It’s hard to resist the charm of a German Shepherd. With the look of a wolf and the personality of a teddy bear, there is a lot to love about these animals.
Unfortunately, there is one big downside that many potential German Shepherd owners don’t consider. That downside, of course, is their long and thick coats.
With such a long-haired dog, you need to brush their coat on a regular basis. While you don’t necessarily have to do this with short-haired breeds, a German Shepherd should be brushed at least twice a week.
For those who may be new to the subject, let’s take a look at five of the best dog brushes that we could find. We have chosen to focus only on brushes that we believe would be suitable for a German Shepherd dog.
1. Hertzko Soft Pet Brush for Dogs
This is a wide-headed slicker brush, and it offers a high degree of gentleness. The pins on this brush aren’t pins at all because they’re not made of metal. Instead, they are made of stiff plastic. That means they are virtually incapable of scratching your dog’s skin.
This one makes a great slicker brush for a German Shepherd, as its pins are long enough to reach all the way to the skin.
We also like the ergonomic rubberized handle. Between the ridges on the sides and the thumb groove on top, that handle provides excellent control every time.
This one has a money-back guarantee associated with it, and that’s always a reassuring sight. If a company doesn’t stand behind its product, they probably don’t deserve your money.
Overall, there seems to be little to no risk involved in purchasing this brush. Its cost is very competitive, so there’s no reason to sweat about that price tag either.
At the same time, the bristles on this brush are a little too close together. Although it’s not a huge problem, it does limit their ability to trap hair.
We also feel that the connection point between the handle and the head is too thin and weak. Since there’s nothing involved here but plastic, we feel it needs a little more.
- Pins are rounded and made of flexible plastic
- Wide brush head covers a wider area
- Very ergonomic handle
- Money-back guarantee
- Good mix of firmness and gentleness
- The plastic head can break off
- Bristles are a little too close together
2. KylePet Double Sided Pet Slicker Brush
This one might be described as a multi-tool because of the fact that it’s two brushes in one. On one side, you have a wire-pin brush with the usual setup. On the other side, you have a standard soft-bristle brush. Between these two tools, you can do just about anything.
A brush like this can be very handy because of the fact that it saves time and space. Because you don’t have to switch back and forth between two different tools, you are sure to shave a few minutes off of brushing time.
When you are traveling with your German Shepherd, a brush like this can help you to save valuable bag space. It might be bulkier than most brushes, but it’s still a lot smaller than any two brushes. Thus, we would recommend this one as a travel choice.
There is one thing missing from this package, and that is a rake/comb. Brushing is usually all that your dog’s fur requires, but what about those other times?
When you run into a really tough tangle, you will still need to resort to the use of a comb or rake. To be honest, it would have been better for our purposes if they had combined a wire-pin brush with a long-toothed comb.
- Is basically two brushes in one
- Saves time and space
- Strong bamboo handle
- 30-day warranty
- Pin ends are firmly affixed
- Not much good against deep tangles
- The handle is a little bit small
3. Pet Neat 2 Sided Pet Grooming Tool
This is another two-sided tool, but this one is meant for an entirely different function. While our other choice was basically just two types of brushes, this one represents two different de-tangling tools.
On one side, you have a fine-tooth comb that works to remove all kinds of hair from the undercoat. On the other side, you have a very effective de-tangling tool.
We like the fact that this tool is designed with rounded edges in all the right places. When you use the comb, the detangler glides against the skin, producing a nice massage effect.
This is a case where poor design could have really ruined a good idea, so we are pleased to see that they put in the time and effort to do things right.
On that note, this is one of the few brushes we have seen that offers a full 100% money-back guarantee. Such guarantees are rare for an item this cheap, as many customers will not find them to be worth the trouble.
Still, you might as well take advantage of this guarantee if the tool should happen to break.
- Greatly reduces shedding when used properly
- Rounded edges to prevent scratching
- Multi-functional tool
- Excellent grip
- Money-back guarantee
- Could be harmful if used improperly
- Doesn’t replace a brush
4. FURminator Firm Grooming Slicker Brush
This is probably the most hardcore slicker brush we have seen, so its name (“the Furminator”) is quite appropriate. The most distinguishing feature of this brush is the hooked pins that constitute its most important parts.
These hooked pins are meant to be used with a “down and outward” motion (more about proper technique in the information section below).
When used with this kind of brushstroke, this brush is highly effective at grabbing all that loose hair and pulling it away. Because the brush is two-sided, you won’t have to clean it nearly as often.
At the same time, it’s easy to see that this brush could be very hard on your dog’s skin. If you don’t use the right kind of brushstroke, your dog is likely to hate this brush. Also, some customers have complained that the handle is not firmly attached to the flexible head.
Let’s talk about that flexible head, as it represents another important feature of this brush. The head is split in two, allowing each side to “hug” the surface of your dog’s skin. The idea is that you will have a little more pressure and, thus, a little more effectiveness.
- Hooked teeth do a great job of grabbing loose hair
- The entire thing is thick and sturdy
- Double-sided for less frequent cleaning
- Split-middle design allows for better movement
- The grip is exceptionally good
- Requires good technique for safety
- The handle might not be attached firmly enough
5. Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush
This is the only self-cleaning brush on our list, and that is a very big advantage. With most German Shepherds, brushing involves a lot of stopping to pick hair from the brush. Even if you are used to this task, it is still a pain.
The handle on this brush is very nice, as it is covered in a rubber grip that gives the user great control.
At the same time, we wish they had not put the self-cleaning button right where the thumb wants to sit. Another inch or two in any direction would have done a lot to keep it out of the way.
The pins on this thing are very long and thin, which is just what we want for a German Shepherd dog.
As long as they don’t get jammed in the cleaning mechanism, we would guess that these teeth will do the job perfectly. In spite of its special feature, this brush is easily used by anyone.
- No need to pick the hair out by hand
- Pins are very long and thin
- Anti-slip handle
- Easy for anyone to use
- A little bulky
- Easy to hit the clean button by accident
Best Dog Brushes For German Shepherds Buyer’s Guide
In this section, we will go over some of the different types of brushes that can be found on the market. With each one, we will determine if this type of brush is suitable for a German Shepherd or not.
These are the ones with soft, long bristles. These kinds of brushes are also commonly used on human hair, as they do a good job of removing tangles. The soft bristles are able to grab the hair and pull it straight without yanking out large amounts.
Of course, a dog will shed much more easily than a human, so be prepared to clean your bristle brush quite frequently. When you own a German Shepherd, this kind of thing goes with the territory.
Bristle brushes are suitable for a German Shepherd, but we would say that it’s not the only brush you should own.
This kind of brush will do a great job of alleviating surface-level tangles, but they won’t reach underneath to detangle their undercoat. Also, we would recommend that you use a long-bristled variant so that you can get the most out of your efforts.
Wire Pin Brushes
Instead of bristles, these brushes are set with wire-type pins that are set in a soft base material. Because of this, the pins are able to move and flex a little bit, which keeps them from scratching the skin or yanking out huge amounts of hair.
Many times, these pins will have a small ball-like piece on the end. This reduces the chance of such a brush getting tangled badly.
These brushes are definitely well-suited for German Shepherds. In fact, they might be the best choice for a long-haired dog of this type. As long as you choose one with long pins, it should be able to reach all the way to the skin.
This ensures that all knots and tangles are removed. We would recommend that you go with the longest and most flexible pins for your brush, as this will lead to less hair loss for your dog.
Slicker brushes are very similar to wire-pin brushes, but with one key difference. These pins do not have rounded ends, which means that they will grab a lot more hair. Still, sometimes that is what you want in a good brush.
The pins of these brushes also tend to be thinner and shorter than those that are usually found on wire-pin brushes. All in all, this is a lot like a bristle brush in that it’s meant to detangle the surface layer of your dog’s fur.
Slicker brushes are not a bad choice for a German Shepherd, but they are not a stand-alone solution. What we mean is this: It’s good to give your Shepherd a slicker brushing when they are shedding especially badly.
However, this brushing should be followed up with a different brush (preferably one that can go a little deeper).
Combs And Rakes
It’s important that you don’t forget the difference between combing and brushing. While brushing does a good job of removing tangles and mats, a comb is the only surefire way to deal with them. Although combing may take a little longer, it should help to keep your pet’s hair smooth and silky at all times.
A German Shepherd definitely needs regular combing. Because of the thick and wooly nature of their hair, you might find it difficult to comb them. Thus, you will need to be a little more careful when using that comb.
Don’t pull too hard, and be sure that you pay attention to the reactions of your dog. If they seem to be in pain, you are likely to be doing something wrong.
We should mention the use of rubber-toothed combs. If your dog is sensitive to a normal comb, whining and whinging with every stroke, you should consider getting a comb with stiff rubber teeth.
Their greater flexibility will make the whole process a lot more gentle. As a bonus, they will also massage and soothe your dog’s skin.
We would be missing an important tool if we didn’t mention the use of flea combs. These little devices are meant to pull fleas from a dog’s coat, and they do the job with great effectiveness. For those who don’t want to use potentially toxic flea shampoos, this is one of the only alternatives out there.
Although these tools might look like some kind of medieval torture device, they are actually one of the best weapons in the dog groomer’s arsenal. Like a comb, they push the hair into channels so that it can be separated.
However, these tools go a little farther. They work by going underneath the topcoat and removing loose hair from the undercoat.
When you are dealing with serious tangles, there is no substitute for a tool like this. However, these de-shedding/detangling tools are not suited for small-scale problems.
In many cases, smaller tangles will pass through the wide gaps between the teeth. Thus, you can see that you are dealing with a less precise instrument here.
For a German Shepherd, a tool like this is absolutely essential. Like many other cold-oriented breeds, the Shepherd will have both an outer coat and an inner coat. This inner coat is where most of the shedding comes from, so it needs a little bit of special attention.
Developing The Right Technique
If you want your dog to get the maximum benefit from each brushing, it is important that you develop the proper technique.
A dog brush isn’t a magic wand, and it won’t do its job unless wielded with skill. This kind of skill will tend to develop naturally over time, but here are a few pointers to get you started.
For one thing, you want to develop the right kind of brushstroke. Incorrect brushing will be ineffective (at best) or may even harm your dog’s skin (at worst). If nothing else, you need to develop a careful stroke so that you can avoid the eyes and other sensitive areas.
You should use a short, fast stroke of the hand. This stroke should go downward rather than upward, as the downward motion is easier to control.
As you finish each stroke, move the brush away from the skin of the dog. The result of this is a “down but outward” motion that can be difficult to cultivate.
It’s also important that you avoid the temptation to yank and force your way past those mats and tangles that you are bound to find.
If you cause pain to the animal while brushing, they are likely to be a lot less cooperative in the future. To avoid the need for all that pulling, you can use a spray or a conditioner to work the hair into a more pliable state.
What To Look For In A German Shepherd Brush
To summarize what we have learned, let’s think about the most important qualities that a brush for a German Shepherd should have. Consider this section as your checklist when shopping for a new brush.
- Go for a brush with long bristles/pins so that they can reach all the way down to the skin. Otherwise, you will only be affecting the surface layer
- Go for a brush that is durable enough to withstand the thick hair of this breed
- Go for a brush that is comfortable in your hand and comfortable to use. Better ergonomics will usually add up to better brushing technique
- If possible, go for a brush with retractable bristles. This will save you a lot of time
- Avoid most short-toothed combs, unless you have a short-haired German Shepherd
- Soft-bristle brushes are workable, but not the best choice. Go for something with a little more penetration.
A Word About Breed Variation
When we talk about this subject, it is only fair to mention that German Shepherds come in several different sub-forms. Most of the advice in this article is intended for dogs with medium to long hair, but there are short-haired variants of this breed as well.
If you have one of those short-haired Shepherds, you will need to modify the advice in this article. For one thing, go with a shorter-bristled brush, as longer bristles will scratch your dog’s sensitive skin.
For another thing, you can probably forego the use of a detangling tool since the hair isn’t nearly long enough to require such a device.
Choosing a brush for your dog shouldn’t be a hard choice, so don’t get the wrong idea from this article. Overall, this shouldn’t be a hard decision to make. Still, we hope that this article has made your choice even easier by educating you a little more thoroughly than before.
Because we have included a wide variety of brushes in this article, it would not be possible to name one of these products as “the best.”
To decide which of these brushes is right for your dog, you will have to make an evaluation with the information that we have given you.