As one of the best herding dogs in the world, Border Collies are lively, energetic and affectionate. Plus, they’re the smartest dogs in the world. But given the lush and fluffy coat of the Border Collie, some new owners may be concerned about their shedding.
Most Border Collies will shed moderately throughout the year. But because of their double coats, they’ll experience heavy shedding come spring and fall. As the Border Collie’s coat adjusts for big changes in temperature, extra grooming is necessary to minimize shedding.
There are many factors that can contribute to the Border Collie being a moderate to heavy shedding dog breed. In this article, we’ll examine why these dogs tend to shed more than others, while sharing tips to keeping their fluffy coats in check.
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Table of Contents
- Reasons Why Border Collies Shed
- How Much do Border Collies Shed?
- How to Manage a Border Collie’s Shedding
- Shedding: Rough vs Smooth
Reasons Why Border Collies Shed
Have you ever wondered why some dogs can shed a mountain of fur, while others will barely leave a trace of hair? It really depends on the breed mostly. But in some cases, other controllable factors may be involved.
Sorry owners: Border Collies are moderate to heavy shedders, depending on the individual dog. But what is it about these dogs that have you constantly needing to groom them? Here are the main reasons why Border Collies shed so much.
Border Collies Herd in the Cold
If you don’t already know, Border Collies were bred to herd livestock – specifically, sheep and sometimes cattle. And because of their goal-oriented work ethic, Border Collies are some of the best at what they do.
But originating from the perpetually gloomy, cold and wet region of Scotland meant that Border Collies needed extra protection while doing their jobs.
As such, most Border Collies were bred with fluffy coats that kept them warm during the cold winter months and their skin dry during the wet season.
Keep in mind, there are two variations of coats. However, both the smooth and rough coated Border Collies have a coat that’s highly capable in protecting the dog from environmental elements.
The “fluffy” coats that you see with most Border Collies are rough coated dogs. Unfortunately, more fur usually means more shedding too.
Double Coats, Double the Shedding
As mentioned, there are two types of Border Collie coats: rough and smooth coats. Both of which, are double coats. But what’s a double coat and why does it mean more shedding for a Border Collie?
According to Pet Guide, a double coat is a coat that consists of two layers of fur. Not only is there an undercoat, but also a top coat. Both serve a specific role in the protection of your Border Collie.
The undercoat is a dense coat with a wooly texture and feel to it. It’s intended to keep the dog warm by acting as an insulator. It’s worth noting that rough-coated Border Collies have a much denser undercoat than the smooth coats.
Don’t underestimate the double coat. Even if the coat is “short,” there’s plenty of fur compact in their undercoat…and it leads to shedding and hair everywhere.– Maggie M. (owner)
Furthermore, the top coat is the second layer with much longer hairs.These hairs are called “guard hairs” and they’re intended to protect the Border Collie from water, debris, among other things.
Guard hairs are usually much harder, thicker, stiffer and glossier (because of the natural oils). Plus, it acts as an addition layer of insulation for the Border Collie.
But with double the fur/coat, it means double the opportunity for shed hair. It didn’t matter much back then on farms, but now they’re widely domesticated in all types of households.
Borders, Blowing Coats
A Border Collie’s coat is almost as smart as the actual dog. Considering they’re the most intelligent dog in the world, that’s saying something.
Whether you like it or not, Border Collies will naturally experience heavier shedding during spring and fall. This phenomenon happens with almost all dogs, but it’s much worse for double coated breeds.
When spring rolls by, the Border Collie will shed its thick, winter coat in preparation for the warmer summer months. We call this, “blowing coat” in the dog world, and it’s something all owners should prepare for.
I had the pleasure of 6 blown coats this season. It started in March and is just now winding down. My Border Collies blew enough coat to fill a 13-gallon garbage bag twice.– Leahluvherpups (bordercollie.org)
Similarly, Border Collies will excessively shed once again during fall. They’ll be shedding their lighter summer coats so that they can begin growing their thick winter coats. And, this shedding cycle continues.
But because they’re shedding their winter coats during spring, expect to see heavier shedding during that blow-coat period. They’ll likely experience heavy shedding in the fall, but not as bad.
As for the two coat variations, smooth coats will shed less because their coats are much shorter. Though still a double coat, there’s just less hair in comparison to a rough coat.
Malnutrition Leads to Excessive Shedding
All the reasons we mentioned for Border Collie shedding are natural. There’s not much you can do about it except to prepare for the “fur-pocalypse.”
But proper nutrition is one way you can influence how much your Border Collie sheds. According to Roy Cruzen (DVM) of PetMD, “the number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet.”
Let that statement sink in. He continues by saying, many owners choose to buy the cheapest dog food, thinking it’s enough for their dog’s health.
People go to discount stores, buy a 40-pound bag of cheap food, and then see their pets’ shedding increase…it may not have enough protein or nutrients for your pet.– Roy Cruzen (DVM)
In reality, these low-end dog foods may be good for your wallet, but not for your dog’s health. Cruzen explains that these brands “barely meet” the nutritional requirements.
So next time you’re shopping for a new go-to brand, think twice before serving it to your Border Collie. It’s not all about price.
And just because a brand is “expensive,” it doesn’t mean its necessarily good for your Border Collie. If possible, consult with your local veterinarian.
How Much do Border Collies Shed?
There’s no definitive answer to this – each dog is different. Some Border Collies will excessively shed year round, while few will barely shed most of the year.
However, we think the best way to answer this question is to ask real Border Collie owners. We surveyed the popular Border Collie Subreddit (and other forums) to find out the answer to this question. Here’s what the owners had to say.
Real Owner Answers:
1. Mettarific says: “Border Collies shed a lot…so get a good vacuum. It’s not vacuuming for the dog, it’s for the floors.”
2. Avalonpassion says: “I’m sneezing literally every day as I sweep up her dog hair. She no longer goes on the bed, which I miss somewhat but her fur finds it’s way onto anything & everything.”
3. Trentsopenyard says: “My BC isn’t as bad as other people make them out to be…I think I just got lucky? But when shedding season comes around, that’s a different story…”
4. Brianhayes says: “Yep, that double coat is super fun to maintain. I had 3 Border Collies, it was a nightmare.”
5. Richluvsbcdogs says: “Border collies are shedding machines. It’s just something you must accept if you plan to raise one.”
6. Accidentalhippie says: “He’s been shedding the whole time…my entire 4 bed room house has tumbleweeds of hair in every single corner, and each time he lays on the rug he leaves a dog-shaped “shadow” of dog hair. It’s pretty insane!”
7. Sampsonsfarm says: “I’ve had my Border Collie for 6 years now and every year I’m still shocked by how much hair this dog can produce during shedding season. Remarkable!
8. Borderswithcollies says: “You know it’s shedding season when literally every corner of your house has a tumbleweed of fur. So yes…they shed.”
How to Manage a Border Collie’s Shedding
Apparently, Border Collies shed a lot. And unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Fellow owners will tell you to just accept it and prepare for it.
So, here are the best tips that we (and real owners) have found for dealing with shedding in Border Collies. These tips all involve grooming.
So if that’s not your thing, then Border Collies may not be ideal for you.
Brushing Your Border Collie
One of the most important grooming rituals for minimizing shedding is to brush your Border Collie. According to The Nest, it’s best that you brush your Border Collie at least 3 times a week (every other day).
But during shedding season, it’s probably a good idea to be brushing your Border Collie once a day.
By consistently brushing your dog, you’ll be able to remove all the loose hair on the coat that can potentially fly all over the house. Since the hair is loose anyway, it’s better you get to it first.
As for brush, plenty of Border Collie owners love and swear by the Furminator Deshedding Tool. It’s also what we use on our Corgi and Aussie (both double coated dog breeds too).
Most owners get the size large for long hair dogs. This is intended for rough coats with longer hair. If you have a smooth coat Border Collie, get the brush for short hair.
Maybe I’m late to the party, but I finally got a Furminator and I couldn’t be more impressed. We have tried at least 5 different brushes…but..this Furminator removed SO MUCH hair and made my little man silky smooth.– Ajayyycc (Reddit)
This brush was pretty much made for double-coated dogs. However, you need to be gentle while brushing as the blades can be sharp.
Also, it’s probably not ideal for dogs with very thin fur. Instead, you can try out a normal pin brush instead.
Bathing Your Border Collie
Bathing your Border Collie is important, especially if they spend a great deal of time outdoors (as they should). But you need to strike a balance between bathing too little and too much.
The benefits of bathing your dog is that you’re able to wash away loose hairs – similar to what brushing does. But it’s not great to wash them every week.
According to WebMD, it’s ideal that you bathe your dog once every three months. That comes out to 4 times a year. Still, it’s not a hard set rule.
Too many baths will strip the coat of natural oils that protect the skin, and your dog’s coat will lose some of its shine and luster.– Stephen L. Zawistowski (ASPCA)
Zawistowski, a pHD working with the ASPCA, says that frequent baths isn’t as good for your dog as frequent brushing sessions. So, keep it to a minimal if you can.
Best Border Collie Shampoo
When it comes to picking out a dog shampoo for your Border Collie, it’s important that you choose something as natural as possible.
The most obvious and popular choice is an oatmeal-based dog shampoo. We use these with all our dogs – in addition to millions of dog owners.
- Pro Pet Works Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – Our dogs are currently using this brand. It’s made from all-natural oatmeal and we’ve had no problems in the many years of using this with multiple dogs.
- Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo – A lot of people have recommended this brand to me. It’s been time-tested and many owners are extremely happy with it.
- Paws and Pals Dog Shampoo – We’ve used this with our Corgi and it was a great experience! The only reason we switched was because we just wanted to try something new.
It’s important that you never use human shampoo on your Border Collie. Their skin is just not the same, so it could really cause some irritation and potentially skin problems.
Can You Shave a Border Collie?
Though it may be tempting to shave your Border Collie prior to shedding season, we highly do not recommend it.
Just as a rule of thumb, you should never shave a dog breed with a double coat. The coat just doesn’t grow back the same way, which can also make them less suited for cold climate.
My uncle’s Border Collie was shaved by a grooming service and his coat never grew back properly. He then got sunburnt a couple of times.– I-am-sheepdog (Reddit)
However, if you just want to give your Border Collie a light trim, that’s completely fine. Just make sure you let your groomers know this beforehand!
Remember, shaving is your dog’s natural way of regulating body temperature and keeping comfortable during all seasons. Don’t mess around with nature!
Shedding: Rough vs Smooth
When it comes to picking out the type of coat you’d want in your Border Collie, there’s no escaping shedding. Both have double coats and both will blow their coats during the appropriate seasons.
And while rough coated Border Collies are undeniably more popular, many owners seem to believe that smooth-coated dogs are easier to groom.
One owner of both types of Border Collies says, “I love smoothies because they’re so much easier to keep clean. But my rough coated dog is a gorgeous burr magnet.”
It makes sense that a smooth coat would shed less, as their fur is much shorter. However, both dogs go through the same shedding cycle year round.
So does your Border Collie shed a lot? Got any tips on how to deal with your Border Collie’s shedding? Let us know in the comments section below.
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