You’d be hard-pressed to find a more admired, celebrated, and all-around adored dog breed than the border collie. Known for its tireless energy, unmatched intelligence, and fierce loyalty, this breed is a favorite among dog owners who want a constant companion to adventure through life with.
But what about grooming? The border collie, like all breeds, has a specific set of grooming needs. But while this dog might be high energy, they’re not that high maintenance when it comes to grooming.
This is great news, but “low maintenance” doesn’t mean “no maintenance.” If you want your pet to look and feel their best, you need to give them the proper grooming TLC. Let’s take a look at all things border collie grooming, from shedding to bathing to why you don’t need trimmers to keep this dog healthy.
The border collie has a double coat, with a long, smooth, and feathered outer coat and a shorter, rougher undercoat. In terms of shedding, the BC falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. During most of the year, the border collie sheds a moderate amount. Brushing your dog two to three times a week to remove dead hair is typically plenty to keep the shedding under control.
Twice a year, however, that shedding goes into overdrive. During the spring and fall, your dog will completely blow their coat in preparation for the upcoming season. Shedding will be at an all-time high, so plan to brush your dog on a daily basis to keep up.
While the BC needs regular brushing to look and feel their best, their bathing needs are much less frequent.
Typically, this breed only needs to be bathed every three months or so. If you take your dog on an extra muddy adventure, you can up the frequency (you don’t want mud tracks all over your house!), but don’t overdo it; going overboard and bathing your dog too frequently can irritate their skin.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when bathing your border collie:
- Brush before you bathe. Because this breed has a tendency to shed, it’s important to brush your dog before putting them in the bath. Otherwise, you’ll end up with dog hair all over your bathtub!
- Use tepid to warm water. Water that’s too hot can not only be uncomfortable for your pet, but can also dry out their skin, leading to itching and irritation.
- Use the right products. Always, always, ALWAYS use dog-formulated shampoos, conditioners, and cleansing products. Human products aren’t safe for your pet!
- Protect their eyes. Getting soap in your eyes is no fun—and it’s no fun for your dog, either. When rinsing out shampoo or conditioner, make sure to keep your pet’s eyes protected.
In addition to bi-weekly (or daily, during shedding seasons) brushing and semi-regular bathing, there’s one other grooming need you need to be aware of with your border collie: nail trimming.
If nails are allowed to get too long, they can cause serious discomfort—or even pain—for your pet. Plan to clip your dog’s nails at least once a month. As a good rule of thumb, if you can hear your dog’s nails against the floor when they walk by, they’re too long—and you need to trim ASAP.
Trimming your dog’s nails can be tricky, as you want to make sure to avoid the quick (the vein that runs into the nail), which can bleed if you cut your dog’s nails too short. If the thought of DIY nail trims makes you nervous, you can always bring your BC to a professional groomer for a quick snip.
So, to get to the big question—do border collies need haircuts?
And the answer is no!
The border collie’s grooming needs are extremely basic. Even the show standard for a border collie only calls for minimal trimming around the feet and the back of the legs to give a tidier appearance. So while you can, of course, groom these areas (or have a professional do it), they’re unnecessary. The overall short length of this dog’s coat doesn’t need regular trims—especially if you stay on top of brushing to prevent tangling or matting.
One big thing: don’t shave your border collie. Not only is it unnecessary (thanks to their spring shedding, this dog has no problem staying cool in the summer!), but shaving your border collie can actually cause irregularities in the way their coat grows—and when it grows back in, it might be patchy and uneven.