What Is the Difference Between Tibetan Terriers & Bearded Collies?

by Catherine Troiano
For a larger and more boisterous companion, consider the bearded collie.

For a larger and more boisterous companion, consider the bearded collie.

THEGIFT777/iStock/Getty Images

At a glance, the Tibetan terrier and the bearded collie may look similar with their shaggy coats, drooping ears and eyes that are partially obscured by long locks of hair. They are both loyal family companions who require plenty of exercise and grooming. Both of these breeds are lovable pets. You may have a difficult time choosing between them for your ideal canine companion. While there are similarities, the two are uniquely distinct breeds with several notable differences, including their size, coat, demeanor and origin.

Size and Body Comparisons

The first observable difference between a Tibetan terrier and a bearded collie is the size. Although both breeds are considered medium in size, the bearded collie is the larger of the two, standing at a height of 20 to 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing 45 to 55 pounds. Tibetan terrier stands 14 to 17 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs 18 to 30 pounds. The body of a bearded collie is long and lean, while that of the Tibetan terrier is square.

Coats and Tails

Both the Tibetan terrier and the bearded collie are covered with double coats. The outercoat of the Tibetan terrier is long and profuse; the hairs may be wavy or straight. The coarse outercoat of a bearded collie also is long, but it is less profuse and the hairs lie flat, parting naturally along the center of the dog’s back and head. The Tibetan terrier coat may exhibit any color or combination of colors. Bearded collies are black, brown, blue or fawn, with or without white markings on the forehead, topknot, chest, legs, paws, around the neck and on the tip of the tail. The Tibetan terrier’s shaggy tail is carried upward, curving over to rest on the dog’s hindquarters, where it may curl to either side. The bearded collie’s tail hangs downward, curving outward at the tip.

Differences In Temperament

Both the Tibetan terrier and the bearded collie thrive on the companionship of their families. The bearded collie is more boisterous and has a higher energy level. Bearded collies have strong herding instincts. They will try to herd human family members, especially children. The Tibetan terrier has a more calm demeanor. He is eager to please his family members. He is equally content to play with the children in the backyard and to snooze alongside his master on the couch. The Tibetan terrier tends to be more reserved toward strangers.

From East and West

The bearded collie’s origins date back to the 1600s. It is one of Britain’s oldest dog breeds. Initially used for herding sheep and cattle in England and Scotland, the bearded collie later became popular in the show ring during the Victorian period. The bearded collie made its way to America during the 1950s. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed as a member of the herding group in 1976. The Lamas of the Tibetan monasteries cherished the Tibetan terrier more than 2,000 years ago. Unlike the bearded collie, the dogs were treasured companions instead of workers. They were considered good luck. They only occasionally contributed working efforts toward safeguarding flocks of livestock. The Tibetan terrier first entered the United States in 1956. The AKC recognized the breed as a member of the nonsporting group in 1973.

Photo Credits

  • THEGIFT777/iStock/Getty Images