What shears do I cut my border collie's hair with?

Updated February 21, 2017

Border collies have medium length hair that comes in a variety of coat types. They have a multilayered coat, which changes composition depending on the time of year because of shedding. Selecting the right tools for grooming your border collie is important. There are several types of shears that can be used for grooming dogs, but they all have different purposes.

Electric Shears

Electric shears are also known as clippers. They are useful for trimming large areas of your border collie's hair to a specific length. Electric shears come with a variety of guards that allow you to select the length you want to clip the dog's coat. If the dog's coat is very matted, you can use electric shears to cut the hair close to the skin. Select clippers that are UL listed and have detachable blades to make cleaning the clippers easier. You can also buy replacement blades when they get dull.

Thinning Shears

Thinning shears look like scissors, except that one of the blades has teeth like a comb. This allows thinning shears to cut only half the hairs when the blades are closed. Thinning shears are mainly used to make the dog's coat lighter, so it doesn't trap as much heat. This can make the dog more comfortable in hot weather. Thinning shears also have the advantage of not showing a solid line of cut hair, which makes it easier to hide grooming mistakes.

Hand Shears

Hand shears are similar to scissors used for cutting human hair, except they have rounded tips. The rounded tips prevent the dog from being poked accidentally. They should be used to trim small areas of hair where you want all the hairs the same length, such as behind the ears and between the toes. Hand shears are also good for removing smaller mats and tangles, particularly if your dog does not like to be brushed. Slide a comb between the mat and the skin, then carefully cut through the mat. Take care not to pull on the dog's skin.

What to Do Afterwards

If your border collie is dirty, after you've clipped is the best time for a bath to wash out all the loose hair. You should always cut dog hair when it is dry. Cutting wet dog hair is much more difficult and harder on the shears. If your dog is clean, or you've already bathed and dried the collie, brush out the loose hair with a slicker brush. Slicker brushes are large, flat brushes with hooks that are specially designed to trap and lift dead and detached hairs. After the loose hairs are out of the dog's coat, a final pass with a finishing comb or grooming brush will complete the job.

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