, Brown, Blue, or Fawn
20 - 22 inches ( 51 - 56 cms) at the shoulder
35 - 55 pounds (16 - 25 kg) depending on height
20 - 22 inches ( 51 - 56 cms) at the shoulder
35 - 55 pounds (16 - 25 kg) depending on height
Not recommended for apartment life, they are best on a farm or acreage where they have the room to run and exercise with their handlers. They are highly active even indoors where they prefer to be with their humans.
The Beardie is medium-sized and very agile. A herding dog of great stamina and high intelligence, the Beardie is noted for its shaggy coat and never flagging wagging tail. Related to the Old English Sheepdog the Beardie has a broad head, short muzzle and a shaggy coat all over - including under the chin - which is where the nickname Beardie came from.
Hardy and active, but not massive, the Beardie is considered to be a robust and generally healthy dog.
They have a dense, weatherproof outer coat with a thick, soft undercoat. Its head and teeth are large. The eyes are wide set and high on the head, and match color with its coat. The ears are close to the head with a long tail carried low unless the dog is excited.
Their coat color changes several times over their lifetime. Puppies are usually born black, brown, fawn or blue. The coat fades to light gray or cream. As the dogs mature, they darken to their adult coat in any of the four colors, black (from black to slate), brown (from dark brown or milk chocolate to gingery red), blue (from steel blue to silver), or fawn (cinnamon to champagne). The final coat color is somewhere between the puppy coat and the yearling coat. They will also likely have white markings of some sort.
The Beardie has unusual eye colors. In general, the eye color usually matches the coat color - for instance - Black and Brown Beardies have brown eyes, the Blues have smoky or grayish-blue eyes and the Fawns sport a lighter brown eye which sometimes has a hint of hazel in it.
Beardies can and do sleep outdoors and also make excellent farm dogs. They are good to go in windy, rugged or wet areas since the dogs are out in all weather conditions to herd. It does not like to be confined and should have a place to run off of its lead. The Beardie loves to be outdoors, but also wants his place inside with his family (pack). These dogs are notorious escape artists so it's best to make sure they are happy and well exercised.
The Beardi''s shaggy coat is flat, harsh and shaggy, and can be slightly wavy but not curly, with the undercoat soft, furry and close. The outer coat is flat, harsh, strong and shaggy and falls naturally to either side. The weatherproof outer coat is long and dense, providing protection against all weather conditions.
The Bearded Collie (first introduced into Scotland in 1514) was developed in Scotland as a herding dog with ancestors including herding dogs from the European continent - the Poland Lowland Sheepdog (Polski Owzcarek Nizinny) and the Komondor, blended with sheep herding dogs in the British Isles. The Bearded Collie is in all likelihood also related to the bobtail (Old English Sheepdog).
It was developed as an independent worker, capable of thinking on its own and making decisions about the safety of their flocks without depending on the shepherd who might be miles away. Beardies have never brought home a wrong sheep despite the practice of flocks intermingling while out to pasture. The Beardie is still used as a shepherd's helpmate in Scotland, and in the U.S.
The breed almost disappeared in the early part of the twentieth century, but was rescued through mating a pair in 1944. Even today, it isn't very widespread and it's still fairly rare in the United States. The first US litter of Beardies was whelped in 1967.
G.O. Willison brought the breed to recognition by The Kennel Club of Great Britain in 1959. The breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1977.
This dog is without a doubt one of the largest clowns in the canine world. Many seem to think he has pogo sticks in his legs, or at the very least was crossed with a grass hopper. His bounce and charm are addicting and he is always joyous and affectionate. Playful and a tad cheeky, his tail is always wagging. He has a lovely sense of humour and that combined with his high energy levels make for some pretty funny episodes. Males tend to be more outgoing and bold, while females are calmer and more submissive.
He's really terrific with kids and thrives, but NEEDS to be with people. He needs to be a part of the family unit and would wither without human contact. If he is left alone without human contact and has nothing to do, he will get into trouble. He certainly can be trained to do just about anything, but not to be a watch dog. They are noisy barkers yes, but not watch dogs. Their forte is herding animals - and their people (with a grin!) You don't need a doorbell when living with a Beardie.
Beardies jump and can even clear very high fences, if they don't have something to do that appeals to them. They'll also jump up to greet you, kiss your nose and look you straight in the eye. Great trick, but it can scare little ones and others who aren't used to such enthusiastic greetings.
This breed does well at intermingling with other animals particularly if they were raised with them. Some can be bossy about possessions and hoard all the toys in their den, and being herding dogs, they will chase things if tempted.
The Beardie may have gotten one of its other names - bouncing beardie - because when working in thick undergrowth on a hill, they bounce to catch sight of their sheep. It's also speculated this name came from the way they face a stubborn ewe, barking and bouncing on the forelegs. The bearded moves stock using body, bark and bounce. Very few beardies show "eye" when working, most are usually upright.
Generally a quite hardy breed, the Beardie does have some special medical conditions to be aware of:
Cataracts - any opacity or loss of transparency of the lens of the eye.
Corneal dystrophy - an inherited abnormality that affects one or more layers of the cornea.
Pemphigus foliaceus - an abnormal immune response to normal components of the skin, resulting in separation of cells. This leads to blisters, pustules, and crusting erosions in the skin.
Black hair follicular dysplasia - a rare inherited disorder seen in mixed-breed and purebred dogs. Hair loss occurs at a very early age in black areas on black, or black and white dogs.
von Willebrands disease - a common, usually mild, inherited bleeding disorder in people and in dogs. It is caused by a lack of von Willebrand factor (vWF), which plays an essential role in the blood clotting process.
Food sensitivities and Allergies also seem to be a problem for this breed. So do not give it scraps of food from the table.
They are also extremely sound sensitive to things like thunder or large trucks. Have your Beardie Vet checked for Hypothyroidism.
Beardies need lots of grooming. And if you take one look at their coats, you will know why. Either you will have to learn to groom like a pro, have them groomed by a pro or clip all that shaggy hair.
Grooming can take an average of one and a half to two hours or more per week, and you will need the following grooming supplies: good brushes, combs, a grooming table, nail clippers, etc. If you don't maintain the grooming you will end up with a matted mess that can lead to skin and other health problems. Long hair means things you'd rather not have in the house will be brought in with your Beardie. Leaves, sticks, mud and other things your dog has either rolled in or rubbed up against, not to mention any crawlies that took a fancy to being buried in your dog's coat.
Groomed properly, they shed minimally. Most of the dead hair will is removed when you comb and brush them out. The absolute worst time for shedding is when they lose the puppy coat (between 9 - 18 months). This stage lasts about three months and your dog loses hair from top to bottom or from front to rear.
Introduce your Beardie to hair care really early. Puppies can be groomed in one minute flat - the general idea being to get them used to being still for longer periods of time. This is essential as when they are adults they need to be able to accept at least an hour or brushing and combing. And if you show, the time spent is even longer.
Groom thoroughly at least once a week, more often during your puppy's shed. Lay your dog on its side then mist with some anti-tangle spray. What follows next is something called line brushing. Brush hair up with a bristle or pin brush, then brush hair back down a few inches at a time. If you encounter mats, work them out with the spray and your fingers, or use a mat rake. When you are done, you should be able to get a comb through his coat quite easily.
Make certain to check for ticks during tick season and pay attention to the length of the toenails. If they run on hard surfaces a lot, they will wear their own nails down. But if not, then you will either have to clip them yourself, or have a professional do it for you.
Beardies need LOTS of exercise! And this does not mean just running around the backyard. They need vigorous exercise every day, and at a minimum should get an hour of rigorous (romping) exercise at least three or four times a week.
Beardies have no end to their energy both indoors and out. If left to their own devices, they will make up their own games to play and chew on whatever they can find - if not jump fence and take off. Outside they will entertain themselves by digging holes. The goal is to stimulate both the mind and the body of your Beardie - engage his limitless curiosity and high intelligence.
An ideal workout for your Beardie if you don't run sheep or other livestock, would be a rousing game of fetch with balls or a Frisbee, throw in some swimming, running along side you while you bike and hiking. Whatever it is you choose to do physically, just include your Beardie. They're happiest when doing things with you and are up for anything from wrestling to swimming.
The best exercise regimen for your Beardie would be at least two 45 minute walks a day, no matter what the weather may be. While you may not be too happy with the weather, your dog doesn't mind in the least. This may vary depending on your dog, as each one does have its own personality.
While on your walks try to have about 30 minutes full tilt running off leash and include a game of fetch or even a tug of war. You need to also include at least 20 minutes of obedience training, trick training or other activities that keep your dog's mind sharp. If he's mentally stimulated he's happy. If he's happy, he's well-behaved.
If you don't think what you are doing is enough for your dog, don't increase the physical part of your routine, increase the educational portion instead. That would mean more obedience training, tricks - things to keep his mind busy - to stretch his mental limits. Working his mind will make him more tired than working his body - remember, their stamina is phenomenal. And they ALWAYS have energy to spare, even if you don't!
The Bearded Collie is very intelligent and quick to learn. However, he is an independent thinker and can be very stubborn. Obedience training must be fun, consistent and fair. It should also start at a young age and continue into adulthood.
These dogs can be master manipulators, and are very adept at getting their own way. The hardest thing about owning a Beardie is not teaching him the wrong things. If you don't stay mentally one step ahead of your Beardie, your Beardie will do a very good job of training you.
Your youngster is like a 2 year old child pushing his luck to see what he can get away with. If you do let him get his way, you will eventually end up with about 50 lbs of dog who 'won't walk on a leash' or 'doesn't like to be brushed' because when he was younger he found out that throwing a tantrum got him out of doing anything you wanted him to do. This behavior often can reappear around the teenage stage when they start feeling full of themselves and test to see who's in charge.
This is about the time when your pup also becomes deaf to your commands. Not literally, but he's chosen to ignore you to see how far he can push you. Had the experience where you've said "come" over and over, and still nothing? Well, he's just had a successful training session. He's trained you to keep on asking for something while he sits there. He'll respond eventually when you lose your cool and change your tone and your attitude.
If you want your dog to obey on the first command, don't repeat a command while your dog ignores you. Give the command once, and if he doesn't respond, go to him, take him by the collar. Repeat the command and then physically help him obey. If you never repeat a command without using the collar, he will realize he might as well obey the first time.