A Shepherd’s Choice – 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 figure in the show ring too. 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 flock is a great all round dog for obedience, agility, the conformation ring and more.
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. 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 and 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 Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo this toning shampoo is perfect for both the white areas and all of the colours as it enriches the colour. Use at a ratio of 5:1 (i.e. 5 parts water to 1 part shampoo). We recommend using down the skull and topline Plush Puppy All Purpose Shampoo, the reason for this is that the henna base of this shampoo gives a wonderful shine to the coat. Only use a conditioner if the coat is too full and needs some flattening. I prefer to lightly oil this coat with Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil used at a ratio of 1 tsp. to 1 gal/4litres water. Sluice thoroughly through the coat to the skin and leave-in, do not rinse. This gives 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.
When the coat is starting to get the look that tells you it is thinking about shedding, switch to 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.
Reduce staining and any warm/red toned areas with Plush Puppy Wonder Blok, a safe all naturally sourced pure soap. Apply to a wet coat, rinse and use repeatedly. Stains are always difficult to shift but short of bleaching which is not an option for most, this is a nice gentle way to lessen the impact of nasty stains. The key to this product is allowing time for its natural ingredients to work. We suggest where possible apply to the areas the day before bathing for maximum effect.
For show day grooming, this dog ought to be blow dried using a force dryer as this removes any loose hairs from the coat 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 sparse, use Plush Puppy Volumising Cream at a mix of 1 tbsp. to 1 cup of water. Saturate this through the coat with a decent sized sponge and leave-in then blow dry against the growth of the coat for maximum lift. You can also use Plush Puppy Volumising Spray, a ready to use and is simply sprayed where needed.
Use Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream at a mix of 1 tbsp. to 1 cup of water to reduce bulk, soften and flatten if needed, especially when the coat is old and dry.
For the featherings, furnishings & wavy areas that may look better smoother, use 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 tbsp. 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 Plush Puppy Ultimate Pin Brush until ¾ dry and then switch to the oval ½ bristle/½ nylon Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti-Stat Porcupine Brush, this will smooth and straighten. For the featherings, use the pin brush again till ¾ dry and switch to the Anti- Stat Brush until smooth and dry. Now you have the basic shape ready for final titivating and brushing on show day.
To give depth to the whites and cosmetically diminish any stains, use Plush Puppy Cover-up 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 Plush Puppy Fairy Frost Regular which will also help to dry the cream faster. Fairy Frost Regular gives the crispest and whitest white ever and clings well to the coat all day. Leave-in and brush through.
For grooming at either the show or at home use Plush Puppy O.M.G., a revolutionary grooming spray that lives up to its name. A light spray of OMG and brushing in allows this product to refresh the coat leaving it feeling wonderful. Using at an approximate mixture of 1 part OMG to 30-40 parts water using this break down form for the OMG concentrate. The stronger the mix the stronger the effects, for this type of double coated breed a lighter concentration works best. Using OMG can be a one off at shows or during the drying process after bathing. An amazing product for regular brushing also. The perfect product to allow all the benefits of putting a moisturising product into the coat without over softening. OMG never builds-up and never goes stringy. A product that took years to develop using the latest of technology for maximum effects. A true necessity for the tool kit.
Show day give the coat a light blow dry if power access is possible, and you should have by now a great shape happening. If needed to clean dirty feet etc. use Plush Puppy Wonder Wash, simply spray it on the dirty area, work in and towel off. This no-rinse cleanser is efficient and highly effective. You can also use a light dusting of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust onto the oval cushion Anti Stat Brush and fluff through the bib, pants and topline for a subtle sparkle and a hint 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 light all over spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for final glam finish.
To keep your Borders coat in top condition try a mixture of Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil and Plush Puppy Coat Rescue as a treatment rinse and left in. This helps protect and hydrate the coat. Mix in equal parts 1 tbsp. of each into 1 Litre (1/4 Gallon) of warm water. Apply all over, do not rinse and then dry.
This breed requires 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 once you have that, you can do anything. Go for it!
Written by Simon Briggs, Director of Grooming – Plush Puppy Australia