How to Groom a Border Collie: A Step-by-Step Guide

As active dogs (almost hyperactive dogs, to be honest) Border Collies require regular grooming to keep their fur healthy and free of tangles.

These dogs have moderately heavy amounts of fur, which means that regular brushing is essential, especially during shedding season.

But grooming, is not all about the fur…

In addition to brushing, bathing, taking care of the eyes, teeth, sensitive spots and nail trimming are also important aspects of grooming a Border Collie.

With the right approach, you can keep your dog looking and feeling their best.

In this article on how to groom a Border Collie, we’ll look into covering you need to know, from coat care to nail trimming, ensuring your pup remains vibrant and comfortable.

Let’s dive right in!

How to Groom a Border Collie

Understanding the Border Collie’s Coat

At the heart of proper grooming, lies an understanding of the Border Collie’s distinctive double coat and the shedding patterns that this dog goes through.

Let’s look at these more closely.

The Double Coat

Border Collies have a double coat, consisting of a soft and dense undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat.

  • The undercoat provides insulation, and is the one that increases or decreases in density as the seasons pass.
  • The outer coat protects the dog from the elements, UV light, rain, etc. and is thicker.

Because of the properties of the coat, brushing is essential. Brushing also helps to distribute natural oils throughout the coat, keeping it healthy and shiny.

Brushing is recommended to be done, at least twice a week, or more frequently during shedding season.

Seasonal Shedding

Border Collies shed moderately throughout the year, but they have two shedding seasons in the spring and fall.

During these times, they shed excessively, and their coat requires more frequent grooming, which is why regular brushing during this time is helpful in removing loose fur and preventing matting.

It’s also recommended to bathe your Border Collie during shedding season to remove loose fur and dirt.

Essential Grooming Tools You’ll Need

When it comes to grooming your Border Collie, having the right tools can make all the difference.

Here are the essential grooming tools you’ll need to keep your Border Collie looking and feeling their best.

Brush Types

When it comes to brushes, the best brush for a Border Collie is a high-quality slicker brush and an undercoat rake.

These tools have fine, short wires that can reach deep into the undercoat without damaging the topcoat.

A pin brush is also useful for removing tangles and mats in longer hair, and shedding blades and deshedding tools can also be invaluable in managing shedding, especially during peak shedding seasons.

Nail Clippers

Keeping your Border Collie’s nails trimmed is important for their comfort and health.

Long nails can cause discomfort, start growing inwards, affect their gait, and even lead to joint problems over time, which is why they should be clipped more often than not.

Dog nail clippers come in two types: guillotine and scissor.

Guillotine clippers work by slicing the nail from one side, while scissor clippers work like a pair of scissors.

Choose the type that you feel most comfortable using, but generally speaking, guillotine clippers are going to be the best.

Bathing Essentials

Border Collies don’t need frequent baths, but when they do, it’s important to use the right products.

Use a shampoo made specifically for dogs, as human shampoos can be too harsh and strip the coat of natural oils.

You’ll also need a towel or blow dryer to dry your dog after the bath.

And if you’re using a blow dryer, make sure to use a low heat setting and keep the dryer at least 6 inches away from your dog’s skin to prevent burns.

How To Groom A Border Collie: The Process

Grooming is an essential part of taking care of your Border Collie, and is a complete process in of itself.

Let’s look at some of the main steps to follow when grooming your Border Collie.

Brushing and Detangling

Brushing and detangling are important steps in keeping your Border Collie’s coat healthy and free of tangles.

Use a pin brush to remove any tangles or mats in your dog’s coat.

If your dog’s coat is heavily matted, you may need to use a detangling spray or conditioner to ease the process, and gently work through the mat with your fingers or a comb.

For stubborn tangles, consider trimming them carefully to avoid causing discomfort.

Bathing and Drying

When it comes to bathing your Border Collie, the best option will be to do so every eight weeks or so.

Remember to use a dog-formulated shampoo and conditioner to prevent skin irritation and make sure to rinse your dog thoroughly to remove any shampoo residue once you’re done.

After bathing, dry your dog with a towel or a blow dryer on a low setting.

Trimming the Nails

Trimming your Border Collie’s nails is important to prevent them from growing too long and causing discomfort or pain.

In this case, you’ll want to use a clipper designed for dogs, and trim the nails to just above the quick.

If you are unsure how to trim your dog’s nails, you can find some online tutorials and videos, or consult with a veterinarian or a professional groomer.

How to Groom a Border Collie 2

Trimming the Coat

If you think that your dog’s coat is a bit too dense to use a deshedder on, or if the outercoat has grown a bit too much, you might consider trimming their coat a bit, for practical reasons.

Trimming can help manage the length, making grooming and upkeep more manageable.

However, keep in mind that trimming too much or shaving your Border Collie, can affect their natural look and the insulating properties of their coat.

Cleaning the Ears

Cleaning your Border Collie’s ears is important to prevent infections and other ear problems.

Use a dog-formulated ear cleaner or a cotton ball to gently clean the inside of your dog’s ears. Avoid using cotton swabs or other objects that may damage your dog’s ears.

Remember that ears are extremely sensitive in dogs, so you should always be careful when cleaning them. 

Teeth Brushing

Brushing your Border Collie’s teeth is important to promote good oral health and prevent dental problems.

Use a dog-formulated toothpaste and a toothbrush to brush your dog’s teeth.

If your dog resists teeth brushing, start by using your finger to rub the toothpaste on your dog’s teeth and gums.

Eye Cleaning

When it comes to cleaning the eyes, a damp cloth can be used to wipe away any discharge. 

Gently wipe around the eye area, starting from the inner corner and moving outward.

Be sure to use a separate part of the cloth for each eye to avoid transferring any potential dirt or discharge and take care not to touch the eye directly or use any harsh chemicals.

Grooming Around Sensitive Areas

When it comes to grooming around sensitive areas, specially the rear end, between the legs, and also in the ears, patience is key.

These areas require special attention to maintain hygiene while keeping your Collie at ease.

Regularly inspect the tail for signs of dirt or matting, trim the fur around the paw pads to prevent slipping, and ensure cleanliness around the rear end.

Grooming Tips and Tricks

Keeping Your Border Collie Calm

Grooming can be a stressful experience for some Border Collies, especially those who are energetic and easily excited.

To keep your dog calm during grooming sessions, it’s important to create a relaxing environment.

You can do this by:

  • Playing soothing music.
  • Using calming scents.
  • Taking breaks during the process.
  • Giving your dog treats and praise throughout the process.

If your dog is particularly anxious, consider using a calming supplement or medication recommended by your veterinarian.

Maintaining a Regular Grooming Schedule

Maintaining a regular grooming schedule is essential to keeping your Border Collie looking and feeling their best.

When it comes to “how often” you want to groom your Border Collie, the general consensus is that:

  • For Brushing: When it comes to brushing in particular, dogs with thick undercoats (double-coated dogs like the Collie) would do well with daily brushing, or at the very least a few times per week.
  • For Nail Clipping: On average, you should aim to clip their nails every 4 to 6 weeks. Regular nail maintenance is crucial to prevent discomfort, paw issues, and potential posture problems.
  • For Coat Trimming: Border Collies have a double coat that naturally sheds. Depending on the desired coat length and personal preferences, a trim every 8 to 12 weeks could help maintain their appearance and manage shedding. However, it’s important to strike a balance, as trimming too frequently might affect their natural coat properties.
  • For Ear Cleaning: Cleaning your Border Collie’s ears should be done on a monthly basis. Regular cleaning helps prevent ear infections by removing excess wax and debris. Always be gentle and avoid inserting anything into the ear canal.
  • For Eye Cleaning: Border Collies may occasionally have tear stains or discharge around their eyes. Wipe their eyes gently with a damp cloth whenever needed, which could be as often as a few times a week.
  • For A Complete Grooming Session: A comprehensive grooming session that would do nail clipping, coat trimming, ear cleaning, eye cleaning and everything in between, could be done every 2 to 3 months. This timeframe strikes a balance between keeping your Border Collie comfortable, maintaining their appearance, and avoiding excessive stress from too frequent grooming.

Remember though, that these are general guidelines and can vary based on your individual dog’s needs.

Always pay attention to your Border Collie’s specific coat condition, activity level, and any signs of discomfort. 

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re struggling to groom your Border Collie yourself, don’t have the time to do it or don’t trust that you’ll be able to do it correctly, a good idea would be to seek out a professional groomer.

A professional groomer already have the necessary tools, the necessary space and probably way more experience than you.

Having a professional do the grooming for you saves you time, and the hassle of having to do so yourself, while at the same time they can offer you advice on the best grooming routine for your dog’s coat type and energy level.

When it comes to the cost of a grooming session, it can vary depending on several factors, including the location, the specific services included in the session, the condition of the dog’s coat, and the expertise of the groomer.

On average, a standard grooming session for a Border Collie, which typically includes services like bathing, brushing, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and sometimes coat trimming, can range from $50 to $100 or more.

If additional services such as specialized coat styling, de-shedding treatments, or flea and tick treatments are required, the cost may be a bit higher. 


Grooming your Border Collie is an essential aspect of keeping them healthy and comfortable.

It goes beyond only aesthetics.

It can help you prevent the buildup of dead hair, flea infestations, ticks, and other bacteria, which can cause health issues.

It’s an integral part of responsible pet care that contributes to their overall well-being and happiness and a way to ensure their comfort, health, and connection with you.

As such, understanding the “how” and “why” of Border Collie grooming brings tons of benefits, from maintaining a gleaming coat to nurturing a strong bond.

  • To ensure your Border Collie looks and feels their best, it’s recommended to brush their coat regularly, which will help prevent mats and tangles.
  • When grooming your Border Collie, it’s important to pay attention to their feet and ears. Keep their feet clean and trimmed to prevent injury and infection. Also, make sure to clean their ears regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and wax, which can lead to ear infections.
  • Eyes also need cleaning from time to time. Make sure to be gentle when dealing with delicate areas.
  • Lastly, don’t forget about your Border Collie’s dental health. Use enzymatic dog toothpaste to keep their teeth clean and healthy. 

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating these tips into your grooming routine, you can keep your Border Collie looking and feeling their best.

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