Bearded Collies are descendents of and have a strong resemblance to the Old English Sheepdog. They are medium sized, agile dogs with shaggy coats and perpetually wagging tails. Beardies have broad heads, short muzzles and long coats that form “beards” under the chin. Their coat color can change many times throughout their life thanks to a “fading” gene, though dogs who do not carry this gene stay the same color from puppyhood into old age. Their eyes are wide-set and expressive, and according to the AKC standard, “a bright inquiring expression is a distinctive feature of the breed.”
Size and Weight
Bearded Collies stand from 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh in between 45 and 55 pounds. Females are usually slightly smaller than their male counterparts.
Coat and Color
Bearded Collies developed a soft, thick undercoat and a flat, shaggy outer coat to protect them from the harsh weather of Scotland. Their long hair is naturally parted down their back and falls symmetrically across both sides. They got their name from the long, flowing hair that grows on the lower portion of their face.
Beardies are all born black, blue, brown or fawn and some may have white markings. Those dogs who carry a “fading” gene develop lighter coats as they get older, eventually fading back to a lighter color. So, a black puppy may actually grow into a gray dog who then matures further into a sliver coat. Brown puppies can lighten from a deep chocolate to a lighter, sandy tone. Those Beardies without the “fading” gene will stay the same color throughout life. Their white markings occur on the face, the head, chest, legs, neck or tip of the tail. Some dogs develop tan markings over the eyes, ears, checks and tail.
Bearded Collies require weekly brushing (at a minimum) to maintain their coats and to keep tangles and mats from forming. Some owners find that spraying the coat with a conditioning spray keeps grooming sessions manageable. It can take about an hour to properly brush a Beardie. Some owners opt to trim the dog's hair as they find brushing a long haired dog to be time consuming and intimidating.
Bearded Collies shed year round and more heavily at the change of seasons. During this time, brushing will probably be required several times a week. They also require frequent brushing as they lose their “puppy coats” when they are between 9 and 18 months old.