Collie Grooming & Sheddingby Jane Meggitt
Collie grooming requirements aren't as onerous as you might imagine.
The American Kennel Club standard for the rough-coated collie notes that the "well-fitting, proper-textured coat" is the dog's crowning glory. There's also a smooth-coated version, considered the same breed and judged by the same standards. You might be surprised to find out which type of collie actually sheds more frequently. Because collies don't emit a doggy odor, they seldom need bathing.
The AKC rough-coated collie breed standard calls for an abundant coat, with the exception of the legs and head. As a double-coated breed, the collie should have a straight outercoat with a much softer undercoat. The dense undercoat is so thick that finding the skin underneath when parting the hair isn't easy. The collie's mane and ruff boast particularly thick hair, as do the hips and tail. Feathering on the legs appears above the hocks on the rear legs, and down to the ankles on the front legs.
During most of the year, your rough-coated collie requires brushing about every other week, according to the Collie Club of America. Before your grooming session, mist your dog's coat lightly, using special dog grooming spray or water. This pregroom misting prevents hair breakage. Using a slicker brush, groom him in the direction of hair growth. Pay special attention to the long hairs on his hindquarters. Feel with your fingers for any tangled, matted areas all over your dog's body. You'll need a comb to remove them, along with a pet-safe detangling solution. If you do bathe your collie, groom him first. Otherwise, mats might become more difficult to remove. It also takes longer for a dog with more hair to dry.
Blowing the Coat
Although your rough-coated collie sports a lot of hair, if you keep up with regular brushing, excessive shedding isn't usually a problem. There's an exception -- twice a year, collies "blow" their coat, which means your decor consists of a dog hair theme. During these spring and fall episodes, keep your vacuum cleaner handy and brush him thoroughly every day. You also can take him to the groomer to have him professionally shed out.
Rough Versus Smooth
The classic "Lassie"-type collie is rough-coated. The smooth-coated collie's coat is shorter and more dense -- and sheds more regularly than his rough-coated cousin. Although he doesn't have much of a topcoat, his undercoat is more profuse. While he requires more grooming than the rough-coated collie, owning a smooth-coated collie means you don't have to deal with the semi-annual coat blowout.
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