The Bearded Collie is generally a healthy breed with an average age of 13-14 years.
The Kennel Club’s Breed Watch system highlights any breed specific conformational issues which may lead to health issues. Following a submission from the Bearded Collie Club, the Kennel Club have agreed that the point ‘Excessively Long Coats’ be removed from Breed Watch. The Bearded Collie is now listed as a Category One breed i.e. a breed with no current points of concern reported.
In 2012, the Joint Breed Liaison Committee (JBLC) commissioned a breed health survey to look at UK KC registered dogs owned between 2007 and 2012. Read the full results of Breed Health Survey here.
The JBLC also issue statements and updates on health issues. Please check the JBLC website for the latest news.
There are currently two mandatory health tests for Kennel Club assured breeders:
BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia Scheme
A hip score is a measure of evidence of hip dysplasia (abnormal development). The lower the score the less the degree of hip dysplasia. It is recommended that both parents of a prospective litter should be hip-scored before being bred from and ideally only those dogs below the breed median should be used for breeding. The current median for Bearded Collies is a score of 9 which puts the breed amongst those with the lowest scores.
Prospective puppy buyers should make sure both the sire and dam have been hip scored and can check the results of any dog tested under the scheme on the Kennel Club website via their Health Test Results Finder (follow Health and Health Test Results links)
DNA – CEA/CH
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is an inherited condition that causes abnormalities at the back of the eye. The first confirmed occurrence of CEA in Bearded Collies was recorded in 2012. Since then the Joint Breed Liaison Committee (JBLC) have been working with the Kennel Club and Animal Health Trust with a view to eradicating the condition from the breed. Many Bearded Collies have now been DNA tested for the condition and no other affected dogs have been found, nor carriers other than those related to the one affected dog.
The current recommendation is that all breeding dogs should be DNA tested and only those tested clear should be bred from.
Again further information and test results are available via the Kennel Club website.
There is growing concern regarding the incidence of auto-immune diseases in Bearded Collies, although there is little data available to indicate whether there is a higher prevalence in the breed compared to any other breed. These are complex diseases e.g. Addison’s Disease, Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy (SLO) and although known to be heredity, it is not yet fully understood how they are transmitted. Much research is being undertaken, but as yet there is no DNA test available to confirm whether a dog is likely to be affected by an auto-immune disease.
The recommendation is that if a dog or bitch has an auto-immune condition, or has close relatives with an AI condition, they should not be bred from. If a mating produces puppies that develop an auto-immune condition, the mating should not be repeated. Breeders should avoid close inbreeding and the overuse of popular sires.
Further information on auto-immune diseases can be found on the BeaCon for Health website.
If you have a Beardie that has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease we would recommend that you contact Jo Tucker at CIMDA (Canine Immune Mediated Disease Awareness) who can offer advice and guidance.