Which dog brush do you need?

LAST UPDATED 19 December 2019

This article is written by Pet Circle product expert, Jessica Varley

Dog coats are exceptionally varied so it's no wonder that we need a different tool to groom a beagle than we do for a husky. Picking the right brush will help you to defuse tangles easier, and remove dead undercoat hair (if applicable). The wrong brush can cause discomfort, pain, hair breakage and quite simply, be ineffective.

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The types of dog brushes covered in this article are:

  • Bristle Brushes
  • Wire Pin Brushes
  • Slicker Brushes
  • Undercoat rakes or deshedding tools
  • Kong Zoom Groom (rubber brush)
  • Flea combs

Plastic bristle brushes

Bristle brushes can be used for most coat types and there are many variations in size, shape, bristle proximity and toughness. Bristle brushes are perfect for breeds with short, smooth coats. Long haired breeds also benefit from the bristle brush but the proximity between bristles should be greater and the bristle length longer. Smooth and silky coats only need a soft to medium bristle brush whereas breeds with coarse, wiry hair will need a brush with sturdier bristles.


Deshedding brushes

Deshedding brushes, the most famous of which is the furminator, are excellent for reducing bulk hair without comprimising on length. They work by using a bristle-blade combination that selectively de-sheds the undercoat and loose hair without cutting or damaging the top coat on double-coated breeds. These are excellent for double coated breeds who shed a lot of fur.


Wire pin brushes

Ideal for medium to long haired dogs, these wire pin brushes are great for removing tangles. Wire pin brushes are best for thick, curly or woolly coats and are usually ineffective on short haired breeds. Dogs with delicate hair like Yorkies are best suited to a wire pin style brush.


Slicker brushes

These brushes are used for dogs with long hair, curly hair and double coats. They are great for defusing tangles and matted hair. They can be used on long and curly haired dogs after a wire pin brush to smooth the coat. The pins on slicker brushes are quite sharp, brushing should be gentle as not to scratch the skin and they should not be used on the face, especially near the eyes.


Undercoat rakes

These rakes are designed for double coated breeds and are wonderful for shedding dogs. The rake catches the dead undercoat hairs to reduce shedding. When choosing an undercoat rake, try to match the length of the rake pins to your dog's hair length.


Rubber massage brushes

The Kong Zoomgroom and the Hartz Rubber Brush are the ultimate beginner's tools. Virtually all dogs love being brushed by the soft rubber or silicon brushes and it is great as an introductory brush to get them used to grooming. The rubber pegs stimulate the capillaries promoting blood flow for a healthier skin and coat. Ideally this brush works best on smooth, short haired dogs but it can be helpful in loosening up the undercoat fur for easier brushing. It's best to do this outside or in the bath when wet as it can end up being a little messy.


Flea combs

While designed for picking up fleas and eggs, they can also double as a face comb for tidy up around the eyes, ears and snout.


Most dog breeds will need more than one type of brush to keep their skin and coat healthy and your house fur free. For beginners or fussy dogs, the Kong Zoomgroom is an unobtrusive and gentle brush that will loosen hair and improve blood flow. During shedding periods, daily brushing is recommended for most dogs.

Further Reading

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Teach your puppy to walk on a lead

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Your guide to fleas, ticks and worms

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