Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Bearded collie standing in grass.

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Herding group (American Kennel Club)
  • Height — 20-22 inches
  • Weight — 45-55 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Long double coat with a wiry, coarse outer coat and a soft, silky undercoat
  • Coat color — Bearded collies can come in four main colors and two main markings. The colors consist of black, brown, blue (diluted black), and fawn (diluted brown). The main markings are white markings or white and tan markings, and may be very prominent or minimal depending on the dog. Bearded collie puppies have curly, fluffy coats that start off darker and lighten up after eight weeks.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — High, very vocal
  • Life span — 12-14 years
  • Temperament — Bouncy, charismatic, smart, alert, bright
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Scotland

Bearded collie fun facts 

👉 Coming up with a pet name can be fun but tricky. Search no further! According to PetScreening’s 2024 database, the majority of our users name their male Bearded Collies Max; Jax is the 2nd most popular male name. Meanwhile, most of our users with female Bearded Collies love Luna, then Lucy.

  • A common nickname for Bearded collies is “dogs of changing colors.” Bearded collies have a fading gene that causes them to start off darker and lighten with age. A dark brown puppy may end up being closer to milk chocolate by the end of the first year.
  • Bearded collies have their own bounce known as the “bearded collie bounce.” Bearded collies would often bounce on their forelegs to see the sheep over the thick bushes on the hillside.
  • Bearded collies have been identified in paintings as far back as the late 1700s. A painting by Thomas Gainsborough in 1771 shows a portrait of the Duke of Buccleuch and his bearded collies. And, in 1772, a portrait by Joshua Reynolds shows a mother and daughter with two bearded collies.
Bearded collietrotting through uncut grass.

Bearded collie temperament and characteristics 

Bearded collies love to be with their family and are fiercely loyal. These dogs are said to have a playful and spunky personality that is clear in their excited “bearded collie bounce” dance. That excitement with family carries over to strangers, too. Bearded collies are often very enthusiastic when it comes to making new friends. The breed is great with children and other pets. If raised with other animals, it’s not uncommon for the bearded collies to play with a tiny Pomeranian or a big Great Dane. They are even known to take  “cat naps” with kittens.

Because they’re herding dogs though, it is very important to remember that they need plenty of mental and physical stimulation everyday. This makes the breed a great match for active owners. The best home set up for this high-energy breed is a home with a large fenced-in yard. Bearded collies thrive when given a lot of attention, and need an owner who can give them that. Bearded collies tend to be a little clumsy and very curious, making for comical situations when in public.


The Bearded Collie is a shaggy, medium-sized herding dog. The Bearded Collie has two types of coat colors – solid and tricolor. The AKC breed standard is solid colors like blue, brown, black, or fawn. We teamed up with FidoTabby Alert, and according to their database, a common coat color for the Bearded Collie is (57%) black. Bearded Collies are born in various shades, including black, blue, brown, or fawn, and may or may not have white markings.

Common bearded collie health problems 

Bearded collies are a sturdy breed and are generally known to be healthy dogs. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t susceptible to hereditary health problems, though. Aside from more common health issues like ear infections and allergies, bearded collies can inherit some more serious health issues.

  • Lupus. An autoimmune disease where the dog’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body at a cellular level. Whether systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or discoid erythematosus (DLE), this disease causes life-threatening symptoms.
  • Pemphigus foliaceus. An autoimmune disease dealing with the skin, including the tissues of the gum. This disease causes crusting and shallow ulcers on the skin, formation of fluid-filled cysts and sacs (vesicles), and pus-filled lesions (pustules).
  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease). This is an immune-mediated disease that destroys the adrenal glands, stopping them from producing the right amount of steroid hormones. This can result in lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting to name a few.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF). CFH is caused by several factors, including inherited and congenital causes like subaortic stenosis (SAS) . SAS is common in bearded collies,  causing the dog’s heart to work too hard because of a narrowing just below the aortic valve. The aortic valve is the doorway between one of the heart’s chambers and the artery that pushes out blood for circulation.
  • Epilepsy. This is a brain disorder where there are recurrent seizures and no known cause, including disease or brain injury. Seizures are sudden surges of electrical activity in the brain which can cause twitching, tremors, shaking, spasms, and/or convulsions.
  • von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) . A common hereditary bleeding disorder that can come from one or both parents and occurs when there is a deficiency in von Willebrand Factor (vWF) proteins. This means that the dog’s ability to form blood clots is missing because that protein is needed for platelets to stick together and form a clot.

Cost of caring for bearded collies

When it comes to health issues, something like Addison’s disease has an estimated cost of $1,000 to $3,500 for diagnostics tests, treatments, hospitalization, and lifelong medication. Pemphigus foliaceus has a range of $500 to $1,800 depending on basic diagnostics and medications, or if a specialist, biopsies, and higher-end immunosuppressive medications are needed.

With steep price tags on just some bearded collie health issues, it may seem like owning one is out of your reach. However,  pet health insurance is a wonderful way to help with a lot of those out-of-pocket expenses for both expected and unexpected vet visits. The best time to sign up is when your pup is young. Another wonderful option is to set up a pet savings account and budget a certain amount for continued use throughout your dog’s life.

Bearded collie closeup outside, with its tongue hanging out.

History of the bearded collie

The bearded collie has an interesting origin story—or stories depending on who you ask— that seem to be a mix of fact and legend. Early origin stories state that the bearded collie is an ancient breed, and may in fact predate the Roman conquest of Britain. The more recent story states that the bearded collies is more likely to be a descendent of a Central European breed, either the Polish lowland sheepdog or the Komondor.

It is believed that a Polish merchant, who brought Polish lowland sheepdogs with them, traded for sheep in Scotland around 1514. Scottish shepherds were so impressed with the dog’s herding ability that one of them traded some sheep for some of the dogs. Bearded collies came about after these Polish lowland sheepdogs were bred with the native Scottish dogs. Like with most shepherd breeds, no definitive records of origin exist.

Varied types of collies

Collies are a varied group of breeds that, according to the International Canine Federation, all fall within the shepherd and cattle dogs category. These dogs are all herding dogs and were used to herd livestock. Collies are generally seen as the most adept at herding because of their physical size, stamina, and strength. They are also believed to be some of the most intelligent dogs around.

  • Scotch collie. With an origin dating back to the 19th century Scottish highlands, these dogs were used as working sheepdogs. They are separated into two breeds: the rough collie and the smooth collie.
  • Border collie. One of the best known collies, originating in 18th century Scotland, they’re used as cattle herders because of their ability to control livestock larger than themselves. These dogs are not to be confused with the Australian shepherd who look very similar.
  • Shetland sheepdog. While missing the word “collie” in their name, these dogs are very similar in appearance to the rough collie. Originally, these dogs were of the Spitz type, but through heavy breeding of the rough collie and toy breeds, the Sheltie is now essentially a miniature rough collie.

Caring for your bearded collie

Bearded collies are known to be a little high maintenance—and they have the price tag to go with it. Buying a puppy could put you back around $1,300, with the upper end being closer to $3,500. Adopting a bearded collie pup will only cost you between $50 and $500 depending on the shelter or rescue. Once you have your puppy, the first-year expenses could amount to around $4,245, and then $1,900 a year ($158 a month) after that, depending on where you live.  The first year costs include vet visits, training, toys, and essentials to get your house ready for a new addition.

You’ll need to make sure you plan your first trip to the vet to get their vaccinations early on. Additionally, spend some time puppy-proofing your home and getting everything set up for a teething puppy. When picking out the perfect collar for your new bearded collie, don’t forget to sign up for a free FidoAlert ID tag so that you’re prepared just in case your pup wants to go on a wild herding excursion. Here are some other basics specific to the bearded collie.


This active breed is not for anyone who enjoys a more sedentary lifestyle or is looking for a cuddly couch potato. Bearded collies need about two hours of physical activity a day including runs, walks, bike rides, agility training, hikes, or other high-energy activities. Homes with large, fenced-in yards are the ideal home for these athletic dogs because it gives them an area to run around. They tend to be happiest when they have room to roam and are able to burn off a lot of their boundless energy. In other words, a tired bearded collie is a happy one.

Don’t forget to engage in some mental stimulation with these dogs. This can be in the form of puzzles, interactive toys, or training to play hide and seek. Because of their thick coat, bearded collies do better in cooler weather.

Bearded collie playing in a pond.


Grooming a bearded collie can be described as a two-step process. First, consider a daily brushing to keep tangles and dirt buildup at bay. Second, incorporate a deep brushing once a week to get rid of any dead hair. Detangling spray and brushes designed for double coats (pin or bristle brushes) will help keep your beaded collie looking its best. They only require occasional baths as long as they don’t get into anything too messy.

Part of their grooming includes ear cleaning which is very important for a bearded collie because they are prone to ear infections if their ears aren’t taken care of properly. Another important part of grooming is nail trimming, which will help to keep their nails from becoming overgrown or breaking. Don’t forget to brush your bearded collies’ teeth and give them some dental water additives to keep their gums healthy.

Diet and nutrition

Bearded collies need a high-quality food at least twice a day because of their activity level. However, be warned that bearded collies are known to be finicky eaters, so you may have to try a few different brands before they find one they like. There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right dog food, but talking with your vet about portion and ingredients is a great place to start.

Your vet can give a better idea of how big the portion should be, but on average, it is safe to assume that your bearded collie needs at least three cups of food a day depending on their activity level. Treats are a great addition, but should be kept to no more than 10% of the diet. Because of their high-energy levels, protein is very important and should be the first ingredient.

Training your bearded collie

Bearded collies’ high energy and high intelligence mean that ongoing obedience training is very important and should start young, around the age of eight weeks. Bearded collies’ friendly temperaments mean that early socialization is important and can start with puppy training classes. Because of their independent nature and herding background, these dogs can be a little stubborn when it comes to training if they get bored. One solution is to keep the training session short and interesting.

A great activity for your bearded collie is enrolling them in an agility club where they will get to socialize, exercise, and learn new skills all in one place. A few recommended tips when it comes to training are positive reinforcement and to remember that these dogs are food lovers, meaning they will be highly motivated by treats. To keep an eye on their calorie consumption though, you can always switch out a treat with a little bit of their daily food intake to keep them at a healthy weight.

Bearded collie puppy sitting outside in grass.

Breeds similar to the bearded collie

Not quite sure that a bearded collie is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • West Highland white terrier. These dogs can be described as alert, friendly, independent, and active. This breed is not only a great family dog, but is also great for new dog owners.
  • American Eskimo dog. Intelligent, alert, protective, and friendly, these dogs make good pets for homes with children.
  • Boykin spaniel. This breed is friendly, trainable, eager, and energetic. These dogs make wonderful companions and do well in families with small children.

Frequently asked questions

Do bearded collies make good pets?

As long as the household is an active one, bearded collies have no problem being wonderful pets. They absolutely love spending time with their owners and playing with both children and other pets. Just be mindful of their high-energy needs.

How much do bearded collies shed?

With their long, shaggy coats, it’s easy to say that bearded collies shed a lot. There are ways to cut down on this, though, with regular grooming and the right tools like de-shedding brushes.

Would you call bearded collies high-maintenance?

The short answer is yes—they can be considered high-maintenance because of their herding nature and long hair. These dogs need extensive exercise which can take up to two hours every day. They also require weekly grooming, which includes daily brushing, to keep their fur from tangling and matting.

What is the cost of a bearded collie puppy?

If purchased from a breeder, a bearded collie puppy can cost anywhere from $850 to $2,600, with the average cost being close to $1,300. Adopting from a shelter or rescue will cost less, with some rehoming fees being between $50 and $500.

Where are bearded collies from?

Bearded collies are from the Scottish Highlands and were originally known as the Highland collie and mountain collie.