Dog Breeds

Bearded Collie


The bearded collie originated in Scotland where he was bred to find and herd sheep on the rugged mountains. His hairy coat kept him warm in the snowy winters. The bearded collie, or "Beardy" as he is knicknamed, at first appears to be all hair! The dog is hidden underneath the long coat. The coat should not be cut but should be left long. Beardies have long hair covering their eyes, and a beard hanging under the chin.

Bearded Collie & puppies, belonging to M. Wright 


Bearded collies need daily combing and brushing to stop tangles and matting. They are good natured, fun-loving dogs and makes good family pets. 

The bearded collie is a medium sized, energetic dog. He needs ample room and exercise. 

The body is long in proportion to the height.

Height: dogs 53 -56 cm, bitches 51 - 53 cm. 

Class: herding





Collie with beard under chin

Ashvale Love Me Do for Westmilwunda, aka Dallas, is owned by K. Furk.


Bearded collie waiting for dog show to start

Ch Scottsdale Ocean Drive of Ashvale, aka Gabriel, owned by E. Ashton, South Africa.



Bearded collie with owner

bearded collie relaxing on cool tiled floor

Above: Bentley belongs to B. Kleizen, South Africa.

Gatsby the Beardie

Bearded collie walks the plank

Gatsby competes in agility competitions at dog shows. His fringe is cut as well as some of the hair on his nose so he can see his way around an obstacle course. He belongs to Ron Cosser, South Africa.

Photo by Paul Greenway

The Bearded Collie

By Ron Cosser

I'm not an expert on the dogs; just interested in the breed and facts about them.

For several hundred years, bearded collies were used as sheep and cattle dogs.  Other names for them have included "Highland Collie" and "Scottish Sheepdog".  I understand that they were bred to work by themselves (work-away style); ie the shepherd would send them out onto the hillsides to search out and bring the sheep back by themselves.  So the ones who can solve problems were highly prized.  Unlike the Border Collies who work silently, Bearded Collies bark - intentionally so - enabling the shepherd at the foot of the hill to keep track of what's happening higher up.  If the barking persists from one spot the shepherd knows that there is a problem (perhaps a sheep caught in a crevasse) and goes up to investigate. So they tend to think for themselves which can be frustrating if you are training them since they usually consider any command before acting on it after seeing if there is nothing better in the offing.

They have a surprising turn of speed considering their short legs, with a gait not unlike that of a cheetah due to their long body.

I think the long hair is typical of a lot of herding dogs in the north of Europe - probably for warmth.  Of course breeding for the show ring has emphasised the coat, and the hair on the top dogs reaches ridiculous lengths.  I'm happy to have a dog with shorter hair.

The decorative side is perhaps a drawback since they have to be brushed and combed at least once a week (typically takes over 2 hours) if they are not to be a mass of knots.  The long hair picks up leaves, seeds and even branches (bougainvillea is particularly a nightmare!) - so one's house soon has as many leaves inside as there are outside.

One of the most famous passages describing them comes from the book, "Owd Bob - the Grey Dog of Kenmuir," by Alfred Ollivant:

"Should you, while wandering in the wild sheep land, happen on the moor or in the market upon a very perfect gentle knight, clothed in dark grey habit, splashed here and there with rays of the moon; free by right divine of the guild of gentleman, strenuous as a prince, lithe as a rowan, graceful as a girl, with high king carriage... should have a noble breadth of brow, and air of still strength born of right confidence, all unassuming; last and most unfailing test for all, should you look into two snow clad eyes, calm, wistful, inscrutable, their soft depths clothed on with sadness...  know then that you look upon one of the line of the most illustrious sheepdogs of the North" 

That passage describes Gatsby (and my previous Beardie, Paddington) perfectly.


 The bearded collie is not to be confused with the Old English Sheepdog


God only knows how many hairs a bearded collie has on its head! We can't see the dog for hairs! God also knows how many hairs WE have on our heads! Jesus said, "The very hairs on your head are all numbered, so don't be afraid!" 

Matthew chapter 12, 7

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