Border Collie

Grooming Advice

A Shepherd’s Choice - The Border Collie Wonderfully smart, eager to work and a handsome fellow as well, the Border Collie is not only a willing and able worker, he cuts a fabulous fi gure in the show ring. The envy of those of us who have obstinate and wilful breeds, the Border Collie always appears to be easy to work with and almost an extension of his handler. Not only man’s best friend, this valuable assistant to the fl ock is a great all round dog for obedience, agility, etc and the conformation ring. The trick to it all is to be able to separate the duties and needs for this breed and ensure that the necessary approach is taken to his presentation for all events. Just as one works hard with training for fl y ball, agility and obedience, one needs to learn to groom and present for the show ring. The standard calls for a weather resistant, double coated breed with an abundant coat to form a mane, breeches and brush. The AKC standard allows some trimming on the feet, hocks and pasterns and mentions the short and rough coated varieties.

The texture is medium topcoat with a soft undercoat. The Border Collie has various stages with his coat due to seasonal shedding and care must be exercised to ascertain at which stage the coat is in order to manage the best outcome. Starting with the full coat stage, the main aim is for shine, condition and prevention of sunburn and dehydration. I recommend the Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo which I call the shine shampoo at a ration of 5:1 (i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo). Only use a conditioner if the coat is too full and needs some fl attening. I prefer to lightly oil this coat with the Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil used at a ratio of 1 Tbspn to 1 gal/4litres water. Sluice thoroughly through the coat to the skin and leave in - do not rinse.

This gives that extra sheen and keeps the coat from getting brittle. It also helps to keep the featherings from tangling. This is after all, an outdoors dog who is a busy fellow. For sunburn prevention, use the Plush Puppy Sunshade cream. Just a light amount onto the hand and spread over the topline every couple of days. When the coat is starting to get that look that tells you it is thinking about shedding, switch to the Plush Puppy Conditioning Shampoo used also at 5:1. When out of coat and you need more oomph, use the Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo at the same ratio. You can use some Plush Puppy Silk Protein Conditioner when the coat is about to shed as the coat sometimes can appear boofy and bulky at this point. Still continue to use the oil.

For that pearly white effect or to minimise unwanted warm tones to the coat, use the Plush Puppy Whitening Shampoo which does not bleach or lighten but tones any reddening or rusty tinges plus giving that lovely pearl white to the whites. This is effective on all colours of Border Collies though I prefer to use the Plush Puppy Deep Cleansing Shampoo on the white areas of any of the red dogs as I dislike a pearl white fi nish with a warm coloured/red dog, preferring the creamy white look instead. For show day grooming, this dog ought to be blow dried. I blow dry any time I bath a dog as it rids the coat of unwanted loose hair and keeps the coat rolling over and in good shape for a nice outline. There are various things one can do at this point to ensure a great coat presentation. If the coat is too skimpy, use Plush Puppy Volumising Cream at a mix of 1 tbspn to 1 cup of water in a water spray - the Plush Puppy Water Spray has measurements on the side.

Spray thoroughly through the coat and blow dry against the growth of the coat for maximum lift. Use the Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream at the same mix to reduce bulk or soften and fl atten if needed, especially when the coat is old and dry. For the featherings, furnishings, wavy areas that may look better smoother, use the Plush Puppy Swishy Coat varying your mix according to the texture of the coat as this can vary but a good starting base is 1 tbspn to 3 -4 cups of water. Work well through the areas that are to be smoothed and if on the topline, blow dry against the growth with an oval pin cushion brush till ¾ dry and then switch to an oval ½ bristle/½ plastic cushion brush (without knobs) such as the Plush Puppy Porcupine Brush this will smooth and straighten.

For the featherings, use the pin brush again till ¾ dry and switch to the Porcupine Brush till smooth and dry. Now you have the basic shape ready for fi nal titivating and brushing on show day. To give depth to the whites and diminish any stains, use Plush Puppy Coverup Cream dabbed lightly onto a barely damp or dry piece of sponge. Lightly rub through the areas needed, adding more layers till desired effect is achieved and add a brush full of chalk to dry. Leave and then brush through. To get extra lift to the mane in order to frame the head, use the Plush Puppy Quick Fix which has a light hold factor from the milk fats in the formula. Brush forwards and spray allowing the spray to dry.

Now if you prefer a lighter feel to the spray, dilute it. Give the coat a light blow dry if possible to access power and you should have by now a great shape happening. Try to avoid using a bristle brush on show day tin order to minimise static in the coat but if one of those, hot and windy days, use a light touch of Plush Puppy Coat Balm onto the featherings. This is non greasy and can be applied many times throughout the day if needed. It will kill the static and keep the fringing hanging neatly. I like to use a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the oval cushion Porcupine Brush and fl uff through the bib, pants and topline for a subtle sparkle and hints of glamour. Just work against the growth of the coat to allow the powder to settle below the surface and leave the shimmer on top.

Great on blacks too! Finish with a spritz of Plush Puppy Odour Muncher for that wonderful fragrance to the coat and a good all over spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for fi nal glam fi nish.

Keep the pin cushion brush handy for neatening the fringings and fl uffi ng up the mane etc and get out in that ring and show the rest of them how good a Border Collie can look. This breed does need lots of attention to his coat but frankly, on the other hand, you do get it easy with a dog that is easy to train. Nothing worthwhile is easy and I just love the beautiful outline this dog has when he moves with his stealth like gait and looks a million dollars! It just takes a bit of effort and knowledge and one you have that, you can do anything.

- Cheryl Le Court