The Complete Guide To Bearded Collies

border collie with pink bow sitting in grass

Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie is a purebred that originated in Scotland. Historically, people began breeding this dog to herd sheep and cattle in all types of weather and climates. Today, however, in addition to working sheepdogs, many Bearded Collie puppies act as competition dogs and companion dogs.

Bearded Collie puppies have tons of energy and agility. They are excellent competition dogs and are great at many types of dog sports. Because of the hard-working nature of Bearded Collie puppies, they’re ideal for first-time owners. This breed loves activity, so they aren’t great for owners with more sedentary lifestyles. However, if you’re the type of owner that would love mountain hikes or to play outdoors in some snow, the Bearded Collie could be an excellent dog choice for you. Bearded Collie puppies are incredibly enthusiastic and almost always in a light-hearted and bouncy mood. Some owners describe their Bearded Collie puppies as exuberant and active pups. They got their name from how their shaggy fur forms a cute little beard at the bottom of their chin.

Their history as herding dogs made them adapt to a louder and more outgoing personality. Some of these Bearded Collie puppies would see sheep that were in areas they didn’t belong and they would jump up and bark at the sheep to encourage it to move to the correct location. This attitude has grown to leave this breed with energetic personalities that constantly wag their tails. Some owners of Bearded Collies describe their dog’s characters to be that of clownish upbeat persona. Bearded Collie puppies are as kind as they are sweet. Don’t let their friendly personalities make you think they don’t have more to offer. Bearded Collie puppies are also incredibly resourceful and intelligent pups. They are social creatures that sometimes put their intelligence and energy into mischievous activities that get them into trouble.

These pups aren’t great for apartment living, but they will do fine in smaller spaces if owners meet their exercise needs. Bearded Collie puppies make great dogs for families and are great with children. However, owners should never leave a new dog alone with children until they have had the dog for at least six or more months. These pups are rambunctious trouble makers, so it makes sense they would mesh well with children. However, because Bearded Collie puppies are on the larger side, it’s a good idea to make sure kids don’t get too rough while playing around to avoid any accidents.

If you are looking to adopt a Bearded Collie, that is excellent! These pups are amazing, friendly, loyal creatures. But any potential owners should be ready to take on the full responsibility that Bearded Collie puppies need. For example, Bearded Collie puppies will almost certainly need obedience training as many herding dogs have bad habits of nipping the ankles of children or any non-dog animals. Owners can prevent this bad behavior through socialization training and obedience classes. Owners should always try to give Bearded Collie puppies positive reinforcement during a training session as all dogs respond best to love, attention and treats. If you adopt your Bearded Collie puppies when they’re young, training will likely go much smoother than if they are older. However, owners can still train older Bearded Collie puppies successfully, but owners might need to enlist the help of professional dog trainers.

This dog is an excellent watchdog and will happily bark anytime new people arrive at their homes to alert their owners. Sometimes, these pups also bark when they’re happy, excited, or alone. Barking is a common issue for Bearded Collie puppies, so training them to prevent this behavior can help you live more comfortably with them. Bearded Collies can get along great with many different animals as long as they are introduced to them correctly. Bearded Collie puppies do best when meeting other pets if they are properly socialized when they are young. Sometimes, adopting a dog means getting an older pup. These dogs also do well with other animals, but owners might need expert help to allow their dogs to live with other animals properly. A lot of times, these dogs love to play around with cats. Other Bearded Collie owners know these dogs to be excellent in families with other dogs, even dogs as small as a Chihuahua or as big as a Great Dane.

Bearded Collie puppies have an average lifespan of twelve to fourteen years. These pups have some minor health issues, but many Bearded Collie puppies will never experience health issues in their long, happy lives. If you’re looking to adopt a Bearded Collie puppy, be ready to care for any grooming needs, physical needs, and health checkups. Bearded Collie puppies will do nothing but love and care for their owners, so it’s best when owners will happily do the same for them.

History of the Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie is one of the oldest breeds in Europe. Some records show the beginning of this breed in the 1500s, although most histories confirm the breed grew in Britain. Shaggy herding dogs existed for centuries in Britain, although they didn’t keep many records of the types of dogs they bred to make the ideal herding dog. The earliest reported visual picture of Bearded Collie puppies dates back to the late 1700s. Bearded Collie puppies were prominent in the Victorian era, as they were popular working dogs and began appearing in dog shows. However, Bearded Collies still lacked a steady breed standard and were not welcomed into any breed clubs during this era.

The credit of the modern Bearded Collie is given to a woman named G.O. Wilson. She began breeding Bearded Collie puppies right after WWII and was a key figure in forming the Bearded Collie Club in Britain in 1955.

Travelers brought the Bearded Collie breed to the United States in the mid-1950s. The first litter of Bearded Collie puppies was born in 1967, and two years later, the Bearded Collie Club of America was born. By February of 1977, the American Kennel Club finally welcomed the Bearded Collie breed into their working dog breed group. However, in 1983, the dog’s status changed to that of the herding breed group because of their long history as herding dogs.

Since then, the popularity of this breed has grown. Many commercials featuring shaggy lovable dogs are Bearded Collies. Many Disney movies have also shown these dogs on the big screen, and if they aren’t a purebred Bearded Collie, those adorable shaggy dogs are almost always some mix of a Bearded Collie puppy.

bearded collie sitting in front of lake

Bearded Collie Intelligence

Bearded Collies initially worked for farmers in Scotland in all sorts of conditions. Bearded Collies naturally have a heightened intelligence and even a solid set of problem-solving skills. When sheep refused to be herded, Bearded Collies needed to find a solution to ensure they didn’t let their humans down. Rest assured, Bearded Collie puppies almost always managed to figure out how to help their owners best and thus learned how to bark to get what they wanted. Bearded Collies would bark at sheep to intimidate them into moving them in whatever direction the dog wanted.

Time passed, and Bearded Collie puppies got more innovative and adapted to a more social role rather than their serious herding dog role. Some Bearded Collie puppies have learned that barking will get them attention. Whether you like that or not, these dogs are smart enough to receive obedience training so they won’t act out.

Bearded Collie puppies rank a four out of five when compared to other dogs’ intelligence. This ranking means that Bearded Collie puppies aren’t the smartest of all breeds, but they are well above average in their intelligence. Bearded Collie puppies rank number 34 out of the most intelligent dog breeds, and considering there are over a hundred breeds, this ranking shows just how naturally smart these pups can be.

Health Conditions that Affect the Bearded Collie

Bearded Collie puppies are generally in excellent health. Most Bearded Collies will never see a health condition or illness that lasts their entire life. That being said, Bearded Collie puppies are still at somewhat of a predisposed risk of developing several health conditions. Many conditions they risk aren’t severe, but some may more severely impact the quality of their lives.

Bearded Collie puppies can get health conditions like epilepsy, separation anxiety, allergies, and ear infections, and owners can treat with different medications, treatments, and even lifestyle changes. Some more severe conditions like progressive retinal atrophy, bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia, and von Willebrand’s disease will leave a more significant mark on a Bearded Collie puppy’s health. Bearded Collies with conditions like the ones previously listed will not find effective treatments for the most part. However, many of these conditions are not lethal and will just lead to a change in their lifestyle.

The majority of Bearded Collie puppies will live long, healthy lives as long as their owners make sure to take care of them by going to routine vet appointments and keeping an eye on their dog’s overall health. Ensuring your dog receives the right amount of supplements, nutrients, and high-quality dog food will only help your Bearded Collie puppies live healthier lives.

Cognitive Health


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological health issues dogs have. About .75% of dogs are affected by this issue. Epilepsy has many different causes, all of which scientists and vets don’t know. Bearded Collie puppies have a little risk of developing epilepsy. Abnormalities in the brain usually cause this disease, and Bearded Collies that suffer from it experience repetitive and random seizures.

There are a few different types of epilepsy that Bearded Collie puppies can get. The different kinds have other causes and seizures that go along with them. Without knowing what type of epilepsy a dog has, vets cannot adequately provide the proper treatment. Most treatments work by locating which neurotransmitters are causing the problem and using those medications to stop the signal that causes the seizures to happen. Bearded Collie puppies can have many different seizures and symptoms when they experience epilepsy.

Bearded Collie puppies can have sudden but short muscle contractions during myoclonic seizures. An atonic seizure happens when Bearded Collie puppies have sudden muscle tone losses, which can occur for a couple of seconds. Another type of attack called a tonic seizure happens when Bearded Collie puppies experience stiffening muscles, and this episode can last for several minutes. Bearded Collie puppies can also experience tonic-clonic seizures, which occur when Bearded Collies have a tonic seizure and immediately follow that seizure with a shorter phase of uncontrollable jerking movements.

Bearded Collies can also have a focal seizure which only occurs when a specific part of the brain is affected by the attacks. Because only part of the brain is involved, only part of the body is affected. A seizure that is the opposite of a focal seizure is a generalized seizure. Bearded Collies experience generalized seizures when both hemispheres stimulate their attack in the brain. Beaded Collies can also experience cluster seizures if they have more than one seizure in a twenty-four-hour period. Some Bearded Collies with epilepsy experience something called status epilepticus. Bearded Collies may experience status epilepticus when they have attacks that closely follow one another or if they have one seizure that lasts five minutes or more.

Bearded Collies, as well as any dogs, can experience reactive seizures and reflexive seizures whether they have epilepsy or not. Metabolic derangements or toxins, not brain abnormalities, cause reactive seizures. Reflexive seizures can cause Bearded Collies to have a seizure attack after loud noises or flashing lights. Bearded Collie puppies usually get reflexive seizures from the same incident, and the attacks happen every time the dog interacts with them. Vets and scientists don’t consider these types of seizures to be epileptic seizures because they don’t originate from a part of the brain or any abnormalities.

Bearded Collie puppies can also experience a variety of types of epilepsy. The most common type of epilepsy Bearded Collie puppies get diagnosed with is idiopathic epilepsy. A vet cannot identify the neurological, structural issue that causes idiopathic epilepsy. Typically, vets assume Bearded Collie puppies with idiopathic epilepsy got it from genetics. However, the problems with the brain that cause idiopathic epilepsy can result from a multitude of causes. For example, metabolic derangements or toxins can cause this type of epilepsy. So, if Bearded Collie puppies have a reactive seizure due to metabolic derangements or ingesting toxins, it is often not the cause of idiopathic epilepsy. But, after experiencing a seizure of this type, a dog can develop idiopathic epilepsy.

Bearded Collies with idiopathic epilepsy are usually between the ages of one and five. Usually, Bearded Collie puppies have neurological exams and still have no apparent structural abnormalities in the brain. Some breeds are also more predisposed to contracting this neurological disease, and while Bearded Collies have had this illness, it is not an incredibly high-risk disease for them. There is, however, a chance they would have it.

bearded collie sitting in front of black background

Another type of epilepsy Bearded Collies could have is structural epilepsy. When vets perform neurological exams and can observe and examine a structural abnormality, they usually diagnose a dog with structural epilepsy. Structural epilepsy can result from an intracranial tumor growing, recent head trauma, or an inflammatory disease in the brain. This type of epilepsy can also occur after a dog experiences congenital malformations or any vascular events like a stroke.

Vets test for structural epilepsy if a dog is experiencing seizures but is outside the average age range for idiopathic epilepsy. When Bearded Collie puppies exhibit neurological abnormalities, vets can test for this type of epilepsy with an MRI or an analysis of the dog’s cerebrospinal fluid.

Bearded Collies can also be diagnosed with refractory epilepsy, which affects 30-40% of epileptic dogs. Bearded Collie puppies can only receive a diagnosis for refractory epilepsy if they have already received treatment for epilepsy. Refractory epilepsy occurs in Bearded Collies when their anti-epileptic medicine becomes unsuccessful in stopping their seizures. Bearded Collie puppies can also experience epilepsy of an unknown cause, which happens when vets cannot or have yet to examine any neurological, structural damages in the brain. If a dog is outside the age range for idiopathic epilepsy and vets suspect structural epilepsy but have yet to identify any evidence, they will diagnose a dog with epilepsy of an unknown cause.

When Bearded Collies have seizures, they also experience postictal periods, and sometimes they have interictal periods. Postictal periods occur when a dog’s behaviors change following an attack, and interictal periods happen when Bearded Collie puppies experience behavioral changes in between their seizures. Some Bearded Collie puppies will show automatism which are repetitive voluntary motor activities like lip-smacking, chewing, or licking things. Except when Bearded Collie puppies have epilepsy and are experiencing an attack, they’ll have these movements involuntarily.

It is vital for vets to understand the types of seizures and the type of epilepsy dogs have to provide them with medications that will work. Dog owners have to keep a journal full of details about their dog’s conditions. Writing down how long their seizures last, when they occur, and how often they occur can help vets get one step closer to a diagnosis. If owners also take note of what parts of the body were affected or any changes in behavior, this can also help vets determine the diagnosis.

Sometimes, Bearded Collies have blindness, sedation, anxiety, or other stressful moods while they experience seizures. Some Bearded Collies have difficulty standing and moving. When a Bearded Collie puppy experiences a seizure, they most likely won’t be aware of themselves or their surroundings. This unawareness is why owners should do their best to protect their Bearded Collie puppies and stay away from them. It may be very tempting to pet your dog through their condition, but some Bearded Collies uncontrollably bite when they have seizures, so petting them might result in them accidentally hurting you. Instead, make sure the area around your dog is clean. If they are at risk of falling off a bed or the stairs, try to block their body with your body or carefully push them away from the edge. Owners should immediately call their vet and alert them about the seizure.

If you know any precipitating events that could have caused your dog’s seizure, you should tell your vet immediately. If your dog got into the trash or something similar, your vet may have a better idea of the cause of their health situation and will know what their next step to getting better is. Often, when vets diagnose Bearded Collie puppies with epilepsy, they will provide them with one or more forms of anti-epileptic drugs. These drugs work by inhibiting neuropathways from stimulating whatever causes seizures. Owners should know these medications sometimes cause harsh side effects. Some dogs react with certain anti-epileptic drugs better than other medications, and some AEDs won’t work so well in other dogs. Because each treatment changes for each dog, it’s hard to find a lasting treatment for epilepsy in Bearded Collies. There is no true cure for epilepsy, and the best owners can hope for is that their dogs receive successful treatment.


Bearded Collie puppies bond to their families, and if they’re left alone too long, they can suffer from separation anxiety. All Bearded Collie puppies occasionally get nervous when their caretakers go away for a little while. However, some dogs are much more dependent and clingy than other breeds. Bearded Collies are more of an independent dog breed, but there is still a chance they will develop separation anxiety. Also, if you get your dog from a shelter or adopt and rescue them, Bearded Collie puppies are much more likely to have separation anxiety just because of the life they experienced.

Bearded Collie puppies might show symptoms of separation anxiety that seem like they are misbehaving. For example, they have anxiety if your Bearded Collie barks, chew, or howls when you leave. People communicate stress and other emotions with their words; dogs don’t communicate that way, but rather with body language. Barking is the closest Bearded Collie puppies can get to speaking, but when that isn’t effective, they’ll rely on their body to show their feelings. That’s why Bearded Collie puppies with separation anxiety can also dig in your couch cushions, scratch up doors, pace, urinate, defecate, or try to escape your home when you leave them alone.

Without their human home, Bearded Collie puppies get anxious they’ve been abandoned or forgotten. Some Bearded Collies experience this so strongly they try to prevent their owners from leaving the house. Some may go so far as to nip at their owners’ ankles or growl at them. When Bearded Collie puppies act like this, they aren’t just slightly scared; they’re having full-blown panic attacks.

Dogs that have experienced abandonment, homelessness, abuse, or neglect are more likely to have this anxiety because they’ve already experienced it once before. If you adopt Bearded Collie puppies, it’s crucial not to punish them for these outbursts. Bearded Collie puppies with high anxiety need to be conditioned not to get so anxious when their owners leave. If you get Bearded Collie puppies at birth, you can raise them slowly, leaving for more extended periods when they are comfortable so they can get used to absences more. However, if you adopt an older Bearded Collie, then more psychological practices need to be kept in mind.

Owners can help their Bearded Collies with counterconditioning. Using this treatment plan, owners will slowly train their Bearded Collie puppies to respond to things differently. For dogs with separation anxiety, owners will be able to turn this fear of abandonment into a happy, stress-free time for their Bearded Collie puppies. This conditioning treatment works in small steps and with the help of a lot of patience. Owners can leave their Bearded Collie puppies alone for short periods of time, offering them treats they don’t ever receive unless it’s in your absences. Granting your dog special treats like a Kong stuffed with low-fat cream cheese, frozen bananas, cottage cheese, or other delicious treats will allow your dog to be distracted, happy, and realize they are completely fine while you’re away. Every dog has their own favorite treats, so you’ll likely have to play around with your Bearded Collie puppy’s taste buds to see what works best for them.

Some Bearded Collies will have anxiety that is so strong that they won’t be able to eat. Bearded Collies like this can’t receive counterconditioning in the same way less stressful Bearded Collie puppies do. Dogs that don’t eat and simply pace, lose hair, or partake in any other anxiety-related activities won’t be able to calm down so quickly. If your Bearded Collie puppies don’t settle into a counterconditioning treatment of your own, you will likely need professional help. Professional dog behaviorists or trainers will be able to provide a more complex desensitization programming so they can understand what your dog is afraid of. Then they can figure out how to unravel that fear and create trust and peace instead of anxiety. Certified animal trainers can help with more stressed-out animals.

There is no way to prevent separation anxiety unless you meet your Bearded Collies at birth. If you get your dog as a puppy, you can teach them not to be stressed throughout your time together. If you can’t afford an animal behaviorist, vets can possibly prescribe your dog anxiety medication, although there is no guarantee that it is less expensive. Some families give their Bearded Collies CBD to treat their stress and anxiety. This method has some research behind it to back it up, but this treatment is relatively new. As long as owners are committed to helping their Bearded Collies through their neurological health condition, your Bearded Collie will learn to thrive instead of fear your absences.

bearded collie standing in grass with ball

Physical Health


Bearded Collie puppies have some dietary sensitivities and thick coats that can cause allergies if owners aren’t careful. Some Bearded Collies suffer from sensitive stomachs, so certain foods and meats can affect them. Some Bearded Collie puppies get allergies from pollen falling off trees.

When Bearded Collie puppies have allergies, they’ll show certain symptoms. Some Bearded Collies might have diarrhea or uncontrollable stools, and some Bearded Collies might have hot spots appear on their body. Occasionally, Bearded Collies can get allergies from changes in the seasons and weather. Depending on how the allergies affect them, some Bearded Collie puppies will scratch the affected skin and do so aggressively, causing hair loss and possibly tearing their skin. Sometimes, Bearded Collie puppies can get skin infections or other secondary bacterial issues from allergies.

To help your Bearded Collie puppies with their allergies, owners first have to decipher what the cause of their dog’s allergies is. For example, if the allergies stem from certain meats or foods in their dog’s diet, all you need to do is change their diet to help their health. It can be tricky to track down what particular foods are causing your dog to have allergies, but owners should start by trying to find foods that have different protein sources. Some Bearded Collies can be allergic to lamb but not poultry, and there are a lot of strange meat allergies other Bearded Collies can have.

Sometimes, Bearded Collies can have a lot of allergies that affect their skin and coat. For example, if Bearded Collies aren’t properly groomed, they might get allergies from bacteria and dirt build-up in their coats. Bearded Collie puppies have thick fur that can matt if not groomed. Matting will cause the hair to stiffen, and then air will not be able to circulate on and around the skin, which can also cause issues. Also, lack of humidity in the air can cause their fur to have static. This static can also lead to them scratching apart their coats.

Owners can’t prevent their Bearded Collies from having allergies, but they can find treatments to help. Changing your dog’s diet by safely adjusting the food ratio can help you find a diet that helps Bearded Collie puppies with their sensitive stomachs. Owners have to safely mix their dog’s old food with their new food to adjust dietary changes. The food ratios change with time; at first, it’s about 75% old dog food and 25% new dog food. Most dog food bags have guidelines for how long to provide this ratio before moving to a 50% ratio for each food and then a 25% old dog food 75% new dog food ratio. Each dog might have a different amount of time they need to adjust to new dog foods. Owners can also try feeding their Bearded Collie puppies certain food supplements to help with any irritated skin allergies they might experience. Some owners provide their dog’s omega-three fatty acids to help their skin health. Owners should make sure to keep their homes free of dust and consider getting a humidifier, or dehumidifier, depending on the climate they reside in. You can help your dog manage their skin allergies with the help of your vet as well.

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Gut Health


Gastric torsion, commonly called bloat, is a dangerous health condition that causes gas or liquids to get trapped in a dog’s stomach. Owners can help their Bearded Collie puppies through bloat by knowing the symptoms of this health condition and how to act when their dog experiences it. Some dog breeds are much more likely to develop this health condition than the Bearded Collie. However, Bearded Collies with larger, roomier chests are at risk of experiencing bloat. While Bearded Collie puppies aren’t the largest of dogs, they are somewhat likely to develop this health condition.

Trapped gas or liquids cause bloat in Bearded Collie puppies. Vets and scientists theorize there are other causes of this illness, although they aren’t entirely sure what the other reasons are. When this happens, chaos can ensue. A dog’s stomach will naturally swell and stiffen with the gas trapped inside it. When this health condition occurs, a dog’s stomach can twist. When twisted, the stomach will not have any way of releasing gas and will suffer further. The bloated stomach can push itself on a dog’s lungs and even cause them to pass out. If a stomach twists, a dog’s stomach tissue will die because of the lack of blood and oxygen getting to some of the tissue.

Bearded Collie puppies show many symptoms when they experience bloat. If your dog immediately starts pacing after eating or tries to throw up, but nothing comes up, these might be signs that your dog is experiencing bloat. Bearded Collie puppies with bloat will have swollen stomachs that might feel hard to the touch. Some Bearded Collie puppies even look at their stomach when they have bloat. Sometimes, Bearded Collie puppies with this health condition will pace, excessively drool, or rapidly pant.

Bloat has killed many dogs. Within as little as thirty minutes, bloat can be fatal. However, it usually takes hours for this health condition to take a dog’s life. As soon as owners notice any signs of bloat, the only way they can help their dog is to take them to a vet. Vets can examine how far along this health condition is. If the stomach has yet to twist, sometimes vets can put a tube in the dog’s throat, allowing the trapped gas to be released. If the stomach has already twisted, vets might perform gastropexy surgery. When vets perform this surgery, there is no guarantee a dog will live. But, if the surgery is successful and the dog survives, vets usually perform a secondary preventative surgery as well.

Owners can try to prevent bloat from happening to their Bearded Collie puppies by removing things that make this condition more likely. For example, feeding Bearded Collies from a raised food bowl raises the risk of them developing bloat. Allowing a dog to exercise too much immediately after eating can also make them more at risk. Too much water before or after eating can also raise the risk of bloat, as does letting your dog eat their food incredibly fast.

The only treatment for the health condition of bloat is surgery. Without a vet’s aid, a dog with bloat will die. Owners can take extra care to ensure their dog doesn’t contract bloat by asking their vet to perform a preventative surgery on their dog’s stomach. The vet will sew your dog’s stomach to their abdomen lining, preventing their stomach from twisting. This surgery decreases the chances of your dog getting bloat significantly.

bearded collie running through grass

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Eye Health


Some dog breeds are prone to developing cataracts. While Bearded Collies can develop this eye condition, it is not very common, but this is still a health risk the breed has. Vets don’t know all the causes of cataracts, but genetics play a significant role in the animals that contract this health condition.

A dog’s eye is constantly making proteins to protect the film that covers the iris. When a dog develops cataracts, they are experiencing these proteins in an excessive abundance. The proteins are so abundant, they begin clinging to one another until there are so many they create a thin cloudy film over the iris of the eye. When this film appears, it can seem white, blue, gray, or any mixture of these three colors.

Owners can’t do anything to prevent this disease from occurring in Bearded Collies but that can help treat them. Some owners try to give their Bearded Collie puppies supplements that are good for their optic health, but these supplements cannot stop cataracts from growing. Cataracts can appear over many weeks, months, or as quickly as overnight. As soon as an owner notices cataracts in their dog’s eyes, they should immediately contact their vet to discuss options. Many vets might recommend surgery to remove cataracts, but this surgery is only an option if the health condition is caught early enough. During surgery, vets will remove the protein-clouded film and replace it with a glass or acrylic one that prevents the film from returning.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Some breeds are predisposed to progressive retinal atrophy because of a genetic defect shared in the breed. Sadly, the Bearded Collie is one of the breeds more likely to develop this eye condition. Progressive retinal atrophy has no cure and will slowly cause Bearded Collie puppies to go blind.
Progressive retinal atrophy slowly starts taking a dog’s eyesight away by affecting the rods of the eyes and the cones after. An eye’s rods give a dog the ability to see at night and in gray colors. This degenerative disease slowly ruins the rods of an eye, taking away your dog’s night vision and eventually blinding them in dark areas. Rods are also responsible for peripheral vision, so when a Bearded Collie begins losing their night vision, they will likely lose their ability to see around them as well. Once the rods of the eyes have degenerated completely, this disease affects the cones of the eyes. The eye’s cones are responsible for seeing in bright light. Once a dog loses their cones, it will no longer be able to see. Some Bearded Collies with this progressive eye disease also get cataracts, although cataracts do not cause the blindness that this disease ultimately causes.

Signs Bearded Collie puppies are dealing with this degenerative eye disease mostly revolve around how the dog reacts to their loss of vision. For example, when Bearded Collies lose their night vision, they usually become quite fearful of going outside at night. In this stage of this degenerative eye disease, dogs also become afraid of any movements behind them or if someone pets them in their peripheral vision. Since these dogs can’t see as well as they used to, they tend to be more on edge while losing their sight.

The best way owners can help their Bearded Collie puppies with their new vision loss is to help them with their adaption to loss of vision. For example, when your Bearded Collie puppies begin fearing the outside at night, try to comfort them and always go with them. Give them treats for going outside at night and provide comfort. Never leave your blind dog unattended, and make sure anyone who interacts with him knows he is blind. Its best for owners to change any commands their dog knows to verbal cues instead of visual ones. Bearded Collie puppies that grow cataracts might be able to get them removed with surgery if the owner or a vet notices them soon enough. However, Bearded Collies with this degenerative eye disease will become blind even without cataracts. Removing cataracts can just extend the period they have their vision. There is no way to prevent this disease or stop your dog from becoming blind. Most dogs will begin experiencing symptoms before they turn one year old. Some dogs are completely blind by their first birthday, but some may keep their eyesight until they are three to four years old.

Since eyesight is a dog’s third strongest sense and this degenerative eye disease occurs over a long time, Bearded Collie puppies adapt to life without their vision really well. Bearded Collies rely more heavily on their smell and hearing to adapt to this disease. Some owners even choose to provide tactile markers in their homes to help their Bearded Collie puppies adjust to the loss of eyesight. For example, providing carpeting in a living room can help a dog decipher where they are in the house, especially if the other rooms are tile or wood flooring. Some owners choose to have scent markers for their blind dogs, so their kitchen can smell like lemons, and their living room smells like lavender. When Bearded Collies become blind, they adapt to their living situations by memorizing floorplans and furniture. Moving houses with a blind dog can be difficult, but by making sure you have tactile or scented markers, you can help your dog adjust to his new life and thrive by providing the same amount of treats and activity.

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Ear Health

Ear infections

Many shaggy haired-dogs are at a greater risk of developing ear infections than pups with shorter hair. Long-haired dogs have long hair to protect them from different variations of weather. The Bearded Collie used to work in Scotland as a farm dog and likely grew their shaggy coats to put up with any wind and storms they would have to work through.

Because this hair protects Bearded Collie puppies from sensitive weather, it usually packs up a lot of dirt and bacteria while it does it. The Bearded Collie dog’s fur keeps this bacteria in it, and that’s why Bearded Collies need grooming. Without proper grooming, the bacteria can build up in a dog’s coat, creating infections in the ears.

Thankfully, treatment for ear infections is actually straightforward. When a dog has an ear infection, vets can simply provide ear drops or medicated cleaning solutions to aid them in ridding them of their ear infections.

Owners can prevent health conditions like this by ensuring their Bearded Collie puppies receive proper grooming. Regularly trimming your Bearded Collie puppy’s coats and washing them helps clean out this bacteria. If you have an especially dirty pup who enjoys rolling around in the mud, you can help treat them by simply washing their ears and eyes more than the rest of their body. Owners can use small washcloths to clean these sensitive areas and trim excess fur around these areas as well. If you don’t feel so comfortable using scissors so close to your pup’s face, you aren’t alone. Many people get nervous grooming their Bearded Collies. That’s why so many pet stores and pet hospitals offer grooming services. If you choose to go the grooming services route, your Bearded Collies might have to have more frequent appointments to keep up with their ear health.

two bearded collies sitting in grass

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Immune Health

Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia

Anemia isn’t a specific health condition but is more often a symptom of other health conditions. However, autoimmune hemolytic anemia is an immune reaction that attacks the affected parties’ bodies, and their red blood cells attack and destroy themselves. Red blood cells are still produced normally, but they have a shorter lifespan when released from bone marrow and flow into circulation.

Most Bearded Collie puppies with this health condition have severe cases of anemia. They will have very pale gums that don’t even sort of reflect healthier pink or red gums. Bearded Collies with this condition will be more tired and may faint because of their brains’ low oxygen levels. These dogs might also have heart and lung issues because their brain compensates for this lack of oxygen in the blood by causing the heart rate and respiration to increase. Sometimes, Bearded Collie puppies with this condition have dark, unnatural colored urine. Other symptoms Bearded Collies might show include jaundiced mucous or a lack of appetite. If your bearded Collie puppies have any of the above symptoms and a tendency to vomit as well, you should talk to your vet as soon as possible.

Vets diagnose this disease by doing a red cell blood count in a dog. Your veterinarian will likely want you to complete additional tests to ensure your dog’s overall health is only caused by this disease and not any secondary diseases.

Treatment can vary depending on the severity of your dog’s situation. Vets may choose some treatments for certain Bearded Collie puppies and others for other conditions. For example, some treatments consist of antibiotics, heartworm medication, or toxin antidotes. More severe cases of anemia will require blood transfusions. Vets outline specific treatment plans based on each individual dog’s diagnostic test results to ensure they get the best treatment plan possible. More often than not, the affected dog will need treatment throughout the dog’s life. Bearded Collies with this disease have a very favorable prognosis on average.

Von Willebrand disease

Von Willebrand disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects a lot of breeds. This disease was originally found by a man named Von Willebrand, and he noticed that some Bearded Collie puppies lack a specific factor that aids the blood in clotting. This disease alone cannot risk your dog’s life, but if your pup had this disease and got surgery or was in a severe accident, it’s very possible they could die.
The doctor who noticed the missing factor named it after himself, calling it the Von Willebrand factor (VWF).

Vets might diagnose Bearded Collie puppies with this disorder if they see excessive bruising on your dog or if they perform surgery and notice the excessive bleeding then. Usually, Bearded Collies aren’t treated for this disease because there isn’t anything to provide to help their blood clot faster.

There is no way to prevent this disease in dogs. Veterinarians suggest owners with Bearded Collies with this disease don’t allow them to play rough outside or run around on any hard surfaces. They also recommend that Bearded Collies with this disease don’t have doggy play dates with other animals that can scratch them. Bleeding from this disease may be severe enough to cause death, but it is rare.

Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a severe immune disease that Bearded Collies are at risk of developing. Bearded Collie puppies might live a shorter lifespan without proper treatment, but treatment can give Bearded Collie puppies a longer lifespan. The adrenal glands cause this disease. When adrenal glands fail to produce hormones, a dog’s body can die. The adrenal glands are in charge of making steroids, aldosterone, and cortisol. These three hormones help regulate a dog’s body. Without these hormones telling your dog’s body what to do, it makes the body deteriorate, and eventually, a dog will die. Vets don’t really know the causes of Addison’s disease, but they suspect it’s from an issue in the autoimmune process. Other things that can cause Addison’s disease are hemorrhages, metastatic tumors, infarction, granulomatous disease, or drugs like Trilostane.

Scientists call this health condition the ‘great imitator’ because of how many symptoms it shares with other health conditions. If your Bearded Collie has a poor appetite, gastroenteritis, or seems stressed, they might be suffering from this health condition. Other symptoms Bearded Collies might show include lethargy, depression, weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Signs of Addison’s disease are also alopecia, increased urination, dehydration, bloody stools, shaking, weak pulse, or irregular heart rate. Low body temperatures, painful abdomens, hypoglycemia, and hyperpigmentation of the skin are also symptoms of this health condition. Symptoms of this health condition usually wax and wane in intensity and can occasionally reach an acute state. This health condition is most often diagnosed in Bearded Collie puppies when they experience an Addisonian crisis, which occurs when Bearded Collies reach an acute state of health.

If Bearded Collie puppies in an Addisonian crisis don’t receive vet treatment, they will die. Some Bearded Collie puppies experience life-threatening symptoms during their acute state and might have shock or collapse. A vet will often stabilize a dog and then perform a urinalysis and run a definitive examination for this health condition. Vets use a test called an adrenocorticotropic hormone stimulation test, ACTH. This test helps rule out any other disease this health condition might be ‘imitating.’

Owners can’t prevent this disease. Owners have an option to force their Bearded Collie puppies into a vet-supervised medically induced Addisonian crisis to do a sort of test for this health condition. Treatment for this health condition is most often pills full of whatever missing hormones the dog needs. The vet prescribes the medication, and a dog with this condition will need treatment for the remainder of their life. There is no cure for this disease, and owners cannot prevent it from occurring in any way.

bearded collie sitting in front of white background


Another type of health condition the Bearded Collie is at risk of developing is hypothyroidism. When a dog’s thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, Bearded Collie puppies will suffer from hypothyroidism. This condition can cause a dog to have a few common symptoms, which can lead to more significant health concerns.

Signs your Bearded Collie puppies suffer from this disease include hair loss, weight gain, dry skin, dry coats, aggression, or other strange behavioral changes. The scary part of this health condition is that it can cause a dog to have obesity. Dog’s with obesity are more likely to develop tons of secondary health conditions that are much more life-threatening than thyroid issues. For example, obesity alone can shorten a dog’s average lifespan up to two years.

Thankfully, there are plenty of treatment options for Bearded Collies with this condition. Vets often give Bearded Collie puppies the missing hormones they need in the form of digestible pills. You will need to provide your dog with these hormones throughout the entirety of their life, but they can keep living a long, healthy life with this treatment.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a name covering a group of diseases rather than one single disease. This health condition can have multiple treatment options, and more than one may need to be tested in dogs to find the best treatment possible.

Signs your Bearded Collie puppies are struggling with this disease show themselves in digestive issues. For example, Bearded Collie puppies with vomiting, diarrhea, foul-smelling stools, or bloody stools likely experience this health condition.

When Bearded Collie puppies experience these symptoms but lack other causes for them, vets will suspect inflammatory bowel disease as the culprit.
Treatment for this disease isn’t simple. Vets may prescribe changes in diets or different medications to help Bearded Collie puppies with their dietary issues. Sometimes, various meats or healthier snacks can aid Bearded Collies in their dietary struggles. The reason treatment is kind of complex is because there is usually a trial and error method applied to treating this condition. So while this condition is not dangerous and will not affect your dog’s lifespan, it can cause a lot of discomfort for them. After finding the right treatments for your dog, you will be able to treat them throughout the rest of their life this way, ensuring they live long, happy lives.


Thrombocytopenia is a health condition dealing with the number of blood platelets in your dog’s blood. Platelets are produced in the bone marrow and are vital in preventing blood loss. These platelets play a significant role in blood clotting, and this health condition can lead to random spurts of bleeding or excessive bruising.

There are two different types of this health condition: long term (chronic) and short term (acute). This condition can be diagnosed easily by a vet performing a blood test. About five percent of all dogs have low platelet counts, although not all Bearded Collie puppies have this condition.

Depending on the varying cause of this health issue, Bearded Collies can be given treatment in the form of a blood transfusion or other therapies. Sometimes, this health condition has an underlying cause and can only be treated successfully by treating that. However, there is no specified treatment other than blood transfusions. Dogs receive these transfusions whenever they are needed, and depending on the type of issue your dog has, this condition might be able to be treated in a short period or may need a much longer treatment plan. Either way, rest assured your dog with this health condition will be A-Okay.

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Joint Health

Elbow Dysplasia

Bearded Collies are at an elevated risk of developing elbow dysplasia, making puppies more likely to have this condition. Elbow dysplasia is an umbrella term used to cover multiple elbow diseases that cause the elbow joint not to align correctly.

This health condition is caused by misplacing one of the three bones in the elbow. The radius, ulna, and humorous make up the elbow joint. If any of the three bones are out of place, then any weight on this joint can cause issues when distributing weight throughout the body. If the bones don’t fit together because of growth abnormalities or uneven weight distributions, this can lead to lameness and arthritis.

Vets don’t know all the causes of this health condition, although they do have many theories. One theory is that this condition is passed through dogs genetically and that Bearded Collies can pass on dysplasia to their litters. Another idea is that elbow dysplasia is the product of defects in cartilage growth. Some scientists and vets think this issues like diets, trauma, or evens stress can cause this condition in these dogs

Both elbows are affected in around 80% of Bearded Collies with elbow dysplasia. Once an elbow joint has been affected, arthritis will progress and cause pain. Sometimes, arthritis progresses so far that it causes a loss of function in the elbow. Bearded Collies might start showing symptoms anywhere between five months old and five years old. Some Bearded Collies may have this condition for years before it gets a diagnosis. Many Bearded Collies aren’t diagnosed with elbow dysplasia until they hit between four and six years of age. Typically, dogs that experience this illness experience worse symptoms right after exercises or activities. Rest can help resolve some of these symptoms, but many will need more than rest to heal completely.

Vets can diagnose Bearded Collies with a clinical exam or x-rays. If owners keep track of their dog’s health and alert their vet to any possible signs of elbow dysplasia, this can only help the dog get better.
Vets might prescribe physical therapy or joint supplements to aid a dog’s recovery. Some vets will require surgery to help a dog with elbow dysplasia if the condition is severe enough. The only way owners can prevent this disease is to ensure their dog is not obese and gets the correct amount of exercise to avoid inducing this health condition with excess weight.

bearded collie standing in yard

Hip Dysplasia

A dog’s hip joint functions like a ball and socket, and some dogs are more prone to having dysfunctional hip joints like the Bearded Collie. About six percent of the Bearded Collie breed suffers from hip dysplasia. If the ball and joint don’t fit perfectly together, the joint will grind on itself instead of sliding smoothly together when a dog runs. Several factors can cause hip dysplasia, including genetics and improper weight. Obesity can magnify a genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia as well as too much exercise, and too little exercise can also cause excessive strain on a dog’s joints.

Bearded Collie puppies with this health condition will usually show symptoms through their movements and they can experience inflammation and degrees of looseness in the affected joints. Depending on how long the dog has suffered from this condition, it might have arthritis. Bearded Collies with hip dysplasia will present a decrease in both activity and range of motion, as well as difficulty and a reluctance to rise, jump, run, or climb the stairs. More extreme cases of this health condition can cause the Bearded Collie to have lameness in their hind legs. Some Bearded Collies rely so heavily on the front of their body when they have this disease that they might have a noticeable growth of muscle in their shoulders and lose muscle mass in their hind end. Bearded Collie puppies can experience discomfort, stiffness, limping, and pain when they experience this health condition. Sometimes, vets can diagnose this health condition through a physical exam, although occasionally, an owner’s description of symptoms can help a vet diagnose this health condition.

Treatment can vary for every dog. Sometimes vets can treat this condition with supplements for the dog’s joint. Some medicines can be lifestyle changes, or some can be surgery. Obese Bearded Collies are usually treated in diets to help remove excess weight from the joint. Some vets will require exercise restrictions, especially on hard surfaces. Sometimes, treatment comes in the form of supplements, anti-inflammatory medication, joint fluid modifiers, or physical therapy. Vets can perform common surgeries to replace the hip. Sometimes, vets will completely replace a dog’s hip if their situation is advanced enough. Owners cannot prevent this disease in any way, but by taking their Bearded Collies to the vet regularly, providing the correct amount of activity, and keeping an eye on their dog’s overall health, owners can try to make sure their Bearded Collie puppies are in the best health possible.

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Skin and Coat

To make sure you take proper care of your Bearded Collie puppies’ coats, you need to make sure you brush them at least every other day. This breed of dog has a shaggy, longer coat; although their coat protects them from external factors like harsh weather, it also traps a lot of dirt and mud in their fur and can lead to skin irritations. When you take care of Bearded Collie puppies, part of the responsibility you have is washing them, brushing them, and grooming them. This responsibility is required to ensure these Bearded Collie puppies don’t develop any skin infections. For example, if your dog isn’t properly groomed or washed, it can develop rashes or skin infections. If their fur becomes matted and air cannot reach their skin, these dogs will suffer from itchy dry skin that they will often scratch, and they can tear open their own skin by accident.

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If you think you can keep up with all of a Bearded Collie puppy’s health care needs and fur needs, then this dog might be the right pup for you. Remember, these Bearded Collies are great in families and love being with them. So if you are a family of one and work long hours away from home, these dogs won’t fit right into your lifestyle. However, if you are a family of one who works from home, these dogs could end up being the best roommate you’ve ever had. Don’t adopt a Bearded Collie puppy if you aren’t sure you can provide enough activity or take them to enough vet appointments. Dogs just want to give their owners their love, time, and attention, and if you aren’t ready to provide the same for them, you aren’t ready for a dog. If after reading this article, and you have fallen more in love with this breed, then by all means look for Bearded Collie shelters near you, and adopt your pup soon.

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