Most German Shepherds parents know that German Shepherds are double-coated dogs that need to be brushed regularly. But what many GSDs owners may not know is the proper way to brush their dogs.
For a starting point, you need to know that there is no single best brush for German Shepherds that suits every GSD. Why? Because German Shepherds breeds have four different coats and each requires different needs.
Let’s lake at those four different coats before we decipher the best brush for each coat, and later on, we will learn the correct way to brush German Shepherd dogs.
German Shepherd Coats
German Shepherds breeds have four different coats: short with an undercoat, medium with an undercoat, long with an undercoat, and long without an undercoat.
The short and the medium-coated German Shepherds are the ones that you often see in a dog show. The primary difference between the three variants is obviously the length of the coat.
The short-coated GSD has a short coat, the medium-coated (also called plush coat) has a coat longer than the short ones, the long-coated has the longest hairs that cover all parts of the body—most noticeable in the ears, back of the legs and the tail.
Each type has a slightly different grooming requirement. Since most German Shepherds have a double coat, you need to have at least two different brushes: one for the outer coat and one for the undercoat.
Different Types of Dog Brushes for German Shepherds
There is a wide range of brushes to choose from: bristle brush, slicker brush, pin brush, rake, and de-shedding brush.
Each caters to different types of coats, choosing which ones to use can be quiet confusing, especially for the first-time German Shepherds owners.
Most groomers that we talked to said that German Shepherd owners only need three brushes to groom their dogs: the main brush (pin, bristle, or slicker) choose one depending on your dog’s coat type, the grooming rake, and comb.
The main brush is for targetting the outer coat, to focus the undercoat you need to use a grooming rake, and de-matting comb is used to remove stubborn mats, tangles, and knots.
If your dog is diagnosed with fleas, you may also want to get a flea comb.
Best Brush for Short-Haired German Shepherd
If your dog is a short coat, it’s best to use a bristle brush to target the outer coat and a grooming rake for the undercoat. The bristle brush has clusters of tightly packed bristles that will remove loose hair and distribute the coat’s natural oil, making it healthy and shiny.
Best Brush for Medium to Long-Haired German Shepherd
Since medium to long hair coats tends to develop mats, it’s best to use a slicker brush and a grooming rake.
A slicker brush has fine, tightly spaced wires that can effectively untangle mats but can cause discomfort if you apply too much pressure; you need to be gentle when using a slicker brush.
Best Brush for Undercoat on a German Shepherd
To target the German Shepherd’s undercoat, you would need a grooming rake. A rake is essentially a brush that is shaped like shaving razor.
It works best to penetrate a German Shepherd’s thick coat to remove tangles, dead undercoat, and any dirt or debris that might have become trapped in the coat.
Just like a razor, you need to use it with great care; otherwise, it can scratch your dog’s skin.
When buying a rake for your dog, make sure to choose one with the length of pins that match your dog’s hair length. You don’t want a rake that is too short or too long.
Too short, it won’t be able to penetrate the GSD’s thick coat, too long, and it will irritate the dog’s skin.
Best Brush for Long-Haired German Shepherds without an Undercoat
For long-haired German Shepherds without an undercoat, do not use rakes since they can scratch the dog’s skin. It’s best to use a pin brush to groom this type of German Shepherds.
Pin brushes can be made of plastic, metal, bamboo, or rubber. And they look similar to the human brushes.
When buying pin brushes, regardless of the material that they are made of, we recommend getting one that has rubber pins at the end of each bristle to prevent your dog’s coat from getting scratched.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
Regardless of the coat types or length, all German Shepherds shed a lot year-round and twice a year—once in the fall, and once in the spring—they will blow their undercoat.
Not only German Shepherds, but all double-coated dog breeds like Huskies, Samoyeds, and Malamutes blow their coat.
When seasons change, they blow their coats to switch from their summer coats to winter coats and vice versa. This way, they can adapt to the environment and stay comfortable all year long.
If you have at least one-year-old German Shepherd, you may have experienced these crazy blowing periods.
Unlike the regular shedding session where only a few hairs come out, during the blowing period you may end up with large clumps of loose hair.
Furminator Deshedding brush for German Shepherds
In spite of their popularity, we don’t see that much difference between Furminator and the usual grooming rake. So we would recommend sticking with the typical grooming rake.
You might want to visit this forum here to read what other German Shepherds owners had said about using Furminator.
Best Dog Brushes for German Shepherds Coats
To be honest, in terms of quality, there is not much difference between one brush to the next. If you buy from Amazon, you’ll be just fine buying brushes rated with four or five stars.
The following is favorite brushes commonly used by dog groomers.
1. Best Bristle Brush for German Shepherds – Hertzko Bristle Brush
- IDEAL BRUSH FOR EVERYDAY BRUSHING & FUR FLUFFING - Hertzko's Bristle Brush gently removes loose hair, and eliminates tangles, dander, dust, and trapped dirt from your pet's topcoat. Works great on dogs and cats with all sizes and hair types!
- GENTLE & SAFE - Densely packed bristles are soft on your pet's sensitive skin.
Hertzko bristle brush is our choice for the best bristle brush for brushing the outer coat of short-haired German Shepherds. It does a great job to remove loose hairs and prevents matting.
What makes this brush ideal for short-haired German Shepherds is the bristles that are softer than the other brushes that we had tried. The bristles are so soft and gentle; you will have a piece of mind brushing your dog without getting worried the bristles will scratch their skin.
2. Best Slicker Brush for German Shepherds – Hertzko Slicker Brush
- The perfect brush to get all nasty mats out of your pet's fur. Hertzkos Slicker Brush gently removes loose hair, and eliminates tangles, knots, dander and trapped dirt. Works great on dogs and cats with all sizes and hair types!
- Get rid of mats without hurting her - The bristles are fine bent wires designed to penetrate deep into the coat and is really able to groom the undercoat well without scratching your pet's skin!
Hertzko slicker brush is the best brush to remove all the loose hairs and eliminates tangles, dirt, and debris out of German Shepherds’ outer coat.
The best part about this brush is the retractable feature. If you had ever used slicker brushes before, you would know it’s a pain in the ass to clean them.
Unlike the regular slicker brush, with Herztko you just need to press the button, and the bristle retracts back into the brush, making it easy to pull the pad of hair off.
When you’re not using it, the wires go back inside the brush so you can keep it in the basket or drawer without accidentally damaging the thin bristles or bending them.
3. Best Grooming Rake for German Shepherds – PawsPamper Undercoat Rake
- NO SKIN IRRITATION DEMATTING TOOL: Stainless Steel Teeth Blades with Rounded Blade Edges to Prevent Skin Irritation; Pets Actually Enjoy Being Brushed By This Rake
- PREMIUM CRAFTSMANSHIP: Beautifully Crafted Shedding Brush with Wooden Handle With A Full Tang Construction;
The PawsPamper undercoat rake is the most favorite grooming rake among many dog groomers we talked to.
Many German Shepherds parents said that their dogs’ hairs problems were diminished by 80% to 85% after using this rake.
What makes this rake so popular among many dog parents is the blade edges that are designed rounded. So you can brush your dog comfortably without worrying the blades will irritate their skin.
4. Best Pin Brush for German Shepherd: GoPets Double Sided Brush.
- SPECIAL OFFER TODAY ONLY - BEST PIN & BRISTLE BRUSH ON AMAZON IS GREAT FOR ALL COATS - Double sided brush ensures you have the right comb regardless of if you have a pet with short, medium or long hair.
- COMFORTABLE FOR YOU AND YOUR PET - Rounded ends on the pin brush makes it easy and comfortable for your dogs and cats and our non-slip silicone gel filled handle conforms to your hand no matter how you decide to hold it.
GoPets double sided brush is a multi-purpose brush, you get two different brushes in one: pin and bristle brush. The pin side gets your dog fur straightened out, and the bristle side removes loose hair and dirt, making the dog’s coat soft and smooth.
What we like from the GoPet double-sided brush are the rounded pins which protect your dog’s coat from getting hurt. The handle is also quite large and easy to grip.
5. Best Comb for German Shepherd: GoPets Dematting Comb
- SPECIAL OFFER TODAY ONLY ON THE BEST PET COMB ON AMAZON - Over 2000 Positive Customer Reviews 4.5 Stars - Over 2000 customers can't be wrong! The original professional quality dematting tool on the market. Don't be fooled by a knock off or copy cat combs.
- CLEAR ALL DIFFERENT MATS AND TANGLES - Our double sided pet comb has a different number of teeth on each side. Use the lower density side as a dematting rake for stubborn matts and tangles. Then the higher density side as a detangler, deshedding tool, or undercoat rake for faster results thinning and to control shedding.
This double-sided pet comb is another excellent product from GoPets; you get a de-matting comb and de-matting tools in one. The de-matting comb can be used to remove stubborn mats and tangles while the de-matting tool is used to control shedding.
If you have a dog with sensitive skin, you’ll love the design of the rounded ends. Many dog owners found their sensitive dogs tolerate this comb very well where others fail to deliver.
How to Brush My German Shepherd: Step-By-Step
The following are the easiest and simplest steps to brush your German Shepherds. Each session might last 15 to 40 minutes, depending on your dog’s skin conditions.
- This first step is the longest part of your brushing session. Take an undercoat rake and brush through your dog’s hair. Keeps brushing until your dog’s coat feel nice and smooth.
- Use a brush (slicker, bristle, or pin) to groom your GSD’s outer coat.
- Take a comb and work through the rest of their body to remove any mats or tangles that you might have missed in step one.
- As a finishing, use a boar brush to smooth the coat and help spread the skin’s natural oils.