Thinking of adopting your own Border collie? They are brilliant, kind, and loving pets that need a little extra love when it comes to their coat.
If you already own a Collie then you know what I mean, they’re double-coated breeds with a lot of hair, which means a ton of shedding.
If bits of fur are coating your home then you’re not alone, Collie shedding is no joke. But I’m here to place some sanity back into your home with a few tips and tools for shed control.
Border Collie Shedding Questions
Do Border Collies Shed? How much?
They absolutely do! On a scale of 1 to 10, a typical Border Collie measures up to a 7 out of 10 on the shedding scale (above average).
Border collies will leave traveling fur-balls around your home that have a mind of their own, they make their merry way under the coffee table, under the couch, and into every corner of the bedrooms. Vacuuming becomes a way of life, and you’ll have as many lint-rollers as toilet paper rolls.
But it’s not over yet, your Collie will go through a “shedding season”, and twice a year they will blow out their coat out, shedding a seemingly endless amount of fur.
Thankfully, you can reduce shedding with brushing, bathing, and a healthy diet, which we cover in more detail down below.
Why Do Dogs Shed?
Shedding is just a natural process where many animals, including you, lose their old and damaged hair. Dogs just have a lot more hair to lose than you, so it’s far more noticeable. Furthermore, they need to develop thick coats for cold season, and drop some of that coat for the warmer months.
Are Border Collies Hypoallergenic?
It’s common to think that pet allergies are caused by hair, but they’re actually caused by dander or skin particles that flake off a dog’s skin. That being said, no amount of brushing or grooming will save you from allergies.
Regular bathing and a healthy coat do result in less pet dander being produced, so if you have minor allergies this may make things manageable.
Can I Just Shave My Border Collie?
No. Shaving your Border Collie can be detrimental to their health and overall comfort.
Some owners mistakenly believe that shaving their dog during hot weather will help them be more comfortable. However, double-coated dogs require their coat to regulate body temperature, protect them from weather, and to act as a natural barrier against harmful UV rays.
Also, some allergy sufferes believe shaving your dog will reduce allergic reactions. Also not true. Allergies are triggered from pet dander, which are particles of skin that shed all year. In fact, shaving them will make it worse, as you expose their skin even further.
And as a final warning, once you shave a double-coated dog, their hair never grows back the same. So that beautiful, silky coat will be gone forever.
When They Shed The Most
Typically dogs will shed their coat in spring to prepare for the warmer months, and grow a thick warm coat in fall to prepare for winter. During this time is when you can expect the worst shedding to occur.
Collies will shed all year, but twice a year (spring and fall) they’ll blow their coats. Dogs will naturally produce a thicker coat as temperatures and daylight begin to shrink, and when things begin to warm up in the spring your Collie loses all that thick winter coat over the course of 8 weeks.
This means a dog that spends most of its time indoors will naturally shed less during spring and fall, and more evenly over the course of the entire year.
Losing Their Puppy Coat
Puppies come equipped with a thick fluffy coat to keep them extra warm for the first 6 – 12 months of their journey through life. And after about a year they’ll begin to shed that coat and grow in their adult coat, during which you can expect a big increase in shedding.
Recently Neutered or Spayed
Dogs typically experience excessive shedding for several months after being fixed, but is far more noticeable with male dogs. Testosterone and other hormones are partly responsible for keeping hair follicles thick and shiny, and the sudden change causes a portion of the hair to “die”. Don’t worry though, their coat will generally recover to its original beautiful form over time.
Ever feel like you’re losing your hair over stress? Dog’s go through the same process when they’re stressed, even it’s not immediately apparent. Dog’s that are stressed more shed more, and it can be the result of changes in their environment, in their home, or because they’re experiencing physical pain or illness.
Border Collies are very receptive to their owners feelings, so they might feel stressed because their responding to your own feelings of stress. If you can maintain a relaxed home your Border will feel more at ease and may reduce stress and therefore reduce excessive shedding.
Your Collie may be responding to Allergies, which causes excessive scratching and shedding. Typically this is caused by food or environment, and can develop at any point in their life.
If you suspect allergies are the culprit, look for other signs and symptoms such as: sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, inflamed itchy ears, and inflammation in between the paw pads.
A Vet will be able to further assist in determine if your Collie has allergies, and what may be causing them.
A good healthy diet promotes strong hair roots and healthy skin, both of which will make a big difference in shedding. Many “big store” brand food products are full of by-products and additives which may lead to unhealthy skin, damaged hair roots, and obesity.
The best dog food comes down to understanding ingredients, reading the label, and doing a little research. Often times the best dog food can be found at smaller or individually owned pet stores. Ideally you want a dog food high quality protein and omega fatty acids.
On that note, collies are born to work and run, so plenty of exercise will reduce stress and promote healthy production of cells responsible for a healthy coat.
Fleas, Ticks, and Parasites
Fleas and Ticks cause your dog to be very itchy and uncomfortable, which leads to excessive scratching and hair loss.
Fleas and Ticks can be treated with flea shampoos or insecticides from your vet or pet store. Pet bedding and anything they lay down on must be go through the laundry. And you may need to do a very thorough cleaning of your home.
Do NOT take a dog with fleas to a dog groomer, as it may spread to other dogs.
Get Control of Shedding
Brushing To Reduce Shedding
You can’t stop a Border collie from shedding. But you can take control of it with a simple routine.
1. Slicker or Pin Brush
Brush your collie out three times a week with a pin brush or slicker brush. Personally I recommend a good slicker brush as it’s more effective in removing loose hair and surface level mats.
And while brushing addresses the surface coat, but you have a little more work to do.
2. Undercoat Rake
Next you’ll need an undercoat rake, which is metal comb with soft pins that get in deeper and remove all the soft loose hair underneath. This is where the majority of shedding comes from.
Run the undercoat rake slowly through their coat, going with the hair growth (not against it). Do not apply too much pressure as you may irritate your Collie’s skin. Do this twice a week during shedding season (spring and fall), and once a week during the regular season. You’ll be amazing how much extra loose hair you’ll remove.
A Word of Warning…
Avoid using FURminators or similar “deshedding” tools. While these work wonders for some breeds, it will actually ruin the coat of your golden as it cuts their coat rather then remove loose hair. Just use a pin brush, or slicker brush, along with an undercoat rake.
Blow Their Coat Out For Them
Many professional groomers have a "high-velocity dryer" which blows all the loose hair off your dog in a short amount of time. Think of a leaf-blower with a hose, designed specifically to dry and remove dog hair. It's extremely effective, and reduces shedding for 2 or 3 weeks afterwards. Ask your local groomer if this is an option for you.
Another option (although more expensive) is to buy your own high velocity dryer. If you have multiple dogs this may be a life saver.
Found a great video on YouTube that shows just how great this works. Hop to 1:20 of the video to see it in action.
Please ensure you have proper training before using grooming equipment.
I said it before, but it’s worth repeating. A good healthy diet, rich in omega fatty acids and high quality proteins, will promote healthy, strong hair follicles and natural oils. This means less shedding and a healthy dog.
Just like your own hair, your Collies fur gets dirty, tangled, and stinky over time. Brushing and bathing are just as important for them as it is for you – although they only need a bath once every 6 – 10 weeks. Here’s a few pointers:
- Always do a quick brush before bathing to remove loose hair, or you’ll have a very sloppy bath full of clumps of hair.
- Use a hair trap, or the drain may clog.
- Always use a coconut or oatmeal based dog shampoo, as it promotes healthy
- Avoid over-bathing. Warm water and shampoo strip away some of the natural oils in their undercoat, by bathing too much it may lead to dry and irritated skin. Bathe once every 6 – 10 weeks, but waiting a little longer is fine.
Share Your Shedding Story
Tell us your shedding tale - what kind of brushes or supplements do you use to reduce shedding? Let me know in the comments below.