Which is the Best Brush for Australian Shepherds?

Written By: Gemma Johnstone | Last Updated: March 19, 2020

The hard-working Australian Shepherd has a thick double coat that requires plenty of grooming. In this article, you’ll learn about the best brushes for Australian Shepherds, along with tips for maintaining a healthy coat.

A guide to the best brush for Australian Shepherd dogs
Australian Shepherds, often called Aussies, are active dogs with a thick, distinctive coat. They are moderate-to-heavy shedders that need regular brushing to prevent matting and remove dead hair.

It’s important to use the right types of dog brush when grooming an Aussie though. The wrong brushes may not penetrate your dog’s coat to remove hair, tangles, and dirt, which could allow painful matting to develop. 

If you’re in a hurry, you should consider buying the following brushes for Aussies:

  • A slicker brush, such as the Hertzko Self-Cleaning, to remove dead hair and tangles.
  • A pin brush, such as the GoPets Professional, for promoting a healthy shine and removing dirt
  • A deshedding tool, such as the FURminator, to manage excessive moulting (don’t overuse this brush though!)

Let’s take a closer look at the Australian Shepherd’s coat to find out why these three brushes are so important. I’ve also listed five of the best brushes for Australian Shepherds to help you make the right choice for your pet.

What Type of Coat Does the Aussie Have?

Example of an aussie coat

Despite their misleading name, Aussies aren’t native to Australia. They were actually bred to work on cattle ranches in the North American West.

They do have links to working dogs in Australia though. And they’re also related to the Pyrenean Shepherd, which herded livestock over the harsh mountainous terrain between France and Spain.

These links mean they have a double coat that’s ideal for cold and wet weather conditions. It’s thick, medium-length, and water-resistant, with a straight or slightly wavy appearance.

How does the double coat affect your dog’s grooming regime though?

The Aussie’s topcoat protects against dirt, parasites and injuries, which was helpful when working on dusty cattle ranches. It’s important to keep this coat shiny and dirt-free, which is why a pin brush can be useful when grooming an Australian Shepherd. 

In contrast to the topcoat, the undercoat of the Australian Shepherd is soft and dense. This layer insulates the dog against both hot weather and cool temperatures, which is why you should never shave an Australian Shepherd’s coat.

Unfortunately, the Aussie’s thick undercoat can become matted if it isn’t groomed correctly. A slicker or deshedding brush can be useful for brushing deeper and lifting out loose hair.

Australian Shepherds also have feathering around the legs and britches, along with a mane around the neck (especially in males.) These require extra attention when grooming to prevent tangles or mats.

Do Australian Shepherds Shed?

Aussies aren’t such prolific shedders as some double-coated breeds. Huskies and German Shepherds, for example, have coats that shed a lot more abundantly through the year.

They’re still a moderate shedding breed, though, especially during their bi-annual “coat blow”.  This is a natural process where the old undercoat sheds with the changing of the seasons. More grooming is required during this time to keep the loose hairs at bay and to promote a healthy skin and coat. 

In Spring, the winter undercoat will fall out rapidly over a four to six week period. This process keeps your dog cool and promotes new hair growth. It also happens again in the Fall, although this time the new undercoat will be denser to provide more warmth in the colder months again. Be prepared for plenty of brushing during these times!

Why is Brushing Important?

A regular grooming regime for your Aussie is essential. Brushing promotes new hair growth, prevents matting, and distributes the natural oils on your dog’s skin to keep it in a healthy condition.

Regular brushing also removes loose hair, which isn’t just good news for your carpets and sofas. If a lot of dead hair is left in the coat, it can negatively impact its temperature regulating qualities, meaning your dog is more likely to overheat or get cold.

What Type of Brush Should You Use on an Australian Shepherd?

You’ll need a selection of brushes to groom your Australian Shepherd, as the topcoat and undercoat have different requirements. Here’s an overview of the most important brushes for your collection.

Slicker Brush (For Removing Tangles & Stimulating Skin)

The slicker is probably the best brush for Australian Shepherd dogs

A slicker brush is, arguably, the most important brush to have in your arsenal as an Aussie Shepherd owner.

These tools have angled pins that penetrate the undercoat to lift out dead hairs, stimulate the skin, and distribute natural oils. They can also help remove loose knots and tangles.

It’s important not to be too rough when using a slicker though. Use short, gentle strokes in the direction of the coat, while avoiding pressing too hard. You should also avoid brushing the same area too many times, as this can lead to “brush burn.”

Note: Slicker brushes should only be used on Australian Shepherd’s “main” coat. Avoid areas with little coat covering, like the tummy.

Pin and Bristle Combination Brush (For Removing Dirt and Leaving a Healthy Shine)

Pin and bristle

A 2-in-1 pin and bristle is another essential brush for Australian Shepherd owners. These are gentler than slicker brushes and less effective at removing loose hair, but provide a number of benefits when brushing your dog’s coat.

The bristle dog brush is great for removing dried-in dirt and debris from the surface of the coat. This makes them the perfect choice if you have an Aussie that loves to roll in mud or dive through the undergrowth. Brushing with bristles also helps promote a healthy shine on the topcoat.

As bristles are gentler than other options, they are also useful when grooming Aussie puppies. Young dogs have a delicate coat and skin, so a kinder brush is more comfortable  

The density, length and flexibility of the bristles can vary. For a medium-length, dense coat like that of the Aussie, look for a brush with longer and more widely spaced bristles, as this will groom the coat more effectively.  

The pin brush is also gentler than a slicker, yet penetrates long hair more effectively than a bristle.

Like the bristle side, pins can stimulate the skin and remove dirt. Pins are also more effective at untangling mild knots and aerating the coat, especially when brushing long hair.

Make sure you look for a pin brush with rounded pin ends. These prevent the brush from digging into the skin, which can cause discomfort and irritation.

Deshedding Brush/Tool (For Removing Dead Fur in Undercoat)

Deshedding tool to reduce shedding

Deshedding dog brushes are highly effective at removing dead hair to reduce shedding. This makes them an invaluable tool, especially during your Aussie’s coat blow – but they need to be used with caution. 

The rake-like teeth of deshedding tools penetrate deep into the undercoat and gather up loose hairs. They also help to tease out any developing mats and tangles.

If you haven’t used a deshedding brush before, you’ll likely be amazed at the amount of hair they can remove. You should see a great difference in the amount of loose hair you find gathering in the corners of your home, on soft furnishings, and on your clothes.

Don’t be tempted to groom your dog frequently with these tools though. Deshedding tools aren’t designed to be used more than once or twice per week.

Overusing them can damage healthy hairs rather than remove dead ones. You should also be careful about how much pressure you’re applying. Being too harsh can irritate your dog’s skin and cause pain.

Note: Deshedding tools are not suitable for puppies or dogs with sensitive skin.

Stainless Steel Comb (For Tackling Loose Matting and Brushing Delicate Areas)

Stainless Steel Comb

Steel combs can be helpful for teasing out tangles and mats found when brushing with a slicker, especially in longer sections of hair.

Combs are also useful for grooming the Australian Shepherd’s mane and feathered areas. These regions are often difficult to groom with a slicker or pin brush.

For the longer, dense hair of an Aussie, choose a medium or coarse tooth comb. Fine toothed combs may snag when brushing the coat, so they are best avoided.

When using a comb on medium-to-long hair, work in sections to avoid tugging your dog’s skin if you hit a tangled section. You may even want to hold the hair above mats to minimize any discomfort.

If your Aussie is a mud magnet and they get tangles in their mane and feathering frequently, make sure you use the comb after each walk. Teasing out any tangles before they form into deep mats saves time, effort and potential discomfort.  

Tip: You could also consider using a detangling spray on knotted sections of hair. This could help the comb to pass through more freely. For severe mats or knots, talk to a professional groomer, as they may need to be cut out.

5 Best Dog Brushes for Australian Shepherds

Listed below are five of the best brushes for Australian Shepherds. You’ll probably want to use a combination of these tools, depending on your dog’s lifestyle, grooming tolerance and shedding quantities.

1. Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

Hertzko Self Cleaning - best brush for Australian Shepherd VIEW PRICE

If you were only to buy one brush for your Australian Shepherd, the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker is probably the best option. It’s a durable brush that’s great for preventing mats, removing hair, and leaving a healthy shine to your dog’s coat.

The pin bristles are durable but have a decent amount of flex. This allows the brush to penetrate down into the undercoat without causing discomfort (although you’ll still need to be careful to avoid too much pressure.) The Hertzko brush will also help to work out any light tangles.

A benefit of the Hertzko slicker is its retractable bristle function. Once hair has gathered in the brush, you can press a button to push the bristles in and leave the hair behind. This feature saves you spending time plucking the hair from bristles and potentially causing damage at the same time.

The non-slip rubber handle ensures you get a comfortable grip. An ergonomic handle is especially helpful when grooming a larger breed, like an Aussie, as you could be working on the coat for some time.

One complaint about the Hertzko is that the rubber handle can become loose over time. This isn’t a major problem, however, and you should still get plenty of value from the brush before this happens.

If your Aussie lives in a hotter region, meaning their undercoat is less dense, or you’re grooming a puppy, be extra gentle with this brush. The pins could be scratchy and uncomfortable if you push too hard.

VIEW PRICE

2. Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Brush

Furminator Undercoat Rake VIEW PRICE

The Furminator Undercoat Deshedding Brush is probably the best brush for an Australian Shepherd during their seasonal coat blow. It’s brilliant for removing large amounts of dead hair, which means less ends up around your house.

This tool’s steel teeth remove a surprising amount of dead hair from the Aussie’s thick undercoat each time you use it. It isn’t going to completely eradicate loose hairs from making their way into unwanted places, but nothing else is likely to give you such good results.

FURminators come in a number of different sizes, with varying width and teeth length. For a bigger breed like an Aussie, choose a larger size to speed up the grooming process.

Although you’ll find the FURminator most beneficial when your Australian Shepherd’s coat is moulting excessively, it can be used year-round. It’s just important not to use it too frequently or with too much pressure, however, otherwise it can cut healthy hairs. Overusing the Furminator can also cause discomfort and irritation to the skin.

Using the FURminator two or three times a week when your Aussie is having their coat blow out will be more than enough, and once a week at other times should be sufficient. This tool isn’t designed for daily use, and it shouldn’t be used on puppies or on areas of the body where there’s light hair coverage, like the tummy.

VIEW PRICE

3. GoPets Professional Pin and Bristle Dog Brush

GoPets Professional bristle and pin brush for dogs VIEW PRICE

The GoPets Professional Pin and Bristle is a handy tool to have in your Australian Shepherd grooming arsenal. It’s great for removing debris, aerating the coat, and leaving a healthy shine. 

Aussies are famous for their love of the great outdoors, so it’s common for them to be covered in mud, burrs, or other debris. The bristle side of this brush can remove dirt and encourage a healthy shine on the topcoat.

The pin side gets deeper into the coat. This allows it to remove a small amount of dead hair, while gently working out tangles before they develop into mats. The rounded pins also make it more gentle on the skin, so it’s suitable for puppies, dogs with sensitive skin, and those that are anxious about being brushed.

Aside from its 2-in-1 brush surfaces, the GoPets brush has a silicone handle that is comfortable to hold.  Because the Aussie is a larger breed with a dense coat, this could prove useful during a long grooming session, as the brush is less likely to slip.

There aren’t many drawbacks to this brush. It’s a versatile grooming tool that provides great value for money.

Be aware that if your Aussie has a particularly dense coat, or you’re using it around the thicker ruff on their neck, the pins may bend or pop out of the bed. This is a common issue for many pin brushes though – not just the GoPets brand.

VIEW PRICE

4. Shiny Pet Dog Comb

Shiny Pet Dog Comb VIEW PRICE

The Shiny Pet Dog Comb is a durable option that’s a useful addition to your grooming toolkit. If you need a comb for brushing out mats and grooming awkward areas, it’s a great choice.

There are two tooth spacings depending on which side of the comb you use. The fine tooth side is for grooming around your Aussie’s ears and feathered areas, as these have thinner hair. The wider tooth side is teasing out tangles throughout your dog’s coat.

Unlike some metal combs, the Shiny Pet model has a non-slip rubber handle, so you can get an excellent grip. It’s a decent size too, making it a perfect choice for using on a larger breed like an Australian Shepherd.

Purchasing a Shiny Pet comb for your Aussie won’t be enough on its own. While it’s great for working through tangles, it doesn’t lift out dead hair or stimulate the skin in the way some of the other brushes on the list will. It’s a useful complement to a slicker brush though.

VIEW PRICE

5. AtEase Accents Double Sided Dog Brush

AtEase Double Sided VIEW PRICE

We’ve already featured a double-sided brush on this list, but if you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option, then you may want to consider the AtEase Accents Brush for Dogs.

The frame of the brush has been constructed from sustainable bamboo wood, rather than the usual plastic. This makes it an excellent choice if you’re worried about the environmental impact of plastic products.

Like other pin and bristle brushes, the AtEase Accents is great for removing dirt and promoting a healthy shine. The pin brush can also lift out small amounts of dead hair, although it’s nowhere near as effective as a slicker brush.

A downside is that it doesn’t offer the same grip as the GoPet option, as it doesn’t have a non-slip handle. Other than this minor drawback, it’s a well-made and durable dog brush that’s still comfortable to use.

VIEW PRICE

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should You Brush an Australian Shepherd?

The Australian Shepherd’s thick double coat and feathered areas need consistent grooming. Neglecting this task can cause mats and ruin the insulating properties of the dog’s coat. The topcoat may also start to look dull and unhealthy.

As a general rule, you should brush your dog’s coat at least several times each week. Start with a slicker brush, then move onto a bristle or pin brush. If you find a knot or tangle, gently use a comb to remove it.

When Australian Shepherds are having their coat blow, you may need to increase brushing to once a day, although you should only ever use a deshedding brush 1-2 times per week.

If your Aussie is very active and spends a lot of time outdoors, you may want to brush your dog daily with a bristle brush to prevent debris from building up in their coat.

Regular grooming sessions don’t just help to keep the coat in tip-top condition, but when done gently and patiently, they can strengthen the bond between you and your dog. It also gives you the chance to inspect them for parasites or abnormal lumps or injuries you might not spot otherwise.

What Colors Do Aussies Come In?

Aussies come in four different color combinations – black, red, blue merle and red merle. The merle markings create a marbling effect on the coat.

White and tan markings are commonly found on the head, chest and legs. The color of an Australian Shepherd doesn’t affect which dog brushes you should use.

What Are Some Other Aussie Grooming Tips?

You shouldn’t bathe any dog too frequently, but for dogs with a water-resistant coat, like Aussies, it’s even more important only to bathe them when it’s really needed. Overbathing can strip the coat of its natural oils and this can dry the coat out, meaning it won’t be as insulating when cold or wet.

When you do bath your Aussie, make sure you use a high-quality shampoo (and possibly a dog conditioner.) After they’ve dried off is the perfect time for brushing, as the bathing will loosen dead hairs in the coat and make them easier to remove.

You could even consider using a deshedding shampoo, especially during moulting season. These have conditioning properties that help loosen the dead hairs and moisturize the skin.

Conclusion

Australian Shepherds have a thick double coat. While they might not shed as much as breeds like the German Shepherd, they still need regular grooming to maintain a healthy coat.

Picking the right type of brushes can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping your Aussie’s coat tangle-free, in good condition and free from dead hair. In general, you should use both a slicker and pin brush, but a bristle brush, deshedding brush and metal comb can also be useful options.

My best dog brush for an Australian Shepherd is the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush. It isn’t as harsh as a deshedding tool, so it can be used more frequently, but it still removes plenty of dead hairs. The Hertzko can also help tackle minor knots, while spreading healthy oils across the skin. 

I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog brush for your Australian Shepherd. If you have any questions or feedback, please use the comments section below.

Image of Gemma Johnstone

About The Author: Gemma Johnstone

Gemma is a freelance writer and official dog nut. With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, she is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She has worked for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ran her own specialist dog shop for ten years, has volunteered for her local rescue shelter, and is studying towards completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. Gemma is currently travelling around Europe with her wonderful rescue dog, Annie.