Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Key Differences Explained

Written by Kyle Glatz
Updated: October 10, 2022
Share on:


Some dog breeds are easy to tell apart. You can look at a chihuahua and know that it is different from a pit bull. However, some breeds look very similar to one another. That is certainly the case with the Bearded Collie and the Old English Sheepdog. We’ve decided to take a closer look at these two breeds and show you how to tell them apart. By performing a Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog comparison, we’ve come up with six different ways to tell them apart.

Consider each of these elements and learn how you can differentiate these dogs.

Comparing a Bearded Collie and an Old English Sheepdog

Size is a major difference between both breeds.
Bearded CollieOld English Sheepdog
SizeWeight: 40 to 60 pounds
Height: 20-22 inches
Weight: 60 to 100 pounds
Height: 22 to 24 inches
Appearance– Double coat of long fur
– Fur may be gray or white
– Smoother, silkier hair texture compared to the Old English Sheepdog’s fur
– Fur may cover their eyes but forms a distinctive look that the dog has eyebrows
– Long hair under the mouth and chin forms a “beard” for this dog
– Double coat of water-resistant fur
– Shaggy, long fur
– Rounded head with fur that can cover their eyes and form what appears to be bangs on their head
– Tails have been docked in the past for hygiene, but the practice is becoming less common  
Colors– Black, brown, white, tan, fawn
– Often white with any one of the other colors
– Gray, white, black, grizzle, and blue
–  Can be any combination of those
Temperament– Enthusiastic
– May be stubborn – Energetic since they were made to be a working dog
– Intelligent
– Sociable
– Playful
– Can grow to be lazy
Lifespan12-14 years10-12 years
Nation of OriginScotlandEngland

The 6 Key Differences Between a Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog

old english sheepdog playing in open field

The Old English sheepdog has shaggy fur.


The biggest differences between a Bearded Collie and an Old English Sheepdog lie in their size and appearance. Old English Sheepdogs are medium-size dogs weighing up to 100 pounds, measuring 24 inches in height, frequently have docked tails, bangs covering the top of their head, and shaggy fur. Bearded Collies weigh only 60 pounds, stands 22 inches tall while having a double coat of silky hair that gives them the appearance of having expressive eyebrows and a beard.

Those differences may seem like they’re a tangle of information. So, we’re going to break down each section to help you truly understand what makes these breeds unique!

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Size

The Old English Sheepdog is larger than the Bearded Collie. On average, an Old English Sheepdog stands about 24 inches tall and weighs between 80 and 100 pounds. Yet, the Bearded Collie only weighs up to 60 pounds and stands only about 22 inches tall.

The size difference between these animals is enough for a person to tell them apart right away.

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Appearance

Gray Dog Breeds

The Old English Sheepdog develops “bangs” instead of “eyebrows” from its fur.

©Crystal Alba/

The Bearded Collie and Old English Sheepdog may look similar at a glance, but they are actually unique. An Old English Sheepdog has a double coat of fur, and their fur is very shaggy and long. The Bearded Collie’s fur, or hair, is a smoother, silkier texture, and it’s longer, too.

The Bearded Collie’s fur frames their head, giving these dogs the appearance that they have eyebrows, so they have very expressive eyes. Meanwhile, the Old English Sheepdog has bangs that fall near or over their eyes instead of prominent eyebrows.

As their name suggests, Bearded Collies’ long hair also makes it look like they have a beard beneath their chin. They often carry their tails low, and they’re rarely docked. However, the Old English Sheepdog commonly has a docked tail for hygiene and it was docked in the past for work.

Yet, tailed Old English Sheepdogs are becoming more common these days as the docking practice continues to be banned in places around the world.

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Colors

The Bearded Collie has more colors in its fur than the Old English Sheepdog. This breed has brown, black, white, tan, and fawn in its fur, and it often appears white with any combination of those colors.

However, the Old English Sheepdog can appear gray, white, black, grizzle, or blue. Usually, it’s any combination of those colors, but most people imagine these dogs as gray, black, and white.  

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Temperament

The Old English Sheepdog is known for being a highly intelligent creature. It is playful and sociable, but has a tendency to get lazy if the owner doesn’t keep it involved in activities.

However, the Bearded Collie is known for being an enthusiastic learner with a keen mind, but perhaps not as intelligent as the Old English Sheepdog. It is very energetic but also may have a stubborn streak as well.

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Lifespan

On average, the Bearded Collie lives longer than the Old English Sheepdog. The lifespan of the Bearded Collie is anywhere between 12 and 14 years. However, the Old English Sheepdog lives about 10 to 12 years. Both dogs are wonderful partners for their owners during those years, and they can exceed those listed lifespans with proper care, good nutrition, and vet checkups.

Bearded Collie vs Old English Sheepdog: Nation of Origin

Types of heeler dogs - Bearded Collie

The Bearded Collie originates from Scotland.


As its name suggests, the Old English Sheepdog is from England. However, the Bearded Collie hails from Scotland, where it was once a working dog that was used as a herder.

All in all, these two breeds of dogs have many differences. The most apparent ones of the six we have explored here are size, color, and appearance. However, knowing the differences in these animals’ temperament, lifespan, and nation of origin are also useful.

Now that you know the qualities of each breed, you will have an easier time identifying them in the future.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Nicholas Botha/

Ready to discover the top 10 cutest dog breeds in the entire world?

How about the fastest dogs, the largest dogs and those that are -- quite frankly -- just the kindest dogs on the planet? Each day, AZ Animals sends out lists just like this to our thousands of email subscribers. And the best part? It's FREE. Join today by entering your email below.

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?

Share on:
About the Author

Kyle Glatz is a writer at A-Z-Animals where his primary focus is on geography and mammals. Kyle has been writing for researching and writing about animals and numerous other topics for 10 years, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in English and Education from Rowan University. A resident of New Jersey, Kyle enjoys reading, writing, and playing video games.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.