Are Border Collies Double Coated? Your Dogs Natural Insulation Mechanism
Are Border Collies double coated dogs? What is a double coat anyways? Why is it so important and why is it also important to correctly maintain a dog’s coat and take good care of it?
In this article, we’ll be going over all of these questions, so that you can be more informed, and have a more clear idea of what your pup expects from you when it comes to its furry coat.
What Is A Double Coat
First things first: What is a double coat in dogs?
A “double coat” in dogs, makes reference to the fact that it has two different layers of fur on its coat. These are:
- The outer layer or “topcoat” (also often referred to as “guard hairs”) is the longer, more rigid and more clearly visible part of the fur.
- The inner layer or “undercoat”, is the shorter, more compact and fluffier inside section of the fur.
Some of the more common dog breeds that are double coated, include Siberian Huskies, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Australian Shepherds and spoiler alert…Border Collies.
Non-shedding dogs, like the Maltese, the Poodle and the Shih Tzu, are not double coated dogs and only have one main layer of fur.
Are Border Collies Double Coated? Smooth & Rough
So do Border Collies have a double coat? The answer is yes! Border Collies are double coated dogs.
They can be grouped into Smooth Coated and Rough Coated.
The main difference between them is that a rough coated Collie has a more dense outer coat, whereas the smooth coat variety doesn’t. Both the smooth coated and rough coated Collies shed alike, though. The smooth coat is a dominant trait over the rough one, so there are a lot more smooth-coated Border Collies.
The smooth coat variety, is a lot easier to care for. They dry quicker, don’t carry as much mud or snow and won’t mat as much.
A healthy, well-groomed coat is an essential part of a Border Collie’s appearance. Healthy amounts of oils and fats maintain the coat’s natural glaze and prevent excessive shedding. To learn more about smooth coated and rough coated Collies, you can check out this resource, here.
Benefits Of A Double Coat. The Why
There are several benefits to having a double coat for a dog. Let’s look at a few of them.
- A double coat is a natural barrier against the weather and external objects.
- It provides protection against ultraviolet light, chemical damage, trauma, insects and more.
- It also functions as part of your pet’s immune system. A sort of “extension”, if you will.
- It provides a protective barrier against both heat and cold, by keeping your dog warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather.
The image below describes how the double coated fur works to protect your dog and why it’s so important to have a healthy one.
As you can see from the image, in warmer weather the undercoat becomes less dense to help the body heat dissipate and to avoid overheating.
In winter though, the undercoat starts becoming more dense, which helps keep the body warm.
By then, the overcoat which is more rigid and greasy (if well taken care of) becomes somewhat water resistant, to further help your dog maintain its heat and not get too humid.
It’s also important to note, the undercoat hair sheds out and re grows several times per year, whereas the guard hairs re grow every few years. Most of the actual “shedding” occurs then, because of the change in density of the undercoat as a preparation for winter.
Maintaining A Healthy Coat – They Need To Be Groomed
Although a lot of breeds of dogs need to be groomed maybe only a few times per year, Border Collies need a bit…more than that. They’re somewhat of a high maintenance breed after all, so it’s no surprise their coat also needs a bit more love and caring.
Border Collies are on the more moderate side of shedding dogs, and require weekly or bi weekly brushing, but could use some extra care during seasonal shedding.
“Collies shed twice a year, during the spring and fall seasons to keep the dog cooler in the summer, and once in the winter months to let the dog’s coat grow in. Their shedding season only lasts a few weeks, though and can be managed with proper grooming”.
Regular brushing of the coat (as well as regular nail trimming) is essential to Border Collies’ healthy and shiny coats. For wintertime, use a slicker brush, while for summer, dematting combs are used. As for bathing, you only really want to bathe your Collie when necessary.
Always remember to use a detangling spray before brushing and combing your dog’s coat, as human products can irritate the skin.
If needed, you can also give your dog a little trim to remove matting from behind the ears, or behind the legs, or just to remove some overall volume and length to your dog’s coat.
When To Groom My Border Collie
As mentioned earlier, during the summer double coated dogs shed their undercoat and so proper grooming is essential for a dog like the Border Collie. Grooming will remove the fluffy undercoat that’s shedding, allowing air to circulate around your dog’s body a lot better.
On the other hand, daily brushing can be harmful to your dog’s skin so don’t overdo it either! In general, you should be looking at cleaning and brushing a Border Collies coat, once every week or two weeks.
A telltale sign that your Collie needs grooming of course, is when you start seeing some fur loss, but some other signs that indicate that your pup is due for a good grooming session with you or a professional groomer, include:
- Overly lumpy fur.
- Excessive matting and/or tangling.
- Fur that’s not repelling moisture well.
- Fur that’s not drying quickly enough.
- Fur that’s starting to attract insects.
- Fur that’s trapping too much dirt.
NOTE: Matting and tangling of the fur can be an issue though, and in some cases when it’s too severe to untangle, brush or to treat, the best remaining option outside of shaving is to short clip your dog’s fur.
Should I Shave My Border Collie?
Shaving your pup completely should be considered a ‘”last resort” option.
This is because, as bad as the situation might be, it might not be necessary and your dog is still better protected with it coat than without it.
Before shaving your pup, you should consider some of the potential long-term implications of it:
- Compared to the undercoat, the top coat hairs take a lot longer to grow as they shed less frequently. This means that your dog might not be able to maintain heat in winter as well, which is something to consider.
- Less overcoat plus an undercoat that isn’t groomed correctly is more susceptible to matting as it grows out.
- The chances of a flea and insect infestation increase, as a result of a re growing overcoat plus an undercoat that has become compressed and bent.
- A shaved coat provides no protection against UV sunlight in the summer, so sunburns and heat strokes are common.
These are just a few examples of the side effects that you are to consider, before shaving your Border Collie completely. It is thus, not recommended to completely shave your dog, unless it’s medically needed, so make sure to consult with your veterinarian, in whichever case!