Either as a pet or a show dog, regular weekly grooming will maintain the glamorous coat and featherings. It is only during a molt/shed that extra, daily grooming or a bath is required.
The coat of the Collie fits the outline of the body and is very dense. The outercoat is straight and harsh to the touch. The undercoat is soft, furry and very close, almost hiding the skin. The mane and frill (neck hair) are very abundant, and the mask and face are smooth.
The ears are smooth at the tips, but carry more hair toward their base. The front legs are well feathered, and the hind legs are profusely feathered above the hocks (smooth below the hock joint). The hair on the tail is very profuse.
The Grooming Procedure
Equipment needed: A pure bristle brush, wide-toothed comb, scissors (thinning and blunt-nosed), water spray or spritzer, towels. A pin brush is required only during a molt.
Breed tip: Due to the nature of the double coat (the long outer hair and the thick undercoat), only a pure bristle brush should be used. The use of a pin brush on a regular basis will remove all the undercoat and spoil the elegant outline of the Collie.
A coat conditioner may be added to the water spray (for pet dogs), but regular bathing is not required, as this will soften the coat and cause tangles and matted hair to collect.
- Due to the texture of the coat (which should be harsh), never groom the dog without using a fine water spray, otherwise the hair could be broken.
- Remove your dog’s collar and stand your Collie. Lightly spray all over with a fine water spray containing only water (for show dogs to comply with regulations), but with a coat conditioner for all other dogs.
- Towel off the coat. This will remove most surface dust and dirt. The majority of Collies will only require the feet and legs to be bathed. This can be done by standing the dog’s front feet and then its back feet in a bowl of water and bathing them.
- Starting at the back, while the coat is still damp, brush against the lie of the coat, lifting it in layers. Continue through, covering the front mane and frills, not forgetting the tail. By the time you have finished, a Collie with the correct textured coat will be dry.
- Use a wide-toothed comb to tidy up the leg featherings and behind the ears.
- Gently comb the fine hair that grows around the ears and, if preparing for the show ring, use your thinning scissors to remove excess hair. The long, fine hair, which can grow around the back of the head, can also be removed by using finger and thumb and plucking the hair out.
- Using blunt-nosed scissors, trim around the line of the foot and remove the long hair which grows between the toes. Comb out the feathering on the hind legs. In pet Collies, this may be trimmed using scissors, cutting a line parallel to the bone. In show dogs, this is usually trimmed using thinning scissors, which gives a softer, more natural look.
- At this stage, check the length of the Collie’s nails, not forgetting the dewclaws, which can be found on the front legs, just above the foot. Trim the nails with specialized nail clippers.
- During the coat molt, daily grooming will be required for all Collies. The use of a pin brush is quite acceptable at this time, as the object of this exercise is to remove all the dead undercoat to allow new hair growth. The undercoat can easily mat up at this time, especially under the elbows, around the ears, and around the hind legs. If mats do occur, use your blunt-nosed scissors to cut into the mat, away from the skin, and loosen off the mat. A comb-through will remove most mats. A well-cared-for Collie will not mat up if regular grooming takes place.
- In the unlikely event that an allover bath is required, use a medicated or conditioning shampoo (if your Collie has rolled in something unpleasant, a medicated shampoo is preferable). Remember, though, that constant bathing will soften the coat.
- Wash the dog all over. Make sure that the water reaches the skin – the thick, woolly undercoat protects the skin and it may take some time to soak through. Protect the ears with cotton batting to stop water from entering. Shampoo and rinse thoroughly with plenty of warm water. Remove your dog from the bath and allow your Collie to shake
- Towel down and gently brush with a bristle brush. Hand-held dryers or power blasters will hasten drying, but constant use, especially of the blaster, will speed up coat loss!
- If you are bathing to remove dead coat, using a pin brush will quicken coat loss, especially if used two to three days after a bath.
- The addition of any coloring (blue whiteners, etc.) is not permitted for shows, but may be used at home to enhance the white.
- Finally, don’t forget to remove the cotton batting from the ears and to check the condition of the ears, eyes and teeth.