Rough Collie Grooming Tools

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The grooming tools that make my life easier.

Rough Collies‘ long fur requires significantly more attention than the shorter coat of their Smooth Collie counterparts. Here is a brief list and assessment of some basic Rough Collie grooming tools to help keep your furry friend looking their best.

Soft Stainless Steel Pin Brush

When it comes to grooming your Rough Collie, the pin brush is your best friend. There are many styles and brands to choose from, which accounts for the wide variation in pricing. This essential tool can be picked up at places like Walmart for under 5 dollars, or found on Amazon with prices varying from 10 to 30 dollars.

What kind of pin brush you get depends on your preferences and your budget, but it really is worth it to get a bigger brush with a comfy handle like this one to cover more coat area and avoid hand cramps while brushing.

Long Tooth Undercoat Dog Rake

When a Rough Collie goes through its seasonal shed, or “blows its coat,” the undercoat comes out in clumps. If you only use a pin brush, you will find yourself exhausted as you brush and brush, creating fur piles and tumbleweeds on the ground with seemingly no end in sight. At such times, an undercoat dog rake is a lifesaver.

Dog Grooming Comb

You will want to use a comb mainly for the feathering on the backs of your Collie’s legs and the silkier hair behind the ears. The fur here tends to be more prone to tangling and picking up foreign objects (leaves, burrs, twigs, etc.). To make the grooming process more pleasant for your Collie, do be careful not to tug and pull too much if you hit a snag.

The comb can also serve the dual purpose of cleaning hair out of your slicker brush, if you have one with wire bristles. Just be sure to purchase a wide-toothed dog grooming comb, not a fine-toothed flea comb.

Self-Cleaning Dog Slicker Brush

Once you have gone over your Collie with a pin brush, you can use a slicker brush to go after any tangles you may have encountered, perhaps in areas like the base of the mane near the throat or in the long “pantaloons” on the backs of the hindquarters. For a “touch-up” effect, the slicker brush is good for finishing things off and smoothing everything out.

I have an “unbreakable” slicker brush by Millers Forge that has served me reliably for more than a decade. As a backup, I also use a self-cleaning dog slicker brush, primarily when my Collies pick up burrs on our rambles. This allows me to get rid of the burrs without touching them, saving me the annoyance of pricked fingers.

Round-Tip Grooming Shears for Dogs

You will want scissors primarily for trimming hair around the feet/paw pads and backs of the hind legs from hock to foot, or the dog’s “ankles.” And, if you encounter a particularly difficult mat on your Collie (often behind the ears), scissors can be used as a very last resort to cut them out. Some Rough Collie owners (myself as well as those who breed and show their dogs) also trim a “sanitary path” under the tail and near the genitals. This is especially helpful for males and heavily-coated Collies.

Any scissors will do, even ones from a dollar store, although they will probably dull far sooner than a good pair of round-tip grooming shears for dogs. Once dull, the scissors tend to catch and pull, which never makes a dog happy.

I had a pair of pet grooming shears when I was a teenager that I used on the two family Collies. Much to my surprise, my youngest sister (an aspiring hair dresser) was still using them – on herself and friends – when I came home after graduating college!

Nail Clippers

Having a nice pair of nail clippers can keep you from hearing “click-clack” as your dogs walk through uncarpeted areas of your house. Some nail clippers for dogs even come with a nail file and a guard to protect the quick as you trim. As an added bonus, dog nail clippers can also be used on cats’ claws, if you have both canines and felines. 

Some people like Kolby (owner of Rough Collie guide dog Amelia), swear by Dremel grinding tools instead of nail clippers. Using a nail grinder would of course depend entirely on yours and your Collie’s comfort level.

Suggestions?

If you have a favorite grooming tool or pro tip, feel free to leave it in the comments below!

Emily Sowulewski

Emily is an avid writer, blogger, and Collie lover who collects and posts stories about Collies from around the world. Submit a story, ask a question, or just say hi; Emily would love to hear from you.
  • Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( https://www.instagram.com/tayo_home/ ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.

    Regards
    Wiki

    • Thank you! I am now following your Instagram. I have a lynx point Siamese mix cat that looks very similar to yours. 🙂

  • Hello, Emily,
    I wanted to share my collie, Amelia, with you. Amelia is a rough collie, and she is my Guide Dog. We have been a team for over five years. Amelia loves working and takes on life with me with enthusiasm.

    • Hi Kolby!

      Please give Amelia a good ear rub or butt scratch for me, and tell her I said she’s a very good girl. I’d love to see a picture of Amelia! You can submit a photo to our gallery, and even submit more of her (and your) story if you want! I’m always looking for awesome Collies to feature. If you’re a social media person, you can also contact me on Facebook or Instagram @Collie_Chatter.

    • You can try the peanut butter trick! Some people have success with smearing peanut butter on a wall at their dog’s head level to keep them occupied. You can even put peanut butter on plastic wrap and attach it with tape to a cupboard or the front of the fridge if you’re concerned about your poor wall. 😉

      A lot of people also start out a puppy or an antsy dog with a peanut-butter-filled Kong toy or some kind of long-lasting treat. You may also need to keep your dog on a leash and tie it off short to a table leg or something to limit their range of motion! Once you need to brush the neck area, you can switch to attaching the leash to a harness instead of a collar.

      You can also take it in sections. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, so some days I only get a quarter or one side of a dog done. Gus is very full-coated, so it can take me a couple/few days to fully, thoroughly brush him!

      When I got my male Collie Gustav, he had just turned one year old and had been shaved. I had to practically hog tie him and offer him LOTS of food rewards to get him used to being brushed. Nail trimming was a big battle, too! I started out trimming one nail at a time with a treat after every nail. Gradually I started fading that out (a treat after every other nail, then eventually only after each paw was done.)

      I still give occasional treats (aka cat kibble – small and tasty) as a reward for calm behavior. Even though Gus is almost 10 now, I feel good behavior should be rewarded. Every grooming session starts out with a cup of cat kibble and a spray bottle as a corrective device. 😏 I remind Gus that good dogs get treats and bad dogs get sprays! (Just water now, although I’ve used a vinegar/water solution in the past when he was younger and more rotten. It doesn’t hurt dogs, but they hate the smell of it misted in front of their face.) If Gus is being a pain (thrashing, kicking, chewing on the brush, etc.), I pretty much only have to pick up the spray bottle and give him a warning at this point. The visual reminder of the bottle being there and the idea that he COULD get sprayed in the face with water is usually enough to keep him on his best behavior. (Note: this would probably not work at all on a Lab or other water dog.)

      Final tip – if you can afford it, I highly recommend getting a grooming table. It’s not in the budget for me yet, but I do want to get one in the future. They keep your dog stationary and save you from back aches. 🙂 This one is the kind I will probably get, since it raises and lowers. I can’t be lifting my 80 pound guy up onto a table! But there are simpler, cheaper options, even a clamp with the arm and loops that you attach to your own table if you already have one.

      Hope some of this info helps! If you think of it later on, come back here and let me know how the grooming training is progressing and which methods work for you.