Brushing is a vital part of keeping your dog's coat healthy and free from loose hairs. Which are the best dog brushes though? And which type of brush is most suitable for your dog's coat? Keep reading to find out.
Brushing is an important part of keeping your dog happy and healthy. Aside from removing dead hairs, which would otherwise end up on carpets or sofas, brushing also prevents mats. These can be painful and difficult to remove. Brushing also spreads natural oils, which keep the coat soft and moisturized.
It's vital to use the right brush when grooming your dog's fur though. A long-haired dog with thick mats needs a different brush to a short-haired breed, so the "best" brush depends on your requirements.
As I mentioned in my article on dog clippers, it's also important buy high-quality pet grooming tools and supplies. While brushes are relatively cheap, they should still be durable, safe to use and comfortable to hold.
To help you make the right choice, I've reviewed six of the best dog brushes below. I've included top picks for slicker, de-shedding, bristle, undercoat, pin and rubber brushes, so there's a great option for every dog.
6 Best Brushes for Dogs + Mini Reviews
The best brush for your dog depends on his coat, whether he sheds and your requirements. For this reason, I've listed my top pick by category. These include brushes for deshedding, mats and undercoats. Make sure you read each review to find a brush that meets your requirements.
Best Deshedding Brush: FURminator
One of the most popular de-shedding brushes on the market is the FURminator - and it's easy to see why. The FURminator is great for getting rid of loose hair and can safely slide through the topcoat to the undercoat. It also has an ejector button and provides excellent value.
If your dog is a heavy shedder, you probably feel like you're fighting a losing battle with pet hair. Even daily grooming with a regular brush might not be enough for the worst shedders. I've known people buy multiple robot vacuums, remove thick carpets and brush multiple times a day just to keep pet hair under control...and still feel like they are drowning in hair!
While pet vacuums and other tools are useful for removing hair, a de-shedding tool can get rid of hair before it falls off your dog. The FURminator is a great example of this, as it removes loose hair from the undercoat while also preventing mats.
The FURminator is made with a stainless steel edge. This easily passes through the topcoat so it can remove hair from the undercoat layer. Furminator claims this reduces shedding by up to 90%, which is a significant reduction.
Does it work as intended though?
Fortunately, it does. The FURminator is highly effective at removing loose hair without hurting your dog or ruining the top layer. It's a bit more expensive than similar deshedding brushes, but will save you a lot of time and stress. If you're sick of living in a home covered by hair, the FURminator is an easy solution.
It's worth emphasizing that the FURminator deshedder is much more effective than the average brush at removing hair. There's a misconception that if you brush your dog regularly then a de-shedding brush will only be slightly more effective. This isn't the case, as you'll soon notice after spending a few minutes using the FURminator.
The tool also has an "eject" button. When it's full with hair, you can use this to empty the hair into a bag or bin. I recommend grooming your dog outside anyway, but this is still a useful feature. If your dog has a lot of loose hair then it's probably easier to just grab the hair by hand though.
One of the great things about the FURminator is that it comes in a range of sizes. These include extra small, small, medium, large and giant. There are also options for short and long haired breeds, so it's suitable for almost any dog.
Keep in mind that the FURminator is designed for use on dry and non-matted fur . While it can remove smaller mats, it may pull on tangled hair. It's best to use it after removing mats with a different brush. It also won't be as effective if the hair is wet, and shouldn't be used on non-shedding dogs or those without an undercoat.
Note: An honorable mention goes to the Oster ShedMonster. While I don't think it's quite as effective as the Furminator, it's a good choice for long or thick coats. The FurGoPet is another option.
Quick Summary: The FURminator is an outstanding de-shedding brush that's great for dogs with undercoats. You'll be shocked at how much hair it removes - even if you groom your dog regularly with a different brush. It's more expensive than other options, but is the almost-undisputed best dog brush for shedding.
- Type: De-Shedding
- Brand: Furminator
- Price Range: $$
- Removes large amounts of loose and dead hair
- Ejector button when it's full
- Metal edge moves through topcoat without causing pain
- Relatively expensive - although it still provides great value
- Should only be used on dogs without mats
Best Slicker Brush: Hertzko Self Cleaning
My top pick for a slicker brush is the excellent Hertzko Self Cleaning Brush. It's great for gently removing tangles, knots and loose hair, and is suitable for almost any type of coat. It's also durable and has a handy cleaning feature.
One of the most important brushes in your grooming toolkit is a slicker brush. These are great for maintaining the health of your dog's coat, while removing dirt and loose fur. The best slicker brushes are made with fine wire pins that remove tangles and matts while preventing damage to the skin. While they are great for short, medium or curly haired breeds (such as a St Bernard or German Shepherd), slicker brushes often aren't the best choice for long-haired dogs.
The Hertzko ticks all the boxes for a high-quality slicker brush. It's effective at removing mats and trapped dirt, so your dog's hair will look and feel much better after being groomed. The fine wires can also tackle deep hair, rather than just the top layer, without scratching or damaging the skin.
As you can see from the photo, the Hertzko has a relatively wide head. This allows it to groom large areas of hair quickly. Considering the very reasonable price tag, it provides great value for money and can be used for mats or as an all-purpose brush.
A useful feature is the bristle retraction button. When you've finished grooming, press this button and the bristles retract into the brush. It's then easy to remove hair that would otherwise be tangled. The Hertzko also has a durable design and anti-slip handle, which is important for long grooming sessions.
There are a few things to consider before you buy the Hertzko though. The large size means it might not be suitable for the smallest dogs or puppies. It's also not the best option for dogs with fine hair. For most dogs, however, it's great for removing loose hair, dirt and pet dander, while eliminating mats.
Note: As with any slicker brush, you need to be careful to avoid hurting your dog when using the Hertzko. Pressing too hard can make grooming uncomfortable for your pup - especially as the pins are small and tightly spaced.
Quick Summary: The Hertzko Self Cleaning Brush is one of the best slicker brushes on the market. It's comfortable to hold and durable, so it'll last a long time. It's also great for getting rid of mats and removing loose hair.
- Type: Slicker
- Brand: Hertzko
- Price Range: $$
- Great at removing mats and dirt
- Comfortable to hold
- Easy to clean
- May be too big for small dogs
Best Undercoat Brush: Rubold Pet Rake
If you want a rake for dematting your dog's undercoat, the Rubold is a great choice. It's a dual-sided comb that can quickly remove mats without damaging your dog's skin. It's also durable and easy to use.
While the FURminator is great for getting rid of loose hair caught in your dog's undercoat, it's not the best choice for removing mats. Instead, you need an undercoat brush or comb (also known as a stripping comb).
My top pick in this category is the Rubold Pet Rake. It's a dual-sided brush that's a versatile addition to your grooming toolkit - especially if your dog has a curly, wiry or coarse matted coat. The first side has 9 precision teeth for removing mats, while the second has 17 teeth and does a decent job of deshedding.
It's the design of the teeth that makes the Rubold so effective at mat removal. Each tooth is curved so that a rounded edge contacts the dog's skin, while the inside is sharp for cutting through mats. This makes it suitable for almost any dog - including those with sensitive skin.
With that said, the Rubold isn't the best choice for short-haired dogs. It's certainly not made for breeds like poodles that don't have undercoats. For medium, wirehaired or long-haired breeds, however, it's an excellent brush.
You also need to be careful when using any stripping comb. While they are safe if used correctly, the sharp insides of the teeth can cut if you're not careful. This type of comb is best left to professional groomers.
Quick Summary: The Rubold Pet Rake is a great choice for removing mats from your dog's undercoat. The curved teeth protect your pet's skin and it's highly effective at untangling hair. Keep in mind that this is an undercoat brush though - it shouldn't be used for short-haired breeds or those without an undercoat.
- Type: Undercoat Rake
- Brand: Rubold
- Price Range: $$
- Two-sided design for mat removal and general grooming
- Comfortable to hold
- Great at eliminating tangles
- Not suitable for removing mats on dogs with no undercoat
Best Bristle Brush: HaloVa Pet Comb
For gently removing hair from the top coat, the HaloVa pet comb is a great choice. It's a double-sided brush with a side of plastic pins and another of bamboo bristles, plus it's comfortable to hold and available for a very reasonable price.
Bristle brushes are a versatile tool for dog grooming. They are great for removing loose dirt and fur from the top coat, while also spreading oil around for healthier skin. Those with close bristles are great for grooming short-haired breeds, such as a terrier, pug or miniature schnauzer, while wider spacing is more effective for longer hair. Coarser hair also requires stiffer bristles.
My top pick in this category is the HaloVa pet comb. The bristle side is great for gently removing tangles, knots and hair from the top coat. You can use it as a daily brush to keep your dog's coat healthy and shiny - and it's soft enough for your dog to enjoy it.
You can also switch to the pin side when you want to get rid of tangles in dogs without an undercoat (such as poodles). Pin brushes are generally used for dogs with longer or curly hair, so if your pet has this type of coat the pins are a useful bonus. Pin brushes aren't as effective at removing mats from undercoats though. If your dog has a thick undercoat, I recommend getting the FURminator for shedding and Rubold for undercoat mats.
An advantage of the HaloVa over other bristle brushes is that it's made from high-quality materials. It should last a long time and won't pull on your dog's fur. The brush also feels comfortable to hold, which is important if you're going to be using it daily.
One thing to note is that each pin is rounded at the end. While you still shouldn't push too hard, this makes brushing more comfortable for your pet.
Quick Summary: The HaloVa bristle comb is a great for everyday grooming. While bristles aren't designed to penetrate to the undercoat, they are useful for removing dirt and loose hair from the top coat. The pin side is also handy for removing light tangles and mats.
- Type: Bristle
- Brand: HaloVa
- Price Range: $
- Versatile brush with pin and bristle sides
- Strong and comfortable for your pet
Best Pin Brush: Chris Christensen Oval Brush
If you're looking for a pin brush, the Chris Christensen Oval is my top recommendation. It's a stylish and highly effective brush that's comfortable to hold. It also has smooth tips to avoid scratching your dog's skin.
As I mentioned above, wire-pin brushes are great for dogs with woolly or curly coats, such as a Maltipoo or poodle. They are also useful for pets with medium or longer hair (such as a Shih Tzu), although they probably aren't the best choice for short-haired breeds.
The Christ Christensen is the best brush in this category. It's a lightweight brush with a beech body and comfortable handle. It's also highly durable and has a firm cushion, which provides some give without reducing its effectiveness.
Most importantly, it's great for gliding through your dog's coat, spreading healthy oils and removing dirt. The rounded pins reduce discomfort for your dog, which makes grooming more pleasant for both of you. After brushing, you can expect your dog's coat to look healthier and shinier.
A bonus is that hair is easy to remove from the pins once you've finished grooming. If you've ever used a pin brush that seems to tangle hair around the pins, you'll know this is a huge time saver.
Keep in mind that pin brushes aren't as effective at removing loose hair as other types. If your dog sheds a lot, you may want to use a pin brush for brushing the top coat and a different brush for deshedding.
Quick Summary: The Chris Christensen Oval Brush isn't the cheapest pin brush, but it's a high-quality product that's worth every penny. The rounded bristles make grooming more comfortable for your dog, while the wood handle is easy to hold. I highly recommend it.
- Type: Pin
- Brand: Chris Christensen
- Price Range: $$$
- High-quality beech construction
- Rounded pins for added comfort
- Lightweight design
- Relatively expensive
Best Rubber (Curry) Brush: Kong ZoomGroom
When it comes to gentle grooming, especially for short-haired breeds, the Kong ZoomGroom brush is a great choice. It has relatively long rubber teeth, so it can penetrate to the skin to stimulate natural oil production. It also does a decent job of removing dirt and loose hair.
Rubber combs have multiple uses when grooming a short-haired dog. Aside from removing dead hair and preventing tangles, they also massage the dog's skin. This releases natural oils that moisturize and improve the health of your pet's skin.
My favorite in this category is the Kong ZoomGroom due to its durable design and flexible bristles. It has an ergonomic handle for comfortable grooming, along with a soft-yet-firm rubber design. If you want a curry brush that's great for removing dead hair and leaves your dog's coat looking refreshed, it's an excellent choice.
Aside from daily grooming, the Zoom Groom is great for bath time. You can use it to gently rub shampoo or a soothing conditioner into your dog's hair while giving the skin a stimulating massage. It's also suitable for puppies or small breeds.
It's important to have realistic expectations of a rubber brush though. Curry brushes are designed to massage the skin while removing dead hair, but they aren't great at tackling mats or tangles. The Kong ZoomGroom also isn't designed to be chewed - it's certainly not as durable as a Kong toy!
Quick Summary: The Kong Zoom Groom Grooming Brush is a great choice for short-haired breeds. The soft teeth gently massage the skin while removing dead hair. It's also great for using in the bath.
- Type: Rubber
- Brand: Kong
- Price Range: $
- Easy-grip design for comfortable grooming
- Attracts dead hair "like a magnet"
- Massages the skin and stimulates oil production
- Not great for tough mats or tangles
What about Dog Brush Vacuum Attachments?
I usually recommend grooming your dog outside. This prevents hair escaping into the home and reduces the amount of allergenic pet dander in the air. What if you can't groom outdoors though?
A potential solution is a dog brush vacuum attachment. As the name suggests, these are brushes that attach to your vacuum cleaner. Hair is sucked into the vacuum when you brush instead of escaping into the home.
Are vacuum attachments worth buying though? There's no doubt they can work - especially if you have a powerful vacuum. If you have no choice but to groom inside, you may want to consider one.
There are a few downsides to a vacuum attachment though. The main one is noise: most dogs are scared of vacuums and won't feel comfortable next to one when it's switched on. There's also a lot less choice when it comes to the type of brush you want to buy.
With that said, vacuum attachments can be useful in certain situations. One of the best is the Penn Plax VacGroom, as it fits any vacuum with a circular intake channel. There are also several others available at major retailers such as Amazon, Petsmart or Walmart.
Note: Some vacuum attachments are made to fit any vacuum cleaner. Others are designed for specific models or brands. If you decide to buy one, make sure it fits your current vacuum.
Do Short Hair Breeds Need Different Brushes?
Some brushes are suitable for both short and long hair dogs - but others aren't. If you have a short-haired breed, check out our page of the best dog brushes for short hair.
Tip: We've also written guides for specific breeds, such as:
- Best Brushes for German Shepherds
- Best Brushes for Australian Shepherds
- Best Brushes for Golden Retrievers
- Brushes for Goldendoodles
- Best Dog Brushes for Labradors
- Best Brushes for Yorkshire Terriers
What About Detangle Sprays?
Detangle sprays lubricate the hair, which makes it easier to brush out tangles and mats. They aren't a complete solution - brushing is still the best way to maintain a healthy coat - but they can certainly help.
While some dogs need grooming more often, all canines can benefit from regular brushing. Aside from making your dog's coat look neater, brushing eliminates mats, reduces dead hair and spreads healthy oils over the skin.
It's important to choose the right type of brush for your pet though. This depends on the length of hair, coarseness and whether your pet has an undercoat.
To summarize the top picks in this article:
- To remove dead and loose hair before it sheds, the FURminator is an excellent choice.
- For eliminating mats and tangles in short, medium or curly haired dogs, the Hertzko Self Cleaning slicker brush is my top pick.
- For tackling mats and tangles in your dog's undercoat, the Rubold Pet Rake does a great job.
- If you want a bristle brush for removing dirt and tangles from a top coat, the HaloVa Pet Comb provides great value.
- To groom dogs with medium, long or woolly hair, a wire pin brush is a good option - and the Chris Christensen Oval is my #1 pick.
- For grooming short-haired breeds or gently massaging skin, the Kong ZoomGroom is a cheap option that does a decent job.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog grooming brush for your pet. If you have any questions, please use the comments form below.