Choosing the right brush or comb for your dog is the first step in maintaining good grooming habits. Weekly brushing will help lubricate your dog's skin with his own natural oils and will help loosen the old hair and dander. Different types of dogs require different types of brushes. When using the right type of brush, your pooch will most likely enjoy being groomed - alternatively, if your dog is showing signs of pain or discomfort, you may be using the wrong kind of brush.

There are four main types of dog brushes; slicker brush, rakes, bristle, and pin brushes.

Slicker Brushes have fine, short wires close together on a flat surface. They are especially useful for removing mats and tangles. Remember to be gentle when using a slicker brush, the fine, tightly spaced wires can cause your dog discomfort if too much pressure is used.

Rakes are designed to penetrate a dog's thick coat and remove tangles and dead undercoat near the dog's skin. They are intended to be used with minimal pressure. When looking for a rake, be sure to find one with pins that roughly match your dog's hair length. Rakes that are too short will miss the inner layer of undercoat, while rakes that are too long can irritate the skin.

Bristle Brushes are used on short haired, smooth-coated dogs that shed frequently.The clusters of tightly packed bristles will remove loose hair and stimulate the skin.

Pin Brushes look similar to brushes used by people. They are usually oval-shaped with a loosely-arranged set of flexible wires with pins on top. They are the preferred choice for dogs with medium to long hair, and those with curly or woolly coats.


Type of Hair Coat Recommended Brush Type Brushing Direction
Short, smooth coats (most Retrievers, Hounds, Chihuahuas, etc.) Soft to medium bristle brush with short, closely spaced bristles With the coat's grain
Short, wiry coats (Terriers, etc.) Firm bristle brush with short, closely spaced bristles; and a slicker brush With the coat's grain
Medium to long flowing coats (Golden Retrievers, Spaniels, Setters, Lhasa Apso, etc.) Soft to medium bristle brush with long, medium- to wide-spaced bristles; a wire-pin brush; and a slicker brush for mats and tangles With the coat's grain
Harsh, outer coats with soft, woolly undercoats (Sheepdogs, Collies, Shepherds, Chows, Pomeranians, etc.) Firm bristle brush with long, wide-spaced bristles; a wire-pin brush; and a slicker brush for tangles and mats With the grain -- outer coat; Against the grain--under coat
Thin, delicate coats (Yorkies, Maltese, etc.) Wire-pin brush; and a soft slicker brush for tangles and mats With and against the coat's grain