Border collies come with a variety of coat lengths, ranging from short to medium-length to very long. However, all border collies have a thick undercoat, and the fur can easily become matted if left ungroomed. Because grooming your dog can be tricky, you should take the dog to a professional groomer for major haircuts, to remove excessive matting, or about once every three months. However, trimming your border collie's hair can lengthen the time between grooming sessions and prevent matting.
Brush your dog's coat completely from head to tail before attempting to groom them. A slicker brush works well for the winter months, when your border collie is not heavily shedding. For the summer months, try brushing with a shedding blade first, which will remove loose and excess hair. Then brush with the slicker brush.
Remove mats using the mat splitter. If the mats are very thick, you can use an electric hair trimmer to remove them instead. This method also works well for dogs that are skittish and will not sit still to have mats removed. Simply run the trimmer across the top and sides of the mat until it is gone. If you still can't get the mats out, you'll need to cut the hair using blunt-nosed scissors. Cut immediately above the mat, making sure to separate your dog's hair from skin. Mats are often located in sensitive areas or close to skin, so investigate the area closely before cutting.
Trim excess hair around your dog's feet. Border collies are notoriously sensitive about having their feet touched. While scissors will give a neater, cleaner look, you may need to use the electric trimmer, which will work more quickly. Ensure that the hair is not growing over the ends of the toes, and remove any excess hair growing between the pads of your dog's feet.
Trim the hair around your dog's ears. A thorough ear cleaning and trimming should only be done by a professional groomer. However, you can gently remove stray hairs with your scissors. Check for mats behind the ears and, if you see any, remove them with the electric trimmer.
Trim the hair on your dog's tail. This hair tends to grow fastest and gets dirty easily, making it a prime location for matting. Excessive trimming will result in a bizarre, uneven look, so focus instead on removing hairs that are longer than the rest of your dog's fur and checking for mats. It's generally easiest to do this on the tail with the electric trimmers.
Tips & Warnings
- Give your dog lots of treats and praise when trimming the hair.
- Trimming in an enclosed area, such as a bathroom, can help calm your dog.
- If your dog has any aggressive tendencies, do not attempt to give them a haircut yourself.
- Slicker brush
- Shedding blade
- Mat splitter
- Blunt-nosed scissors
- Electric hair trimmer
More on Dog Skin and Coat Care
Cat and Dog Grooming Supplies
Skin and Coat Care: A Pet Parent's Guide
Natural and Homemade Shampoo for Dogs
Large Dog Grooming Tips
Top Products for Dogs that Shed a Lot
References & Resources
Border Collies; Michael DeVine
An Owner's Guide to Border Collies; Robyn L. Powley