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Bearded Collies: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

Bearded Collie temperament, personality, training, behavior, pros and cons, advice, and information, by Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Bearded Collie dog breed

Lively, playful, and good-natured, this animated breed is famous for the "Beardie Bounce" – a bounding yo-yo leap that represents his happy, carefree attitude about the world.

Some Bearded Collies are rowdier than others, but most tend to jump up into your face unless taught otherwise.

This athletic dog needs a good amount of exercise to satisfy his high energy, especially when young.

More urgently, he needs constructive activities (herding, hiking, agility, pet therapy, watching over other pets) to occupy his inquisitive mind.

Beardies are very sociable dogs who can become unhappy and destructive if left for long periods of time without the companionship of people or other pets.

Most individuals love everyone to the point where their "watchdog" bark is more welcome than warning. As with most sweet-natured tail-waggers, there is potential for timidity. Lots of socialization is necessary to develop the buoyant temperament.

This independent thinker can be stubborn and requires a confident owner who will establish and enforce the rules.

If you want a dog who...

  • Is medium-sized, shaggy, and sturdy
  • Is athletic and loves to romp and play
  • Is good-natured with everyone
  • Is sociable with other animals

A Bearded Collie may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • Vigorous exercise requirements
  • Rowdiness and exuberant jumping, especially when young
  • Destructiveness and barking when bored, left alone all day, or not exercised enough
  • Strong-willed mind of his own, requiring a confident owner who can take charge
  • Chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bicycles
  • Frequent brushing and combing
  • Shedding
  • "Shaggy dog syndrome," i.e. debris clinging to the coat, water soaking into the beard and dripping on your floors
  • Waiting lists and a high price tag

A Bearded Collie may not be right for you.

Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.

More traits and characteristics of the Bearded Collie

If I was considering a Bearded Collie, I would be most concerned about...

  1. Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Bearded Collies are an active breed. They need regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their busy minds to do interesting things. Otherwise they will become rambunctious and bored – which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
  2. Mind of their own. Beardies are capable of learning a great deal, but they have an independent mind of their own and are not pushovers to raise and train. They are often manipulative, and some are willful and dominant and will make you prove that you can make them do things. To teach your Bearded Collie to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Bearded Collie Training page discusses the program you need.
  3. "Shaggy dog syndrome." Without frequent brushing, Bearded Collies become a matted mess. Like all shaggy dogs, the Beardie is a messy dog. Leaves, mud, snow, fecal matter, and other debris cling to his long wavy coat and ends up all over your house. When he drinks, his beard absorbs water, which drips on your floors when he walks away. When he eats, his beard absorbs food so that when he sniffs your face or presses his head against your leg, YOU end up dirty, too. Shaggy dogs are not suited to fastidious housekeepers.

    But Bearded Collies don't need to be shaggy. You can shear or trim the coat so it's short, neat, and healthy. Problem solved!

  4. Shedding. Bearded Collies shed, though some of the shed hair gets caught in the long wavy coat rather than ending up on your floor and furnishings. If you cut the coat short, now the shed hair has a clear path to fall out. But it's not a ton of hair – Beardies are average shedders, not heavy shedders.
  5. Finding one and paying the price. Bearded Collies are not everywhere to be found, so you will probably need to go on a waiting list. Prices are high, too.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

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