The stunning, perfect coat of Lassie is perhaps one of the first things that come to mind when you think of a Collie. However, despite what the iconic TV show led you to believe, Lassie didn’t simply wake up in the morning looking that good – she used one of the best shampoos for collies on the market to ensure she turned heads all day long.

Today we’re going to be giving you the ultimate crash course in grooming and bathing your Collie to leave them looking as good as Lassie (well, almost).

We’re going to talk about bathing tips, grooming tips, and skin and coat issues that the breed suffers from. We’re also going to be answering some of the most frequently asked Collie bathing and grooming questions that our readers send in to us.

Perhaps the most useful and actionable part of this guide today is going to be the Collie shampoo review section. We’ve done a huge amount of completely impartial research into the best shampoos from the best brands which culminated in 6 excellent product recommendations (that are perfect for the needs of the breed).

Let’s get started.

Before we talk about bathing and grooming tips (or product recommendations) it’s useful for us to talk about some of the breed specific issues that the Collie faces when it comes to skin and coat care. Below we’re going to mention what they are, and the properties that any good Collie shampoo should have.

2 in 1 Conditioner

The stunning locks of Lassie aren’t all natural – the superstar canine almost certainly had a little help from an army of groomers and bathers that applied all kinds of lotions and potions to her to give her famous shine. If you want your pooch to look anything like Lassie (and let’s face it, you do), then you’re going to need to invest in a shampoo that has a good conditioner in it.

While you’d think that’s going to be an easy task, it’s a little trickier than it sounds.

Almost every product on the market these days will have some kind of compounds inside of them that can be classed as a conditioner. Almost all shampoos have the same kinds of claims on the bottle about glossiness, smoothness, deshedding and skin care – which makes it very difficult to decide which ones work, and which ones are simply marketing fluff.

You should always do your research before committing to a shampoo that makes claims about the conditioning power of their product. Look at the ingredients list, check real customer reviews, and see what kind of reputation the brand has in the industry.

Note: This is a lot of hard work, and we’ve done this for you in the review section below. We strongly recommend you pick one of our product recommendations later in the article (unless researching Collie shampoos sounds like your kind of fun).

Therapeutic Properties

Collies are famous for their uncanny 6th sense that allows them to detect when something is wrong (yes it’s a real thing, it wasn’t just made up for Lassie on TV). However, despite the brave stereotype of the breed, they can actually get nervous quite easily in certain situations – one of which is bath time.

No dog likes being put in the bath, but Collies are arguably a little fussier in this respect than other breeds. Due to this, some of the best manufacturers have started to infuse scents into their shampoos that are designed to soothe and calm your pooch while they are in the tub.

The efficacy of these infusions is something that’s hotly debated, but they work around the same principles of aromatherapy that are used on us humans – and anecdotally they seem to work. We’re not suggesting that soothing shampoos with therapeutic properties are going to instantly make your pooch chill like they’re in a doggy day spa, but they’re a nice bonus that we think makes a noticeable and real difference.

2 Tips On Maintaining The Perfect Collie Coat

In this section, we are going to talk about a few grooming tips that need to be taken into account if you want to keep your Collie’s coat in tip-top condition.

Groom Them Regularly

Collies come in two varieties, the longer hair versions (the “rough” collie) are the kind of dog you saw in Lassie, and the other shorter haired version is called the “smooth” collie.

As you can imagine, these two different coat types have very different grooming requirements. The smooth Collie is reasonably easy to groom, and you should be able to get away with grooming them only once a week. The short hair is much less prone to tangling and matting, but the grooming spreads essential natural oils that your dog creates around the entirety of their coat – increasing the overall health of their skin and hair.

The rough Collie needs to be groomed much more regularly, their long smooth stunning hair is extremely susceptible to tangling and matting, and it’s much more noticeable when it falls out around your home. You should groom rough collies at least two times a week as a bare minimum, if you want your pooch to look as good as Lassie, you’re going to need to groom them around 3 to 4 times per week instead.

Groom Them From A Young Age

Again, this tip mainly applies to the longer haired rough Collie, but it’s a good piece of advice for the shorter haired smooth Collie too.

Because grooming is going to be a huge part of your dog’s life – it’s very important for them to enjoy the experience (or at the very least, they should tolerate it). The best way to do this is to get them used to the grooming experience from a very young age. If they aren’t happy with being brushed as a pup – you’re going to have a hard time getting them to enjoy it when they’re adults.

Reward your puppy Collie with treats for staying still when getting groomed, then once they have the hang of that – move them on to more advanced behaviors. Rewarding them when you touch their ears, clean around the eyes, or handle their feet are all good ideas.

If your pup really doesn’t like the sensation of being brushed, try “grooming” them with your hand instead. This will do almost nothing in terms of tangling or matting, but it’ll get them used to the idea of staying still while being touched. Then, once they’re happy with that, slowly bring the brush back until the hand grooming isn’t required at all.

Overall Best Shampoo for Collies

Buddy Wash Relaxing Green Tea & Bergamot Dog Shampoo & Conditioner

So now we know a bit about the grooming requirements of Collies, and we know about the kinds of thing we should be looking out for in a good shampoo for the breed. It’s now time for us to get into the review section of the article.

We’ve done lots of research into the needs of the Collie, and we’ve looked at countless shampoos and conditioners to see if they meet what we consider to be the “minimum requirements” of the breed. Below we’re going to make a few recommendations about runners up and specific products that are better suited to specific situations – but in our opinion, the best shampoo and conditioner for Collies at the moment is the Relaxing Green Tea & Bergamot Dog Shampoo & Conditioner from Buddy Wash.

Brands in the pet shampoo industry don’t get much bigger and better than Buddy Wash. They’re one of the most respected companies in the world thanks to the premium products that they create – without the premium price tag.

This is a completely natural and gentle shampoo that’s free from soap and alcohol – two of the main substances that dry and damage the skin of a dog. Instead, this product uses an all-natural coconut-based formula with a wide range of additives to clean and sanitize your pooch. The deodorizing properties of this product are second to none, and even the smelliest Collie on the block will be as fresh as a bunch of roses after being bathed in this brilliant product.

One of the most impressive things for us about this product was the super effective and strong nature of the scented infusions that make up the aromatherapy style treatment included with every wash. Your Collie’s nerves will be calmed with two of the best natural scents for relaxation on the planet – rosemary and mint. It’s not going to remove all the stress from your pooch, but it’s certainly going to make a difference.

The conditioner in this product is as good as the shampoo, and it’s made from the highest quality all-natural ingredients, infusions, and essential oils that mother nature has to offer. The sage, rosemary, green tea, and chamomile all work together to condition your dog’s coat (while working hand in hand with its natural oils) to ensure a super glossy shine and smooth coat from head to tail. The formula itself has been specifically designed to lather exceptionally well compared to conditioners of other manufacturers and as such it’s going to be able to cover and coat every single hair of your Collie’s thick coat with ease.

There’s a lovely amount of aloe vera in this product (which works with the green tea in the conditioner above) to provide a little skincare too. Aloe vera is as powerful and effective on dogs as it is on humans – and it’s one of the best infusions any shampoo can have (natural or otherwise).

As you’d expect from a Buddy Wash product, only the highest quality ingredients have been used in this formula (all of them are cosmetic grade) and as an added bonus – it’s made in the USA too.

You’ll be happy to learn that despite the impressive performance of this product, it’s actually quite cheap. You can grab a bottle of this stuff for around $7, which in our opinion is an absolute bargain.

It’s honestly one of the best shampoos for Collies on the market at the moment, and we think you’d need a very good reason not to add it to the very top of your shortlist.

4Legger Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo

Runner Up – The Buddy Wash product we’ve just been talking about above had some pretty serious competition for the top spot. We really liked the Organic, Hypo-Allergenic, Lemongrass & Aloe Dog Shampoo by 4-Legger too, but it was slightly beaten on price by the product above – which is why it’s our runner up.

4-Legger is an excellent brand that has an impressive reputation for creating products that provide natural cleaning power, without harmful chemicals, at a reasonable price point. It’s a cruelty-free, vegan, 100% organic product that has been USDA certified as a formula that is “Organic to exceptional standards”.

Quite simply, products don’t really get more organic and natural than this.

Like all good products these days, it’s a soap-free (and alcohol-free) formula that doesn’t dry out or harm your dog’s skin like some cheaper, lower quality products will. The cleaning power of this product comes from lemongrass, which is an exceptional antibacterial and antifungal cleaning agent. It will annihilate any bacteria that are currently living on your pooch, and deodorize with impressive efficacy – your pooch is going to be smelling better than ever after they take a bath with this stuff.

Fun fact: Lemongrass also has some mild pest repellent properties that will allow your pooch to resist fleas, ticks, and mites a little bit easier than they otherwise would. It’s not a substitute for a proper topical pest treatment – but every little helps.

The conditioner in this product is also all natural and is made from a carefully selected blend of essential oils and vitamins. They work perfectly with one another to nourish your dog’s coat, leaving them looking as lovely as Lassie (more or less). You’re going to notice a beautiful glossy shine to your pooch that lasts for quite a while after the conditioner has been applied.

We love it when shampoos include aloe vera in their formula as it’s one of the best compounds on the planet for skin recovery and rejuvenation. The amount of aloe vera in this product is going to soothe and protect against any redness, itchiness, or irritation your pooch suffers from.

It’s a super concentrated formula, which means that a little product is going to go a long way. This is particularly welcome when you consider the price of this product (around $15 for a 16oz bottle). The super concentrated nature of the shampoo makes up for the additional cost slightly – but it’s not enough to offset the price increase entirely.

Quite honestly, if this product was a little cheaper it would have been our overall pick. It’s a great product from a great brand, and despite it being more expensive – it’s still excellent value for money.

If you don’t mind paying a little bit more for a great product that’s going to leave you with a clean, shiny, and glossy Collie – then it’s more than worthy of your consideration.

Natures Miracle Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner

Best Collie Puppy Shampoo – Puppy Collies have different needs to their bigger brothers and sisters, which is why we recommend that you check out the Supreme Odor Control Natural Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner by Nature’s Miracle if you’re the lucky owner of a puppy Collie.

It’s an excellent product from one of the most reputable brands out there. As you’d expect from a puppy shampoo it’s extremely gentle and won’t harm or irritate the delicate skin of a younger pup. It’s a soap-free formula that doesn’t rely on harsh chemicals to sanitize and deodorize – instead, it uses natural ingredients and infusions to keep things fresher for longer.

The conditioner in this product isn’t as effective as the adult shampoos we mentioned above, but it’s more than enough to keep your dog’s coat looking great in-between bathing sessions.

The main thing we love about this product is the fact that it’s a tearless formula. If you use normal shampoo on a young pup and it gets into their eyes, it can hurt – and they’ll remember it for a very, very long time.

3 More Top Rated Dog Shampoos For Collies

Before we finish the review section of this article, we’re going to quickly talk about 3 other shampoos that caught our attention when we were doing our research for the products above. They didn’t quite make the top spots – but they are more than worthy of your consideration.

Earthbath Oatmeal & Aloe Dog & Cat Shampoo

This is a great all-rounder shampoo and conditioner from Earthbath. As you might have guessed from the name, Earthbath tries to make the most organic, eco-friendly, cruelty-free products on the market – and they usually succeed.

This is an excellent example of one of their finest products, it’s soap free and instead uses oatmeal to provide its famous cleaning power. Oatmeal is one of the best natural deodorizers on the planet, it’ll kill any bacteria that make your pooch stink while the beautiful shea butter and rosemary leave your pooch smelling good enough to eat.

Burt’s Bees Oatmeal Shampoo with Colloidal Oat Flour & Honey

This is one of the cheapest products on the market that we are comfortable recommending, and if you’re on a budget it’s an excellent option.

As you can imagine, due to the price point this is being sold at ($5 for a 16oz bottle) it doesn’t have bells and whistles like some of the other products we’ve talked about today. However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is a great product. It cleans well, it’s great at deodorizing, and the conditioner is pretty good (considering the price) too.

We really like the honey infusion in this product as it serves two purposes – it’ll help with the conditioning of your dog’s coat, but it will also soothe their skin at the same time. It’s not a 100% natural product (it’s 97% natural) but at this price point, it’s kind of hard to complain when you consider the quality of cleaning and conditioning that it provides.

There’s nothing better out there right now that can compete with this product at this price point – and it’s more than worthy of being added to your shortlist.

Paws & Pals Oatmeal, Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Shampoo

The final product we’re going to recommend today is another great all-rounder that does everything you’d need from a good Collie shampoo. It’s got a quality conditioner made from shea butter and other natural infusions, and it has awesome skin care properties thanks to the good amount of aloe vera included in the formula.

Like some of the other products that we’ve talked about today, it deodorizes very well thanks to the awesome power of oatmeal, and it lathers well which allows it to clean every single hair of your Collie’s thick coat.

As the proverbial cherry on top, it’s great value for money at $11.95 for a huge 20oz bottle.

4 Tips On Bathing Your Collie

In this section we are going to give you a few hints and tips that you should use with the product you pick from our recommendations above – they’re going to make bathing less stressful for your pooch, and less hassle for you.

Groom Them Before Brushing

This is a tip that applies to all Collies, but it’s super important for the longer haired versions of the breed. It can seem like a waste of time to brush your Collie before bathing them, after all – you’re going to be grooming them after the bathing session is over anyway.

However, grooming them before bathing provides a very specific benefit (aside from the loose hair removal).

When matted hair gets wet, it acts like a sponge and absorbs a huge amount of water. The matted sections struggle to dry quickly after the bath, and they stay wetter for longer. This moisture combined with the body heat of your pooch (and their probably messy lifestyle) makes them perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Your pooch will get smellier much faster than they should because of this, which is obviously less than ideal.

Give your pooch a good once over with the brush before bathing them, and this issue goes away instantly. Make sure you check every inch of their coat formatting and tangling before getting them wet.

Run The Bath Ahead Of Time

We’ve mentioned the potentially nervous nature of the Collie around bath time several times already. Anything that you can do to make the bathing process quicker, easier, and less stressful for your pooch is going to be appreciated by them.

When you call your pooch into the bathroom, the bath should be already filled and ready for bathing. Making your dog sit in the bathroom while they wait for the tub to fill creates a huge amount of anxiety and stress for them (compounded by the sound of the loud rushing water). It’s arguably less enjoyable for them than the actual bathing ritual itself.

Simply run the bath ahead of time, and you spare your pooch all this anxiety immediately. Call them in, and get them in the tub before they’ve had the chance to really process what’s going on – it’s much easier for them this way.

Put A Towel Down

Continuing with the theme of reducing stress levels for your pooch, putting a towel down in the bottom of the tub is another super simple, super effective way you can make them feel a little more comfortable during bathing sessions.

Bathtubs are usually made from ceramic or plastic – both of which are smooth slippery surfaces that are not commonly found in nature. Your dog’s paws have not been designed to deal with these kinds of surfaces and they usually have to concentrate to maintain their balance (especially when the tub is covered in warm soap and water).

Simply putting a towel down in the bottom of the tub provides your pooch with a surface to stand on that has much more grip. They’ll no longer have to concentrate on maintaining their balance, and if they could thank you for it – we’re sure they would.

Bathe Your Puppy In The Sink

It’s very important to do everything you can to make bathing sessions as pleasant as possible for your pooch. They’re never going to love getting in the tub, but if you can prevent them from hating it – that’s a win in our book.

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and you can’t have them unlearn negative memories that are created when they’re young pups either. So by reducing stress as much as possible in the first bathing sessions of your dog’s life, you’re going to potentially give them a better chance of “enjoying” adult bathing sessions.

One of the worst things for puppies (or breeds much smaller than the Collie) is being placed in a huge tub for bathing sessions. It’s a prison for them that reverberates the loud sound of running water that they instinctively know they can’t escape from. Your pup isn’t going to understand what’s going on for the first few bathing sessions – which makes things even worse for them.

It’s easy to see how all these things combined can create an uncomfortable, stressful bathing experience for your pup, but by bathing them in the sink – they can be avoided entirely.

Your pup won’t feel trapped in a huge cavernous space, and you’ll be able to bathe them without bending over too – it’s a win-win situation. Just remember that sooner or later they are going to outgrow the sink and will need to be moved to the tub.

Note: Don’t try this tip in the bathroom sink – they usually have curved sides that make it almost impossible for your pooch to stand still without slipping or sliding. Bathe them in the kitchen sink instead.

FAQ Regarding Bathing a Collie

In this final section of the article we’re going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we receive from our readers regarding bathing a Collie.

Do Rough Collies Shed More Than Smooth Collies?

This is an interesting question, and in a nutshell, the answer is no – both kinds of Collie shed the same amount.

However, the longer hair of the rough Collie is much more noticeable when it falls out due to its larger size. This means that they’re going to be more visible when they’re scattered around your home – and it can give the impression that they shed more than their shorter haired smooth brothers and sisters.

So while they seem to be different in the shedding department, in reality, it’s just an “optical illusion”.

How Often Should I Bathe A Collie?

Collies are a reasonably clean breed, and they should be bathed around once every 6 to 8 weeks on average. You can bathe them more regularly than this if a situation arises that requires it (for example, they take a mud bath) but on the whole, you shouldn’t be bathing them more often than once a month.

Conclusion

So there you have it, that’s all there is to know about bathing the rough and smooth Collie. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about caring for the breed today, by using any of the tips we’ve spoken about above you’re going to keep your pooch looking as good as Lassie (almost).

As we mentioned earlier, the quality of the conditioner in any good shampoo is very important – and it’s hard to differentiate the good products from the bad ones.

We strongly recommend you try the products we have talked about above before considering going off on your own and doing your own research – they honestly represent the best shampoos and conditioners for Collies on the market right now.

They’re all more than worthy of your consideration, and we’re certain that you and your pooch will be happy with the performance of any of them.

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  1. Are you familiar with isle of the dog coarse/harsh coat shampoo?
    The breeder recommended this for her show dogs, our puppy came from her
    Thanks.

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