Table of Contents
Nothing heralds the changing of the seasons quite like running your hand over your dog and coming away with a clump of hair. It never seems to end! Even dogs with short hair produce fluffy tumbleweeds. And if you don’t stay on top of their grooming needs, you can end up with hair EVERYWHERE. This is why every canine owner needs the right combination of dog brushes. Armed with your grooming tools – and a regular brushing schedule – you’ll keep all of that fur under control.
Every dog is different. The kind of hair coat they have dictates the type of dog brush you’ll need to keep on hand. Of course, it doesn’t determine how much hair you’ll find all over the carpets and furniture. With the occasional exception of hairless breeds, EVERY pup can produce plenty of hair when the seasons change.
And even those naked dogs have a few hairs to drop! This means coordinating your grooming sessions with a vacuuming schedule.
Many dogs with curly coats have hair rather than fur. This means it grows continuously and requires regular trims. But that doesn’t let you off the hook with dog brushes. The natural waves LOVE to twist into mats. You’ll need to stay on top of brushing AND grooming if your pup sports curls or waves. Some of these breeds include:
When it comes to that double coat, you’re dealing with plenty of shed hair. These dogs have that soft, wooly undercoat. It gives them an extra layer of protection that keeps them warm. And come spring and fall? It likes to come out by the HANDFUL. You’ll need special dog brushes to handle it. On the outer layer, you’ll find a longer layer of fluff that needs its own set of brushes for care. Double-coated dog breeds include:
Long-haired dogs are tricky. Some breeds have that undercoat you need to cope with, but others don’t. What you REALLY want to focus on is the flowing locks of hair. Some breeds have a silky texture, while others have a more coarse feel. And if you don’t stay on top of it? You get mats and tangles. These breeds include:
Dogs with a smooth coat don’t have an undercoat. They have just one layer of short hair. It lies close against their skin. And that can make them challenges when it comes time to choose a dog brush. Breeds with a smooth coat include:
Types of Dog Brushes
With so many dog coats out there – and lengths of hair to cope with – it’s no surprise that you’ll find different types of dog brushes. And depending on your dog’s breed, you may need more than one brush to keep all of that hair under control. Understanding what each is used for will help you narrow down your choices.
- Bristle Brush: A bristle dog brush features clusters of bristles – either natural or synthetic – on a long handle or curry comb. The bristles collect loose hair while massaging the skin at the same time.
- De-shedding Tools: You’ll find de-shedding brushes and rakes. They reach to that heavy undercoat to pull out the loose fur, WITHOUT touching the skin.
- Grooming Gloves: Plenty of people like the idea of using grooming gloves as an alternative to dog brushes.
- Pin Brush: Rather than bristles, pin dog brushes have loose, flexible wires, typically with a rubber “pin” on the top. Most people use them as a finishing brush to add shine to a coat.
- Silicone Brush: Silicone brushes have long rubber “teeth” that collect loose hairs while providing a massage to the skin. They won’t work on tangles, though.
- Slicker Brush: When it’s time to tackle mats, you want a slicker brush. They have tons of short wires in neat rows – minus a pin.
Benefits of Dog Brushes
Obviously, you want to establish a grooming routine to stay on top of that shedding hair. And once you have your dog brushes chosen, it’s easy to get a schedule going. But brushing does more than just wrangle that extra fluff. (And, you know, make your pup look fabulous)
As you brush your dog, you run your hands over their entire body. So you get a chance to notice potential changes. This can mean mats and tangles (which you can then deal with). Or it can mean lumps, bumps, or sore spots. As you move around your dog’s elbows and knees, you may even notice swelling or heat, prompting you that changes are going on in the joints. That grooming session is a nice early-detection system.
Plus, as the dog brush moves over your pup, you help the natural oils from their skin move over their body. This helps their coat AND skin stay soft and moisturized. So they look and feel their best.
Using Dog Brushes
There IS an art to using a dog brush. And if you irritate your pup in the process, you may find yourself having to chase them down. That isn’t ideal. You don’t want your furry friend to associate the dog brush with negative feelings.
First, make sure you’re using the correct dog brush for the task. De-shedding tools? They’re not designed for sleek and polish. And if the bristles on your brush are too long (or short) for your dog’s coat, you may make them uncomfortable.
- Always brush down and AWAY. Going “against the grain” is painful.
- Use a gentle hand. If you have to pull against a tangle, stop and reach for a de-shedding tool or slicker brush.
- Bad mats may need the assistance of a conditioner. And conditioners need time to settle in. Use patience and NEVER reach for scissors.
- If you feel overwhelmed, contact a groomer for assistance.
- Don’t overbrush. Overbrushing leads to brush burn or skin irritation.
Long-haired and curly-haired dogs? They need you to break out the dog brush every day. But smooth-coated dogs only need brushing once a week.
The Best Dog Brushes
You want your dog to look their best. You’d also like to stay ahead of the furry coating of hair on your clothes, furniture, and carpets. And that’s where dog brushes come in. Routine grooming sessions keep your dog’s coat looking its best while also reducing the amount of hair they shed. And you get the bonus of checking them for possible problems. It’s a win from every angle! And once you have a collection of dog brushes that work best for your pup, you’ll have the most gorgeous canine on the block.
The Best Combination Dog Brushes
Many people like using bristle AND pin brushes. The bristles remove all of the loose hair, cutting down on shedding problems. Then the pins add shine, distribute those healthy oils across the fur, and provide a tissue massage. But why buy two dog brushes if you can get one that does both? Combination brushes have bristles on one side and pins on the other. They work perfectly for smooth-coated dogs. You can also use them on long-haired dogs, though the bristles won’t reach the undercoat.
Burt’s Bees is a name many people recognize and appreciate for their use of natural materials. They use bamboo in their combination dog brush, maintaining that reputation. On one side, you get hemp bristles, and on the other rounded pins. It comes in two handle sizes to accommodate your grip needs (the brush surface is also slightly different).
Downsides? The grip isn’t the most comfortable, which can get challenging if you have a giant breed to groom. And some people felt the hemp bristles were TOO stiff, preventing a natural give with the dog’s body contours. Also, even with two sizes to choose from, it’s on the small side.
While not precisely a combination dog brush, Conair offers every possible type of brush you could want – all in a curry comb style. The rounded design fits into your palm, taking the brunt of the work off your wrist. And it makes tackling even the largest breeds a cinch. You’ll find everything from bristle brushes to pin brushes and even a silicone option. There’s a Conair for every type of dog coat.
The downsides? The bristles (or pins or rubber) aren’t long. This means they won’t reach an undercoat. And while the curry comb design eases wrist strain, some people found it too small to wield comfortably.
FURminator is the top name in dog brushes, and you’ll see them show up on this list a few times. Their Dual Dog Brush combines a bristle brush with a pin brush. The handle comes with a flex at the “neck,” so it follows your dog’s body as you work. And with a non-slip, ergonomic grip, you won’t end up with wrist strain, even if you have plenty of canine coat to cover. Best of all, they offer a money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied. (Who doesn’t love that?)
So what are the downsides? This dog brush is designed for dogs with shorter hair coats. The bristles and pins simply can’t reach an undercoat. And the bristles like to come out – along with your dog’s hair. FURminator revamped the dog brush, and the durability seems to have gone down in the process. And, yet again, people find this to be on the small side.
Hartz offers another combination dog brush. The nylon bristles loosen shed hair and distribute natural oils over their skin. Then the rounded, stainless steel pins can go to work loosening tangles. YOU get an ergonomic handle with a non-slip grip to ease aching wrists. You can also choose from two sizes to suit your pup.
Downsides? In contrast to other combination dog brushes, people found this to be on the larger size. Also, the pin brush side tends to pull off. You’ll want to take it easy during your grooming sessions.
The Best De-Shedding Dog Brushes
Dogs with thick undercoats produce some of the worst shedding problems. Even adding a robot vacuum to your cleaning schedule may not be enough to cope. Your best option? De-shedding dog brushes. These rakes and other tools are designed to reach down to that heavy layer of fur. And while they LOOK intimidating, they gently pull away the dead hair without harming your dog’s skin. You can end up with an impressive pile of loose hair when you finish. And your dog feels MUCH better. De-shedding dog brushes should ONLY be used on pups that have a double coat. Otherwise, you’ll end up damaging your dog’s skin.
FURminator created a following when they developed their De-Shedding Tool. The stainless steel comb goes through your dog’s outer layer AND undercoat to pull away every loose hair it finds. And when it’s full? You press the button to push the hair into a waiting trashcan. (Or the floor, if you want to document the collected shed for Instagram) The teeth have a curved edge that keeps them away from your dog’s skin. If you break out the tool regularly, you’ll see that shed hair drop by up to NINETY percent!
Downsides? This dog brush DOES have powerful teeth. If you exert too much pressure, you can cause skin irritation. And if you use it on a dog without a double coat, they’ll end up with skin DAMAGE. While the teeth ARE stainless steel, dropping breaks them, rendering the tool useless (you DON’T want to risk cutting your pup).
Oster looks frightening, but it’s a handy de-shedding dog brush. The eighteen curved teeth reach to the undercoat to rake away the loose hairs. Long and short blades alternate in the rake to make sure nothing’s missed in the grooming process. And each blade has a rounded edge, protecting your dog’s skin. You’ll thin out that unwanted hair in no time.
The downsides? Using this de-shedding dog brush can get messy. The loose hair doesn’t collect on the tool, so you’ll find it flying around as you work. You also don’t get an ergonomic grip, which can be hard on your wrists. You need to take the same precautions with how hard you press, or your dog will end up with irritation from the blades.
Similar in design to the FURminator, Pet Neat also uses a stainless steel comb. The entire head reaches four inches deep to get at that wooly undercoat. And when you need to, you can detach the head to help you clean the fur away. The handle’s padded and comes with a non-slip grip to remain comfortable in your hand. You also get a cover to protect the blade when it’s not in use – just in case you happen to drop the tool.
So what are the downsides? Unlike FURminator, you don’t get that quick-release button to make clean-up easier. It also only comes in one size, which may not work for every dog.
The Best Dog Grooming Gloves
Some dogs won’t tolerate a brush coming near them. They may be rescues with a difficult past. Or you could have a puppy that didn’t get full socialization. They’re terrified of dog brushes. You still want to perform a grooming and remove some of that loose hair, though. And you can – with dog grooming gloves. Your dog thinks they’re getting a lengthy session of pats, but the glove is helping to pull excess hair out of the way. And since grooming gloves work dry OR wet, you have a little more flexibility. Unhappily, they aren’t designed for dogs with double coats.
Delomo uses a coating of silicone tips on their dog grooming gloves. A total of 255 on each glove, to be exact. The flexible silicone collects loose hair while offering your dog a comfortable massage. And the gloves still distribute those natural oils. They come in a universal size with adjustable straps at the wrist to give you a comfortable fit. You’ll find they’ll work nicely on smooth-coated, curly-haired, and even long-haired dogs.
Downsides? The adjustable straps help the gloves stay on, but “universal-fit” doesn’t do much for the fingers. They simply don’t work for every hand. Some people also found they didn’t catch short hair as well as long. And you DO have to peel all the hair off the gloves when you’re done. Not a deal-breaker, but kind of disgusting – especially when you use them in the bath.
For the owner looking for a comfortable fit, HandsOn offers dog grooming gloves in FIVE sizes. They even have a Juinor size in case your youngsters want to pitch in with the dog brushing. A Velcro band holds the gloves in place around the wrist, making sure you have a proper fit. They use rubber tips to loosen those shedding hairs, with different lengths to the tips to make sure you don’t miss any hair as you work. You can use them on the same pups as Delomo, and they also work wet or dry.
The downsides? The nylon of the gloves is durable, but the rubber requires special care. If you don’t wash and dry them between uses, they can crack. And, of course, you still have to remove all of that hair yourself.
The Best Silicone Dog Brushes
Smooth-coated dogs – and pups with short hair – need special care. You can only use certain dog brushes on them as their fur lies close against their skin. Anything harsh can lead to irritation, abrasions, or even slices in the skin. This is where silicone dog brushes come in. With soft, flexible teeth, your dog doesn’t need to worry about stiff bristles or pins poking into their body. The silicone WILL gather up loose hair, and it provides a massage that carries oils over the body. It’s a nice solution for those dogs that lack a double coat. Just skip them if your pup has curly hair – they WON’T detangle.
Bodhi works equally well when dry or wet, despite the name. In a bath, the split ends of the silicone tips make it easier to get your favorite shampoo distributed over and through your dog’s coat. As part of your usual brushing routine, the soft tips collect loose hair and provide a comfortable massage. The design’s similar to a curry comb, with a strap that slides over the back of your hand, so it doesn’t run away in slippery conditions. When you need to clean it off? Run it under a stream of water.
Downsides? The strap exists for a reason: this dog brush can go flying when it gets wet. But it’s not comfortable for people who have a larger hand. Of course, many people found the strap snapping off after a few uses, so that may solve the problem.
Since silicone gets slippery in water, FURminator went the extra step of adding an ergonomic, non-slip grip to their Curry Comb. Whether you use the strap or not, you’ll have a firm grasp on the silicone dog brush at all times. And they keep those sturdy rubber tips in a plastic housing with anti-microbial coating, ensuring no pesky bacteria gain a foothold. The wide placement of the teeth makes it easy to rinse away any collected hair, too.
The downsides? This curry comb dog brush is on the small side. And that includes the strap. Also, compared to other silicone options, the teeth are shallow, making it difficult to gather as much hair. It WILL loosen them, but then the hair tends to stay on your dog, which isn’t ideal.
KONG doesn’t use a strap on their silicone dog brush, but they DO contour the shape to make it easier to hold – whether in the bath or dry conditions. The long teeth provide a nice tissue massage while pulling out the loose hair your dog would otherwise shed. And when you want to clean it? All you need to do is run it under a faucet. It’s simple, plus it looks super cute.
This is the only dog brush we use on our Greyhound. And it never ceases to amaze us how much hair comes off each time. (The birds love it when we brush her outside) Wet OR dry, there’s always a hefty pile. And since the teeth don’t have points, we don’t need to fret over her skin.
So what’s the downside? Yes, you may drop it if you use it in the bath. Silicone gets slippery when wet. But the shape DOES conform to your hand.
The Best Slicker Dog Brushes
Mats and tangles are every bit as obnoxious as shedding hair. And without the proper tools, your dog can end up in pain. Mats get HEAVY. And left untreated, they can leave wounds on your dog’s skin. Slicker dog brushes help you take on mats like a pro. The thin wires are the perfect design to work through tangles in a slow, methodical fashion. You need to be gentle, though, or you may scrape the skin beneath (the wire’s AREN’T capped). You NEVER want to use slicker brushes on smooth-coated dogs. Their skin is much too close beneath the hair, and you’ll cause brush burn. These brushes are for dogs with double coats, curly coats, and long hair.
Chris Christensen offers a slicker dog brush with angled wires. The design allows you to get through even the densest hair, eliminating tangles, mats and removing unwanted loose hairs. You’ll also be able to shape your fluffy dog into the best looks, making them the envy of the neighborhood. YOU get a non-slip grip in an ergonomic handle to make sure your wrists stay comfortable throughout the grooming process. And it comes in three different sizes to meet the needs of any pup.
Downsides? This dog brush is EXPENSIVE. You’re paying for a top name, and you’ll need to decide if it’s worth it. And, unfortunately, the handle likes to break. You need to go easy when using slicker brushes, anyway, but it goes double for this model.
Hartz makes a second appearance on this list, this time for their Groomer’s Best Slicker Brush. The stainless steel tines come with safety tips at the end. This doesn’t make them less effective at handling tangles, but it will protect your dog’s skin. You still get the same non-slip ergonomic grip you saw with the combination dog brush. And you can still choose from two sizes, depending on the size of your canine companion.
While we don’t have this for our dog (no slicker dog brushes on smooth-coated breeds), we DO use this on our cats. And it works surprisingly well. The safety tips mean no irritation of their skin, but we still get PLENTY of loose hair every time. And they don’t seem to mind one bit.
The downsides? In this case, people felt the dog brush came out on the small side. You’ll want to decide if you want small or large when coping with tangles. Some people also struggled to remove the hair from the brush afterward. We don’t see that with our cats, but cat hair and dog hair are different.
Hertzko tackles the question of getting all that hair off your slicker dog brush. They have a handy button that retracts the wires, allowing you to dump your collected hair straight into the trashcan. Meanwhile, the bent wires go to work, getting through even the nastiest tangles. And they can even reach the undercoat! The angle prevents scrapes of the skin (though you’ll want to take it easy, just in case). You also get an ergonomic grip out of the bargain.
So what are the downsides? This dog brush only comes in one size, and it’s on a larger scale. That can get tricky for smaller pups. The button can also cause problems: sometimes it sticks, and other times you have to hold it down.
Getting the right combination of dog brushes serves plenty of purposes. You’re cutting down on the amount of shed hair around the house. Running your hands over your dog’s body can help you find lumps, bumps, and other problems early. And you’re also helping your pup look fantastic. That’s a lot of work from one routine grooming session!
Not to mention your dog will love the bonding time you spend together. All from one (or three) handy little tool. Not too shabby!