There are many different types of dog breeds and, as a result, several types of fur. There is no universal brush that works for all fur types and using the wrong one can be detrimental to the health and appearance of the dog.
Curly coated dogs, like poodles, poodle mixes, and bichons, have the most specific grooming needs of any other type, according to Crystal Mayhew, owner and groomer at Bark Avenue Dog Grooming and Retail.
“You’ll want to brush them at least two to three times per week to keep them mat free,” she said.
The best grooming tools to use on curly coated dogs are a metal comb and a stiff, wiry slicker brush. The comb is used to work the undercoat while the slicker removes tangles from the top coat.
“For the most part, slickers can be used on any fur,” Mayhew said. She cautioned against brushing too hard or for too long in one spot with the slicker as it can cause burns on the dog’s skin.
Never use a de-shedding tool, such as a Furminator, on a curly coated breed, added Mayhew.
“Those tools will actually cut the hair and damage it,” she said.
While most breeds should be brushed in the direction their hair grows, curly coated dogs can be brushed in any direction.
“Their hair is fluffy, not flat, so you can brush it either way,” said Brandi Huseman, groomer.
Curly coated breeds also require a full grooming every six to eight weeks.
For flat-coated dogs with an undercoat, such as Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, huskies and Rottweilers, de-shedding tools are the best bet.
“We get more calls than anything about shedding and how to prevent that,” Mayhew said. “These tools really minimize shedding. It should help keep shedding down for four to six weeks.”
The slicker is also a good choice for this type of coat as it smooths the fur and pulls out any dirt that might be caught. A metal comb isn’t necessary for this type of coat.
“These guys aren’t prone to matting or tangles so they don’t need a comb,” Mayhew said.
Another good choice for shorter haired dogs is a rubber curry, which is a brush made entirely out of rubber.
“These are awesome to use on short-haired dogs,” said Mayhew. “You can go in any direction and brush as long as you want and it won’t hurt them. It’s like a massage.”
For long haired dogs, or dogs with “hair that moves,” as Mayhew put it, such as Irish setters, Yorkshire terriers, and golden retrievers, slickers, metal combs and pin brushes, brushes with flexible bristles, are good choices.
Use the slicker and comb to de-tangle the fur and then smooth with the pin brush.
“The pin brush isn’t good for getting out knots, but it’s a good finishing touch,” Mayhew said.