The border collie is the quintessential farm dog—a tough worker who keeps the various other animals in line and out of trouble. His double-layered coat keeps him warm and dry in all types of weather, but requires regular maintenance to keep mats away, especially in summer.
Border collies sport a soft undercoat covered by either a straight or a wavy topcoat. Imagine wearing two layers of fur in the middle of summer! But the border collie's coat is designed to keep him comfortable in all types of weather, including the warmer weather of the summer months. The undercoat acts as insulation not only from the cold of winter but from the heat of summer.
Think of your border collie's undercoat as the removable lining of your favorite jacket. In the winter months you would put a thicker, warmer lining in, and in the summer you'd remove it. Border collies shed somewhat year-round, but drop more hair as the seasons change. As summer arrives, he essentially thins out his undercoat to provide just the right amount of protection without leaving him too warm. He'll lose a lot of hair during this period, which means more brushing for you to stay ahead of mats.
Brushes and Baths
As your border collie drops a good portion of his undercoat in the summer, you'll need to brush him often to keep mats at bay. How often depends on how active he is and how much he's shedding, but at least twice a week is a good start and you can increase the frequency as necessary. Use a mat ripper to slice through and remove any mats, and follow up with a pin brush, slicker brush or wide-toothed comb to remove tangles and loose hair. Pay particular attention to where his collar lies, his ears and his armpits, as these spots tend to tangle quickly. Bathe him only as necessary, as too many baths strip the natural oils and nutrients from his hair.
To Shave or Not to Shave
In the summer, many owners feel that leaving their dogs in their heavy fur coats is unkind and have the pooch shaved down. As a general rule, dogs with double coats like the border collie should never be shaved, as it changes the way the hair grows back and may make them less suited for colder weather. A light trim is fine—one that tidies up the edges of your pup's coat and makes him look neater—but a full shave is not recommended. Shedding is nature's way of regulating your pooch's coat and keeping him comfortable in all types of weather.
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