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Border Collie Help

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  • Border Collie Help

    We have a border collie that comes in infrequently for bathing. This summer she came to us completely shaved down. I asked the owner what happened as she always had a beautiful silky coat that was well brushed by the owner. She said a new groomer told her to shave the dog to keep her cooler in the summer. I didn't want to bad mouth the groomer but I told her that the coat actually helped keep them cool and her skin was now sunburned.

    We saw her last week and her coat has grown in nicely but it is no longer silky. It is dry, brittle and hard to care for now. As I tried to dry her, the hair kept folding back onto itself and knotting up. This never happened previously when we dryed her.

    Any advice as to how to help this client? Was it from the shave down? Is it damaged due to the sunburn on the skin? Owner claims she has not changed the diet at all.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    It can take a long time to straighten out a coat that has been shaved. I knew a groomer years ago that advertised this method of keeping the dogs cooler as well as reducing the shedding problem, lots of people went for it.

    What you will have to do is take the time to really undercoat the dog when she comes in the next time. A Coat King will work well to pull out the dry fuzzy coat. Also use a good conditioneron her and let her soak in it for a while. Evenually the coat will return to its silky texture but it may take a year or two.



    • #3
      The long silky guard hairs have gone and all you are seeing is the undercoat. The guard hairs can take a long time to come back and unfortunately after a shavedown these type of coats mostly grow in a lot thicker. I always discourage shaving a dog with a nice coat and just strip the undercoat instead. Luckily these days I dont do many anymore, mostly only goldens.


      • #4
        Lots of factors

        As with most things, this is not a "one size fits all" answer, despite the current fad of promoting keeping the coat to keep the dog cooler. <sigh> There are many, MANY dogs that have unusually heavy coats, unlike the original coats of the breed. There are many, MANY dogs that now live in climates their coats were not developed in - like Bernese Mountain Dogs living in the southern US!! Or Pyrenees, etc. In my opinion, we should not be scaring owners about trying a shave on their heavy-coated breeds; it can be worth a try to make the dog more comfortable and happy. And don't forget that many owners clip their dogs short - even pugs! - to decrease the amount of hair they have to deal with.

        I have seen far too many dogs that LOVE being shaved in the summer (been grooming over 30 years, lots of client feedback, plus double-coated breeds of my own, plus more personal observation through home boarding) to agree with simply saying "do not shave double-coated breeds."

        However - if the particular dog you mention has not yet grown the silky coat, or if she has any other possible health factors due to age or other things (vaccination reaction, etc.), it can take 4-6 months before you start to see the coat type she had before the shave.

        Many Border Collies have thin, silky coats that I would agree do not require clipping to keep the dog cool, but depending on how many months it has been, there is likely something going on that has not been discovered yet, like a thyroid problem, for instance. The vast majority of double-coated breeds that I have shaved in my grooming career had no problem growing their normal coat back, and sometimes were shaved twice during the summers.

        (And just to assure anyone that I am not a shave fanatic - first, I LOVE the look of beautiful coats and think that shaves are not as glamorous. Second, I talk many people out of shaving when the dog's coat is light enough that the air can get through it easily, since a shave would result in an uglier dog that will NOT be cooler, lol, so what's the point? Third, I currently own a Collie mix and an Aussie, and although the Collie has more coat, she sheds out well in the Spring and I do not shave her; the Aussie has little undercoat but a rather heavy coat that lies heavy, plus she is ultra hyper and active, so I usually clip her body short in the heat, leaving feathering, kind of like a Springer clip.)


        • #5
          Originally posted by petgroomaustralia View Post
          The long silky guard hairs have gone and all you are seeing is the undercoat. The guard hairs can take a long time to come back and unfortunately after a shavedown these type of coats mostly grow in a lot thicker. I always discourage shaving a dog with a nice coat and just strip the undercoat instead. Luckily these days I dont do many anymore, mostly only goldens.
          Ditto. Just get the dead coat out, and card it.

          As far as the coat curling back into itself, my first thought was you were holding the dryer nozzle too close. If not, then I'm kinda blank on this one. Poor doggy.

          Tammy in Utah
          Groomers Helper Affiliate


          • #6
            Debbie, I agree about shaving- it's a case by case basis. My BFF's rough coat St. Bernard is absolutely miserable outside in the hot, humid TN summer. Even for a few minutes. Her neck also gets really nasty during the summer where she drools consistently. It stays wet, mats up and get's discolored. She now gets clipped short.

            I don't know, you've just got to weigh the situation. I remember when I was a kid, we had a Aussie that worked our cattle. He was shaved every year, the beginning of summer. He was happy as a clam. He lived for 13 years and his coat was just fine.

            And with the Border Collie, I guess just do "supportive care" until the coat corrects itself.
            That Tenacious Terrier!


            • #7
              The use a good shampoo and conditioner will hopefully help with the coat texture ,but the curling back should change as the hair grows back out fully.Try to use the force air dryer in the direction of hair growth only when drying the dog.I have had clients in the past want me to make sure the coat lays flat ,it takes a bit longer to dry this way but it does work with a bit of practice.


              • #8
                IF she was actually sunburned in her SKIN, it can result in damaged follicles which then result in rough hair growing back that will NEVER be correct again. That being said, sunburn in dogs is rare. It usually appears as blistered, discolored skin that scales off. It thickens slightly as well as it heals in most cases. I have two hairless cresteds and one of them burned this spring. Took WEEKS to help up. He went out without his sunscreen one day when my hubby was not feeling well. He looked like he had been chemically peeled, poor baby and had to stay inside entirely for weeks. If the dog seriously sunburned the skin, then you may have permanent damage. If you are talking about sun parched COAT then it will grow out with time. If it was truly sunburn though it would have made the dog ill and a vet visit would likely have been required. Pinky doesn;t go out anymore without his sunscreen AND his jammies!
                <a href="" target="_blank">My Blog</a> The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain


                • #9
                  Thanks for replies

                  The dog is 1 1/2 yrs old. I appreciate all the comments ... on the shavedowns as well. I own a GP but can get his undercoat out w/a coat king and he isn't uncomfortable but does come into the airconditioning in the summer during the hot part of the day as do all the dogs.

                  I will chat w/the owner about the guard hairs growing back and ck my technique of drying to make sure I'm not the problem.

                  The owner was the one that told me the bc was sunburned. I assumed she had already been the vet -- maybe not. Maybe it wasn't actually a burn but the skin was scaley and peeling. The skin doesn't look bad now but I'm no expert to say whether it is now thicker and damaged or not.

                  I will try the conditioner and working on the undercoat. Thanks so much for the replies. I learn so much from you groomers w/all your years of experience.