Shelties are beautiful dogs, but they require regular grooming to keep their long coats beautiful and free of mats. Here are some tips for grooming your sheltie that will keep his coat beautiful without requiring hours of your time.
First of all, don't shave your sheltie's coat. The coat provides insulation from the heat and cold, and you may severely impair your dog's ability to regulate his body temperature by shaving him. The only exception to this rule is in the event of severe skin problems. If your dog suffers from a severe skin irritation that necessitates shaving his coat, be certain to keep him protected from the heat or cold while his coat is growing back in.
Brushing is the most critical part of sheltie grooming. If you groom your sheltie regularly and properly, you'll prevent matting, keep the coat clean and keep the coat in good condition. Shelties should never be brushed dry, as this can break off the hair. Always mist your dog with water or waterless shampoo spray before brushing.
Line brushing is an important technique to learn for grooming your sheltie. Line brushing is the technique of brushing in such a way as to remove the loose dead hair of the undercoat. If you brush your sheltie from the top only, you will not remove the undercoat as it is ready to be shed off. This can lead to matting, which leads to skin infections. Line brushing is typically done with a pin brush or a rake. Part your sheltie's hair along the length of his body and just below the spine. Mist his coat and begin brushing it away from you. Then, move about 1/2 inch down and repeat until you've brushed against the coat all over the body.
You'll need to pay special attention to the area around your dog's rear end - also known as the "skirt". This hair is of a different texture than the rest of the coat and can be difficult to brush. Mist first and brush out in sections. Take your time and brush carefully to avoid tangles. If the hair around the skirt gets too thick, you can trim it with thinning shears.
To groom your sheltie's ears, use a fine tooth metal comb to gently smooth out the hair and remove any tangles. A fine tooth metal comb works well on the feathering on the back of the legs as well. You should also periodically trim the excess hair from the bottom of the pads of the feet to avoid the collection of dirt and gravel.
Shelties can tolerate bathing more often than many breeds of dog, and most groomers recommend bathing them every 6-8 weeks. Use a shampoo formulated especially for dogs. Many shelties are prone to skin irritations, so you may need to try several brands of dog shampoo before you find one that doesn't irritate your dog's skin.