Are you a dog lover who wants a border collie but hates having hair all over your couch and clothes? Or a pet parent to a collie, worried if the amount of hair they are shedding is normal or not? Let’s see do border collies shed?
Don’t worry, we are here to help you out with answers to all your questions.
To begin with, I’d like to tell you that all dogs that have hair, shed. Although the amount of shedding depends on a lot of factors such as season, diet, environment, grooming, genetics, etc. Dogs with longer hair may shed more or they may shed more during a particular season. But there are a lot of things we can do to reduce the shedding and make it manageable.
First and the easiest thing that’ll pop in most of the minds…….ummm SHAVING?
And the answer is A BIG NO!
Originating from the Anglo Scottish Border the breed gets its name as the Border Collie. They are a medium-sized working and herding dog breed. They are among the most intelligent dog breeds in the world and used mostly for the herding of sheep although it wouldn’t be surprising nowadays to find them as companion dogs or family pets. They are highly energetic, agile, and athletic.
Like most herding or working dogs, they have thick, long, double coats of fur that made it possible for them to work and adjust to the cold and wet climate of their homeland. The double coat is made up of an outer coat and undercoat.
The undercoat is short, soft, and dense and functions to keep them warm in the cold and wet highlands. The undercoat is water and wind-resistant and helps them keep warm in winters and cool in the summers.
The outer coat is longer and more weather resistant. Both coats grow independent of each other and at a different pace.
There are 3 types of outer coats observed in Border collies, namely rough coat, mixed coat, and smooth coat. The rough-coated collies have a long and as the name suggests, rough coat with feathering around the chest, ears, and legs. The soft or smooth coated collies have a sleek and shorter coat throughout the body. Mixed coated ones fall somewhere in the middle of both the previously stated varieties.
Things To Keep In Mind
The amount of shedding is more or less similar irrespective of which type of coat your border collie sports. To your relief, they won’t shed as much as a Golden Retriever but they’ll shed more than a Shih Tzu. Year-round collies are known to shed a moderate amount of hair but the shedding is a lot when the seasons change from winter to summer or vice versa.
Collies lose their undercoat twice a year, once during fall and another during the spring season with both shedding spurts lasting for up to 2 weeks each. With this, they prepare themselves for the coming season. This process is also termed molting or blowing the coat.
*It is strictly advised to not shave the double coated breeds as the undercoat helps them with thermoregulation and protects their skin from harmful elements of the weather.*
Many people trim or shave their dogs’ coats with the idea of keeping them cool in summer but that does the exact opposite of what’s intended as the fur helps your pooch with temperature regulation. Shaving them also exposes them to harmful UV rays of the sun. Shaving them can lead to razor burns and hot spots.
Do Border Collies Shed?
If your dog has ticks and you shave or trim close the skin, the body of the insect gets cut off but the mouth part remains inside which can lead to serious allergic reaction and discomfort for your dog.
In double-coated dogs like the border collie, regular shedding is normal but how do you differentiate it from the shedding caused by an underlying health condition.
Here are some symptoms you should look out for:
- Excessive itching
- Loss of hair in clumps
- Bald patches on the body
- Excessive licking and scratching
- Hair loss accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea
Consult a vet if any of the above symptoms are observed as they can be caused by allergies, skin infections, hypothyroidism, or nutritional deficiencies.
Border Collie Shedding Caused by Dietary Deficiencies
If your dog does not have any of the above symptoms but has a poor quality coat, you can consult a vet who’ll help you formulate a diet by changing the ingredients or adding supplements that’ll improve your pooch’s hair quality.
People take omega-3 fatty acid supplements or eat more protein-rich food to improve the quality of hair. Similarly what you put in your dog’s bowl affects the quality of their hair.
A border collie with a diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and natural fats will have smooth and lustrous fur. Their skin will also be healthier which will lead to less shedding of hair. Their diet can also be supplemented with fish oil, omega-3, and omega-6 fatty acids.
Border Collie Shedding Caused by Stress
Shedding in dogs can be a sudden and completely normal reaction to stress which will subside when your dog is feeling calm and comfortable again. To make sure that the shedding is a temporary reaction to stress and not caused due to some underlying condition, you can look out for symptoms of stress which include panting, excessive barking, salivation, yawning, pacing, restlessness and whining.
Your dog can get stressed during a visit to the vet (if he/she doesn’t like it), in a new environment, around people or animals they aren’t comfortable with, or as in the case of most pets, separation anxiety. Avoid leaving your dog alone at home if they are extremely social and not used to being alone as it can deteriorate their health.
Stress can be reduced by providing your dog proper mental and physical stimulation. Regular walks and ample amount of exercise and spending quality time with them by teaching them some tricks or just playing tug or fetch with them. Things that may seem small to you may mean the world to them and can have a positive impact on their health.
Bathing Your Border Collie
The more you groom your border collie, the less you need to bathe them. You need to bathe them often, a bath once in 3 months would suffice unless your pooch goes on a muddy outing. Bathing your dog more often than needed can lead to dry and irritated skin leading to increased hair fall.
Use an anti-shedding, dog-friendly shampoo, avoid using it around eyes and ears. Use lukewarm water to bathe your dog and dry them completely after every bath. You can comb them before and after a bath to reduce hair fall.
Grooming Your Border Collie
- Do they need a haircut? The answer is no. Just the pruning of overgrown hairs around their paws, ears, back of the legs, etc is more than enough. A professional groomer can help you with that.
- Brush your collie at least thrice a week using a metal comb or pin brush to remove loose hairs and dander, it’ll also help in better circulation and even distribution of the oils they secrete, leading to improved quality of hair and reduced shedding.
- Start grooming early on and follow it with rewards and praise to get your border collie puppy comfortable with it.
- Regular grooming using a slicker brush can help with the removal of fleas and ticks which also contribute to shedding.
- During the shedding season, you can use an undercoat rake to get rid of the undercoat faster.
Border collies shed irrespective of the type of coat they have. The amount of hair border collies shed is less compared to most double coat dogs and it can be easily managed with regular grooming, exercise, and a healthy diet. Only get a collie if you can take care of their regular grooming needs and give them a healthy and happy life. Getting any dog is a commitment and work, there’s no way around it but their love and loyalty make it all worth it.
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