The bearded collie is a longhaired herding dog breed that hails from Scotland, where it was originally developed to work as a sheepdog, but today is much more widely owned as a pet and companion. The bearded collie is a medium sized breed, which stands up to 22” tall at the withers, and can weigh up to 27kg, with males being larger than females.
One of the most distinctive traits of the bearded collie is their very long, thick and warm coats, which help to protect the dogs against the elements and rough ground when working in adverse conditions. The coat of the breed requires a reasonable amount of care and maintenance to keep it in good condition, and also makes the dog potentially prone to overheating in the summer.
If you are considering ownership of the bearded collie, it is wise to appraise yourself of these, as well as other issues that may affect their day to day care, as well as their general health and longevity. In this article, we will look at the longevity, health and breed-specific issues of the bearded collie in more detail. Read on to learn more.
The bearded collie is a particularly hardy dog that is steady on its feet and not prone to developing minor ills and injuries. Their thick, weather resistant coats help to keep them warm and protected, but this does also mean that they require a significant amount of brushing and grooming on a daily basis to prevent their coats from becoming unkempt!
The bearded collie is a very active breed as well, which needs to live with an active, fit family that spends plenty of time out of doors, and have plenty of time to devote to walking and exercising the dog.
The median lifespan across the breed as a whole within the UK is 13.4 years, which places the bearded collie at the high end of the average range for longevity for dogs of a similar size. It is also not unheard of for bearded collies to live much longer than this average, with the oldest recorded bearded collie listed out of the 278 dogs surveyed reaching almost 20 years old!
The bearded collie breed’s inbreeding coefficient statistic is 14.9%, which is rather high for a well-established pedigree dog breed, and indicates that the gene pool of bearded collie dogs within the UK as a whole is relatively small. This means that the breed will likely display a propensity to a range of hereditary health problems, but given the average longevity of the breed as a whole, they do not appear to be badly affected.
Genetic testing for known and prevalent health conditions across the bearded collie breed as a whole is possible to get hip scores and elbow scores prior to breeding; the breed’s mean hip score is 9.7, and so potential parent dogs should score below this to be considered a good choice for breeding. The ideal elbow score for the breed should be zero.
It is also possible to conduct DNA testing on dogs of the breed to identify a predisposition to CEA, or collie eye anomaly.
The bearded collie breed as a whole is considered to be a relatively robust and hardy dog, which is long lived and not prone to being overly sickly. Efforts by breed organisations and The Kennel Club are also going some way towards improving the breed health as a whole, by testing for conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia prior to breeding.
Some of the known health problems that affect some dogs of the breed and that have a hereditary factor to them are listed as follows.