Beardies are a relatively healthy breed. Most live to around 13 - 14 years of age, although some live considerably longer. At present, there is no evidence in the UK to suggest that Beardies are particularly prone to specific health problems but there are inevitably some health problems that occur within the breed. The following health information is for guidance.
Hip Dysplasia Responsible breeders ensure that both parents of prospective puppies have been hip-scored before breeding from them. A hip score is a measure of evidence of hip dysplasia (abnormal development) and dogs with hip dysplasia can go on to develop arthritis and other problems with their hind legs at a young age. .
Elbow Dysplasia An increasing number of breeders are starting to score for elbow dysplasia. This is currently not a required test for the Bearded Collie before breeding as case numbers have been low. However, the disease has been seen in the breed. Elbow dysplasia is an abnormal development of the elbow joint and dogs with elbow dysplasia can go on to develop arthritis. Eye Testing Unlike some of the other Collie breeds, Bearded Collies in the UK are not generally affected by inherited eye disease. Nonetheless, many breeders choose to eye-test their dogs as a precautionary measure. Fortunately, the genetic defect which causes the condition appears to be rare, and efforts are being made to eradicate it from the breed. However, there is no room for complacency - other inherited eye conditions can occur, and more Bearded Collies are being imported from abroad where occasional eye problems have arisen. A simple eye test can pick these up before they become endemic in the breed. It is therefore recommended that breeders eye-test their dogs before they breed from them, and ideally again when the dog is older, to detect any inherited eye conditions with a late age of onset.
Auto Immune Diseases Auto-immune diseases such as Addison’s disease, haemolytic anaemia and thrombocytopaenia can occur in Bearded Collies as in many other breeds. Such conditions can be serious and life-threatening and usually present in young to middle-aged dogs. It is difficult to say whether Beardies have a higher than average incidence of such auto-immune conditions as comparative statistics are scanty. These diseases are complex and it is thought that several genes, together with environmental influences, may determine whether or not a dog is affected by an auto-immune condition. As yet there are no genetic tests available to determine susceptibility to these conditions and it is unlikely that a simple genetic test will ever be able to tell us unequivocally whether or not a dog will be affected. That said, breeders are trying to learn more about these diseases and are supporting research into identifying the genes concerned.