The best ways & tools on how to groom a Border Collie

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Border Collies are prized for being the smartest dog breed in the world. Not only that, but they’re also one of the best herding canines.

Anyone interested in Borders should know that grooming is one of the most significant responsibilities when it comes to owning this pooch. Keep reading and find out everything you need to know on how to groom a Border Collie.

What type of fur do Borders have?

The Border Collie has a coat that ranges from smooth and short to rough and long. Within those two variations, there are still a lot of different looks that you’d see this breed in. Others can have straight hair while others have wavy fur.

Like most herding dogs, they also have two layers of coat. The top one is water- and weather-resistant, then the soft and thick undercoat service like insulation.

Do Border Collies need to be groomed?

Borders are active dogs that would need to be groomed whenever they get dirty

Yes, because it’s part of helping them stay comfortable and taking care of them. Borders are workaholic dogs that thrive whenever they’re outdoors. So when it comes to their needs for grooming, that means your Border Collie will pick up a lot of dirt.

You can easily get on top of this with brushing and bathing. It can keep mats and tangles at bay, and it’s an excellent way for you and your fur buddy to bond.

It’s also an opportunity to check your pet from head to toe in order to catch health issues early on.

The Border Collie’s shedding level by season

Some would say that Borders are seasonal shedders because they excessively blow their coat when seasons change. But this breed sheds all year-round.

The amount of shedding of a Border Collie depends on their coat type. The smooth-coated ones are lower maintenance compared to rough-coated Borders.

This herding dog relies on its unique coat to protect them from different weather conditions while they work. It’s also a natural way of renewing the fur so that it’s more effective in doing its purpose. In fact, shedding means your pet is healthy because his body is getting rid of dead hair.

But you should also know the difference between normal shedding vs. excessive molting that’s cause for concern.

Check out this video and see how much a Border Collie sheds:


How often should you groom a Border Collie?

Some would say every 4 to 8 weeks, others recommend weekly, but most of the time, a Border Collie needs only one bath every eight weeks or when needed. But during shedding season (spring and fall), it’s best to deal with excessive blowing coat with frequent grooming.

We also advise you to brush your Border Collie daily to keep tangles and mats from forming, to remove debris, and to minimize the dog hair you see around your house.

Short-haired Borders can be washed every quarter or as needed.

Before we discuss how to groom a Border Collie, let’s find out first how to make this task faster and easier.

Tools you need to groom your Border Collie’s fur

Having a dog doesn’t only mean sleep, play, and feed – it’s so much more than that. Most of the time, owners forget or have trouble picking out grooming tools.

To help you gather the necessary equipment you need to have your very own Border Collie grooming kit, we provided the different types of supplies or products that are highly recommended.

Detangling Spray

Brushing your Border’s hair and grooming him will be so much easier if you use a detangling spray. It will also make the process more comfortable for both of you, instead of tugging and combing his fur for a long time.

BioSilk Therapy Detangling & Shine Spray for Dogs

One of the products that are famous with groomers and owners is called BioSilk Therapy Detangling & Shine Spray for Dogs. It has ingredients that are human-grade and all-natural.

Crazy Dog Baby Powder Dog Grooming Spray

Another highly-rated detangler is the Crazy Dog Baby Powder Dog Grooming Spray. It helps remove static and dirt while moisturizing and leaving your dog smelling like a baby!

Undercoat Rake

As the name implies, these rakes are designed for the inner layer of the coat next to the skin. If you’ve owned a double-coated dog before or knows someone who does, this is one of those tools that you should have. They’re efficient in getting rid of lint or dead hair, perfect for the Border’s fur.

ConairPRO Undercoat Rake

The ConairPRO Dog Undercoat Rake is a product that won’t disappoint you and your dog. It’s an outstanding tool for daily use minus the scraping or tugging experience.

Pat Your Pet Two-Sided Undercoat Rake

Pat Your Pet Two-Sided Undercoat Rake is suitable for both dogs and cats. It makes brushing a happy bonding moment between you and your furry buddy. With its small and curved blades, it can easily get rid of the shedding hair from the undercoat, and may even help separate mats or tangles.

Slicker Brush

You can use this type of brush instead of going for an undercoat rake. Most Border Collie owners prefer a slicker brush if their dogs have long, thick coats. And thanks to technology, there is now a self-cleaning feature that’s proven to be very handy!

The Safari Slicker Brush for Border Collies with a self-cleaning feature

Just press a button, and the Safari Slicker Brush will retract the pins so you can easily wipe the hair off of the pad clean.

FURminator's two-sided slicker brush for Borders

FURminator lovers can go for the brand’s Firm Slicker Brush. The brush’s head is flexible and has two sides – one with straight bristles, and the other is bent. Plus, it has a protective cover to help it last longer while stored away.

Pin & Bristle Brush

This type of brush is a two-sided grooming tool that adds smoothness and shine to your Border Collie’s outer coat while removing the last few strays of hair.

Safari's pin and bristle brush that's perfect for double-coated dogs like Border Collies

Another top-rated Safari product is their Combo Brush that also serves as a softer version of a slicker and bristle brush. With everyday use, your Border’s coat will be all shiny and will remove debris and extra shedding fur.

Hartz pin and bristle brush that's suitable for Borders

With the same pin and bristle type or feature, Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush has en ergonomic handle for comfortable grooming while doubling the time spent on making your pet look gorgeous. You can use this for both long and short grooming sessions.

This video shows the complete set of grooming tools that can be helpful, but some of them aren’t really required to do the task:


How to properly groom your Border Collie at home

No matter the length of your Border Collie’s hair, you’d still have to deal with two layers of coat. It can quickly get matted if left ungroomed, so there would be times that you will do the grooming by yourself.

Here are the necessary steps in grooming your Border dog properly.

Detangle your Border’s coat

Did you know that once you wet your dog’s hair, especially for double-coated canines, the mats become more tangled? So before thinking about bathing your Border Collie, thoroughly brush his hair.

During the winter season, a slicker brush works well since your Border’s not blowing coat heavily. In the summer, other owners use mat rippers or dematting combs, but you can simply use a slicker brush or the undercoat rake.

What we recommend is to use a detangling spray to avoid uncomfortable tugging while minimizing hair breakage.

Grooming a Border Collie’s undercoat and top coat

A Border Collie yawning while being brushed

Since mats are often found close to the dog’s skin or sensitive areas, investigate before you start combing or even cutting.

Start with a slicker brush or undercoat rake in removing any shed hair or debris from the inner layer of your Border’s hair. With firm yet gentle pressure, grooming this part will stimulate circulation and distribute nourishing skin oils.

Of course, the pin and bristle brush is perfect for the outer layer of your dog’s fur. Use the pin side first for shedding hair and debris, then switch to the bristle for adding that shine.

Only trim a Border Collie’s fur when needed

Trimming is necessary around the ears, tail, and feet.

Snip or remove stray hairs carefully, but not unless you have been grooming dogs for a long time, trimming and thorough ear cleanings should be done by professional groomers.

For the tail, it gets easily dirty and grows hair fast, but it doesn’t mean you should excessively trim it. It would give your Border an uneven, bizarre look. Just focus on those few furs that are longer than the rest and any matting.

It may be a struggle to trim excess hair around the paws, as Border Collies are extremely sensitive whenever someone touches their feet. But you need to get rid of fur that’s growing beyond the ends of their toes and pads.

While we’re talking about grooming the feet, let’s cover nail trimming, too. Keeping nails short will ensure a proper gait and healthy posture with a dog nail clippers.

If you have a working Border Collie, you may want to keep his paw pads from drying and cracking. A paw balm will ensure they stay pliable and soft.

As always, owners who aren’t comfortable about grooming their Border Collie, even if it’s just one part, they can take their pets to a groomer. They’re more up to the task, and they have a lot of experience in using tools to groom your dog faster, such as scissors and electric trimmers.

Watch this quick overview of how a Border Collie is groomed:


Bathing: How do you wash a Border Collie?

When washing your pet because he’s gotten quite dirty, you should give him two baths – one to clean off the grime and dirt, then the second wash to target his needs.

Make sure that you have thoroughly wet your Border Collie’s fur since it’s thick.

This breed doesn’t require a particular type of shampoo, but if your pet has skin irritations or allergies, pick out a hypoallergenic or medicated one. Be careful not to get any shampoo in your dog’s ears, eyes, or mouth.

A groomer giving a Border Collie a bath

End your Border’s relaxing bath with a conditioner that will keep his hair hydrated. Doing so will protect his coat against harsh weather conditions.

During the shedding season, you can use the FURminator DeShedding Shampoo and their FURminator DeShedding Conditioner. Not only will it control the amount of shedding, but it will also help release the undercoat so that the seasonal coat comes in properly.

Use lukewarm water when rinsing out all the shampoo and conditioner from your Border Collie’s hair. Although conditioners are very beneficial for pets with hair breakage or dry skin, not being able to rinse him properly may cause dryness and irritation.

Dry your Border dog with a clean towel until damp. It will be easier to use a blower or dryer but opt for one that lets you adjust the temperature so that it doesn’t get too hot for your pet.

While drying up, keep brushing until your Border’s coat is all dry and looking fresh.

How to groom a Border Collie for dog shows?

A Border Collie on a grooming table after getting an award on a dog show

Owners who have their Border Collie join conformation events use different products that make their canines stand out.

Aside from the same grooming steps needed before going to the competition, here are some of the things you can try to help give your dog a tip-top shape inside the ring:

  • High Sheen Finishing Spray – before he struts in front of everyone, give your dog’s hair a spritz to add that shine without that oily residue.
  • Freeze! Styling Gel – use this while fluffing your Border’s fur to add volume, but don’t worry, it doesn’t give that sticky feel.
  • Quick Finishing Styling Spray
  • this is a spray that’s fast-drying and prevents tangles, especially when used regularly.
  • Aloe Hydrating Spray – use this in-between shows, and your Border Collie will keep looking his best with a hydrated coat.

Grooming Border Collies: Warnings and Tips

There’s a lot of other things that you would want to keep in mind to make this process more comfortable or to avoid making a grooming no-no.

Give your dog a lot of praise and even a few treats during your grooming sessions.If you’re aware that your pet has aggressive tendencies, it’s best to have a professional groom him.
Just like at the groomers, give your dog a bath or a trim in enclosed areas so that he stays calm.Canines with two-layered coats are predisposed to getting hot spots because of their dense and thick coats. Apply a hot spot foam to dry the area. Make sure you keep your pet from licking wounds.
Whether it’s a minor or major grooming concern that you need help with, don’t hesitate to ask help from a professional groomer. Regular visits should be done every three months to maintain that thick double-coat easily.This hyperactive breed may get cuts or other accidental injuries, so it’s best to have a healing cream on hand.

The most important rule of all is NEVER SHAVE a Border Collie. We understand that these steps and tools may get overwhelming, so you may look for ways of not having to deal with all of them.

Although there are canines that can get a summer cut and other pet owners think their dog feels much more comfortable and refreshed, this breed is different.

Border Collies are under the working or herding class, and as we mentioned, their coat has a purpose. All that hair protects them from getting cold during the winter or rainy season, and from being hot and getting skin damage if the weather is too warm.

It’s not a good idea to shear or significantly cut your Border’s hair as both layers will not grow naturally anymore. Watch this video of a professional groomer explaining why you shouldn’t shave double-coated dogs, especially Border Collies.


How much does it cost to groom a Border Collie?

The average price of having a Border Collie groomed professionally costs around $40 to $75.

Grooming costs may vary depending on factors such as the size of your Border Collie (puppy or adult), the services you want to be done on your dog, as well as the location of the shop.

The price range we mentioned is what local shops generally charge, but there are also mobile groomers which cost about $75. For self-service facilities, expect to pay between $11 to $23.

You can also check with a dog groomer near you.

The Verdict: Is it difficult to groom Border Collies?

There’s a reason why Borders aren’t recommended for new pet owners. It’s not only because of their energy requirements and personality, but also their grooming needs.

A black and white Border Collie standing up on a grooming table

Border Collies have specific care instructions, and they would be more suitable for paw parents who have experience with such an active breed and double-coated canines.

If you’re interested in Borders, but you want the easy way out by shaving all that beautiful hair, then pick another type of dog.

As with any other purebreds, the Border Collie has a breed standard that supports their well-being.

But the point is, whether it’s a short and smooth-coated Border or a long and rough-coated one, regular grooming is the only solution. It will keep you and your dog sane while keeping mats and shedding under control.

Do you have a favorite grooming tool? Any technique or grooming hack that you can share fellow Border Collie parents? Don’t hesitate to share it all in the comment box!

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