Bearded Collie

Grooming Advice

This is a breed I see a lot of when in Europe and the U.S. but is not so common in Australia. Perhaps it has something to do with the amount of coat that daunts exhibitors? This hardy and active working dog is really a very no nonsense breed and whilst he is a larger dog with quite a lot of coat, the task ought not to be onerous.

Referred to on occasion as the Highland Collie, the ancestry tells you his coat has to be able to withstand a fairly rigorous and cold climate. We who live in more clement parts of the world can be lulled into forgetting the dire necessity of a good coat in cold weather. His standard also requires that he is able to work in damp, misty conditions and a rough, rocky terrain.

The Beardie has a double coat with a soft furry undercoat and a close, harsh textured fl at outer coat. It ought to fall naturally to either side and the length and density to provide a protective coat to enhance the dog without obscuring the natural lines of his body. No trimming allowed.

That ought to be simple enough and the AKC standard specifi es that the coat should be shown as naturally as is consistent with good grooming. So therein lies the challenge - to present this dog so he is able to show he is capable of fulfi lling his function and to fi nd a way to groom him so as to illustrate this.

As the standard also states that excessively long or silky coats are to be penalised, you don’t use products that make a coat soft and silky and at the same time endeavour to blow dry so as to minimise wave though a slight wave is permissible. Once you analyse what are the basic requirements you keep that focus in mind and do the things that contribute to that outcome. Sounds easy but so many have difficulty and perhaps this is the reason so many shy away from a coat that presents some challenges.

I do believe that the preparation of this coat between shows is of great importance to maintain the health of the coat lengths and you can go no further than the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to do just that. Use at a dilution rate of 1 tbspn to 1 gal/4 lt bucket of water and slosh well through the coat or sponge through getting right down to the skin. This is an all natural product from Evening Primrose Oil and Calendula oils etc. Just marvellous. It won’t soften the coat but will keep it protected from dehydration and maintain the elasticity of the coat. This is an active working dog so he will tend to be an outdoorsy dog if he is allowed to be himself and this will ensure minimum wear and tear.

For show preparation, start with the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo for all your blacks and blues as this will not soften but will tone any unwanted warm tones keeping that nice blueish, silvery overtone to the coat. For the browns and fawns use the Plush Puppy All Purpose with Henna for shine and good depth to the light refl ect on the hair. Neither of these will soften the coat and dilute for easier dispersion at a ratio of 5 parts water to one part shampoo. Should you have any colour fade on the blacks or blues, use the Whitening Shampoo for tonal effect to deepen the colour slightly.

In your fi nal rinse water, add 1 tbspn of Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream and 1 tbspn Plush Puppy Swishy Coat to a bucket of water and liberally apply, saturating the whole of the coat. The Blow Dry Cream will fl atten the coat and the Swishy will help eliminate the wave and assist with reducing the fl y away effects of static. Should the coat be really too voluminous or a puppy coat which doesn’t sit fl at, then a bit more Blow Dry Cream can be added to the mix. If the coat is really dehydrated, then a light touch of Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner can be added in to the bucket mix as well. I tend to avoid any conditioner on this type of coat as conditioners will soften the texture.

Now work into the mid lengths and ends, a good handful of Plush Puppy Revivacoat. This is a great moisturiser and reduces tangles and snarls in the coat. Work a wide toothed comb through the whole of the coat before starting to blow dry. Never use a bristle brush to work through wet coat. It will stretch and snap the coat over time. The coat is at it’s most vulnerable when really wet. Once you can readily work the comb through the coat, section up the top part of the coat and start blow drying the underneath lengths with a cool dryer and an oval cushioned pin brush. This won’t give you the ultimate in straightening but will be kind to the coat till it is ¾ dry and then switch to an oval cushioned ½ bristle ½ nylon brush such as the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush. This will give you the smoother fi nish you require. Make sure you work the air of the dryer from root to end so you don’t swirl the coat around getting tangles.

It is a simple if time consuming task to blow dry a coat such as a Beardie. Just patience and repetition will give this coat a fabulous result. You can also work with a mix of 1 tbspn to 2 cups water of the Swishy Coat as you go section by section for extra slip and slide to the brush through the coat. This will also help to straighten further should you have a more challenging coat.

Now the trick is to not get this coat wet once you have done the hard yard on all that blow drying. If you must gather up the coat due to bad weather over night then use those big soft scrunchies we use on long human hair. They won’t put “band” marks into the coat. Use lots of them so as not to “over reach” the coat. Booties are a must to keep the feet dry and if necessary use the Plush Puppy Wonderwash for last minute clean ups and keep that blow dryer handy at all times.

I know it is a lot of time consuming work but this dog is sensational when presented beautifully and if you want to win the big stuff then you have to do big stuff to get there. Just watch the Poodle and Afghan people do their thing. I know of Poodle people who spend at least 6 hrs getting a Std Poodle together for a show so a Beardie is a doddle to groom compared to that.

Now on show day - let’s work that headpiece for fi nal outline. Apply Plush Puppy Puffy Dog, a doggy styling mousse for lift and hold, approx a tennis ball amount to your hand and work through all the hair of the top of the head from root to end. Brush up and against the growth till 3/4 dry and then lightly comb into place without fl attening. You want the illusion of putting air into it for fullness and height, allowing you to see that lovely Beardie eye and expression You can further hold in place by applying Plush Puppy Sit N Stay, just a touch to the fi ngertips, warmed through by rubbing together till tacky and then applying at the roots by grabbing down into the coat and clenching the fi ngers and dragging up to the mid lengths. Allow this time to dry before attempting to play with. You have kept the coat dry and it is nice and smooth and straight, lying fl at and not obscuring the natural fall so you now need to rebrush and using the Plush Puppy Pin Brush so as not to create static, apply a small amount of Plush Puppy Protein Coat Balm to both your hands and wipe down the mid lengths to the ends clumping your hands to a fi st with a touch extra of the balm to the ends to add a modicum of weight to the hemline. A touch of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher and you are ready to rock the socks off the judge with this wonderful show of workman meets high glamour.

This is your basic overall grooming regime. However, you can go further with Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo to reduce staining around the mouth when bathing. You can add Plush Puppy Pixie Dust prior to adding the coat balm by dipping a small amount onto the edge of the Porcupine brush and running lightly down the mid lengths and ends for a light sparkle and interest to the coat. You can use a treatment to the coat to put some extra assistance down into the hair shaft with the Plush Puppy Coat Rescue (a tbspn to a pint/500 ml water) - won’t soften but will re-hydrate. Do this prior to your final rinse.

Now I get a twinge of excitement whenever I see a good Beardie well presented in the ring. That head extends forwards and the topline fl attens out and the tail trails and I catch my breath as I watch to see if the handler will exhibit this dog just the way he wants to work. I can see the heather on the moor and the lichen on the rocks; I can almost hear the bagpipes. It has to be as real as that. If you can’t feel the mist and the cold cling of the mountain air then you don’t have a Beardie’s heart. He is a majestic and mystical creature living in our modern world. Show him with all the pride of his ancestors and spend the time to do him proud. It’s not often we get to have a piece of history as a living exhibit.

- Cheryl Le Court