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How to Know Which Dog Grooming Brush to Use

When you visit the pet supply store’s grooming section dog owners will find a wide array of different brushes and combs for dog grooming.

When it comes to dog grooming and brushing, it’s not one-size-fits-all. There are different types of grooming brushes and combs.

Each dog grooming tool has its own unique function.

Understanding which dog brush is best for a particular breed will help make grooming a dog at home easier and less time-consuming.

How to Know Which Dog Grooming Brush to Use

Slicker Brushes

Dog groomers will use slicker brushes to remove fur mats and tangles from all coat types.

Slicker brushes remove dead hairs – both undercoat hairs and the coarser hairs from the outer portion of the dog’s coat.

Dog groomers will use a slicker brush after using a pin brush and/or undercoat rake to remove a significant portion of the dead undercoat.

Slicker brushes are often used as a finishing brush. This is because the fine wire bristles distribute the natural oils throughout the dog’s coat, creating a shiny, smooth finish.

For dogs with a very short, smooth coat, like a Boxer, American Staffordshire Terrier, Miniature Pinscher, Chihuahua (short haired), owners can usually get away with using only a slicker brush or bristle brush for that daily or every-other-day dog brushing.

Undercoat Rakes

Undercoat rakes are a great must-have grooming brush for dogs who shed.

This type of brush has just one row of metal prongs – just like a rake – that effectively remove dead fur from the dog’s undercoat.

One well-known product that’s considered an undercoat rake is the FURminator® “de-shedding tool.”

Undercoat rakes are a great grooming tool for dogs who shed their thick coats. This includes dog breeds such as Siberian Huskies, Samoyeds, Norwegian Elkhounds, Pomeranians, and Great Pyrenees.

If a dog’s undercoat is shedding in chunks, an undercoat rake is the most effective dog grooming tool

It will remove this shedding fur before it ends up on the couch, carpeting, or on the owner’s clothing.

De-Matting Rakes

De-matting rakes are designed to remove mats from a dog’s fur.

This type of tool is essentially a smaller version of an undercoat rake.

It has smaller prongs that more effectively pry apart the painful and unsightly fur mat.

De-matting rakes are a great option for any dog (or cat) who develops mats.

Pin Brushes

Pin brushes are available in two basic varieties: with and without rubber-tipped brush prongs.

This type of brush is preferred for dogs with medium-length coats, wire coats, and wavy coats or curly coats, including the Golden Retriever, Portuguese Water Dog, Airedale Terriers, and Schnauzers.

While pin brushes (especially rubber-tipped varieties) are also great on dogs with sensitive skin, they’re not very effective on dogs with short, sleek coats.

Pin brushes are great for removing dead hair that the dog will otherwise shed onto the furniture, floor, or his owner’s clothing.

Pin brushes are also very effective at removing minor tangles found in many dogs with a medium-length coat.

Many groomers will also opt to use larger pin brushes on a dog with wet fur. This is because bristle brushes, a fine-tooth comb, or a slicker brush can cause fur breakage since hairs are more delicate and prone to damage when wet.

How to Know Which Dog Grooming Brush to Use

Bristle Brushes

Bristle brushes are available with synthetic and natural bristles. The natural bristles are gentler and generally more effective on the dog’s coat.

These brushes can be used on all coat types. This includes long coats, wavy coats, wire coats, curly coats, and short coats.

Bristle brushes are used as a finishing brush after all of the other types of brushes have been used.

The bristles stimulate the skin, improve circulation, and add shine to the coat.

When grooming a dog, use a bristle brush to remove any loose hairs. This can be done to “style” the dog’s fur after all the dead undercoat fur, mats, and tangles have been removed.

For many short-haired dogs with a thin, sleek coat, like the Greyhound, Miniature Pinscher, Pit Bull or Boxer, owners really only need a bristle brush or a slicker brush to remove those dead hairs and to improve their dog’s coat appearance and sheen by distributing natural oils throughout the coat.

Understanding what types of brushes are best for grooming a particular dog breed is important.

Using the proper dog grooming brush will save time. Most importantly, it will save discomfort or pain for the dog, and frustration on the owner’s end.

Many dog owners choose to groom their dog at home. This is good especially if the dog is scared of the groomer or when times are tough financially.

Antoinette M

Tuesday 28th of September 2021

Interesting to learn of the different kinds of brushes. Thanks for the info!

Dana Rodriguez

Thursday 26th of March 2020

I love how you have explained the different types of brushes and uses. Great information to know!


Sunday 9th of February 2020

Good to know about the type of brushes, each pet has different types of fur.

Shannon Holmes

Monday 3rd of February 2020

Thank you for sharing this information with us.

Sandy Klocinski

Wednesday 18th of December 2019

My little short haired Chihuahua is very low maintenance when it comes to grooming.

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