A Border Collie is a fantastic dog to own, being highly affectionate, playful, intelligent and therefore easy to train. But what about shedding? Is this something an owner needs to consider and is this breed known to shed a lot? I decided to research the topic to help get a better understanding as to what to expect. You’ll find all you need to know on the topic here today.
So, do border collies shed? The border collie has a long-haired double coat that sheds moderately throughout the year. At particular times of the year, they are known to shed more. While border collies can have one of two coats (smooth or rough) both are known to shed the same amount.
Thankfully there are things owners can do to make shedding easier to manage and keep loose hair under control throughout the home.
Most breeds of dog are known to shed; its their natural way and response to controlling their temperature as the environment and climate changes.
For a Border Collie that originates from the Highlands of Scotland, being initially bred as a herding and working dog in colder conditions; it comes as no surprise to learn that they developed a thick coat to keep them warm.
To begin with, shedding may sound inconvenient, time-consuming and undesirable but with a little bit of knowledge, you’ll soon find that it is relatively easy to manage and there are some practical things you can to help the process.
Let us now take a closer look at the different types of coat a border collie can have, how this relates to shedding and a number of tips and suggestions for owners.
The Border Collie Coat
All Borders collies wear a thick black and white double coat. It is made up of two parts – an undercoat and a topcoat.
The undercoat consists of short hairs. It is dense, waterproof and also wind-resistant – all features that help regulate the dogs body temperature.
The top coat is made up of much longer hairs, which protect the undercoat and also helps to repel moisture and dirt.
But, there are actually two different types of coat that a border collie can have. These are known as a rough coat and a smooth coat. The main difference between the two mostly being in length and feathering.
Rough coats are longer, with feathering appearing around the legs, chest and belly. Rough coats can vary in thickness and the level of feathering seen.
As the name suggests, rough coats are coarser to touch and it is more noticeable when shedding has occured.
Rough coats are usually more common in this breed due to genetic factors.
Smooth coated border collies have much shorter hair and feathering does not appear. The texture and thickness can vary between dogs. Some have a thicker undercoat than others.
A smooth coat is renown for being much easier to groom and maintain than a rough coat. It collects less dirt and dries faster. Its easier to clean and suffers from less matting.
Either way, both the rough and smooth coat varieties are known to shed the same amount.
You can expect shedding in a border collie routinely and regularly throughout the year. However, there is a particular time when shedding is known to increase. This is known as shedding season (occurs during spring). During this time, as you can expect, shedding increases quite a bit.
During shedding season, the winter coat is lost in preparation for the hotter, summer months.
Again, a border collie will look to shed to prepare for the next season. This time, the light summer coat is shed in preparation for the colder months ahead.
Borders collies will shed both parts of their coats; the dense undercoat and the longer overcoat. Sometimes, this process is known as the blowing of the coat.
Dogs that regularly experience changes in temperature are more prone to shedding. So, it naturally follows that the more you keep your dog in a regulated home environment, the less likely they are to experience heavy shedding. That being said, the border collie requires a lot of daily exercise and does best with more time outdoors.
When Do Border Collies Shed?
Border collies will shed continually throughout the year, but there are other factors involved and reasons that can influence when a border collie sheds.
Let us now explore each one so you know exactly what to expect:
For border collies, there are two periods of the year in which owners should expect a lot more shedding. This is commonly referred to as shedding season.
Shedding season actually takes places at two distinctive periods; one at the start of summer and the other at the beginning of the fall. This is when a border collie will look to ‘blow their coat’.
As you can imagine, it is during these periods that the seasons change most. Shedding during this time is in preparation for, and in response to, these changes in the environment.
A border collie will therefore shed their undercoat, removing it, in order to prepare for their new coat.
So, in the summer, you can expect your border collie to shed their winter coat (as the summer is going to be warmer).
In the fall, your border collie will shed their summer coat. This will prepare them for the growth of a fuller, denser coat to keep them warm in the colder, winter months.
Stress is another common cause of increased shedding in border collies, along with other dogs.
When a dog is stressed, a chemical known as epinephrine (adrenaline) increases, and this actually causes hair to be released.
Stress can arise due to a number of different reasons; it could be:
- From loud noises (like fireworks/thunderstorms)
- From new situations, experiences
- From unfamiliar people/animals
Therefore, its important as an owner that you are aware of your dogs behavior and responses to any changes in the environment. Do your best to minimize the causes of stress in your dog.
Giving a dog too many baths is another common cause of increased shedding. It can be exacerbated if the wrong types of products are used.
This is because a border collie will naturally release oils; which work to protect their skin and their coat.
Over-bathing essentially reduces the oils and prevents them from being able to work and do their job.
Typically, infections and other skin conditions begin to develop in dogs that are washed too frequently.
While a good diet will not stop shedding, it will lead to a healthier dog that will help the coat and hair to grow optimally.
A poor diet can negatively affect shedding because it can lead to dry and flaky skin.
Border collies require a balanced and nutrient-rich diet that contains sufficient and high-quality protein and specific fatty acids. When a dog eats well, their hair follicles will grow stronger and their skin will have more elasticity.
Equally, if your dog is allergic to specific foods, it can adversely affect their health along which can in-turn, contribute to more shedding.
If you want to help improve your border collies shedding through diet, its important to feed high-quality dog food. Avoid those that are heavy in corn and grains. These are more difficult to digest and are less nutrient-rich.
Specific allergens, especially those that come into contact with the skin, can result in increased scratching. Scratching is known to cause shedding.
Allergies can come from a wide variety of places; whether through the environment or as referenced above, through diet.
Therefore its important to keep a close eye on your dog, and if you suspect allergies are causing hem to scratch, you do your best to remove the allergen from the environment.
Parasites (Fleas, Ticks)
Specific parasites, most commonly fleas and ticks, can cause a lot of discomfort and distress to a dog.
Itching is perhaps the most likely to result in shedding – as a dog increases scratching in an attempt to reduce the discomfort.
If you suspect your dog has fleas, ticks, or another parasite – speaking with your vet is a good place to start. They will likely recommend a shampoo, spray or other effective approach to remove them from the coat.
While medical conditions are the least likely cause of shedding, it is a factor that you should consider.
Excessive shedding, especially if you have ruled out the other possibilities above and it comes on all of a sudden, could indicate a medical issue. Visiting the vet is the best course of action here.
How To Manage Shedding In Border Collies
Shedding is an instinctual and all natural process of border collies. There is little, if anything, you can do to stop them shedding completely.
However, there are some practical things that you can do to manage shedding and to help reduce the amount of hair that is released at any one time.
This will not only keep your dog more comfortable, but it will also improve your home environment too!
So, let us know take a look at the best ways to keep control over this unfortunate natural process.
Bathe With Anti-Shed Shampoos
While we’ve already mentioned that you should not bathe your dog too frequently, it is important that when you do (and you will need to at times), that you use products intended for use on dogs.
This will have been specially formulated to moisturize the fur and to not strip away those essential oils produced and required by your dog.
Using specific bathing products, like this effective natural product with essential oils from Amazon, will also help you to manage the coat during grooming sessions. It makes brushing a lot easier.
One of the best solutions to manage shedding is with regular brushing. This essentially enables you to collect hair that would otherwise be deposited around your home.
You should look to brush your dog frequently, even daily, during shedding season. At other times of the year 3-4x per week is a good amount to go for.
As border collies have a thick and dense undercoat, giving them a good brush will help to remove any excess hair. The more regularly you do it, the less time you will need to spend when you do.
Brushing will keep shedding at bay, and will equally improve the quality of the coat and how it grows out. This is because brushing is known to improve blood circulation which will enable nutrients to better get to and from various part of the body.
Here are the best brushes to get for a border collie.
As they have a thick double coat, and different needs across the year, it actually makes sense to purchase a couple of different tools.
A de-shedding tool is generally recommend during shedding season, and a comb/slicker brush for the rest of the year.
Undercoat De-Shedding Brush
The FURminator is a best-in category and best seller for use on longer haired dogs, the border collie included. Its very effective and easy to use – protecting the top coat as you remove excess hair from the undercoat. You can even dispense any hair collected with the push of a button. This tool is excellent during shedding season but can be used across the course of the year.
- Dual-Head Design: 2 sides, 2 coats, 1 tool! Use the 9-teeth side of this dog and cat brush for smooth dematting, and the 17-teeth side for quick coat thinning and deshedding.
- Skin Safe: Pamper your pet - pain-free! The teeth on this dog brush for shedding are rounded to make sure your furry friend's skin is protected.
- This deshedding brush is perfect for cats and dogs with thick, long fur - but it's great for coats of all kinds! Long lasting and durable pet comb that works great even on horses.
- Easy Grip Handle: Get even the nastiest knots out with ease! Our dog and cat brush for shedding has a non-slip handle to give you a firm and comfortable grip.
- Comes with a "paw tag" for your keychain or pet collar!
The Pat your Pet is one of the most cost-effective brushes to buy. It has two different sides, suitable for different purposes so in many ways double ups as a 2-in-1 tool. One side enables you to effortless remove mats and tangles whereas the other helps you to thin and de-shed a heavy undercoat.
Over Coat Brush
- SELF CLEANING - Dread cleaning your dog hair brush? With our clever self-cleaning cat brush, simply push the button, wipe, and your favorite dog accessories are fur free!
- TIME SAVING - Whether you're a puppy parent, kitty carer, groomer, or vet, this shedding brush for pets removes excess hair with very little time and effort.
- VERSATILE - 5 inch and 3/4 inch deshedding brush are ideal for both long or short haired fur babies - our cat and dog grooming brush removes mats, tangles, dirt, and loose fur from your pet’s coat.
- GENTLE - Gentle on your pet’s skin and coat, this dog brush for short haired dogs and cats features soft, angled bristles for easy, effective, and painless de-shedding.
- COMFORTABLE - Your dogs and cats will love this pet grooming brush. Designed to be efficient yet enjoyable, this time-saving slicker brush will have your pooch or kitty thanking you!
This Slicker brush is truly excellent – being designed for dog breeds with more hair to manage! Its a very versatile tool, and can gently remove tangles and hair from your dogs coats. Its a great brush for daily brushing and maintenance.
Let Your Bordie Collie Swim
A final recommendation made by many border collie owners is to let your dog go for a swim from time to time.
Of course, you will need a safe body of water and you will need to have the confidence, and sometimes, permission to let them do so.
Its also a good idea to brush them before any swimming so that as they do, loose hair naturally falls away.
Lastly, when they get out, give them a good brush and you will find the hair comes away much more easily and there will be less of it to take off.
When it comes to grooming your border collie and keeping on top of shedding, there are some strategies that you can use to help maintenance process. Here are perhaps the best ones:
From a young age: you should look to groom your border collie from a young age, preferably as a puppy. Not only will this help their coat to grow out properly and prevent the coat from matting. It will also help them to get used to you brushing them.
Distractions: while grooming your dog, its always a good idea to keep their mind occupied. This will prevent boredom and fidgeting. Give them a toy or something to occupy them as you brush their coat.
Routines: make the whole process easier and set your dogs own expectations. They also ensure that you go through with the required grooming as and when they are needed.
Treats: are important to give your dog as a reward for letting you groom them. This will establish positive associations with the activity that will make the whole process much easier.
Border collies shed; that is unfortunately just a natural aspect of owning this particualr breed of dog.
With a thick double coat, you can expect shedding throughout the year that peaks during two particular periods – one at the start of summer and the other at the beginning of the fall. Otherwise known as shedding season.
Other than this there are some other causes for increased shedding – so it is important you do your best to take care of your dog and keep on top of grooming to ensure they remain happy, healthy and comfortable.
A good diet, frequent brushing, using appropriate products and reducing stress in your dog are perhaps the best ways to keep shedding to a natural minimal.
Border collie puppies start shedding at around 12 months of age. This is when they shed their thicker puppy coat (which is designed to keep them warm for the first year of life) and grow out their adult coat.
Border collies are considered moderate shedders. They will shed routinely throughout the year. However, border collies will shed a lot more during shedding season (one at the start of summer and the other at the beginning of the fall) as they prepare their coats for the change in the climate. As an owner, proper care and regular grooming will keep loose hair to a minimum.
Border collies should not be shaved. While you may want to shave your dog to keep them cool during the summer months, doing so actually disrupts their normal, natural, and instinctive temperature regulation. Border collies will naturally shed to prepare for and accommodate the changes in temperature and heat. Shaving results in a change to the way the hair grows exposes them to harmful UV rays and also makes them less prepared for when the temperature is to drop once more. Trimming is an appropriate alternative.
It is generally recommended to bathe a border collie 1-2x per year, and only more if absolutely necessary. It is advised to not wash them at all during the cold, winter months, if possible. It is important that when you do bath your border collie, you do so with a safe, all-natural dog-friendly shampoo and use tepid water.
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.