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. 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, 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
fly 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 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 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 flattening. I prefer to lightly oil this coat with 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 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 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 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.
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 a 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 finish with a warm coloured/red dog, preferring a crisp white instead. To reduce staining, attack the stained areas with (new) Plush Puppy Wonder Blok, a safe all naturally sourced pure soap – apply onto wet coat, rinse and use repeatedly. Stains are always hard 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.
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. 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.
Use the Plush Puppy Blow Dry Cream at the same mix to reduce bulk or 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 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 Plush Puppy Pin Cushion Brush Regular till ¾ dry and then switch to the oval ½ bristle/½ nylon Plush Puppy Anti Stat Cushion Brush - this will smooth and straighten. For the featherings, use the pin brush again till ¾ dry and switch to the Anti Stat Brush till 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 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 (new) 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 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 slightly.
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 in 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 Anti Stat Brush and fluff 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 light all over spray of Plush Puppy Shine & Comb for final glam finish.
Keep the pin brush handy for neatening the featherings and the new large Poodle type Plush Puppy Comb for fluffing up the mane and smoothing down the topline 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 once you have that, you can do anything. Go for it!