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The bearded collie is a bright dog known for its quick wit and vivaciousness. This dog breed belongs to the Herding Group and is an excellent family companion, working dog, and show dog. The bearded collie originated in Scotland, although the history of how it was bred is debatable. The beardie is medium-size dog weighing 45–55 pounds and standing 51–56 centimetres. It sports a double coat: a shaggy flowing topcoat and a soft and furry undercoat. The bearded collie has a lifespan of twelve to fourteen years.
Are you looking to own a bearded collie? Before you decide, here's a brief background about this smart and active dog breed.
The bearded collie is reported to be of Scottish and Polish descent. Although its history is unclear, it is said that a Polish merchant who came to Scotland traded a few Polish lowland sheepdog for wares in the 1500s. Later, the Polish sheepdogs were crossed with local Scottish sheepdogs, particularly the Old English sheepdog, to develop the bearded collie. Other reports say that invading armies left dogs with indeterminate breed and were bred with native herding dogs in Scotland.
G.O. Willison is credited for creating the breed for the show ring post-World War II in 1944. She formed the Bearded Collie Club in Britain in 1955. The breed gained recognition in 1959 when the Kennel Club granted rights to show for Challenge Certificates and Championships. However, it was only in 1989 when the bearded collie rose to popularity when it won Best in Show at Crufts Dog Show.
The bearded collie is an athletic-looking dog initially bred as a herding dog. It weighs 45–55 pounds and stand 51–56 centimetres. A beardie is longer than it is tall. It has expressive eyes, a broad head, and drop ears. The bearded collie sports a double coat: a furry soft undercoat and a long and flowing topcoat that is straight, thick, and coarse.
The breed is distinctively known for its ‘changing colours’ as many of them have the fading gene. It starts out with dark colours at birth that slowly fade after eight weeks and darken again after a year. This dog breed's coat comes in a variety of shades of brown, black, blue, grey, or reddish fawn. The beardie often has white markings on the chest, face, feet, and tips of its tail. Daily brushing is required to keep its long and flowing coat in excellent condition, tidy, and knot-free. In the grooming department, the bearded collie is a high-maintenance dog. It sheds heavily once per year in a period of two to four weeks. During this time, it is recommended to brush more frequently to keep loose hair under control.
Don't forget other grooming needs such as oral hygiene and nail care. Teeth should be brushed two to three times a week, even daily, to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Nails should be trimmed to avoid overgrowth and to keep them in good condition. Ears should be checked for any signs of infection, such as redness, and must be cleaned regularly.
The bearded collie is smart, active, independent, and stubborn. It tends to be bouncy and jumps up into your face unless trained otherwise. Smart and athletic in a dog is a recipe for disaster for new owners, since a dog with these temperaments is challenging to train. The bearded collie is definitely best with firm and patient training, ideal for experienced dog owners.
Bred to be a working dog, it needs to be kept busy. Give it mental and physical stimulation such as interactive games. It does well in competing in dog sports such as agility and herding. If a bearded collie does not get enough exercise or is left alone for any length of time, it tends to form bad habits such as excessive barking, digging, or chewing.
The beardie is generally good around children and enjoys playtime. This dog breed may be too active for small children and should not be left alone unsupervised.
A typical serving for an adult beardie is 1/2–2 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day that must be divided into two meals. The bearded collie is an active dog, thus it has plenty of energy to use. Activity level, the dog's size, age, and its size will determine the amount of food to serve. As a dog owner, it is one of your responsibilities to make sure that your dog is given the right nutrition it needs.
Typical calorie needs of an adult bearded collie per day:
The bearded collie is fussy about its food, so it needs to be fed a well-balanced diet of lean proteins and fewer carbohydrates. Free-feeding or leaving food sitting out all day will encourage dogs to overeat and the beardie is the same.
The life expectancy of a bearded collie is between twelve and fourteen years. However, like any dog breed, a beardie is known to suffer from health disorders. Common health disorders of a bearded collie are hip dysplasia, choroidal hypoplasia, collie eye anomaly, Addison's disease, haemolytic anaemia, and thrombocytopenia.
The bearded collie has demanding exercise needs. It requires mental and physical stimulation to maintain a healthy body and mind, so at least sixty to eighty minutes of exercise daily is advisable. The beardie also needs constructive activities such as herding, agility, and hiking to occupy its curious mind and satisfy its high energy.
A Bearded Collie puppy will cost you anywhere from £400 to £500. Expect to pay a little bit more for a well-bred pedigree puppy from a KC-registered breeder. On top of the purchase price, you need to factor in the necessary dog supplies and equipment such as collars, leashes, beds, and bowls which may cost you around £200.
The cost to buy high-quality dog food is around £40-£60 a month. Medical costs, which include veterinary fees, health checks, initial vaccinations, and boosters, are estimated at £1,000 a year.
Pet insurance is another thing and the cost will depend on the breed, location, and the coverage you select. The cost to insure a Bearded Collie is about £20 a month for basic coverage whilst a lifetime policy is £40 a month.
Are you sure the Bearded Collie is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz
Still not sure if a bearded collie is for you? Take our quick Pet Finder for other suggested breeds that may be suitable to your personality and lifestyle.