Trimming a Collie's Coat

"What's that Lassie? Timmy thinks you need a haircut?"
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With his rugged good looks and devotion to his family, the rough-coated collie strikes a pose as the quintessential family dog. Made famous through the Lassie series of movies and TV shows, this fluffy-coated beauty requires much less trimming than you'd expect.

Paws and Pads

While your collie relies on you for frequent brushing, he doesn't need any intensive trimming to keep his coat looking good. That said, a few areas require a regular snip to keep him neat and comfortable. His paws, both the top and underside, need a monthly trim to prevent the hair from growing too long and matting. Brush all the tangles out and use a pair of scissors to carefully snip the hair short. When dealing with the hair between the pads, go slowly and only take tiny snips to avoid accidentally hurting him. You could also just trust a professional groomer to take care of this for you, if you're uncomfortable or your Lady or Lassie proves uncooperative.

Legs and Tail

If you're keeping your Lassie wannabe in a show standard cut, his paws and pads are pretty much the only thing that need regular scissor action. The collie breed standard calls for feathering to remain untouched to the bottom of the pasterns on the forelegs, and for the hind legs to be smooth below the hocks. Sometimes the hair on his hocks especially becomes a bit of a tangled mess, needing a clip from a groomer to smooth them out and neaten them up, for show dogs and pets alike. Another optional area to neaten up with a regular trim is his tail. Your groomer brushes your pup's tail, then scissors the feathers (not always present in a bushy-tailed collie) in a straight line. Trims of the tail and leg feathers are purely aesthetic trims and not necessary, so it's entirely your call to have them done.

Keep It Sanitary

Most pups don't have to worry about uncomfortable or unsightly, shall we say, collections in their nether-regions, but sometimes it can't be helped. If your collie becomes sick or suffers frequent diarrhea, he may need what is called a sanitary groom to help keep him clean “down there.” Have your groomer do this, as this area is obviously sensitive and delicate, meaning one slip of the clippers could result in disaster. This trim usually runs from his belly to his rump, making the area easy to keep clean.

No Shaving Allowed

Some people find the collie's full coat too intimidating and opt to have him shaved down to a shorter cut to make grooming easier. This convenience comes at a cost, as cutting your pooch too short can drastically alter how his coat grows back later and remove crucial summer insulation against the heat. Double-coated breeds such as your Lassie look-a-like should never have their coats shaved, as this can alter the way the follicles behave and regrow hair. His coat may grow back patchy, offering an uneven, mangy look.

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