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Bearded Collie

One of the oldest breeds to originate in Britain, the Bearded Collie is a descendant from the lowland polish sheepdog. In 1514 a Polish sea captain brought 3 lowland polish sheepdogs to Scotland and traded them to a Scottish shepherd for a few ewes and a ram. These dogs were bred to the local herding stock and thus formed the foundation for this breed. A portrait of the Duke of Buccleigh in 1771 shows one of the earliest pictures of a Bearded Collie. In the 1818 edition of Live Stock Journal, the breed standard was established. Then known as the Highland Sheepdog, Highland Collie or the Hairy Moved Collie, they were used to herd sheep and cattle over the rough Scottish terrain.

The name Bearded Collie comes from the dogs long hair under the chin that goes to the chest (the beard) and the Scottish word for herding (Collie).The Bearded Collie had become a popular dog as a show dog, working dog, and a great family pet by the end of the Victorian era. Although Bearded Collies were well supported at Bearded Collie classes, there were no official standards for them to be judged because there were no breed clubs for them. There were also no kennels breeding bearded collies for show purposes. In fact, the breed was almost extinct by the 1930’s being bred only for work. A Mrs. G.O. Willison, the owner of Bothkenner Kennels, is credited with saving the breed. She began breeding them as show dogs and in 1955 established the Bearded Collie Club in Britain. The English Kennel Club allowed Bearded Collies to be eligible for championship and challenge certificate in 1959 and from then on its popularity increased.

In the 1950s the Bearded Collie was brought into the U.S. However, none were bred at that time. It wasn’t until 1967 that the first litter was born in the U.S. The Bearded Collie of America Club and recognition by the AKC as a working dog came in 1977.

Size: medium

Lifespan: 12-15 years

Height: 21-2 in males 20-21 in females

Weight: 45-60 lbs male 35-50 lbs female



  • Wonderful family pet- excellent with children
  • Very intelligent
  • Good watchdog
  • Good for novice owners
  • Easy to train
  • Moderate dominance
  • Good with other pets



  • Lots of grooming required
  • Fairly active indoors
  • Needs a lot of daily physical activity
  • Needs to be with people not left alone for long periods

Bearded Collie

Average Barker
Average shedder
Not for apartments
Can be prone to hip dysplasia

The Bearded Collie is a very affectionate, playful happy-go-lucky dog, with males being more out going and bold while females are more submissive and calm.

Roger L. Welton, DVM
Founder and Chief Editor,
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital

Article updated 9/10/2012

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