A typical working dog with the desirable appearance of a pet dog, the Bearded Collie is one of the rarest breeds in the world. It is very active and handy for herding, tracking, or simply performing tricks. It is average-sized and is covered in long hairs all over. It is extremely vibrant, with a coat that changes color several times as it matures. Under the right conditions, it can serve as an excellent working and pet dog.
Here is everything you need to know about the Bearded Collie dog breed.
The Bearded Collie had several nicknames in the past. Some people referred to the dog as the Hairy Moued Collie, others Loch Collie or Highland Collie, others Old Welsh Grey Sheepdog, and others still Mountain Scotch Collie. Not to be confused with the “Rough Collie,” the term “collie” in the “Bearded Collie” refers to the function of the dog. The Bearded Collie is one of the oldest dog breeds in Britain, with a history dating back to the 1600s and 1700s (perhaps even further). The breed was popularized during the last half of the twentieth century, when a Bearded Collie at the Potterdale Classic in Moonhill won the 1989 Best in Show award.
The breed has been used as a herding dog for many years. It is believed to have developed from a cross between Polish Sheepdogs and old English sheepdogs. At one point, the Bearded Collie dog breed almost became extinct during the World War II, and although its numbers have multiplied since then, it is still considered a rare breed.
Although once confined to Britain and Scotland, the Bearded Collie eventually spread to other continents. Its first presence in the U.S. was recorded in 1967, and the breed was officially recognized by the AKC in 1976.
The most notable feature of the Bearded Collie dog breed is its shaggy coat. In particular, this breed features long hair that grows on its chin, hence the name ‘Bearded.’ This dog’s entire body is covered by a double-coat of long fur, and the coat changes color several times during its growth to maturity. It is medium sized and has a long and slender body. The Bearded Collie has a long and lean body that is strong and energetic, reminiscent of the typical working dog. Its head is relatively large, and the square-shaped black nose stands out for its size.
The Bearded Collie, like most work dogs, is very easy to train as it learns quickly and is obedient under firm authority. Additionally, it is not only very active but very joyous too. It is particularly playful and lively, which is evidenced by its ever-waggling tail. Although it has a large set of canines, it is nevertheless aggressive and is considered a suitable pet due to its friendly and active nature. This dog’s temperament, however, depends on how it is handled. Being a working dog, it requires daily physical and mental exercising or else it will be gloomy or even mischievous. It also demands a firm yet gentle owner who is capable of asserting authority or else it may become disobedient.
One of this dog’s greatest needs is space. Since the dog is very active, its lifestyle is impeded by limited indoor spaces, and hence is not recommended for apartment life. If it is to be adopted as a pet, then it should have access to a sizeable yard and should be taken on regular walks outdoors. Having originated in Britain and the Scottish highlands, the dog is at home in a wet and cold environment. However, it thrives in virtually every environment as long as it is kept active. Regardless of its environment, a long walk is recommended on a daily basis. It should also be given mind tricks to keep its brain active. In a nutshell, the dog’s lifestyle demands an owner who is just as active especially if it adopted as a pet.
The dog’s fluffy coat is an integral part of its cute appearance, but it demands a lot of care to keep it in excellent condition. The long hairs become easily entangled and should be combed daily to keep them straight and clean. Since the hair is very dense, it should be wet moderately before combing and mats should be cut off immediately they are noticed. Frequent baths are also recommended since the Bearded Collie’s long coat easily collects and conceals dirt. The dog will shed regularly, and the coat should be trimmed at least once every two months to keep it short and neat. The ears, eyes, and paws should also be checked regularly as they too are covered in long hair and can easily conceal ticks and other parasites.
Life Expectancy and Health Problems
The Bearded Collie is a very hardy dog as proven by its history, and it can live for up to 15 years when kept under the right conditions. Unlike most other breeds, it is prone to very few dog diseases. The most common illness in the Bearded Collie dog breed is hip dysplasia. This occurs when the ball-and-socket joints linking the legs to the body become deformed. These bones eventually become dislocated and grind against each other as the dog moves. The condition is painful and uncomfortable for dogs, and it can severely hinder movement.
The long double-coat that gives the dog its cute appearance is also a health risk. The long hairs easily collect and conceal dirt, and this creates a good environment for ticks and other parasites to thrive. As such, the dog can be prone to a myriad of other illnesses if not groomed appropriately.
Height and Weight
The Bearded Collie is an average-sized dog that stands at about 20 to 22 inches when fully grown. The average Bearded Collie weighs about 40 to 60 pounds depending on its diet. However, like most other breeds, males tend to be larger and heavier than females.
The Bearded Collie has a long history and is recognized by the following associations:
- American Canine Registry (ACR)
- American Canine Association (ACA)
- Dog Registry of America, Inc. (DRA)
- Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)
- American Pet Registry, Inc. (APRI)
- Australian National Kennel Cub (ANKC)
- Continental Kennel Club (CKC)
- National Kennel Club (NKC)
- United Kennel Club (UKC)
- North America Purebred Registry, Inc. (NAPR)
- New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC)
- Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI)
- Kennel Club of Great Britain (KCGB)