Corgi dog getting brushed

Looking for the best brush for your dog? Here's how to choose a brush based on your dog's breed.

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How to choose a brush for your dog based on their breed: All you need to know

By Greta Inglis Dog Behaviourist | Animal Behaviourist

Updated on the

No matter the breed, it's important to make brushing a part of your dog's routine. Here we take a look at which dog brush is best, depending on coat type.

If you own a dog with fur (unlike these two hairless dog breeds), you may be wondering whether you should be incorporating brushing into the daily care of your pet. While it may feel like a chore, every dog benefits from regular grooming, and brushing your dog will help to improve their coat health and overall wellbeing.

The dog brush you choose will depend largely on the breed and coat type of your dog. There are various options out there, all designed to work on specific types of fur.

How often should you brush a dog? 

Brushing a dog should be done regularly, in order to keep the coat clean, and to remove loose, dead hair, as well as any tangles and matting that could have formed. This is also an excellent opportunity to check for any lumps or bumps on your dog's body.

Parasites such as ticks and fleas can hide easily in your dog's fur, making brushing all the more worthwhile. It could be through spending time with a dog brush in hand, that you actually find these little pests have made themselves at home. Removing fleas or ticks as soon as possible is essential to your dog's overall wellbeing, making this another excellent reason to spend some time grooming your pet.

Can I brush my dog every day? 

The frequency with which you should brush your dog will be based on the coat your dog has. If your dog has a short coat, then brushing them every few days to remove dead fur and dirt will most likely be sufficient.

If your dog is the proud owner of a curly or long and luscious coat, they may need brushing once a day. This is to prevent tangles forming, which can pull at and irritate the skin.

Is it better to comb or brush a dog?

Generally speaking, brushes will take the majority of the work when it comes to dog grooming, with combs reserved for trickier spots and very fine coats. This is because the teeth of the comb will usually be too narrow to comfortably tackle a whole coat, which could result in pain and discomfort for your dog.

How do I choose a brush for my dog?

To find the best dog brush out there, it all depends on the dog you share your life with. There are dog brushes for short haired dogs, dog shedding brushes, dog brushes for long haired dogs, dog detangler brushes... the list goes on. Although this may seem confusing to us owners, the huge range of choice means we can find the most comfortable option for our canine companions.

Slicker brushes

These brushes have short wires that are close together. They work well for detangling, and are best suited to medium or curly haired dogs. Gentle movement is important, as they can pull on the skin if not used properly.

Rake brushes

Rake brushes reach deep into the coat of the dog, making them suited to dogs with longer fur. Match the length of the teeth with the length of the coat for best results.

Bristle brushes

Bristle brushes are the best option for short-haired pooches who tend to shed. They remove loose hair easily and massage the skin.

Pin brushes

These brushes are oval shaped with flexible wires. There are little pins on the top of each wire. This type of brush is best used to finish the coat, once all tangles have been removed.

What brush is best for my dog? 

When it comes to brushing your dog, it's very important to start this from an early age. Suddenly holding your dog still and running a brush through their fur could lead to discomfort and distress, making it harder to brush them in future.

  • Make the experience pleasurable for your dog by starting slow and steady, in very small sections.
  • Talk in gentle, reassuring tones as you go, letting your dog move away if necessary.
  • Reward them keeping still with tasty treats, which will help to build positive associations for future sessions.
  • Keep it short, so your dog doesn't become restless or overwhelmed by the experience. 

Not every brush will work on every dog, and choosing the wrong one could cause the brush to either not work as it should, or pull at their coat more than is comfortable. In order to select the best dog brush for the job, we need to take a look at each category of coat type in more detail.

Brushing short or smooth coats (Labrador Retriever, Greyhound, Pug)

Short coated breeds like Labrador Retrievers tend to shed. A lot. Anyone lucky enough to share their lives with these love bugs will testify to the quantity of fur you also sign up for when inviting them into your home, making grooming an essential part of their care. A bristle brush or grooming glove are the perfect choice, bringing dirt and dead fur to the surface.

Brushing double coats (Husky, German Shepherd)

Dogs with a double coat usually have a soft undercoat which sheds, and a tougher coat on top. When it comes to these furry friends, there are two dog grooming brushes you'll need to invest in. The first is an undercoat rake or a wide toothed comb, which you'll need to tackle those pesky tangles in the undercoat. The second is a slicker brush to make the top coat sparkle.

Brushing silky coats (Afhgan Hound, Yorkshire Terrier)

Silky coated dogs have beautifully soft, fine hair. Their coats grow continuously, meaning they need grooming on a regular basis. For home care, it's a good idea to brush them regularly in order to avoid any matting. Use a pin brush in combination with some dematting spray for the best results.

Brushing curly coats (Bichon, Poodle)

Curly coated dogs are perhaps some of the most high maintenance when it comes to grooming. These guys don't shed, so they can really suffer skin irritation if matting and tangling isn't kept under control. For this reason, it's essential that you brush them regularly. Daily grooming with a slicker brush and some detangling spray will keep them feeling knot-free and happy.

Interested in learning about dogs that don't shed? Click here for 44 low-shedding breeds.

Brushing wirehaired coats (Wirehaired Dachshund, Wire Fox Terrier)

Wirehaired breeds will usually require handstripping a few times a year. Whilst we would recommend this is carried out by a professional groomer, there are good dog brushes you can use in between visits. A slicker brush will prevent any matting, leaving your dog's coat healthy and tangle free.

Brushing longhaired coats (Border Collie, Briard)

The best long hair dog brush you can buy for your dog is the pin brush. This has bristles to grip the undercoat, gentle combing through their fur. Take care to do so slowly, moving the brush in down and out motions away from the skin.

Taking time each day to brush your dog, will result in a smooth, tangle free coat and healthy skin for your dog. Be sure to take time to get your pet used to the feeling of the dog brush, as this may require practice and time spent building positive associations.

With patience, you'll find your dog starts to relax into and enjoy each grooming session. While it may feel lovely to have a glistening coat and a daily massage, we have a sneaky suspicion their interest lies more in spending one on one time with you!

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