One of the oldest of breeds originating in Scotland and Northern England, the Collie was seen and sponsored by Queen Victoria and thus went from being just the Shepherd’s Dog, to a loving family dog to even the royal and rich.
Known for his elegant and beautiful appearance, the Collie in both coat forms, is true to many of the Scottish and northern English breeds requiring a harsh outer coat allowing him to withstand the bitter winters and outdoor working life. His dense undercoat protected and kept him warm and dry.
Collies are generally recognisable as popularised in the TV series „Lassie“ as Sables, though they are just as lovely in their Tri-Colour and Blue Merle coats. This is a bred with great appeal, great beauty and quiet dignity.
To present this dog for the show ring, it is a joy to be able to work with such a magnificent and abundant coat and allow it display all the glory of the silhouette of this magnificent breed. The secret being always, to retain texture to the coat to exhibit the hallmarks of his working ancestry. He is an outdoors dog and worked in damp, harsh and rough terrain. Like the sheep he herded, his coat also had to be impervious to the elements.
Our aim when grooming this dog, is to be able to regularly bath and blow dry, maintain the texture and keep the coat hydrated at all times. I like a lot of lift to this coat for the show ring and finishing with a nice tear drop shape to the ruff and bib.
For best fullness to the coat, shampoo the main body of the coat with Plush Puppy Body Building Shampoo diluted 5:1 (i.e. 5 parts water to one part shampoo) for even dispersion and economy of use. Nothing gets volume to the coat like this shampoo. It is fabulous. For the white areas, use P.P. Whitening Shampoo diluted again 5:1. For the Blue Merles and the Tri’s, you can mix 1/2 B.B. Shampoo and 1/2 Whitening Shampoo to get lift and tone all at once on the main part of the coat and then use the Whitening Shampoo only on any white areas. The Whitening does not lighten but rather tones, reducing any unwanted warm tones. Thus a rusty reddish tone to some of the black coated areas, can be deepened and the reddish hues reduced using the Whitening Shampoo. P.P. Black Opal Shampoo diluted 50/50 can be used on badly faded black areas of the coat being mindful not to get it on the white areas. I am a great one for using different shampoos in different areas of the coat to get maximum effect rather than using one overall shampoo. Plush Puppy shampoos do more than just clean – they really do something. They are outcome oriented for direct result.
For the Smooth Collies, choose P.P. All Purpose Shampoo for shine, diluted 5:1 and you can also mix 1/2 this and 1/2 Whitening Shampoo for reducing unwanted reddish tones or for Blue Merle coats to gain shine and tone.
Now to maintain that texture, don’t use conditioner on the main body of the coat. Conditioner will flatten and soften. Use P.P. Seabreeze Oil diluted 1 dspn to 4 lites/1gal warm water and saturate the coat to the skin using a large sponge. Leave in and do not rinse. This will give tremendous healthy vigour to the coat and yet keep all that harshness to the coat. Just what is needed for a herding dog’s coat! If you are requiring a lot of coat, then add 1 tbspn Volumising Cream in with the oil and water mix to save time. Great for out of coat situations or when you just want more coat and who doesn’t?
For the hips and pants where you have greater lengths of coat and want the coat to hang, you need to add a very weak application of conditioner remembering this flattens and softens, so you will then have to do something after that to keep texture. Ok, so mix tbspn P.P. Silk Protein Conditioner to 1 litre/1quart warm water and saturate the pants and hips. Leave in and do not rinse – this is a weak application so saves time doing it this way, gets even dispersion and ensures you can repeat the routine every time. (The Collie Smooth does not need this.)
So now you have the Rough Collie, oiled on his main body coat and conditioned on his hips and pants and perhaps the featherings to keep from tangling. Already you are building the silhouette rather than just cleaning only. Now blow dry using the heel of one hand and holding the nozzle of the turbo dryer hose working the hair of the coat against the growth to get maximum lift at the roots. This also removes any dead undercoat keeping the coat rolling most of the time without the usual heavy seasonal shedding. Do this often enough, and we do this weekly, you can keep an adult male in showable coat for a few years. As the dead coat is removed, the new is allowed to grow. It also helps prevent hot spots by never allowing the coat to felt underneath keeping the skin clear. Felted undercoat may work well in snow and freezing winds to protect the dog, but in most climates away from the Scottish landscape, the climates are usually more clement and we have to do different things to keep these coats looking good and not overheating with the skin getting hot and damp in humidity.
Now I mentioned earlier, that as conditioner flattens and softens we need to address the hip and pants area that we applied the weak conditioner application to. Once the coat is dry, sprinkle P.P. Powder Puff for Terriers onto a brush and lightly flip through the areas where the conditioner was applied. You don’t need much. Just a hint. Now feel the coat and add more if needed till you get that harsh, outdoor, weather resistant coat. This is instant texture at the flick of the wrist! Amazing!
For the ruff and bib, use P.P. Powder Puff Regular. This area has been oiled and dried with Volumising Cream in it and you are now seeking to get that nice finish and texture into the coat without going overboard. Again add a sprinkle onto the brush and each time, work through the area till the coat has that sit up lift. You can keep the shape and mold to a perfect shape, by warming on the fingers a tiny touch of P.P. Sit N Stay till it crosses over from wet sticky to a dry sticky. Now plunge your hands into the ruff and bib area and grasp each section at a time at the root area and then slide your fingers without opening them, up the length of the hair to just about 3 inches away from the tips. Thus the ends tip over creating that lovely tear drop shape. You do this all around the edges of the area keeping an eye on the overall outline.
Use the blow dryer to bring out the hair between the pads and trim off the long pieces to neaten the foot. Lastly trim the hocks and around the ears and along the lip line. Powder Puff Regular around the legs expands the hair making the legs look thicker. Finish off with a light sprinkle of P.P. Pixie Dust here and there throughout the coat. Just a touch – we want glamour not a glitter fairy, although this is not glitter. It is a subtle shimmer and used wisely is fabulous for picking up pinpricks of sunlight or spotlights.
For between show maintenance, use a good Pin Brush to aerate the coat and slather P.P. Revivacoat all throughout the coat for an easy leave in moisturiser. Spray a mix of Seabreeze Oil – 1 tspn to 1 cup water all underneath and around the pee feathers – to protect. Apply a good dose of the same mix to the ends of the lengths of the coat. Leave in all week. Once a month, mix up an application ofP.P. Coat Rescue – 1/4 cup to 1 cup water and work through the coat after you have shampooed. Leave in for 15 minutes or for as long as the dog will stay still and then rinse. Apply the Seabreeze Oil as for the show preparation and leave in.
For brushing during the week and for show day, mix P.P. OMG Concentrate 30:1 i.e. 30 parts water to one part OMG. Just brilliant for dematting, static free brushing, keeping the lengths of the pants from tangling and giving a great finish to the coat.
Your beautifully presented Collie is quite a sensation in the show ring. He is one of those wonderful dogs who has a working heart but a movie star appearance. He is all dog and can earn his keep, but, is a really pretty face at the same time. His lovely single tracking gait at speed, with good long reaching stride shows a well balanced and capable dog. He is all loyalty and all action. Your job is to ensure he looks at his peak and whilst not a traditional „hairdo“ dog, can with that superb coat, take them all on in the glamour stakes. What a magnificent dog!