Bearded collies playing in the sea

Thanks to Dawn Sarro at Morguefile for this lovely photo.

The Bearded Collie

The bearded collie is another popular breed in the UK and these fun loving dogs do well at agility. Dogs ideally  measure 53 - 56cms at the withers and bitches measure 51 - 53cms.  Both dogs and bitches weigh between 18 - 28kgs.

This breed has quite a few variations in coat length and colour so that each dog tends to be more individual in its looks than in some other dog breeds.  Many beardies change their coat colour during their lifetime, and in particular they can develop paler rings around their eyes.  This "paling" can spread throughout the coat during the dog's first 18 months so that the puppy colour you started out with isn't necessarily the colour of dog you will end up with.  When the new coat starts to grow it will be darker but the paling is likely to start all over again and continue until the next new growth of darker hair. 

Beardies are very trainable as long as you are consistent and not too harsh with them.  I would describe them as fun loving, active, exuberant and enthusiastic which is just what you want for an agility dog.  Think very carefully before you take on a beardie or one of its crosses as they do need a lot of grooming and exercise and they need something to do.  I know they can charm the birds out of the trees with their looks but you have to have a great sense of humour and plenty of time for these wonderful dogs. 

If you go to agility shows you'll probably find at least one person who runs beardies and they will be glad to give you some helpful advice.  As with all breed dogs, you can't beat first hand knowledge and actually meeting the dogs in the flesh.

Louise Hopes has a lovely dog called Mick who is three quarters beardie and a quarter poodle.   Louise says, "He has been a delight since he joined our household as a seven week old puppy. That was three years ago and he is now winning jumping classes at our local shows. I took him to puppy and obedience classes for the first year and also started agility foundation training at an early age. He was quick to learn and anxious to please. He jumps like a kangaroo and has conquered his early fear of the seesaw and dog walk. He is a very happy character who is good with other dogs except the few he finds scary. He plays for hours with our Kelpie cross who is an unfriendly female. He is lovely with our grandchildren and friends with all the neighbours. I don’t know that he would cope well if left alone a lot but we are at home almost all the time and outside for much of it. He thrives on the outdoor life, activity and exercise."

Comments from handlers of beardies and beardie crosses

Rachel Baldock

My dog is a complete nutter he chases his shadow and other peoples shadows and he loves to play with a ball and the pool table we have got.  He tries to get the ball out the hole it's really funny but he loves to be centre of attention he howls if he gets left out x

Terry

I had a wonderful bearded cross border collie for almost 14 years until sadly she
died and I am searching for the same cross once again. Sally came to me from a farm when she was 6 months old and although she hadn't been too good at working with sheep she became the most obedient dog I have ever had. My son took her into agility classes and she went down to the Wembley Pet Foods finals.

Frazzled:

PLEASE, can anyone help! My gorgeous dog Jaspa, is 13 months old, and is a canine Jekyll and Hyde!! In the house he's good as gold...apart from being a tea leaf with food and tea towels! Outside, he's totally manic. He goes to bite anyone who comes near me, barks at cars, bikes etc, and pulls so hard on the lead, I can't take him for a walk anymore. I have tried a haltie, he broke 3 of them, I have the air spray, it works for a few seconds, then he just carries on. We take him to the beach every day for a good run, and as long as we throw a ball, the rest of the world doesn't exist to him. He's with me 24/7, and comes to work with me, but, he still gets exercise, as I'm in a long unit, so constantly throw and hide things to stop him getting bored. I have a serious stomach condition, and he's already pulled me over twice.At home, he's submissive, obedient, fun, and irresistable, but outside, he's hell in a fur coat!!! I feed him on James Wellbeloved, kibble and rice, but change the flavour each time. As much as I hate it, I will have to muzzle him as from this week, as I'm seriously
worried he will bite someone, yet with people he knows he's terrific, and he loves children. Any advice would be gratefully recieved. Thanx.

Pat comments: James Wellbeloved is fairly high in protein so I would first of all change to something more calming. As Jaspa is a beardie cross he's going to be a high energy dog but it's worrying that he  wants to bite people who come near you. This is something that needs to be sorted out fast and it can't be done over the internet. You need to contact a good dog behaviourist. Someone from the
Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors will be able to help.  This will mean a trip to the vet and a referral if the vet thinks the problem is serious enough. Alternatively you could look for a local behaviourist who may be able to help.  Try and find someone who uses positive training and don't let anyone tell you to squirt the dog with water or use any other forceful methods.  It will make the dog worse.  You obviously can't go on like this and I admire you for what you have achieved so far with Jaspa. Best wishes and good luck.

Vaughan:

Where do I start? I was diagnosed with M.E in Feb 2008 and felt like my life had ended. I was at home, by myself and bored and fed up. It wasn't until my partner, Jon, suggested getting a dog. Well, we saw a Beardie advertised for sale, what a pleasure he has been. I'm feeling at my best in over a year. I'm fit and healthy. I've stopped smoking too, I need all the energy to keep up with Mungo (my dog). He is so funny and naughty but I wouldn't want him any other way.

Sarah:

We have a beardie/border collie cross called Ozzy. He is the best. He's just turned 1 yr old and we couldn't imagine life without him. He's very clever and he knows it! For as long as I remember, people have always told us that all collies are high maintenance, which I would completely agree with, but after Ozzy became a part of our family he has turned our world upside down. How ever bad life gets, if you own a beardie, they will put a smile on your face and make all your worries disappear, even if it's just momentarily. Love to hear your comments.

Laura

His breed, us and our vet have guessed as border x beardie, but he is very unusual. Characteristics and face of a border, coat and build of a beardie! He is a mystery!!! Would love you to put a pic of him up so people could guess! Very very fast, very powerful and very enthusiastic dog.

Lynne (Beardie/poodle cross):

very obedient and loving dog. she also is very sensitive, she responds well to firm commands and is calm and wonderfully behaved in the home hence we take her when we visit family. I would like to do agility with her she is 19 months old is this too old to start? she is very fast and outruns all the dogs in the park.

Pat comments:  19 months is not too old at all to start agility.  Your dog will be well gown and there is less danger of damaging the joints if they start jumping at this age. 

Lucy:

My Beardie X is lovely to train, a really quick learner and she is VERY accurate. She's beginning to get much quicker and our placings are getting higher at fun competitions!  The most loving dog we've ever owned (almost human!)

Darryl (Beardie/border):

Very smart and extremely quick dog. She needs positive training, harsh training/handling wouldn't work well with her.

Samantha

Hadingham (Bearded Collie/Rough Collie cross):Very vocal and a bit nutty but has potential to be fast and accuarate. Calm in the home and brilliant with people. Chasing instincts been a problem also.

Gill (Beardie x Border collie):

Picks up what is asked very quickly just lacks confidence sometimes, does not bark or get over excited so far! We are only in our first year of training.

Nicky (beardie x):

Although my dog is a bit mad he LOVES agility! he is very keen, very fast and fun to work with. we're not sure what he is cross with(something big!)and the only problem i've encountered is tight turns,but that is improving all the time with practise.he is also a fantastic member of our family and a pleasure to live with.

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