The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, is a herding breed of dog once used primarily by Scottish shepherds, but now mostly a popular family companion.
Bearded Collies have an average weight of 18–27 kilograms (40–60 lb). Males are around 53–56 centimetres (21–22 in) tall at the withers while females are around 51–53 centimetres (20–21 in) tall.
The Bearded Collie ranks 117 out of 175 breeds in popularity in the United States, according to the American Kennel Club's yearly breed ranking. A Bearded Collie is best obtained from a reputable breeder or a dog rescue. There are Beardie rescue associations, such as Beardie Collie Rescue and "Rescue Me". These organisations attempt to place unwanted puppies and dogs into appropriate, loving homes. Most Bearded Collie breeders take great care in breeding, raising and placing their puppies. Due to this, Bearded Collies are considered an "unspoiled" breed.
Bearded Collies make excellent pets for those willing to accommodate their high energy level - they are very enthusiastic and have a bouncy nature. They also require regular grooming; weekly brushing is mandatory for keeping their long hair mat-free. Some Bearded Collie owners opt to keep their pets in a "puppy cut" haircut, which reduces (but does not eliminate) the need for brushing. Bearded Collies are an energetic breed, originally intended to work in the Scottish Highlands herding sheep; they also excel at treibball, dog agility and Obedience trials. A loyal and family-friendly dog, the Beardie can add years of pet-ownership enjoyment to the home. They have keen problem-solving abilities, and are entertaining to watch.
In training, beardies can be independent, they will go from A to B but maybe not via the expected route. One of the most common problems for new Beardie owners is the breed's intelligence makes them prone to get quickly fed up if training gets too repetitive.
The median longevity (the age at which half of the population has died and half is still alive) of Bearded Collies from recent UK and USA/Canada surveys (the weighted average of all surveys) is 12.8 years; Beardies in the UK surveys lived longer (median ~13.4 years) than their USA/Canada counterparts (median 12.0 years). Most purebred breeds have median longevities between 10 and 13 years and most breeds similar in size to Bearded Collies have median longevities between 11 and 13 years, so the lifespan of Bearded Collies appears to be on the high end compared with other breeds (at least in the UK). Individual dogs may die much earlier or later than the median. In a 1996 USA/Canada survey, 32% of Beardies died (including accidental deaths) before the age of nine; however, 12% lived longer than 14 years. The eldest of the 278 deceased dogs in the 2004 UK Kennel Club survey died at 19.5 years; the age at death of the oldest dog in the USA/Canada survey was not reported.
Leading causes of death among Beardies in the UK are old age (26%), cancer (19%), cerebrovascular disease (9%), and chronic kidney failure (8%). Leading causes of death among Beardies in the US and Canada are old age (18%), cancer (17%), kidney failure (8%), cerebrovascular disease(4%) and hypoadrenocorticism (4%).
Bearded Collie owners in the UK reported that the most common health issues among living dogs were musculoskeletal—mostly arthritis and cruciate ligament rupture (CLR)—gastrointestinal (primarily colitis and diarrhea) and urologic diseases. Beardie owners in the US and Canada reported that the most common health problems were hypothyroidism, cancer, hypoadrenocorticism (also known as Addison's disease), arthritis and skin problems. Morbidity in the two studies is not easily compared, however; the UK report grouped diseases, while the USA/Canada report ranked more specific conditions.
Further existing breed dispositions of the Bearded Collie include: Dermatological conditions, such as pemphigus foliaceous and black skin disease, follicular dysplasia, musculoskeletal conditions such as congenital elbow luxation, ocular conditions, such as corneal dystrophy, cataract and generalized progressive retinal atrophy.