How to Groom a Border Collie (Step-By-Step)

Looking for ways to groom a Border Collie and keep shedding to a minimum?

Great! As today In this guide you’ll learn:

  • What tools you will need to begin grooming from home
  • How to groom your Border Collie step by step
  • How professional groomers prepare Border Collies (so you can too!)
  • Cleaning Anal Sacks
border collie being groomed by a professional groomer

Active dogs like border collies often pick up debris and dirt in their day-to-day activities, which is why a regular groom every four to eight weeks is recommended to keep your dog happy and healthy.

In most cases, people prefer professional groomers, although you can still give your dog essential grooming at home. It’s cost-saving, efficient, and helps you to develop new skills that may come in useful later on.

What's In This Guide?

      What Tools Do you need to groom a border collie?

      You may not be able to get hold of all the tools listed right away, but over time you can work towards having a set of tools that looks like the following:

      • Detangling Spray
      • Undercoat Rake
      • Slicker Brush
      • Pin & Bristle Brush (combo)
      • Curry brush
      • Dog Toothbrush
      • Bath Towel
      • Dog nail clippers

      step-By-Step Guide To grooming your Border collie

      Border Collies are usually tireless and require plenty of mental stimulation and exercise in order to remain healthy and happy. This makes grooming your border collie important regardless of whether they have a smooth or a rough coat.

      Here are a few great ways to groom your Border Collie that have also been considered safe by experts too!

      Video created by Orange Grove Veterinary Hospital

      1. daily brushing Your Border Collies Coat

      Daily brushing will help to remove debris and hair from your dog’s topcoat. Hard brushing is most pet owners’ go-to method whenever grooming regular or working dogs.

      To begin, start brushing from the head down to the toes.

      Concentrate mostly on the lower part of your dog’s belly since it’s the most sensitive area. Your dog’s tail should also not be forgotten.

      If your dog is short-haired, use simple tools such as gloves and curry brushes. Medium to long-coated dogs can be combed and brushed using specialized tools that include a slicker brush, steel comb, an undercoat rake, or a pin brush. If you get a tangle when brushing your dog, use a brush and try to work the tangle out.

      Keep in mind that brushing for too long could sometimes lead to your brush burning your dog. To avoid this, ensure to keep a close eye on your dogs skin when brushing to seek for any indications of redness.

      Read Also : >> How much shedding is normal for Border Collies?

      2. Brushing Your Border Collie’s Teeth

      Fluoride in products such as human toothpaste can be harmful to dogs which is why you should never use anything other than enzymatic dog toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.

      A daily brush is recommended to ensure the maximum level of protection to your dog’s mouth and gums. That said, if you notice symptoms such as:

      • Bleeding gums
      • Choking after brushing
      • Whimpering

      Then its best to reduce the amount of brushing to every few days.

      How to brush your border collies teeth (Step-By-step)

      Start by placing a small amount of dog toothpaste onto your fingers and spread it across your dog’s teeth for a few seconds. If your dog co-operates for between 20-30 seconds, you should consider rewarding with a treat.

      You may find that your dog prefers finger toothbrushes to begin with before finally graduating to using a dog’s toothbrush.

      1. Test to see if your dog likes the taste of the toothpaste by placing a little on your finger
      2. Rub the side of the mouth gently to warm your dog to having their mouth handled
      3. Gently lift up the mouth and begin brushing the top row of teeth moving from the side to the front and then to the other side for 1 to 2 minutes
      4. Gently lift the bottom of the mouth and repeat on the bottom row of teeth for 1 to 2 minutes
      5. Repeat this process daily

      NOTE: You do not need to target the inside of the teeth as simply brushing the outside should be enough

      Also, consider using dental bones or treats as a way for regular teeth cleaning to replace having to brush daily. Of course, regular checkups from a professional vet will include a quick examination of your dog’s teeth.

      3. bathing will improve Hygiene and keep out parasites

      Before bathing your dog, always ensure everything you need is easily accessible in order to reduce the need of moving around when handling your wet dog in the tub.

      Prepare the Items that you are going to need:

      Pro Tip: To avoid water from splashing over the tub, you can place a towel on the edge of the tub.

      How to Bathe Your Border Collie (Step-By-Step)

      1. Start running your shower with lukewarm water temperature
      2. Secure your dog in the bathtub (if you have a playful pup)
      3. Begin soaking your dog from the toe, up to the back and then wet rest of the fur from top to bottom
      4. Lather up with shampoo from the back of the neck, down the sides to the feet
      5. Give your dog a good rub with the curry brush all over to get their fur soapy
      6. Rinse fur with fresh water from the top down to allow gravity to help you out
      7. Repeat steps 4 – 6 again! for a second wash
      8. Wet your dogs head, lather up, and then rinse well (being careful to not get shampoo in the eyes)
      9. Check for soap residue and re-rinse if need
      10. Towel dry until the towels can no longer take any more water form your dog (you will usually need 2 towels for a border collie)

      Below is an expanded view of the important steps above to help you understand exactly why bathing is done this way.

      Why do we use luke warm water?

      Extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause burns or stress to your dog making bath time a horrible experience for both you and them. On the other hand, having the right temperature but then suddenly showering your dog can bring the same negative effects.

      To avoid this, I recommend you gradually warm your pup to the water by slowly familiarising them with the temperature first.

      Do you apply all Shampoos the same way?

      No, whilst you will usually apply most shampoos by following the steps above, it is still recommended that you read then follow the specific instructions for the product you are using.

      There are different types of shampoos, with some being designed for the treatment of ticks and fleas and a regular bath.

      Read Also: >> What are the best shampoos for fleas and ticks?

      Do you have to use a shower to wash?

      No, as you can also use a hose if outdoors which will work in the same way as your shower if not better. And you won’t have to worry about the splashing that way too.

      Does your dog have to be secured in the tub?

      In some circumstances, dogs are known to make a run during bathing. If this is the case with your dog, you can visit a pet store and purchase a dog bath lead to help keep your dog in place at all times.

      Should you have wash your dogs head Separately?

      Shampoo Your Dog always and start from the neck, going down to the legs of your pet. Use your fingers to spread the shampoo all over the dog’s body. The head should be saved for the last, and it is okay to use a washcloth or wet towel to clean it.

      Once the shampoo has been applied, run a rubber curry or a rake through the dog’s coat to spread the shampoo.

      how do you know when to stop rinsing?

      A good indication of when to stop washing is after all bubbles have been washed out and are no longer visible. Use your fingers to feel for soapiness as an additional check for bubbles that may need washing out.

      did you know A close-up view of a dog's claws reveals that they are shaped sort of like soccer cleats. One of the purposes of these "cleats" is to give your dog traction as he is running on grass. Some dogs, like terriers and dachshunds, who were originally bred to find small animals in tunnels, love to dig. They wouldn't be nearly as good at digging if it ween't for their claws.

      4. Nail clipping

      Unmaintained nails in some cases can result in joint pain and damaged dew claws. According to the ASPCA, a dog needs a nail trim once you can either hear their nails scrapping or nagging on the ground.

      Tools you are going to need for trimming a Border collies nails

      In some cases, you may want to familiarise your pup with the tools you will be using to ensure they are comfortable with them in the future.

      By simply allowing your dog to smell and touch clippers, scissors or any other tool you will be using is good enough to encourage a positive attitude.

      How to cut your Border Collies nails (Step-By-Step)

      1. Pick up a pad of a toe firmly using your thumb
      2. Use your index finger to grab the reverse side of the toe
      3. Slightly push your thumb to spread each nail one by one
      4. Clip the tip of the nail only (including dewclaws)

      What to do if your dogs nails begin to bleed?

      If an accident occurs and you cut the blood vessel located near your dog’s nails, you can apply flour, cornstarch, or styptic powder. Apply pressure when spreading to stop the bleeding. If your dog has dark nails, you should take extra precautions and consider doing it slowly to avoid hurting your pet.

      Read Also: >> What are the best dog boots for dew claws?

      5. Trimming your border collies coat

      As Border Collies are double coated, shaving or cutting too short can have more bad effects than good when trying to encourage a healthy growth of fur.

      For this reason, trimming is used which instead focuses on tidying up your dogs fur rather than completely removing hair.

      Tools that you will need for trimming your Border collie

      • Chunker Scissors
      • Dog comb for double coats

      Note: There is a great kit that comes with the above plus more that you can check out on Amazon here.

      How to trim your Border Collie (step-By-step)

      This video will show you how to groom your Border collie step by step.

      How to groom a border collie for a show?

      Border collies that participate in dog shows need more than just basic grooming. Aside from the home grooming techniques discussed above, you also need to;

      1. Do undercoat and topcoat grooming 
      2. Clean paws
      3. Give your collie a haircut

      Some tools needed for grooming border collie for a show include;

      • Detangling spray- to help detangle fur and make it soft for brushing
      • Styling gels
      • Hydrating gels- to keep your collie’s coat hydrated
      • Quick finishing styling spray to prevent tangles

      Groom her or him to your best specifications for the show.

      How often should you groom a border collie? 

      How often you groom your border collie entirely depends on what role they play in your home. For example, you would not need to groom afamily home dog as much as you would a working dog that herds sheep.

      The only exception to this rule is seasonal shedding, as during these months of the year all Border collies will shed a lot more than what you may regularly be used to. During this time it is required that you brush your Collies coat at least once per day.

      You will need to brush and rake your collie’s coat daily during this time-twice annual “coat blows.” Your pup’s health can be guaranteed as well as its shed-hair being under control.

      Are You supposed to clean Your dog’s anal sacs, and if so, how?

      Yes, with a little practice you can easily do this from home. It can, however, be dangerous, and in most cases is left to a professional medical practitioner. This is advisable to prevent possible injuries and accidents.

      Its recommended that you visit a professional for this process to be undertaken for the first time. However, if you are feeling confident to do it yourself, then here are a few steps you can take:

      Gather your supplies

      Ensure that everything you need is in place for you to begin the procedure. You will need lubricant, disposable gloves, paper towels, a basin with soapy water, and maybe someone to help you.

      Place Your Dog on the Right Position

      Place your position in the proper position by holding just below its belly. Ensure the dog is comfortable so that it cannot move around.

      Insert Your Index Finger

      Before inserting your index finger, you should first lubricate it and then lift the tail of your dog. Slowly and gently insert it until you get past the muscle inside the anus of your dog.

      Locate the Sac

      Using your thumb, rub the outer rim of your dog’s anus. The glands are usually located between 4 and 8 o’clock. Rub slowly until you feel a small, pea-sized lump.

      Squeeze the Glands

      When you are sure you have located your dog’s anal sac, place a paper towel over the anus of your dog. Milk the anal glands using your finger and thumb, making the dog release a fluid.

      Don’t squeeze them too fast or too hard, and if you don’t make them release or you are uncomfortable with the process, then you should stop it and seek help from your veterinarian.

      Finally, Clean the Area

      Using the soapy water you had on the bowl, rinse the affected area gently.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Can I use human toothpaste on my dog’s teeth?

      It is highly inadvisable to use human toothpaste on your dog. Most kinds of toothpaste for humans contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener. The sweetener is toxic to dogs and can lead to potential liver damage and cause blood sugar drops in dogs.

      Still, there’s a need to maintain your dog’s oral health, so you can use some of the most preferred dog kinds of toothpaste that include enzymatic types of toothpaste. They contain special enzymes that help reduce bad breath, reduce bacteria and lessen tartar buildup.

      Can your Border Collie dry off naturally without towels?

      Yes, but this will leave their coat smelly and damp just like human hair when left without drying. Blow dryers with adjustable temperature are also a great option. Suitable temperatures range from 80 degrees – 140 degrees. However if your dog is made uncomfortable by the sensation or sound of the blow dryers, then avoid using further.

      How do I keep my border collie still when grooming?

      Borders are not known to be calm, and they’ll move up and down even when grooming them. However, this can lead to cuts when trimming their hair or clipping their nails, and you need them to be still at this time. You can consider using a dog leash.

      You can also hold your dog’s belly using your free hand, and this will encourage them to stay still. When grooming dogs, always have their favorite treats with you as it can also entice them to remain still.

      Do border collies feel better after grooming?

      How do you feel after taking a shower after a long day at work? Great, right? Then I bet dogs feel the same.

      Regular grooming makes them clean, healthy, and comfortable. 

      Do Border Collies shed a lot?

      YES!  They have a double coat, with a smooth, long, and feathered outer coat and a rougher, shorter undercoat. These beautiful dogs are known to shed moderate amounts throughout the year. If you brush them two or four times a week, plenty of dead hair will be removed keeping their shedding under control.

      Their shedding, however, goes overdrive during fall and spring as Border collies will be preparing for the upcoming season. During this time, your Border collies will shed a lot, and hence you need to be on high alert and brush them daily to keep up.


      Grooming not only keeps your border collie looking tidy and neat, but it also helps keep them healthy and safe from diseases. When grooming your collie, you may note some cuts, bruises, or even signs of infections that need immediate medical attention. 

      Don’t hesitate to seek assistance from a qualified veterinarian as some discomfort may make your dog lose appetite or even have serious complications.

      Brush it, trim it, bathe it, nail clip it, and always seek assistance from a professional if you are not comfortable with the whole process.

      Picture of Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers

      Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Dig Doggy. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! Rachael also loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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