Border collies are intelligent, high-energy pets that come in both smooth- and rough-haired varieties. All border collies have double coats, or longer top coats over soft, dense undercoats. Although considered a low-maintenance breed, these hard-working doggies still need regular grooming to keep their coats looking nice.
Groom your border collie at least three times a week. Regular grooming helps prevent nasty mats and tangles, removes dead fur and skin cells, distributes the skin's natural oils and makes your dog's coat look nice and shiny. Start grooming your border collie while he's a puppy. These energetic pooches often hate standing still for grooming, so the earlier you teach him to enjoy the grooming process, the easier your sessions should be.
Start off your grooming sessions using a pin brush. Begin at the side of your dog's head and gently brush down toward the base of his tail. Be sure to brush all the way down to the skin so that you groom both the top coat and the undercoat. Brushing just the top coat can cause the fur to mat or tangle. If you hit a matted area, just brush around it for now. You don't want your dog to associate brushing with pain.
Dog combs come in both wide-toothed and fine-toothed varieties. Use a wide-toothed steel comb to brush your border collie's coat against the grain. This removes any loose fur and small bits of debris you might have missed when grooming him with the pin brush. Use a fine-toothed steel comb to groom your doggy's ears, neck and around his head. Never pull or tug when combing or you risk causing your dog pain.
Removing Mats and Tangles
A slicker brush has short, flexible bristles especially designed to remove mats and tangles out of a dog's fur. However, avoid brushing the skin itself with this type of brush or you could nick or scratch your dog, a condition called "slicker burn." If you have a rough-haired border collie, pay special attention to the long-haired, wispy "feathers" on his legs, ruff and chest. These feathers act like magnets when it comes to attracting stickers, twigs, briars and brambles. If you come across an extremely stubborn mat, use grooming scissors to gently pry the matted hairs apart.
Stripping the Undercoat
Border collies are seasonal shedders that typically lose a lot of fur during the late spring or early summer when the weather starts warming up. Use a stripping comb to remove the dead hairs from the undercoat during the shedding season. Stripping the undercoat helps his new coat grow in faster. Be sure to take your doggy outdoors for the stripping process or you'll end up with fur all over your house.
Bathe your border collie only when he needs it. Dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors may need a monthly bath, while indoor pets might need a bath only once every three months. Use a mild, natural shampoo designed specifically for canines. Never use a human shampoo on your dog because it might contain harsh chemicals that will dry out his skin, strip away the natural oils and damage his coat. Once your doggy's coat completely dries, consider applying a little bit of coat oil or coat conditioner to his fur. These products make fur look lustrous while protecting it from the elements and preventing debris from getting stuck in the hairs.