Once you buy dog food, arrange for training, and get toys for your new GSD pup, what is next? You did your research, so you know she will need regular attention to her coat. You may have heard that the GSD sheds a lot. Did you know one of your best remedies for your dog shedding is a brush? How do you find the best brush for German Shepherd?
Quick Picks: The 6 Best Brushes for German Shepherds
Last update on 2021-01-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Check our best pick above, or keep reading for product reviews and buying guide!
Best Brush for German Shepherd Reviews
Best Overall De-Shedding Brush
You have probably heard of the Furminator as it has been popular for a long time. It is especially effective for dogs like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies that have one or more heavy undercoat sheds a year. The Furminator has special features that make it easy to use for both dogs and owners.
An ergonomic handle is one of the first things you will notice about this deshedding brush. It enables you to hold your grip on the handle for long grooming sessions. The comb’s edge also curves so you can better trace the curves along your pet’s back, shoulders, chest, and neck.
A Furminator is mainly a deshedding tool. You can use it to tidy loose hairs during daily brushing, but it is especially to remove dead tufts of underfur. The built-in skin guard protects your dog, and the tiny teeth design avoids damage to your companion’s beautiful outer guard hairs.
- Curved edge – Designed to follow your dog’s shape
- Ejector button conveniently releases trapped hair from comb
- Teeth do not damage topcoat
- Protects your dog’s skin
- Keeps comb from digging into skin as you work
- Furejector button may stick sometimes
Best Deshedding Comb for Short-Haired Dual Coats
Similar in style to the Furminator, the Dakpets is a comb with stainless steel teeth. It removes loose hairs from the outer coat to reduce shedding. The Dakpets also deals with the seasonal underfur clumping so notable in double-coated breeds.
This comb has a rubber handle that is both durable and easy on the hands. Encouraging a firm grip, the material does not slip and provides comfort for prolonged grooming. A cover protects the blade, ensuring a long life for the comb.
The Dakpets is a versatile brush that takes into account both dogs and cats. It can accommodate different coat thicknesses and lengths and comes in a variety of colors.
- Decreases shedding by as much as 95%
- Choice of colors: Yellow, blue, pink
- Blade cover
- Rubber handle
- Replaceable stainless steel comb
- Angle must be just so to get to deeper layers of undercoat on medium- and long-haired dogs
Most Versatile Slicker Brush
Hertzko puts a lot of focus on the soft handles of their self-cleaning slicker brushes. Besides its ergonomic grip, the handle has a ridged edge to further resist slipping and a thumb rest on top. The goal is to eliminate hand and wrist fatigue.
The bristles of the Hertzko retract with a quick click of a button which protects them and makes it easy for you to clean excess hair. Damaged bristles are a common source of discomfort to your pet when brushing. Retraction is extra security against bent or broken wire.
- Easy to clean without scratching hand
- Bristle protection
- Versatile use
- Anti-slip handle with comfort grid
- Dimpled thumb rest
- Not great for dogs without an undercoat
Best Detangling Tool
Despite its resemblance to a miniature loom, the GoPets rake is an easy-to-use grooming tool to achieve professional-looking clips for your pooch. Some breeds require thinning of their coats for a cleaner, more streamlined appearance. The GoPets is ideal for Collies, GSDs, and Shelties. You can even use the comb on difficult areas like behind the ears or under the tail. It works especially for medium or long hair.
One side of the GoPets has a higher density of teeth than the other. A greater concentration of stainless steel teeth is to enhance deshedding. You would use it for seasonal undercoat removal on double coats. The other side is to remove mats.
This grooming tool is a dual-sided comb with rounded edges so you do not accidentally jab your pet. Yet the edges that work through mats are sharp to avoid pulling your dog’s hair.
- Comb’s edges are rounded
- Silicone gel-filled handle
- Blades of comb are sharp to prevent hair pulling
- Works as deshedder and dematting comb in one
- If you damage handle it will leak
Best De-Matting Comb
If you have a dog with long, coarse fur, you are familiar with the tendency to tangle or snarl. Some dogs, like Old English Sheepdogs or Great Pyrenees, can get impossible mats. Long-haired shepherds sometimes also get mats. The Safari de-matting comb is a specialty tool to rid your dog of mats without shaving and leaving an unsightly bald patch.
The Safari de-matting comb has a plastic handle with a grip that facilitates teasing out tangled hair. Large stainless steel serrated blades resemble what you see on the clipper guards. Groomers use these when they want to leave much of the coat length intact.
- Serrated blades help get between hairs of mat and cut through them
- Stainless steel blades durable
- Dual-sided – Can flip blades for left- and right-handed use
- Two thumb grips – Allows you to adjust the grip
- Difficult to flip blades
- Sharp edges will cut your hand if you are not careful
Best Dual-Purpose Brush
Every dog owner should have a pin brush in their repertoire of grooming tools. It is among the most versatile and basic brushes for pets.
The Andis Premium pet brush features classic pinhead bristles. Although stiff enough to remove dirt and mild tangles, the pinhead ensures sharp edges do not scrape against your pet’s sensitive skin.
Andis has deep roots in high-performance grooming tools, serving also as an important line in beauty and salon brushes, combs, and clippers for people. An ergonomic handle on their dual-pin brush enables a long day of comfortable use.
A soft handle encourages a comfortable grip so you can brush your dog for hours at a time. Andis features additional versatility with a double-sided brush. Opposite of the pinhead bristles is a soft brush to polish your dog’s outer coat. The Andis Pet Pin brush seems simple but has premium qualities like a soft ergonomic handle.
- Pin brush and slicker brush in one tool
- Collects hair better than a comb
- Bristles durable
- Soft handle
- Glue holding bristles may give out
- Wire bristle can be scratchy
What Are the Benefits of Brushing Your German Shepherd?
Brushing your GSD has several expected and a few surprising benefits.
- Grooming your dog, particularly brushing, is a way to establish or strengthen your bond.
- It feels good to your dog – If you brush your pet properly, it can have the same sensation as a massage
- Stimulates circulation in the skin and distributes natural oils throughout the fur to give it a healthy sheen
- Improves digestion
- Decreases shedding by actively removing loose hairs
- Prevents tangling before matting begins
- Allows you to check your dog’s skin for early problems regularly – You may catch tumors or infections in their infancy when they are much simpler to treat
- Maintains the functional aspects of the woolly undercoat – Keeps your dog warm and dry in winter and cool in the summer
What Should You Know About the German Shepherd Coat?
German Shepherds can have one of three coat types.
Long-Haired Without an Undercoat
Despite the remarkable silkiness of their fur, a long-haired German Shepherd without an undercoat cannot enter an AKC-sanctioned conformation show ring. GSD clubs call them smooth-coated, and they usually have a sparse undercoat. Rarely does a Shepherd have no undercoat at all. She can do everything else purebred German Shepherds do.
- Perform in agility trials and other AKC event that do not consider conformation
- Receive papers of pedigree
- Register with the AKC with all relevant certifications
Although long-haired German Shepherds are purebred dogs and can breed as any other AKC registrants, most fanciers select against their coat type because they cannot show. Therefore, long-haired German Shepherds without undercoats are rare. Their soft fur requires minimal brushing and they do not have a huge seasonal shed of undercoat.
Short, Medium, Medium-Long, or Long Hair With a Thick Undercoat
By far the majority of German Shepherds have a dense double coat. Most have a medium to medium-length outer coat with longer hairs along the shoulders and back. Others have short fur that still appears especially thick. Rough-coated GSDs, unlike “smoothies,” have long topcoats and a substantial undercoat. Although not the preferred coat choice, rough coats can show.
Even German Shepherds with longer hair do not tend to mat very often because the outer hairs are not commonly wavy or have only a slight wave. Matting can occur behind the elbows on the trunk, around the ears, or on the backs of the rear legs. Matting often accompanies excessive scratching from allergies or an inconsistent brushing schedule. The loose tufts of different-textured hair can remain trapped beneath the outer hairs.
German Shepherds shed a large amount of hair year-round. However, any GSD is familiar with the unkempt look of patchy dead hair tufts all over your dog’s coat. Your Shepherd will shed copious amounts of underfur in large wads in preparation for a new coat in fall and spring. Your brushing will facilitate this process and help control shedding in your home.
How Often Should You Brush a German Shepherd?
How often you brush your dog depends, of course, on his coat type. If your German Shepherd has long but thin fur with an absent or sparse undercoat, you should brush at least once a week. Regular brushing will keep the coat shiny and remove light soiling and potential tangles.
If your dog has the undercoat appropriate to the breed standard, you should brush him twice or three times a week. You want to stimulate the skin under its thick layer of fur. Equally important, you need to regularly remove loose hairs from the undercoat as well as the outer coat. Any collection of discarded fur in the undercoat can serve as a nidus to collect dirt and eventually mat. Mats cause irritation and discomfort for your dog.
Ideally, you will spend about 20 minutes or more brushing your German Shepherd at least twice weekly. However, you can establish great control over shedding by also briefly brushing daily. In this manner, you remove loose hair frequently and give your dog a sleeker appearance.
When your German Shepherd “blows” his undercoat, you will need to brush him daily. Seasonal heavy shedding may remind you of molting. At least two days of the week, you will probably find yourself spending an hour or more working on your dog’s coat. You can often back up your brushing with an occasional rinse. Do not use shampoo too frequently on your GSD or you will dry out his skin and coat.
German Shepherd Grooming Tips
Establish a grooming routine early with your German Shepherd so she comes to expect it as a necessary function of her life.
- Pick a quiet place
- Except for daily touch-ups, plan on using more than one brush type
- Always comb out mats and tangles on dry fur
- De-mat before bathing, de-shed after – Use shampoo as infrequently as you can, every 3 to4 months is ideal; consider shampoo-free rinses during seasonal heavy sheds
- Try to brush in the direction of hair growth whenever possible
- Use an appropriate brush for legs, face, and body
- Offer frequent breaks – Use these opportunities to reward your dog with treats or playtime
- Dry your dog after a bath before brushing – Dry hair is less likely to experience damage from brushing than wet hair
- Check the skin as you brush
- Check ears and nails
Can You Shave a GSD?
Trimming is not part of the grooming requirements of the German Shepherd breed. AKC conformation shows require a natural coat, which you would achieve through brushing without any evidence of shearing. But you may wonder if you should shave your dog in the summer to make him more comfortable.
You can take clippers to your German Shepherd, but it is not advisable for several reasons.
- Your dog’s coat may never grow back the same
- A double coat serves a vital function
- You can irritate your dog’s skin
Most experts agree you should not shave dogs that possess a dual coat. The outer coat has relatively long, straight guard hairs. They are resistant to wind and protect the skin and inner fur from the sun’s rays. This helps prevent sunburn and also reflects heat away from the inner layers.
Your dog’s woolly undercoat insulates your pet from the heat and cold. It also works with the outer coat to circulate cooler air to the skin during the summer months. Your German Shepherd’s specific double coat type is remarkably adaptable to a wide range of climate conditions.
What Brushes Do You Need for German Shepherd?
For a GSD with a standard double coat, you will need at least two or three brushes for your weekly sessions. You need a pin brush, like the Andis Premium, for general work. You can use it for daily touch-ups also. You also need an undercoat rake. Deshedding combs like the Furminator will fulfill this role. It removes loose and dead hair from the undercoat as well as dirt, leaves, and light mats.
If your dog has long hair with an undercoat, and even for some medium-haired dogs, you will also need a slicker brush. Many owners of long-haired Shepherds use a slicker instead of a pinhead brush. It reaches deeper.
Even if you brush your dog regularly, you may occasionally encounter mats if your pet becomes particularly soiled or brushes against some type of foreign material. For mats, you should have a de-matting comb like a Safari.
- Pinhead brush – General brush for short and medium coat
- Slicker brush – Composed of fine wire bristles; Detangles and helps hairs lie flat; For medium to long hair
- Deshedder – Specifically for the undercoat; Indispensable during heavy seasonal sheds of double-coated breeds
- Dematting comb – For the mats and tangles you cannot get out with a slicker brush or deshedder
- Soft-haired curry – For very short-haired and delicate areas like the face; You can also use a soft cloth
- Clippers – May have to shave fractious mats; Shave as small an area under the mat as possible and comb out the remainder
It was difficult to pick one best brush for German Shepherd. It was a roundup of quality tools that embrace a variety of categories. Nevertheless, we chose the Furminator, Andis Pin Brush, and the GoPets dematting tool as our first, second, and third choices, respectively. They are all high-quality brushes in their disciplines. They also have human comfort, animal safeguards, and effectiveness as top priorities. The Furminator has remained one of the most effective grooming tools since its creation and among the most user-friendly.