Picking the best brush for your dog is deceptively hard. There are many different types of brushes and combs, each with hundreds, if not thousands, of different models that you have to choose from. To make it harder, your dog may not particularly enjoy being brushed by the tool that you’ve picked, and in that case, you must search again until you find one that is tolerable.
There are really only two main considerations you must make when selecting the best dog brush:
Knowing how much your dog sheds will help you determine the quality of brush to pick. Dogs that shed frequently need to be brushed more frequently. Therefore, a higher quality brush would be a good investment.
The best dog brush: Our favourites
Types of Brushes
There are a few general types of brushes that can be used to groom a dog;
Bristle brushes look most similar to brushes that humans use. They typically consist of a head that has flexible bristles protruding from it. The bristles can be synthetic (nylon, for example) or natural (boar’s hair). This type of brush is excellent for general brushing, controlling shedding, and works to stimulate the skin, as well as to distribute natural oils throughout the coat. When choosing a bristle brush, keep in mind that the shorter the dog’s hair, the shorter and more tightly packed the bristles of the brush should be. In addition, the bristles should be more flexible if your dog has silky hair, and stiff if your dog’s hair is coarse.
Pin brushes (or wire-pin brushes) are similar to bristle brushes, except that they have wire pins instead of flexible bristles. Dogs with coarse, curly, or wiry hair benefit most from pin brushes as they can be used to carefully pick apart tangles and mats. When choosing a wire pin brush, make sure that the tips of the pins are not sharp. Do not pick a pin brush with plastic bulbs at the tips of the pins. These bulbs can easily break off, exposing a sharp edge that can hurt your dog.
Slicker brushes have very fine metal pins that are typically short and slightly bent. They are a great choice for removing tangles and mats from a dog’s coat, but can also be used for removing the loose hair of a shedding dog. When using a slicker brush, it is important to be aware of the amount of pressure you are putting on the brush. Pressing too hard might hurt your dog. Much like other types of brushes, slicker brushes with short pins should be used on dogs with short hair, and longer pinned brushes should be used on longer hair.
Types of Coat
Much like human hair, dog hair can vary widely with each different type requiring a different tool or technique to keep it well-maintained. In general, dogs with shorter hair require the least amount of grooming than dogs with longer hair.
Dogs with smooth coats (characterized by short to very short hairs that are held tight against a dog’s body) require the least amount of intensive grooming compared to dogs with other types of hair but are still susceptible to high amounts of shedding. It is also the easiest to pick a brush for a dog with a smooth coat. Good options to start with include slicker brushes that have shorter bristles and nylon bristle brushes. These brushes will keep smooth coats, well…smooth, as well as provide the necessary skin stimulation that helps with circulation. For smooth-coated dogs that shed, frequent brushing will also help keep loose hairs off of your clothes and furniture. Beagles and Greyhounds are two examples of breeds with smooth coats.
Dogs with double coats (characterized by two distinct layers of coat: shorter, wooly hairs densely packed in the undercoat, and a longer-haired top coat) require careful grooming for each separate layer. A wide-tooth comb or a brush with metal tines should be used in the undercoat to pick apart any matting or tangles. A bristle brush with long bristles should be used on the coat’s top layer to remove any loose hairs and to distribute the natural oils throughout the coat. Double-coated dog breeds include the Alaskan Husky and Chow Chows.
Dogs with wire coats (characterized by rough and bristly hairs) do not shed, but are very susceptible to matting. A wire pin brush or comb should be used to carefully pick through the dog’s coat to remove any tangles. A slicker brush can also be used to smooth the coat once all of the matting has been taken care of. Common wire-haired breeds include the German Wirehaired Pointer, and the Wire Fox Terrier.
Dogs with long coats can either have silky or coarse hairs. For both types, tangles are a constant issue but can be kept at bay with frequent brushing. For silky-haired dogs, choose a brush with long, relatively tightly packed bristles that can reach all layers of hair down to the skin. For coarse hair, a wire pin brush or a brush with wider spaces between the bristles will help to keep the brush from snagging and pulling on the hair. Breeds of dogs with long coats include Cocker Spaniels (silky) and Bearded Collies (coarse).
Dogs with curly hair can also benefit from the use of a slicker brush. Tangles and mats should be carefully removed using a wire comb or slicker brush before brushing the dog all over with the slicker brush. Wire pin brushes with stiff tines are also effective as they are able to penetrate down to the dog’s skin without bending or breaking. Curly-haired dogs include the Poodle and the Portuguese Water Dog.
Our Picks for The Best Dog Brush
The best brush that we recommend for all dogs with all types of coats is the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush.
The fine metal pins of this brush are slightly bent near the top to increase penetration into the undercoat while preventing the dog’s skin from becoming scratched.
The large brush head is long and skinny, so you can orient it to use the skinny side for more focused brushing and to remove mats and tangles while the long side can be used for full-coat brushing.
The large size of the brush also allows for a quick grooming session and is ideal for dogs that do not like to be brushed.
This brush also makes cleanup quick and painless. Simply press the button on the back of the brush head and the pins will retract, enabling you to easily wipe the brush head clean.
When not in use, you can also retract the pins into the brush head for storage so that they do not injure your dog or become damaged if Fido decides to use the brush as a chew toy.
The best tool that we recommend for a dog that sheds frequently is the SleekEZ Original Deshedding Grooming Tool.
This tool looks essentially like a small saw attached to a wooden block but is extremely safe and easy to use.
Coming in three different sizes to fit any sized dog, this comb effortlessly glides across a dog’s coat to remove all loose hairs.
The tool can also remove dirt and dander. Durable enough to groom thick undercoats, this tool is also gentle enough to be used on short haired dogs.
While it does a great job of removing the hairs, the tool itself doesn’t quite hold onto the hairs that well (great if you want a comb that is easily cleaned).
Therefore, it is recommended that this brush is used outdoors or in an area that can be easily vacuumed. This tool is made out of wood and stainless steel and is quite durable, an excellent choice for frequent grooming.
Final thoughts on how to select the Best Dog Brush
With all of the choices out there, picking the right brush for your dog could be a stressful experience, but knowing your dog’s type of hair and shedding frequency can help narrow down the field. Keep in mind that some dogs may even require multiple types of brushes depending on their type of hair.
The most important thing to remember is that brushing and grooming your dog should be a comfortable experience for both of you. If you find a brush that your dog enjoys and that you feel is doing a proper job, it’s a winner!