Brushing a Border Collie

The border collie is a beautiful, intelligent and functional breed.

The border collie is a beautiful, intelligent and functional breed.

Border collies have either "rough" coats or short coats, and both types need routine grooming. Most border collies are kept as natural as possible, and routine grooming is all it takes to keep your border collie looking her natural best.

Run your hands through the dog’s coat before you brush to check for mats. Border collies have thick, soft undercoats and longer outer coats, which often tangle together in large mats. Feel behind the ears. Loosen tangles gently with your fingers, taking care not to pull the hair and hurt the dog.

Brush the exposed coat with a slicker brush. Slickers have small, closely spaced teeth that catch dead hair and pull it to the surface. Border collies have an extremely dense undercoat, and slickers are the quickest way to remove dead hair. Brush the dog’s face and ears, paying special attention to the mat-prone patch of hair behind each ear. Work down the dog’s side to her hindquarters, brushing in short, quick strokes.

Remove mats with a mat rake. Start at the tip of the mat and comb in small sections, moving from the end of the hair to the roots. Spray stubborn mats with coat conditioner to lubricate the hair and loosen tangles.

Comb the dog with a fine-tooth comb to clean up stray hair and give the dog a smooth, finished appearance. Border collies are noted for their smooth, glossy coats, and the comb encourages the coat to lie down.

Items you will need

  • Slicker brush
  • Mat rake
  • Coat conditioner
  • Fine-tooth comb


  • Short-coat border collies require weekly grooming, while rough-coat border collies need brushing at least twice a week.


  • Never cut matted hair with scissors. It may seem like a good idea to cut off a mat, but you can easily accidentally cut the dog’s skin trying to get all of a mat. If the dog is full of mats, schedule a session with a professional groomer.

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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

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