Working Standard

Herding Standard for the Bearded Collie

As Published by the Bearded Collie Club of America

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The Bearded Collie is an ancient Scottish breed of herding dog. It is a medium-sized shaggy dog ideally suited to the terrain and climate of its native land. The Beardie of the Highlands was used for rough work, often independent of commands; gathering sheep from the rugged hill and mountain pastures; moving upright and barking to flush out hidden or lost stock. The Beardie of the Lowlands was most often used as a drover’s dog, sorting and taking sheep and cattle to market. Today’s Bearded Collie is a blend of these two strains.


The Bearded Collie has a strong desire to please, exhibits good stock sense, and is biddable. It is a versatile, highly intelligent herder, capable of thinking for itself and working accordingly. The Beardie is a powerful, confident dog that can readily adjust to free-moving or stubborn stock.

Working Style

Due to its heritage, the Beardie can exhibit a range of styles from very upright and loose-eyed to silent with moderate to stronger eye. They have the innate ability to handle all types of stock.

The loose-eyed Beardie tends to work closer to the stock and in a more upright position than a dog with more eye. UNTRAINED Beardies may typically run a straight course toward the stock, casting out as they approach.

Some Beardies can be vocal and must not be penalized when the bark is used by the dog to move or control stock; expect Beardies to respond to a challenge from the stock with a force bark and bounce, using grip only when warranted. Most Beardies will work silently when more accustomed to working stock; a few may use a consistent “work bark” while moving the stock.

Barking which interferes with the dog’s control of the stock may be faulted.

Beardies are an extremely agile, fast-moving dog. Often, during INITIAL exposure to stock, they will move too fast and close; with further training and experience, they will slow their pace and work wider off the stock.

Undesirable Traits

  • Predatory or aggressive behavior toward stock
  • Chasing and splitting stock with no purpose
  • Excessive fear of handler, judge or stock
  • Body biting, wool pulling, or unwarranted gripping
  • “Nonsense” barking which disturbs the stock
  • Inattention or refusal to respond to direction by the handler

This standard is the property of the Bearded Collie Club of America. It is provided for educational purposes only.