If you already own a Border Collie, you’ll know the answer to this question! They are considered moderate shedders, meaning that they’re not the worst, although they do shed a fair bit.
Technically speaking, all dogs shed, whatever you might read on the internet. That’s just science. The life cycle of dog hair means that, at some point, it will fall out to make way for new hair growing from the follicle.
The extent to which they fall out depends on several factors, including the breed, climate, season, the dog’s health, and even its diet.
We’re exploring the Border Collie to find out just how much you can expect them to shed and passing on some grooming advice to help you manage your dog hair situation.
But first, we’ll begin with some background information on this wonderful dog.
The Border Collie
This is the perfect herding dog, without a doubt. With a history dating back to the Roman occupation of Britain, they’ve had many centuries to perfect their skills.
They are said to be a cross between Roman herding dogs and Spitz-type dogs brought to Britain by the invading Vikings a few centuries later.
Whether this is true or not, they developed into a highly agile, highly intelligent breed, ideally suited to the rugged terrain on the borders of England and Scotland where they originated.
What about their name? Well, Collie is an old Scottish word for sheepdog, and we’ve already hinted at the ‘border’ part.
If they were to be renamed, they might easily be called the Einstein Collie, or the Hawking Collie, because they are super-smart! Most dog breeds are pretty intelligent, but the Border Collie beats them all.
You only have to watch them at work to see that sharp mind racing as it figures out what to do next as it listens intently for the next command.
They excel in agility courses and trials of all kinds. They thrive on being active and using their brains to work out puzzles. They are simply the smartest dogs going.
Most people will automatically think of the classic black and white dog, with its eager, alert expression as it awaits a command. But these remarkable animals can come in a whole range of colors. The Border Collie’s coat can be:
• Black and white
• Blue and white
• Red and white
• White and red merle
• Sable merle
• Blue merle
• Saddleback sable
• White ticked
Now, that’s a lot of color variation! All of these colors are accepted as part of the breed standard, and each one has its charm and appeal.
Still, the black and white dog, as featured in the movie Babe, is the one that springs readily to mind when you mention the Border Collie.
But what is this coat like? Do Border Collies shed?
What Type Of Coat Do Border Collie’s Have?
Both male and female Border Collies have a thick double coat that can be rough or smooth. Both coat types are ideally suited to outdoor life, with a dense, furry undercoat that kept them warm in the Scottish Highlands.
The coarse, rough coat grows to about 3 inches, while the sleek, smooth coat is shorter, about one inch in length.
Collies with longer coats will have a thicker mane of hair around the neck and shoulders and a fuller tail. Both types will have feathering on the tail.
Double coats are often found on dogs that have a history of working in cooler climates. The outer coat provides a waterproof and windproof barrier, while the furry undercoat is a layer of insulation to keep out the cold.
It’s a system that works very well, even though the vast majority of dogs are companions rather than working dogs these days. Many of them spend most of their time indoors, which can affect how much they shed.
Do Border Collies Shed A Lot?
Border Collie shedding is classed as moderate, with heavy shedding twice a year. So, although it might seem like they shed a lot of hair, it isn’t as much as some other breeds!
When Do Border Collies Shed?
Basically, they will shed all year round. On top of this, they will also shed in spring and fall, when the two shedding seasons start.
This is a throwback to when the dogs needed a winter coat and a summer coat so that they could cope with the differences in temperature as they worked outdoors.
Even though it’s not really needed these days, the coats retain this mechanism, which still helps them to regulate their body temperature.
During these shedding seasons, which could last as long as six weeks, their furry undercoat will fall out. This is known as blowing the coat, and this is when the real fun begins.
If you thought your dog’s coat was shedding enough already, just wait until the spring!
If you’re not careful, this stuff will get everywhere. It is fine and fluffy and floats well when wafted by a gust of air. It sticks to carpets and rugs, clothes, and bedding. Loose hair finds its way into your food and drinks.
Do Border Collies shed? Yes, they do. When do Border Collies shed? All throughout the year, with two explosive bursts of shedding in spring and fall!
Is It Ok To Cut A Border Collie’s Hair?
You can have their coats lightly clipped, but it really isn’t necessary! Occasional trimming around the feet and at the back of their legs is fine, for the sake of appearance, but on the whole, this beautiful coat should be left at its full length.
As for shaving your Border Collie’s coat, this is never a good idea. There’s a good chance that it will grow back patchy and uneven, which will not look good and will affect the dog’s ability to manage its body heat.
You might be tempted to shave them in warmer weather, but there really isn’t any need: their coats regulate heat very well, as the thick undercoat will thin out in spring, allowing cooler air to become trapped beneath the topcoat.
Heavy clipping or shaving will also expose their delicate skin to harmful UV rays that their thick coat usually blocks out. They could be in danger of getting sunburn and heatstroke.
How Do I Get My Border Collie To Stop Shedding?
In all honesty, you can’t. Dogs just shed hair, so it’s best to get used to it. It’s a natural process that is going to happen whatever you do. If this breed sheds too much for your liking, then you might want to consider getting one that is a low-shedder.
However, there are ways to minimize the amount of hair that gets stuck around your home:
• Diet – It might come as a surprise to learn that your dog’s diet will affect how much they shed. Good quality dog food, such as kibble that has been specially formulated for Border Collies, contains fatty acids that ensure your dog has a healthy coat, which will reduce the amount of year-round hair loss.
Conversely, some cheap dog food has additives that will cause a negative reaction that will affect the coat. There are human foods such as tuna, scallops, and fish sticks that can help you tackle the omega fatty acids deficiency in your Border Collie pup. Find more useful information in our Border Collie feeding chart.
• Regular grooming – Frequent brushing keeps the dead hair under control. The more you brush your dog, the less hair will find its way around your home. Ideally, you should brush your Collie two or three times a week through the year, then every day during the shedding seasons.
This is by far the best way to control the amount of shedding. There are several tools you can use, including a pin brush and a slicker brush.
• Deshedding tools – Regular brushing has been mentioned already, but the type of brush you use can make a difference.
Deshedding tools, such as the Furminator, are available but they have divided dog owners as to how effective they are, or even whether they should be used at all.
These special brushes penetrate the outer coat and pull away the loose fur beneath. The best advice seems to be to never use this on wet or damp fur and to only use it sparingly when the dog has both coats grown in. It is never a good idea to use it on puppies as it can damage the coat.
• A good vacuum cleaner – A powerful vacuum cleaner will make short work of those annoying hairs. Some brands understand dog owner’s frustration and have created a range of machines designed to deal with the task of getting rid of those annoying hairs!
• Bathing – Anti-shed shampoos and conditioners can make a difference, but always use a brand-specific one and never wash them too frequently, or you’ll undo any benefits by washing out the natural oils.
• Watch out for fleas and ticks – As your pup will spend a good deal of time in the great outdoors, there’s always a danger of them picking up these unwanted visitors. If your furry friend seems to be shedding more than usual, then check for fleas or ticks during their grooming routine.
One of the most important things is that you start any routine when the dog is very young. This will get them used to grooming and helps strengthen the bond between you.
When you finish grooming, be sure to give your pooch a treat, so they associate the two events. This will keep them happy and make future grooming sessions easier for you both.
Of course, you always have the option of using a professional groomer if your budget allows. It might be a good idea once in a while, just to give you a break. However, if your dog groomer recommends heavy clipping or shaving, find another!
Do Border Collies Make Good House Pets?
On the whole, yes, they do, provided they have enough room. Any breed can be a great family pet with the right family.
Border Collies are country dogs that need plenty of running space. Being cooped up in a small apartment will make them go crazy, almost literally. Without adequate exercise and mental stimulation, they can become destructive, aggressive, and depressed.
They don’t take well to being left alone for hours at a time and won’t be happy with you if you leave them in dog kennels while you head off on vacation.
A happy and healthy Border Collie will make a perfect addition to any family with an active, outdoor lifestyle. You’ll preferably live where there’s plenty of parks, woods, or hills to explore.
You’ll ideally have a large garden or backyard for your pooch to let off steam between walks and engage in some agility exercises and puzzle-solving.
The Border Collie is a natural watchdog and is very protective over its family. It may be wary of strangers and will warn them off.
Photo from @floofykobe
There’s also a chance that they will nip at heels and will be forever trying to round up children and small animals, which is a genetic trait linked to their herding ancestry.
Early training and socialization, as always, will help to curb some of these instincts but may not rule them out in some dogs because the urge is just too strong.
However, they are very quick learners who respond well to reward-based training, so keep persevering, and you’ll get there in the end.
Finally, they are extremely affectionate, very tenacious, and keen to please you. Are they the best dog for you?
That really depends on your lifestyle and circumstances and whether you’re willing to make the effort to provide for their needs. And this includes dog grooming!
Border Collie Puppy Shedding
It’s worth mentioning puppies in a separate section as they play by different rules. Even dogs that are classed as minimal shedders will buck this trend when they are pups.
Many Border Collie owners start to worry when their pups start to shed. This usually happens around four months of age, when the adult coat will start to grow in.
They will lose their entire puppy coat, which can look odd, depending on the time of year. Some owners take to dog forums to ask why their pup looks bald and patchy, thinking that something is wrong.
There’s usually no need to be concerned; the adult coat will grow through eventually. Nature knows what it’s doing!
The puppy coat will usually (though not always) be short, regardless of the adult coat they have later. You can also usually hazard a guess as to what type of coat from about five weeks of age. Either way, they are going to be moderate shedders when they grow up!
Border Collie Health Problems
Like all dogs, the Border Collie has its share of health issues, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and a range of disorders affecting the nerves, blood, and eyes.
None of these specifically affect the skin or coat, but sick dogs often shed more hair. It’s always a good idea to monitor dog shedding as it can signal that something is wrong.
If your dog has a good diet, plenty of exercise, and you have a good grooming regime in place, then a sudden increase in shedding might indicate that all is not well.
This is why regular trips to the vet are essential, as they can secure an early diagnosis and a better chance of a full and quick recovery.
In addition to any health issues, Border Collies can shed excessively due to stress and anxiety, as well as allergies.
Dogs tend to react to allergies differently from humans. They will be more likely to suffer from symptoms such as dry and itchy skin, which will affect the hair and cause it to fall out.
Keep an eye out for signs of allergic reactions, and always try to avoid situations that will cause undue stress to your furry friend.
Returning to our main theme, Do Border Collies shed? we know that the answer is: yes. They need a regular grooming routine that will have to increase to cope with seasonal shedding.
We also know that the Border Collie’s shedding isn’t as bad as some other breeds, relatively speaking. All it takes is a bit of dedicated love and care, and you can manage this easily.
Brushing isn’t just a good way of minimizing the amount of hair around your home – it is essential for the health of your dog’s coat.
When the hair becomes matted and tangled, it can be painful as it pulls on the skin. It is also a trap for dirt and bacteria, which could cause a skin infection. Regular brushing reduces the risk of this happening and allows air to reach the skin.
So, the beautiful Border Collie, your hard-working, super-smart best friend, just loves to keep running and playing and will snuggle up for some love and affection afterward.
In conclusion, shedding is a natural part of being a dog. They have so much going for them, so surely a little brushing is a small price to pay in return?