Thinking about adopting a Border Collie? With their energetic, loving, and intelligent nature, they make for a wonderful addition to your home. But, as with each new addition to your home, it’s best to know what you’re getting into before committing to your new furry friend.
Border Collie Coats
Like most other dogs, Border Collies do indeed shed. If you’re wondering whether Collies are hypoallergenic, the answer is no. Their fur consists of a thick double coat, which means more fur to shed year-round.
Regular grooming can help reduce the amount of dander that your dog produces, but depending on how severe your allergies are, a small amount of dander could still be an issue. However, the variety of Collie you get (smooth or rough coat) can change whether their shedding is more or less noticeable than others.
Rough coat Border Collies have longer hair with feathering around the chest and underside, while smooth coat Collies have short fur all over their body.
However, both coat types have a dense undercoat, which helps them regulate their body temperature during summer and winter. This leads them to blow coat once or twice a year to make way for a new batch of fur in these intense weather months.
Collie “shedding seasons” tend to be in spring and fall, as weather changes more drastically and they need a new coat of fur for the season. Though their shedding is more noticeable during these months, they do tend to drop fur year-round. But, Border Collies aren’t as high maintenance as breeds like Akitas, Bernese Mountain dogs, and Siberian Huskies.
Grooming Dos for your Border Collie
During their shedding season(s), it’s pivotal to keep a consistent grooming schedule. We recommend brushing, as it’s the easiest way to keep excess fur off your floors and furniture.
You may need to brush your dog as often as once a day to keep their coat tidy in their shedding seasons. And though this may sound like a lot, keeping a regular grooming schedule will help minimize the amount of time you’ll need to spend each time you sit down to groom your Collie.
It’s also crucial that you trim your Border Collie’s fur in areas that tend to mat easily. You’ll want to be careful that you don’t cut too much hair from your dog, and instead focus on tidying them up. Trim away obvious knots and mats that develop on your dog’s coat, which will be more common on rough-coat Collies.
Take care and be gentle while trimming, as knotted hair tends to form in sensitive areas, and you don’t want to cause your dog undue discomfort.
Another common place to trim will be around your Collie’s feet and near the back of their ears, just to keep these areas from getting too long. Overall, trimming is simple once you get the hang of it, and will help keep your dog looking its best in any condition of shedding.
One last concern that you might have about grooming your dog is how often you should bathe them. Aside from keeping your Collie clean after getting dirty, we don’t advise you to over wash your dog, as it depletes the naturally protective and healthy oils that their coat produces.
When in doubt, you can always use dry shampoo to prevent those oils from being washed out of your dog’s coat while still keeping them clean and fresh.
Grooming Don’ts for your Collie
It’s generally not recommended to clip/cut your Border Collie’s coat, as their hair won’t grow back quite the same. Doing so can lead to problems further down the line.
The same can be said for shaving your Collie. It might sound like a good idea to shave them, and you might think that by doing so you would be keeping your dog cool. However, any dog with a double coat is kept naturally insulated and protected from harmful elements, so shaving down to your Collie’s skin will do more harm than good.
And, if you think that shaving your Collie will reduce any allergic reactions, you’d be very wrong. A common misconception is that pet dander is from the fur. In reality, dander is skin particles that shed year-round.
So in shaving your dog, you will be exposing yourself to more of those particles and making those allergies worse.
The bottom line is unless a veterinarian advises you to shave/cut your Collie’s coat, don’t do it. Keep trimming to a minimum to maintain your dog’s natural oil regulation for their coat.
One thing to be wary of is any product with the word “deshedding” attached to it. Though these products might help get the most hair possible off of your Border Collie, these products can do more harm than good if your dog has sensitive skin.
If your pup is shedding more than usual, it might be worth considering taking them down to the vet for a checkup. (See the “Shedding More than Normal” section below for more insight).
Though it may not seem like it, general care for your dog can help tremendously with caring for their coat. Diet, hormonal changes, stress, and irritation can all affect how much your dog is shedding outside of their seasons. With that in mind, here are some more tips to stay on top of having your Collie’s fur as healthy as possible.
When brushing, keep up a regimen if you want your dog’s coat to be neat and healthy. It’s best to brush your Collie 2 to 3 times per week when not in their shedding seasons. And since these times of the year won’t be swamping you with clumps of loose fur, these grooming sessions should be easier to get through.
Regular grooming will also alert you sooner to whether or not your dog is carrying any fleas or ticks. If you’re using a slicker brush in particular, the fine bristles will have an easier time picking up any dirt, eggs, or parasites from your dog’s coat. This will help you get ahead of your dog’s physical health and treat it before things get serious.
Another thing that can help keep your Collie’s coat healthy is a nutrient-rich diet. If you’re able to get your hands on a Border Collie formulated kibble, this will help your dog get nutrients that are most important to Collies specifically.
However, any kibble rich in Omega 3, salmon oil, and flaxseed is ideal. Vitamins A, B, E, zinc, and linoleic acid would also contribute to your dog maintaining a healthy and shiny coat.
Shedding More than Normal?
If your Border Collie is shedding more than usual during its shedding season, or shedding during its off-seasons, there might be cause for concern. Poor diet, stress, and recently fixing your dog can cause unusual shedding patterns, which can be solved at home. However, issues like allergies and parasites will require some medical attention to get your Collie’s coat back to normal.
A poor diet can be easily avoided by reading the ingredients on your dog’s kibble before purchasing it. “Big store” food brands tend to have a lot of additives and by-products that can damage your Collie’s hair, so finding a smaller or locally-owned source of kibble would be beneficial. In addition, a lot of exercise can help promote healthy fur and keep your dog from losing hair.
Much like humans, dogs can lose more fur when they’re stressed than when they’re content. Border Collies in particular are very good at reading their owners’ feelings and tend to respond to those feelings in kind. Though keeping your stress levels in check can be a bit difficult sometimes, keeping a stress-free environment for your dog can help them stay at peace and reduce stress.
In addition, if you’ve recently neutered or spayed your dog, this may be causing some excessive shedding. Don’t worry, this is fairly normal, especially for male dogs, and after a few months, this molting should stop.
In terms of shedding indicating health problems, allergies are pretty easy to spot. In addition to scratching and shedding, dogs will show signs of inflammation between paw pads, inflamed and itchy ears, itchy and watery eyes, and sneezing. Taking your dog in to see a vet will help determine what might be causing these allergies, as well as how best to treat them.
And finally, if your dog is carrying fleas, ticks, or other parasites, they will become uncomfortable and scratch themselves excessively. Flea shampoo can help treat fleas, but it would also be wise to speak with your dog’s veterinarian to assess how to best treat parasites, as well as get proper medication.
Recommended Grooming Brushes
- Pin brush or slicker brush. A good slicker brush can help remove a lot of loose hair, as well as detangle surface-level mats and tangles. Brushing 2 or 3 times a week with either a pin brush or slicker brush will help you address the surface coat of your Border Collie’s double coat.
- Undercoat rake. An undercoat rake is a metal comb with soft pins on the ends of the bristles that dig deep and brush out fur in the undercoat, which is where most of your dog’s shedding is done. Don’t apply too much pressure on this comb while grooming your Collie, as this comb can irritate if used too harshly. You can also use it during off-seasons and brush out a lot of excess fur from your Collie’s coat!
Keeping up with a Border Collie’s coat may seem intimidating at first, but we hope this has helped to “shed” some light on the subject. With the proper care and regular treatment, you should have no problem giving your pet what it needs.