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Can Border Collies be shaved?

Yesterday, while we were at the dog park, I saw a Border Collie whose coat had been closely shaved and looked to be growing back unevenly. It reminded me of a previous post Can Australian Cattle Dogs Be Shaved? about how shaving an ACD could create fur regrowth issues.

It got me thinking if Border Collies are shaved could they have similar issues? I discovered that shaving a Border Collie could have similar results to shaving an ACD.

Border Collies have a thick double coat that should not be shaved. Shaving a Border Collie may damage the coat and expose the dog’s skin to the outside elements.

There are ways to groom a Border Collie that will not damage and can even benefit their fur and skin. First, let’s examine the double coat, and then we can explore the best ways to groom a Border Collie.

Why does a Border Collie have a double coat?

Border Collies inherited their thick double coat from their Scottish herding dog ancestry. A double-coat helped protect them from the cold, cool them off in warm weather, and also repel rain, which was common in the Scottish countryside where they herded livestock.

The Border Collie’s double coat has a coarse outer coat and a soft undercoat. There are two types of double coats, either rough or smooth. Rough coats are usually medium to long outer coats with wispy hairs on the legs, chest, belly, and ears. The undercoat is wooly and dense. The smooth-coated Border Collie has shorter hair with little or no feathering and may not have much of an undercoat.

Border Collie’s shed their coats in the spring and autumn. During these times, it’s important to brush daily to keep up with shedding.

Why a Border Collie shouldn’t be shaved

Let’s start by asking, why shave a Border Collie? If’s to stop them from shedding, shaving a Border Collie will not stop them from shedding. If it’s to keep them cooler in warm weather, shaving will actually reduce their coat’s natural ability to regulate body temperature. There really isn’t a good reason to shave a Border Collie’s coat off, but there are several reasons their coats should not be shaved, including the following.

  • Shaving a Border Collie will disrupt their coat’s built in air conditioning system. The two layers of fur keeps them warm in the winter and after shedding the undercoat in spring and fall, air flows between the skin and the outer coat to regulate their body temperature.
  • Shaving a Border Collie can cause the two coats to grow back unevenly, which means having to shave them continuously.
  • Shaving a dog’s double coat can expose the skin and risk sunburn and possibly skin cancer.
  • Shaving a double coated dog can reduce their coat’s natural oils and cause skin irritations to develop.

Rather than shaving, consider giving your Border Collie a light trim on their paws, hindquarters, or to remove stubborn mats.

What are the best grooming methods for a Border Collie?

It’s important to groom your Border Collie regularly to keep their coats from matting, control shedding, and distribute the coat’s natural oils. Below are some Border Collie grooming best practices.

  • Brush your Border Collie’s full coat daily or at least several times a week. Brush more often as shedding increases, which is usually during Spring and Fall. Using a grooming brush, such as this one on Amazon, will help remove mats, collect shedding, and create a healthy looking shiny coat.
  • If necessary, a light trim can help tidy up hair around ears, feet, tail and the hindquarters. To prepare for dog shows, the longer hairs on a Border Collie’s ears, paws, legs, hindquarters and tails is frequently trimmed.
  • Bathing a Border Collie two or three times a year should be adequate. More frequent bathing and certain shampoos can reduce their skin’s natural oils and cause skin irritations. Of course, additional baths may be unavoidable after a dusty hike or muddy outing. It’s a good practice to brush before the bath to reduce the amount of wet hair in left in the bathtub or bathing pool.
  • Remember to include a good nail clip in their regular grooming. Typically, the nails are too long if you can hear tapping on the floor when they walk. Make sure to avoid cutting the vein in the center of the nail, called the quick, which bleeds if cut too short.
  • Ear cleaning externally and with veterinarian provided cleaning solutions for deeper cleaning when necessary.

If home grooming isn’t possible, there are professional groomers ready to take on heavy grooming duties. Veterinarians can be helpful with nail trims, ear cleanings and some provide bathing services.

Which grooming tools are the best for a Border Collie?

  • Brushes and combs
    • Shedding brush – FURminator like this one on Amazon offers a good example of a deshedding brush for dogs.
    • Slicker brush – A highly rated slicker from HERTZKO is designed to untangle and break up mats in medium to long fur and offers a nifty self-cleaning feature.
    • Undercoat rake – The FURminator grooming rake is one of the highest rated for removing the loose undercoat on double-coated dogs.
    • Pin brush – Chris Christensen from dog show fame has a great oval pin brush for general grooming brush with rounded pin tops.
    • Detangling/dematting comb – Maxpower offers a high rated comb for untangling and dematting.
  • Shampoo and conditioner – When considering which bathing products to use, it’s important to buy dog specific shampoo and conditioner. Some highly ranked brands include Burt’s Bees, Vet’s Best, FURminator and Earthbath. There are a lot of great dog bathing products that can help control itching, odor and shedding. Your vet or local groomer can be provide recommendations to help narrow down the choices.
  • Nail clippers, grinders and files – There are many types of nail clipping accessories that vary by size of dog. From traditional scissor clippers, guillotine clippers, grinders and files, it’s which tool you, and your dog, feel most comfortable with. If you are unsure of which nail tool to use, remember to reach out to your veterinarian for recommendations.
  • Dog blow-dryer: Depending on the comfort level of your dog, a blow-dryer like AIIYME Dog Dryer can quickly dry the thick double coat.

Final Thoughts

Shaving a Border Collie is not recommended for all of the reasons listed above. Instead, it’s best to brush your Border Collie daily or as often as possible to reduce mats, collect loose fur and help the coat look shiny. It’s also a great way to bond with your Border Collie!

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