Decoding the Coats of Bearded Collies: Hair or Fur?

by Lisa

Bearded Collies, with their charming demeanor and distinctive appearance, often spark curiosity about the nature of their coats. One common question that arises among enthusiasts and potential owners is whether bearded collies have hair or fur. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the intricacies of bearded collie coats, shedding light on their unique characteristics, grooming needs, and the eternal debate surrounding the distinction between hair and fur.

Origins and History of Bearded Collies

To understand the nature of bearded collie coats, it’s essential to delve into the breed’s origins and historical context. Bearded Collies, hailing from Scotland, have a rich history as herding dogs. Their name is derived from their distinctive facial hair, which forms a characteristic beard. These dogs were prized for their intelligence, agility, and versatility in herding various types of livestock. The unique coat of the bearded collie played a functional role in protecting them from the harsh weather conditions of the Scottish Highlands.


Defining Hair vs. Fur

Before delving into the specifics of bearded collie coats, it’s crucial to address the distinction between hair and fur. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there is a technical difference. Hair is generally longer, grows at different rates, and has a longer growth cycle than fur. Fur, on the other hand, tends to be shorter, denser, and sheds more regularly. Understanding this difference provides a foundation for unraveling the mysteries of bearded collie coats.


The Bearded Collie Coat

Bearded collie coats are characterized by their medium to long length, flowing in soft waves or curls. The texture of the coat is both harsh and straight, providing a protective layer against the elements. While the length and texture of the bearded collie coat may lead some to describe it as hair, the breed does shed. This shedding characteristic aligns more closely with the definition of fur. Therefore, the bearded collie coat presents a unique combination that blurs the lines between hair and fur.


Grooming Needs of Bearded Collies

Regardless of the technical distinction between hair and fur, bearded collies require regular grooming to maintain the health and appearance of their coats. The length and texture of their coat make them prone to matting and tangling, particularly in areas with longer hair, such as the beard, chest, and legs. Owners of bearded collies should establish a consistent grooming routine, including brushing sessions at least a few times a week to remove loose hair, prevent mats, and distribute natural oils for a healthy coat.


Brushing Techniques

Brushing a bearded collie’s coat involves navigating through the waves and curls to ensure that the hair remains free of tangles. A slicker brush or a comb with appropriate spacing between the teeth is ideal for removing loose hair without causing discomfort. Start by brushing the beard, chest, and legs, paying special attention to areas with longer hair. Regular brushing not only maintains coat health but also allows owners to inspect the skin for any abnormalities, ticks, or irritations.


While bearded collies do not require frequent bathing, occasional baths are a necessity to keep their coat clean and healthy. The unique texture of their hair/fur may collect dirt and debris, so a bath every 6 to 8 weeks is generally sufficient. Use a dog-specific shampoo to avoid skin irritation, and ensure thorough rinsing to remove any residue. Over-bathing should be avoided, as it can strip the coat of natural oils, leading to dryness and potential skin issues.

Shedding Patterns

Shedding is a significant aspect of the hair vs. fur debate, and bearded collies do shed. While the shedding is not as prolific as in breeds with a dense fur coat, bearded collies will shed some hair throughout the year. The shedding pattern can vary, with some individuals shedding more during seasonal changes. Regular brushing helps manage shedding by removing loose hair and preventing mats. Despite the shedding, many owners appreciate that bearded collies tend to shed less than some other breeds.

Trimming and Clipping

To maintain the bearded collie’s distinctive appearance, owners may opt for occasional trimming and clipping. The longer hair around the beard, legs, and tail may be trimmed to achieve a neater look. Professional groomers can provide specific styles that enhance the breed’s characteristics while ensuring a manageable coat length. While trimming and clipping contribute to the aesthetic appeal, it’s essential to strike a balance to prevent excessive removal of protective layers that guard against environmental elements.

Professional Grooming

For owners who may find the task of grooming their bearded collie daunting, professional grooming services offer a helping hand. Professional groomers are trained to handle the unique characteristics of bearded collie coats, providing services such as trimming, shaping, and maintaining coat health. Scheduling a professional grooming session every 6 to 8 weeks ensures that the coat remains in top condition, and any potential health issues are addressed promptly. Additionally, professional groomers can provide valuable advice on at-home grooming techniques and product recommendations.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors play a role in the health and appearance of bearded collie coats. Exposure to harsh weather conditions, such as excessive sun, wind, or rain, can impact the texture and shine of their hair. Bearded collies should be provided with shelter and protection from extreme elements to prevent potential damage to their coats. Additionally, regular inspections for ticks, debris, or irritations become even more crucial after outdoor activities in varied environments.

Nutrition and Coat Health

The health of a bearded collie’s coat is closely connected to their overall nutrition. A balanced and high-quality diet provides the essential nutrients needed for coat health, including protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Ensure that your bearded collie receives a diet suitable for their specific size, age, and activity level. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate nutritional plan for your bearded collie, taking into consideration any individual health concerns or dietary requirements.

Health Checks

Regular health checks are crucial for monitoring any coat-related issues in bearded collies. Pay attention to changes in the coat’s texture, color, or thickness, as these could be indicators of underlying health concerns. Skin conditions, allergies, or hormonal imbalances may manifest in changes to the coat. If you notice any abnormalities, consult with your veterinarian promptly. Early intervention can prevent the progression of potential health issues and ensure the continued well-being of your bearded collie.


In conclusion, the debate over whether bearded collies have hair or fur showcases the unique nature of their coats. The combination of length, texture, and shedding patterns creates a distinctive coat that requires specific care and attention. Whether you appreciate the flowing waves of their hair or the practicality of their fur-like qualities, bearded collies are undoubtedly a breed with a coat that captures the hearts of dog enthusiasts.

Navigating the grooming needs of bearded collies involves regular brushing, occasional baths, and, for some, the expertise of professional groomers. Striking a balance between maintaining the aesthetic appeal and preserving the protective layers of the coat is key. By investing time and care in grooming practices, you can ensure that your bearded collie’s coat remains a source of pride and a reflection of their overall health and vitality.


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