What Kind of Dog Brush Should I Use?

When you're in the market for a doggie brush, you can't just grab one off the shelf as you rush through the pet section. Your dog's breed and type of hair need to guide your selection, as the wrong brush can cause discomfort or skin irritation. Your groomer can help with suggestions specific to your dog.


Bristle Brush

Bristle brushes work as a daily grooming brush for most dog hair types. These have natural bristles and come in varied bristle spacings. For short, smooth fur, you need a brush with short, closely spaced, soft- to medium-textured bristles. Short, wiry and curly hair needs a firm, closely spaced bristle brush. Long, flowing hair should have a long, widely spaced, soft- to medium-bristle brush. Dogs with coarse outer coats and thick, downy undercoats fare well with a long, widely spaced, firm bristle brush. As you stroke with a bristle brush, the bristles remove loose fur, dirt and debris, as well as gently stimulating the skin underneath.

Slicker Brush

A slicker brush has short, thin wire bristles arranged close together. These bristles are anchored to a flat, usually rectangular, surface that's attached to a handle. Slicker brushes are used to untangle tangles and mats from a dog's hair. They also remove dead hair from a dog's coat and undercoat. This type of brush works on medium to long-haired dogs, as well as dogs with thin or curly hair. Brush with a slicker dogs such as a retriever, terrier, Yorkie, Lhasa Apso or cocker spaniel. The tight bristles can yank on the hair, so be gentle when you use this brush.

Pin Brush

Pin brushes usually have oval heads with wire bristles that are individually spaced and embedded into a flexible pad. The wire bristles can come with or without rubber tips. Pull out a pin brush to remove loose hair from curly, wooly or medium to long hair. You can use these by themselves, but usually they follow a thorough brushing from a bristle brush to fluff the hair and finish off a grooming session.


Rakes have a handle attached to a wide, thin head and a row or two of tightly spaced pins. This type of brush penetrates a thick coat to remove the dead fur from the undercoat. This helps to prevent, as well as remove, mats and tangles. The best rake has pins the same length as your dog's hair. This ensures that you get down to the undercoat without scraping and irritating the skin. Apply a rake gently, with minimal pressure. They work on double-coated dogs, such as collies, Shetland sheepdogs, chow chows and German shepherds.

By Susan Revermann


About the Author
Susan Revermann is a professional writer with educational and professional experience in psychology, research and teaching. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington in psychology, focused on research, motivational behavior and statistics. Revermann also has a background in art, crafts, green living, outdoor activities and overall fitness, balance and well-being.