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Thinking About Adopting a Beardie Puppy?

Beardie puppy sitting among the flowers.

Although initially Beardies may seem to be the ideal pet - medium size, friendly, great family dog (so everyone says), there are some disadvantages! The Bearded Collie is not the right breed for everyone. Listed below are the many areas that need careful thought and consideration before you bring one into your home:

Size... Beardies are medium sized dogs. Males range from 21 - 22 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 50 - 65 pounds. Females stand 20 - 21 inches and weigh 40-50 pounds. Beardies are quite strong for their size. They normally possess extremely active tails, making a clean sweep of a coffee table. Beardies like to jump up to greet you... and your guests, ...your elderly parents,... your toddler. People could easily be knocked over. A Beardie can easily jump over the standard, fence (4 feet) of a yard. ..or dig under it, for that matter.

Exercise... While Beardies are not a hyper breed they are an active breed and do require daily exercise to keep fit and adjust to the role of a calm house pet most people desire. Beardies like to run and play. If you live in a house with a small yard or an apartment you must be prepared to take your Beardie for a long walk each day - every day for many years.

Long Coat...They are a long-coated breed, with a harsh outer coat and a soft undercoat. They shed on regular basis.. This shedding will result in more than the occasional dog hair in the butter, on the furniture, hair bunnies in the kitchen, hair wrapped around the vacuum cleaner rollers. The long coat is also an excellent medium to capture the leaves, twigs and all sorts of unusual material in the yard and bring them into the house. In rainy weather the mud is tracked onto the floor - or even you! And yes, if your beardie develops diarrhea, it ends up caught in the long coat on the rear end. If you are fastidious in the home do not get A Bearded Collie! A good thorough brushing every week is beneficial. While some people with allergies do not react to Beardies, Bearded Collies should not be considered a hypo-allergenic breed.

Grooming... A Beardie needs to be groomed every week. The average the length of time needed to groom an adult with a proper coat would be an hour. This will be different at various points in the Beardie’s life, such as . Puppy coat which can take much longer to groom. Grooming is hard work and a Beardie owner must be prepared to do it, or have the Beardie professionally groomed... or clip the beautiful long coat off. If a Beardie is not groomed regularly, the coat will mat, possibly causing skin and health problems.

Intelligence... As a herding breed, Bearded Collies are intelligent and many an owner has been outsmarted by his Beardie. They have been bred for centuries to help the shepherd and use their energy. A Beardie who does not receive mental stimulation will find ways to challenge itself, such as clean out your closet, take the cookie you left in your pocket out to eat, play (and destroy) your remote, open the cupboard door to get at the food, open doors to go outside, take (and hide or destroy) your glasses, “counter-surf” for anything left there, and so on. This is a bored Beardie who needs something to do...

Beardie puppy standing in the snow.

Barking... As herders in the Highlands of Scotland Beardies often would go out beyond the vision of the shepherd to find the sheep. They notified the shepherd that they had found the sheep by barking. 19th century ads for Beardies would refer to “having voice”... this was valued. Beardies will bark to greet you, when someone comes to the door, to go outside, to come inside... or when left alone or bored. Incessant, meaningless barking is a problem, but it is important to remember that barking is a dog’s way of communicating.

Training...Many wish to make their Beardies into good canine citizens. A Bearded Collie responds well to positive methods of training. As a sensitive breed they do not respond well to negative training methods. This means that a Beardie responds best to rewards (food, toys, and praise), not punishment (yelling, jerking on a collar - a “collar correction”). To a Beardie, training should be fun! Also, Beardies can become easily bored by constant repetition of a single learning activity - the owner must be creative with training activities. Beardies can be trained not to jump, not to bark for no reason, not to counter-surf... but it takes a great time commitment on the part of the owner. If you don’t have the time to train or get easily frustrated when your dog just looks at you after you give it a command... maybe a beardie is not for you.

Health and Care... While the Bearded Collie is considered to be a “healthy” breed, there is always the possibility of problems arising in any dog. Health problems which have been seen in Bearded Collies include hip dysplasia, eye problems, allergies (e.g., food, flea), hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, cancer, epilepsy. The incidence of such health problems is relatively small, but one must always be prepared for the possibility... and the costs associated with treating a health problem. Most breeds of dog have some of the above noted conditions, and fortunately the majority of Beardies are very healthy and lead long lives.

Maintenance Costs... While the initial cost of a Bearded Collie may seem high, this cost is actually low in comparison to the ongoing costs of owning a Beardie for its life time. These costs include dog food, veterinary care, training classes, food, dishes, collars, leashes, brushes, combs, shampoos, toys, etc. If the Beardie develops a long term health problem the costs can be significant - a good reason to consider pet insurance. Can you afford to be a good dog owner?

Addictive...Much like potato chips, you can’t have just one! Very few people own just one Bearded Collie. We simply find them habit forming. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not cheaper by the dozen and two Beardies cannot live as cheaply as one. If you have two Beardies, it will cost you twice as much to feed and so on and so on...

If you are still interested, and we hope you still are.....

Welcome to the family of Bearded Collie admirers !!

 
 
 
 
 
 
   


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Last revised: November 8, 2010