What Are the Different Types of Dog Grooming Brushes?

J. Beam

Dog grooming is serious business for pet owners, show dog handlers, and veterinarians. Pretty much anyone who owns or works with dogs understands the importance of good grooming. To maintain a well-groomed dog, there a variety of grooming products and tools to get the job done. Some of the most essential tools are dog grooming brushes and there are several different kinds for different purposes.

Short haired dogs like dobermans are often easier to groom than long haired dogs.
Short haired dogs like dobermans are often easier to groom than long haired dogs.

The most basic of dog grooming brushes are the bathing brush, the pin brush, the rake and the slicker brush. Bathing brushes are typically flexible, rubber brushes that are used to aid in bathing. Dogs with thick coats and long fur are more difficult to bathe than short-haired dogs and a bathing brush helps massage the skin and ensure shampoo lather penetrates the coat. This tool can be useful for the groomer and provide a more enjoyable experience for the dog.

A dog being washed.
A dog being washed.

Once a dog is bathed, the real grooming begins. In the arsenal of dog grooming brushes, a rake may be the most essential. Rakes can help break up mats and tangles and help remove loose fur from the undercoat. The tines are typically close together and are stiffer than the tines on pin brushes, which are more useful for brushing out the top coat. On particularly thick coats, a shedding comb or blade may be necessary for cleaning up loose fur in the undercoat.

For brushing the top coat, a pin brush and a bristle brush are the most suitable of dog grooming brushes. These basic brushes are also essential for keeping dogs’ fur clean and smooth between grooming sessions. They can be purchased separately, but are often made as a two-in-one with a double-sided head attached to a single handle. Pin brushes are also referred to as slicker brushes and are simply brushes with short stainless steel pins that help keep the coat smooth and shiny while removing excess fur. They are also useful for routine brushing to minimize shedding. The bristle dog grooming brushes are useful for fluffing the coat of breeds with soft fur.

While a dog groomer is sure to have a larger selection of dog grooming brushes to hand, pet owners should have appropriate brushes or combs to keep their own dog clean and neat. Regular brushing promotes bonding between owner and dog, helps minimize and contain shedding, and keeps coats shiny, healthy and clean. Look for a size and type of brush that is appropriate for each dog and consult a professional groomer for the essential tools to keep at home.

Boar bristle brushes effectively smooth, lift, and help redistribute oil throughout the hair.
Boar bristle brushes effectively smooth, lift, and help redistribute oil throughout the hair.

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Discussion Comments


@pleonasm - I would add to that y saying make sure you know what kind of grooming is going to be required. There are dogs out there who need their fur to be put into dreadlocks for them to wear it properly. There are dogs that need to be clipped in certain places to stop them from getting eye infections or from overheating in the sun.

There are also dogs that are going to need long hair in the winter if they aren't kept in climate controlled areas. Don't pick a dog and expect to be able to change them to suit your needs. You need to either change yourself, or change your choice of dog and grooming equipment.


@Mor - For anyone who doesn't want to commit this kind of time, if you aren't prepared to groom a long haired dog, you shouldn't get a long-haired dog because they will need to be groomed to stay healthy. The only way around it is to commit to having them clipped regularly, which can be expensive or time consuming.

It's not about making them look good (although that's a bonus). It's a hygiene issue, and long haired dogs can become sick if they aren't groomed properly.


If you've got a long-haired dog, you really have to make sure they get into good grooming habits right from the start, when you welcome them home.

Preferably when they are a puppy, but you can still train them as an adult dog.

Grooming should be done every day at the same time, even if they don't need it every day. It just gets them into the habit. You can do it in front of the television at night, or in the morning before they eat or something like that. In fact, grooming the dog before they eat is probably a good idea because the food then becomes a kind of reward for them once the grooming is over.

Ideally, your dog is going to enjoy grooming though, and it certainly stops them from problems later on.

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