Bearded Collie

AKC Herding Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Bearded Collie is a descendant of the Polish Lowland Sheepdog (the Polski Owczarek Nizinny or PON), which was first introduced into Scotland in 1514 by a Polish sea captain who traded three of his dogs to a Scottish shepherd for a valuable ram and ewe. The dogs were bred with local herding stock and this formed the foundation for the Bearded Collie breed. For centuries, the Beardie was used in Scotland as a herder of both sheep and cattle, and was known variously as the Highland Sheepdog, Highland Collie and the Hairy Moved Collie. Collie is the Scottish word for herding dog, derived from the “colley” or “coaley” black-faced sheep. The name “Bearded Collie” comes from the long hair under the Beardie’s chin that flows into the chest, forming a beard. The Beardie’s lovable personality and appearance make him an ideal companion and family dog. Still fairly rare in the United States, the first U.S. litter of Beardies was whelped in 1967.


The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, as he is known to his fanciers, is a medium-sized, strong, agile herding dog with a shaggy coat and an ever-wagging tail. He is an ancestor of the Old English Sheepdog, and the family resemblance is obvious. The Beardie has a broad head and a shaggy coat all over his body, even under the chin (hence the name “Beardie”). Beneath the dense, weatherproof outer coat is a thick, soft undercoat. The ears lie close to the head and the tail is long and carried low unless the dog is excited. The Beardie is robust, hardy, and active, but not massive. Puppies are generally born either black, brown, fawn, or blue, and lighten with maturity so that black Beardies may range from black to silver, and brown from chocolate to sandy. White often occurs on the tail tip, collar, chest, legs, top of head, and as a blaze, but never around the eyes or on the body behind the shoulders. Tan points may also occur.

Key Facts

  • Height: 21 to 22 in. (male); 20 to 21 in. (female)
  • Size: Medium
  • Weight: 45 to 60 lbs. (male); 35 to 50 lbs. (female)
  • Availability: Difficult to find
  • Talents: Tracking, herding, watchdog, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks


Beware of hip dysplasia. Buy only from stock with OFA, PennHIP, or another national hip-dysplasia clearance.


Known for his bounce, the exuberant Beardie will charm you with his joyous, affectionate, happy-go-lucky ways. Playful and lively with an always-wagging tail, he’s the perfect companion for children. Enthusiastic, stable, and self-confident. Males tend to be more bold and outgoing; females tend to be calmer and more submissive. The Beardie needs to be with people and not left alone without anything to do. Humorous and high-energy dogs. Very trainable for many activities.


  • Children: Excellent with children
  • Friendliness: Loves everyone
  • Trainability: Easy to train
  • Independence: Moderately dependent on people
  • Dominance: Moderate
  • Other Pets: Generally good with other pets.
  • Combativeness: Not generally dog-aggressive
  • Noise: Average barker
  • Indoors: Fairly active indoors
  • Owner: Good for novice owners


  • Grooming: Extensive grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat: Medium-long coat
  • Shedding: Fairly low shedder
  • Exercise: Needs lots of exercise
  • Jogging: An excellent jogging companion
  • Apartments: Not recommended for apartments
  • Outdoor Space: Best with at least an average-size yard
  • Climate: Does well in most climates
  • Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Bearded Collie Breed Standard

Bearded Collie Breed Club

Search for a Breeder

Rescue Organizations

Books about the Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie Gifts