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Brushes For Long Hair Dogs: A Complete Guide To Grooming Your Furry Friend

If you own a long-haired dog, you are aware of how gorgeous and luxurious its coat can be. However, you are also aware of the effort required to keep it that way. To prevent mats, shedding, skin problems, and other issues, long-haired dogs require regular grooming.

Additionally, brushing strengthens your bond with your dog, keeps them clean and healthy, and enhances their appearance. Not all brushes are created equal. Different types of brushes serve different purposes and are suited for different types of coats.

Using the wrong brush can cause injury to your dog's fur, irritate their skin, and make them dislike grooming. Therefore, it is important to understand how to select and use the best brush for your long-haired dog.

This article will cover everything you need to know about grooming long-haired dogs, including:

The different types of brushes and their functions

Proper and safe brushing techniques for long-haired dogs

How to deal with mats and tangles in your dog's coat

How to choose the best brush for your dog's coat type

By the end of BestForPets' article, you will be able to maintain your long-haired dog like a pro, making them look and feel wonderful.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)


The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1. Types Of Brushes For Long-Haired Dogs

Long-haired dogs can benefit from different types of brushes, including slicker brushes, pin brushes, and deshedding brushes.

Depending on your dog’s coat type, length, thickness, texture, and condition, each brush has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief summary of each brush type:

1.1 Slicker brushes

Slicker brushes have short, closely spaced, and slightly angled plastic or wire filaments. They are useful for detangling your dog’s coat and removing dead hair and loose fur. In addition, they help distribute natural oils throughout the hair.

Most long-haired dogs, especially those with curly, wavy, or wiry coats, can benefit from slicker brushes. They can also be used to remove mats and tangles, but be careful not to scratch your dog’s skin by pulling too hard.

1.2 Pin brushes

Pin brushes have widely spaced metal pins attached to a cushioned base. They remove loose hair and dirt without pulling or breaking the hair on your dog’s coat. They also contribute to the fluffiness and shine of the topcoat.

Breeds like Maltese and Shih Tzus, which have long, silky coats without much undercoat, are good candidates for pin brushes. They can also be used as a finishing touch after using a slicker or deshedding brush.

1.3 Deshedding brushes

Deshedding brushes have metal teeth or blades designed to remove dead hair from your dog’s undercoat. They reduce shedding, prevent matting, and improve air circulation to your dog’s skin. They also give the coat a sleeker appearance.

Deshedding brushes work well for dogs with a dense undercoat and a coarse outer coat, such as Collies, Huskies, and German Shepherds. They can also be used on dogs with short or medium coats that shed heavily, like Labradors and Beagles.

Overall, using the right brush for your dog’s coat type can make a big difference in their appearance and comfort. Don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian or groomer for recommendations on the best brushes for your dog.

2. How To Brush A Long-Haired Dog

Brushing a long-haired dog can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience for both you and your pet, if done correctly. Here are some general grooming guidelines and best practices for long-haired dogs:

Brush your dog at least two to three times per week, or more frequently if its coat is dense or curly. Spend ten to fifteen minutes per session, or longer if your dog has a lot of mats and tangles. Start at the head and work down the body, brushing in the direction of hair growth.

To prevent injuring your dog’s skin or breaking its hair, brush it gently with brief strokes and mild pressure. To reach the undercoat, work on one area at a time, lifting the hair to expose the undercoat as you go. Use a slicker brush or a pin brush with long tines to detangle and remove loose hair from a long-haired dog’s coat.

Before bathing your dog, brush its coat thoroughly to remove any grime or loose hair that could cause matting when damp. After washing, dry your dog’s coat thoroughly before brushing to prevent further tangling and matting.

By following these guidelines and using the appropriate brushes for your dog’s coat type and condition, you can keep your long-haired dog’s coat healthy and shiny.

To get your dog ready for grooming, you must:

  • Choose a comfortable place to groom your dog, such as a couch, bed, or floor mat.
  • Before and after grooming, reward your dog with treats, praise, or toys to make it a positive experience.
  • Allow your dog to smell and examine the brush prior to using it to familiarize it with the tool.
  • Start brushing your dog when it is tranquil and relaxed, such as after a walk or nap.
  • If your dog is agitated or distracted, avoid brushing them until they are calm again.

To use each type of brush on a dog with long hair, you must:

2.1 Slicker brush:

  • Hold the slicker brush at a slight angle to the dog’s coat, with the bristles bent slightly to avoid scratching their skin.
  • Using brief strokes and gentle pressure, brush your dog’s coat to remove any loose hair, dirt, or tangles.
  • Begin at the head and work your way down the body, brushing in the direction of hair growth.
  • Lift the hair to access the undercoat, particularly on the chest, belly, legs, and tail.
  • Avoid pulling too tightly on your dog’s hair, as this can cause discomfort or skin irritation.
  • If you encounter a mat or tangle, gently cut it out as close to the skin as possible with scissors or a comb, or use a detangling spray before combing it out.

2.2 Pin brush:

  • Hold the pin brush parallel to your dog’s coat, with the bristles pointing straight down.
  • Using long, gentle strokes, brush your dog’s coat to remove any loose hair or dirt.
  • Start at the head and work your way down the body, brushing in the direction of hair growth.
  • To give your dog’s coat a glossy finish, brush against the hair growth from tail to head.
  • Avoid vigorous or rapid brushing, as this can cause static electricity or breakage.

2.3 Deshedding brush:

  • Hold the deshedding brush perpendicular to your dog’s coat, with the teeth or blade facing down.
  • Using short strokes and moderate pressure, brush your dog’s coat to remove dead and loose hair from the undercoat.
  • Start at the neck and work toward the tail, brushing in the direction of hair growth.
  • Brush each area repeatedly until fewer hairs come out of the brush.
  • Be careful not to cut your dog’s skin or fur with the sharp teeth or blade, as this can cause injury or infection.

Proper use of a deshedding brush can help reduce shedding and keep your dog’s coat healthy and shiny. Remember to use gentle pressure and avoid brushing too hard or too often, as this can damage your dog’s coat.

3. How To Deal With Mats And Tangles

Mats and tangles are common problems for long-haired dogs, especially if they are not brushed regularly or properly.

Mats and tangles are clumps of hair that are twisted, knotted, or tangled, making the coat look messy and unhealthy. They can also cause your dog discomfort, pain, skin irritation, and infection.

Mats and tangles can be caused by various factors, such as dirt, moisture, friction, shedding, and lack of grooming. Some types and coat textures, such as curly, wavy, or wiry coats, are more prone to matting and tangling than others.

To prevent matting and tangles, you should:

  • Brush your dog at least two to three times a week, or more often if their coat is thick or curly.
  • Use the appropriate type of brush for your dog’s coat type and condition, as described above.
  • Trim your dog’s coat frequently, especially around the ears, eyes, muzzle, feet, and tail, to keep it neat and manageable.
  • Bathe your dog regularly with a mild shampoo and conditioner that are suitable for their coat type and skin condition.
  • Thoroughly dry your dog’s coat with a towel or a low-heat blow dryer after bathing.
  • Avoid letting your dog swim in dirty water or roll in mud or vegetation, as this can lead to matting and tangling.

To safely and gently remove mats and tangles, you should:

  • Use a comb or scissors to carefully remove the mat or tangle without harming your dog’s skin or hair. Start at the bottom of the mat or tangle and work your way up, section by section, to the top. Be careful not to cut too close to the skin or pull the hair too hard.
  • Before combing out the mat or tangle, use a detangling spray or conditioner to loosen it. Spray the product on the affected area and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, brush out the mat or tangle with a slicker brush or comb.
  • Seek the help of a professional groomer or veterinarian to remove excessively large, stubborn, or close-to-the-skin mats and tangles. They have the necessary tools and skills to do the job safely and effectively. They can also check your dog’s skin for signs of infection or irritation.

4. How To Choose The Best Brush For Your Long-Haired Dog

Adorable small havanese dog on a leash in a grassy field

Choosing the best brush for your long-haired dog can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider. The primary factors include:

4.1 Coat type

This includes the length, thickness, texture, and overall condition of your dog’s fur. Different types of fur require different types of brushes due to their unique grooming needs.

4.2 Shedding

This refers to the amount of hair your dog loses throughout the year. Some dogs shed more than others, depending on their breed, age, health, season, etc. Dogs that shed heavily require brushes that can remove fine undercoat hair.

4.3 Sensitivity

This refers to how sensitive your dog is to grooming and brushing. Some dogs enjoy being groomed, while others find it uncomfortable or unpleasant. Sensitive dogs require brushes that are gentle and soothing to their skin and coat.

To help you choose the best brush for your long-haired dog based on these criteria, the following table compares the different types of brushes:

Type of brushCoat typeShedding levelSensitivity level
Slicker brushCurly, wavy, wiryHighLow
Pin brushSilkyLowHigh
Deshedding brushCoarse with heavy undercoatHighLow

These are only general guidelines and not strict rules. You may need to try out different types of brushes before finding the one that works best for your long-haired dog.

“If you’re looking for the best brushes for your long-haired dog, check out our excellent article featuring a comprehensive list of options.

The article provides detailed information on each brush’s features, such as bristle type, size, and design, to help you choose the right one for your dog’s specific grooming needs.”

5. Conclusion

Long haired german shepherd dog running in nature

Brushing your long-haired dog is essential for hygiene and bonding. By selecting and using the best brush for your dog’s long hair, you can maintain its health, shine, and mat-free appearance. You can also make your dog feel loved, comfortable, and content.

At BestForPets, we hope you’ve learned more about grooming brushes for long-haired dogs, how to use them, and which ones are best for your dog’s coat from this article. If you have any feedback or questions, please leave a comment below or reach out to us on social media.

Thank you for reading, and best of luck with your dog’s grooming!

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Dr. Heidi Bigham

Dr. Heidi H. Bigham, DVM is an expert in small animal veterinary care, specializing in emergency medicine, geriatric pet health, and internal medicine. She has five years of expertise as a general practitioner of small animal medicine in facilities that provide preventative care, surgery, and 24-hour emergency treatment. 

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Heidi Bigham


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