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Retire Your Old Dog Brush for One of These 11 Standouts

Grooming sessions are much easier when you've got the right tool for the job.
By Brie Dyas
January 18, 2021
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The dog fur spectrum is a wide one, with short-haired breeds like French bulldogs at one end, long-haired breeds like the Afghan hound at the other, and every kind of coat in between. Virtually every breed has one thing in common: They need a grooming session with a dog brush on the regular.

"Weekly brushing is ideal for all pets, especially medium- to long-hair breeds," says Carlie Patterson, professional groomer at Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital in Oakhurst, N.J. It's all to prevent the fur from tangling and creating mats, which isn't just a cosmetic concern. "Over time, those knots get tighter and tighter to the skin and connect with more hair which can, in extreme circumstances, cause a lot of health issues like sores, prevent the pet from cooling itself down, and block the circulation from the skin," Patterson says. This could lead to pricey vet or groomer bills if your pup ever has to have the knots shaved off.

Double-coated breeds like German shepherds should be brushed more frequently, especially during shedding season. Don't mistake short coats with low maintenance, either. While shedding is less noticeable, the hair regenerates faster which leads to more fallout.   

Technique matters even more. Patterson recommends dividing the coat in small sections, brushing from the skin to the end of the hair using mild pressure. Round out the positive experience with plenty of treats and the right dog brush for your pup's fur—these 11 picks cover nearly every type.

hertzko-self-cleaning-slicker-brush
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Best Overall: Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

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A slicker brush for dogs is the professional groomer’s go-to for medium-to-long coats. (It’s a little too intense for breeds with short and smooth coats, though.) Hertzko’s unique brush design has over 30,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The difference-maker compared to similar models is the push-button feature that retracts bristles for easy clean-up. 

Shop now: Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush, $16; amazon.com

bass-brushes-shine-and-condition-dog-brush
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Best for Short Hair: Bass Brushes Shine & Condition Dog Brush

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A good short hair dog brush is one that looks like your own hair brush—a bristle brush. This dog brush has tightly-packed natural bristles that will gently yet effectively sweep loose hair away and will also evenly distribute natural skin oils. The result? A beautifully shiny coat. 

Shop now: Bass Brushes Shine & Condition Dog Brush, $24; chewy.com

chris-christensen-big-g-slicker-brush
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Best for Long Hair: Chris Christensen Big G Slicker Brush

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The best dog brush for long-haired breeds is a little pricy but a good investment. The design has dense, angled teeth that can easily get through dense coats and help shape tricky areas like the head and legs. If your dog has long, poofy hair, the shape of the teeth will nicely encourage the softest fluffs. 

Shop now: Chris Christensen Big G Slicker Brush, $64; amazon.com

hartz-groomers-best-combo-dog-brush
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Best for Curly Hair: Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush

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Dogs with curly hair can go either way: Fluffy or well-defined. This combination dog brush works no matter what “style” your pup sports. One side has spaced-out steel pins for detangling, deshedding, and poof-building ease, while the other side has nylon bristles to help distribute oils for smoother strands. 

Shop now: Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Dog Brush, $5; chewy.com

frisco-pin-bristle-brush
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Best for Wiry Hair: Frisco Pin Bristle Brush

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Wiry fur types are more prone to tangles and dryness—which ordinarily would require a bunch of dog brushes. Make grooming more convenient by choosing a combo brush that has longer teeth on one side, like Frisco’s paddle-shaped pin bristle dog brush. First, work your way through the fur with the gentle plastic pins, then flip to the bristle side to “condition,” then flip back to the teeth side for shaping. 

Shop now: Frisco Pin Bristle Brush, $13; chewy.com

furminator-grooming-rake
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Best for Shedding: FURminator Grooming Rake

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Commonly referred to by the “FURminator” dog brush branding, this style is technically called a deshedding rake. (Cue “The More You Know.”) However, the FURminator became famous because they really do make good brushes—particularly this classic deshedding brush that has rotating teeth to work with thicker fur. It’s also versatile, working with medium-short to long coats. Note: For dogs with very heavy undercoats, opt for the FURminator Long Hair Deshedding Tool, a similar design with closely packed teeth that removes extra fur with surprising ease.

Shop now: FURminator Grooming Rake, $11; chewy.com

mr-peanuts-hand-gloves-deshedding-aid
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Best Shedding Glove: Mr. Peanut’s Hand Gloves Deshedding Aid

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Good to use in between sessions with a specifically-designed dog shedding brush, a shedding glove makes it easy to groom while you pet. In general, deshedding gloves are best for dogs with short, smooth coats because the nubby teeth aren’t sturdy enough to work out knots or deal with thick undercoats. However, this two-glove set makes quick work out of deshedding even larger dogs with the right coats. 

Shop now: Mr. Peanut’s Hand Gloves Deshedding Aid, $10; chewy.com

le-salon-essentials-rubber-curry-grooming-brush
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Best Rubber Curry Brush: Le Salon Essentials Rubber Curry Grooming Brush

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This multi-tasking type of dog brush is basically like a day at the spa. The texture removes dead hair with ease while also massaging the skin. (It’s also great for shampooing.) The rubber material makes the bristles extra grippy on fur, so a loop-style handle gives you a little more control while you brush. 

Shop now: Le Salon Essentials Rubber Curry Grooming Brush, $8; amazon.com

conairpro-pet-it-dog-metal-pin-brush
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Best Pin Brush: CONAIRPRO Pet-It Dog Metal Pin Brush

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Though these are the most common, they’re not ideal as your dog's main brush. The wire pins tend to get caught in thick and long fur, or have too much pressure for short coats. However, they’re great for styling—particularly fluffing up a coat after a good brush. The small size of this simple pin brush fits right in the palm of your hand, a plus for dogs that are easily spooked by the sight of other brushes.

Shop now: CONAIRPRO Pet-It Dog Metal Pin Brush, $7; chewy.com

petbrush-by-wetbrush-detangling-comb
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Best Detangling Comb: PetBrush by WetBrush Detangling Comb

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Most detangling combs have sharp metal teeth, which can be effective—but also a little intimidating to use. This all-plastic design (which looks very similar to WetBrush’s combs for human hair) is a lot gentler. The nonslip handle gives you a little more leverage, especially after baths. The wavy teeth help detangle gently to work out knots and light mats. 

Shop now: PetBrush by WetBrush Detangling Comb, $8; chewy.com

safari-double-row-dog-flea-comb
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Best Flea Comb: Safari Double Row Dog Flea Comb

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No one likes to talk about fleas, but early detection means the difference between a nuisance and an infestation. Make it a habit to run this precise comb through your dog’s fur at the first sign of itching (and stay up-to-date on flea and tick prevention!). The double rows pick up fleas and other irritants and can help you see through even the thickest fur to identify dry patches. 

Shop now: Safari Double Row Dog Flea Comb, $5; amazon.com