A black and white collie smiles for the camera.

How to Groom a Collie

Are you wondering how to groom a Collie? Well, they need a lot less grooming than you might think. Overall, the Collie is a clean dog with minimal doggy odor.

Start grooming at an early age. If at all possible, try grooming your dog at home because the grooming process can help form a strong bond of trust between dog and owner.

All Collies require regular grooming, but Smooth Collies are the easiest to groom because of their short coats. Rough Collies require a little more work, but it is not a difficult coat to care for. You must brush from the skin outwards and the long coat needs to be back brushed. Don’t just brush over the top because mats start at the skin.

Overview of a Collie’s Coat and Type of Hair

Both the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie have double coats. They have a thick, softer undercoat and a thinner, flatter overcoat. The Rough Collie has a straight outer coat and a soft furry undercoat that is so thick it is difficult to see the skin when you part the hair. The Smooth Collie has a short dense outer coat with a thick undercoat. Both varieties of Collie shed moderately.

How to groom a Collie depends on the variety of Collie. By looking at a Rough Collie, you would think that he would require a lot of grooming but this is not the case. A good brushing once or twice a week will do the trick. For the Smooth Collie, just brush him once a week to remove the dead hair from his coat.

The Collie’s fur comes in four different colors: sable (like Lassie), tricolor (black with white markings and tan shadings), blue merle (silvery blue and black), and white (mostly white with some markings).

Collie’s Shedding Frequency

The Collie is a moderate shedder, so it is not a good choice if you are allergic to dogs.

The Rough Collie will shed throughout the year and twice a year the dog will go through a heavy shedding process. This is called a blowing coat. When this happens you can easily pull out clumps of hair with your fingers. During this time, you should brush your Rough Collie daily to help keep the shedding under control.

The Smooth Collie will not blow coat, but they do shed more than the Rough Collie throughout the year.

Tips for How to Best Groom a Collie

Grooming a Collie can be lots of fun for you and your dog – or, it can be a real battle if the process is not started early enough. Your Collie’s first bath should be at around seven weeks of age and it should be a fun experience. Just be gentle, use warm water and make a big deal about how wonderful bathtime is. If your puppy has a bad experience with his first bath he will always remember it and he may never want to take a bath again.

To best groom a Collie, brush the dog once or twice a week for a Rough Collie or once a week for a Smooth Collie. Grooming should take you about 10 to 20 minutes to do a good job, depending on the amount of coat your dog has and the time of year.

Rough Collies will blow coat twice a year. During this heavy shedding period, brush your Rough Collie daily to help control the shedding.

If you have a Smooth Collie, the dog will not blow coat. So just brush this dog once a week to keep shedding under control.

In addition to brushing, you should bathe your Collie at least four times a year. Also, trim your Collie’s nails once a month as needed. Check your Collie’s ears once a week for dirt, redness or odor that can indicate an infection. And don’t forget about daily tooth brushing to improve your dog’s health and keep his breath fresh.

To learn more about owning a collie, read our article Owning a Collie: Things to Know.