Brushing a dog’s hair is a beneficial way to keep their coat free of tangles and mats—which can be uncomfortable and even lead to health complications if not addressed. Plus, the practice of grooming your dog will help to reduce the amount of shedding you find throughout your home.
We researched dozens of dog brushes and selected 22 for real-world testing—including slickers, de-shedding tools, and pin brushes. For a month, our testers followed our methodology, brushing their dog at least once or twice a week—in accordance with their dog's coat needs—to gather feedback on each brush's effectiveness, durability, value, and ease of cleaning.
Our overall favorite brush is the Chris Christianson Dog Brush. It's a pin-style brush that works well for most dogs, though certain types of coats might also need a slicker brush or comb. That's why we also found fantastic dog brushes for every type of dog fur, including smooth hair, double coats, long hair, wiry, and curly coats.
Chris Christensen Original Series Oval Brush
The lightweight handle is made of beechwood and is easy to grip
Stainless steel pins available in three different lengths for short to long coats
Cushioned head is easy to clean
Suitable for a variety of coats and highly effective against tangles
Handle is not chew-resistant so store it out of reach if you have a dog that loves to chew
A pin-style brush is a reliable go-to that the majority of dog parents should have on hand. The Chris Christensen Original Series Oval Brush has stainless steel pins with polished tips to gently and effectively pass through a variety of dog coats. The versatile dog brush is easy to clean and made with a lightweight yet durable beechwood.
The eight-and-a-half-inch brush has a long handle and three options for pin sizes to guide your selection. 20mm is recommended for short coats, 27mm for medium to long coats, and 35mm for long thick full coats.
Our Pomeranian tester, who doesn't love being groomed but tolerates it in small doses, was unbothered by the use of both the 20mm and the 27mm, remaining calm as the pin passed through the fur on her body and arms with the help of a detangling spray.
This is a well-made brush that is designed to last for a long time and is suitable for a wide range of dogs in all shapes and sizes. You may find that you also want to use a slicker and/or a comb in addition to this brush to pick up strands that have been shed (slicker) or to tackle mats in fur more directly (comb), but it also helps with the aforementioned issues.
Price at time of publish: $38 for 35mm
Brush Type: Pins | Dimensions: 8.5 x 4 x 2.5 inches | Hair Type: All (short, double, long, curly, wire)
Best Combo Brush
Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Dog Brush
Gentle and effective on tangles
Easy to hold and comfortable grip
Stainless steel pins on one side and soft nylon bristles on the other
Nylon bristle side is difficult to clean
The Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Dog Brush is effective, versatile, and suitable for a variety of dog coats. One side has stainless steel pins that can help untangle knots and collect loose hair, particularly for dogs with long, curly, or wiry fur. On the flip side, the brush head has soft nylon bristles for fluffing and for short coats. The bristles also help spread your dog’s natural oils throughout the coat for shiny, soft hair. The heads of the pins have rounded tips, so the brush is gentle against the skin, and the nylon bristles are very soft so most dogs don't seem to notice when they are being groomed with that side.
We tested the Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Dog Brush on dogs with a variety of coats, including long, fine hair and long, matted hair—the brush performed exceptionally well with both. It worked best on our border collie test subject. One tester even noted that it worked well on her dog's thick butt hair. The Hartz brush was less effective for dogs with short hair and also isn't the right tool if you're looking to tame your dog's undercoat.
The heads of the pins have rounded tips, so the brush is particularly gentle. Our testers with short-haired dogs didn’t collect quite as much fur, but all dogs seemed to be less bothered by this brush, particularly the soft-bristled side.
For humans, the brush has a soft rubber handle that makes it comfortable to hold. That’s especially important if you have a big dog or one with lots of hair. Like most pin and bristle brushes, it isn’t very easy to clean, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker for the price and versatility. The pin side is somewhat easier to clean than the bristle side, and we recommend clearing out all the hair you collect after each brushing session to prevent build-up.
Price at time of publish: $12
Brush Type: Pins, nylon bristles | Dimensions: 3.25 x 2.62 x 12.25 inches | Coat Type: All, particularly long, curly, or wiry fur
Ruff 'N Ruffus Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush
Self-cleaning retractable bristles
Sturdy, easy to grip handle
Rounded tips on bristles are gentle on skin
Comes with a nail clipper with you might not need
If you are looking for a moderately priced option, the Ruff 'N Rufus Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush is an effective brush that's suitable for most coat types. We tested this slicker brush on a Black Labrador and a Border Collie mix and were satisfied with the results on both dogs' coats.
The handle molds to the shape of your hand making it easy to maneuver. The plastic bristles are not as durable as other brushes we tested, but they hold up well and have rounded tips at the ends so they won't scratch your dog's skin. For clearing out the loose fur that it collects from your dog, this brush features a convenient self-cleaning mechanism that retracts the bristles with the simple push of a button.
It also comes with dog nail clippers which you may find useful, but we recommend you check out our latest roundup of the best nail clippers for dogs. The story includes tips and recommendations on how to safely trim your dog's nails at home.
Price at time of publish: $20
Brush Type: Slicker | Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.8 x 7.4 inches (medium) | Coat Type: All (short, double, long, curly, wire)
Chris Christensen Big G Dog Slicker Brush
Available in three sizes
Long, bent pins penetrate longer coats and create lift and movement
Fluffs and shapes dense, double coats
Brush might temporarily get stuck in dog's coat as you work a difficult tangle
Chris Christensen Big G Dog Slicker Brush has a rectangular head with thin curved pins that are soft to the touch, gentle as they glide over a dog's skin, but powerful when it comes to brushing out knots from a variety of dog coats, including long and double. The slicker comes in three sizes, each with a long handle to help keep the grip comfortable.
Our participating tester, a Mini Bernedoodle, has wavy to curly hair, and like many Doodles, doesn't shed but can develop mats in their fur very easily when not brushed well. This slicker effectively worked through the coat to detangle helping to prevent mats from developing. And while this brush is more expensive than other options, it may reduce the number of visits your dog does annually with a professional groomer.
Price at time of publish: $81 for medium
Brush Type: Slicker | Dimensions: 2.4 x 3.8 x 7.4 inches (medium) | Coat Type: All (short, double, long, curly, wire)
Best for Short Hair
Le Salon Essentials Rubber Curry Grooming Brush with Loop Handle
Picks up and removes loose hair that's been shed
Rubber bristles can be used on dry and wet fur
Strap around hand keeps brush comfortably secure
Not ideal for long or thick fur
You should always brush your dog's fur before they get wet to prevent any existing tangles from getting worse, and Le Salon Essential Rubber Curry Grooming Brush is designed to be used pre-, during, and post-bath time. The rubber bristles are sturdy to effectively pick up all the loose hair that's already been shed by your dog but hasn't made it around to falling off and sticking to your upholstery.
This tool has a convenient strap on the back for placement around your hand. It keeps the brush securely in place in the palm of your hand allowing you to brush your dog from nose to tail. This type of brush is better suited for dogs with short coats, and it's very easy to clean with soap and water.
Price at time of publish: $9
Brush Type: Curry | Dimensions: 2 x 4.8 x 5.7 inches | Coat Type: Short
Best for Shedding
FURminator Undercoat deShedding Tool
Very effective with clearing out strands have been shed
Easy to clean with retractable bristles
Available in three sizes
Can be irritating to sensitive dogs
There are lots of imitators, and our testers tried a bunch of them, but the FURminator Original deShedding Tool is more effective and sturdier than other de-shedding tools we tested. For dogs with dense undercoats, this tool can help to collect loose hair and skin flakes before they have the chance to stick to your sofa. The stainless steel toothy edge moves through the dog’s topcoat to pull any loose undercoat hair. There’s a curved guard around the blade to keep it from getting too close to the skin.
Hair just keeps coming and coming the first few times you use the deshedder, which is why this tool has so many fans. “Absolutely worth the price,” said one tester who tried both the long hair version on her border collie and the short hair model on her pit bull. It’s relatively easy to clean with an ejector button that pushes hair and dandruff out of the blades. There are several versions based on your dog’s size and hair type.
However, some sensitive dogs really get antsy with this brush, and definitely be careful around delicate areas like legs. It’s only for use in dogs with double coats because the blade can be irritating next to the skin. If your dog with an undercoat also has sensitive skin, we do not recommend using a de-shedding tool, but this one is suitable for most dogs and available in three sizes so you can find the one that gives you the most control.
To eject the debris you've collected from your dog, a button on the handle triggers the back of the brush to spring forward pushing all the hair and dander off the teeth.
Price at time of publish: $39 for medium
Brush Type: De-shedding tool | Dimensions: 5 x 2 x 8.75 inches (medium) | Hair Type: Undercoat
GoPets Dematting Comb
Gentle but effective on matted fur
The squishy handle is comfortable to grip
Easy to clear collected hair from stainless steel prongs
Clearing the prongs can generate static electricity that makes the fur stick to clothes
For dogs with thick coats that are prone to mats, the GoPets Dematting Comb is the optimal tool for gently and effectively working through the tangles while preventing knots from developing. The squishy handle makes it easy and comfortable to grip the tool. It also helps you get into difficult-to-reach spots, like underneath the front legs, where mats tend to develop.
The dual-sided tool has curved prongs on both ends. One side has more space between each prong making it a highly effective rake that can work through mats of all shapes and sizes. And the other side, similar to a fine tooth comb, has curved prongs that are much closer together to pass through the undercoat knocking out loose fur and skin flakes. All of which are easily pulled from the comb for disposal.
Price at time of publish: $47
Brush Type: Deshedding tool | Dimensions: 8.9 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches | Coat Type: Medium to long with undercoat, curly
Mr. Peanut's Pet Grooming Glove Brush and Deshedding Aid
Gently massages dog while collecting loose fur
Suitable for use on all hair types
Stretchy mesh and adjustable hook and loop strap provide a comfortable fit for most
More timid dogs might need a period of adjustment to acclimate to the look of the gloves
Give your dog the attention they deserve while you collect loose hair from their coat with Mr. Peanut's Pet Grooming Glove Brush and Deshedding Aid. With blue silicon bristles connected to stretchy black neoprene, these grooming gloves adjust to fit a variety of adult-sized hands. They also have a hook and loop strap around the wrist for a secure fit. Sold as a pair, the breathable gloves are suitable for all hair types and can even be used on wet fur in the bath.
Our dog tester now looks forward to being groomed with these gloves. With weekly use, their fur is softer and shinier, and there is noticeably less shedding around the home they share with their human. And for a thorough cleaning, the gloves can be machine-washed and air-dried.
Price at time of publish: $11
Brush Type: Grooming glove | Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.7 x 0.3 inches | Coat Type: All (short, double, long, curly, wire)
Best for Baths
Bodhi Dog Bath Brush
Latex-free rubber bristles can be used on dry and wet fur
Gives dog a calming massage
Available in a variety colors
Not recommended for long hair
The Bodhi Dog Bath Brush gives your dog a calming massage while it collects fur and dander from their coat—which is equally calming to dog parents.
The latex-free rubber brush is designed for use in the bathtub, and it has a handle on the back to keep it secure to your hand even when it's wet and soapy. Designed and manufactured in the United States, the curry-style dog brush has small rubber bristles and comes in a variety of colors to complement your dog's personality. It's suitable for a variety of short hair textures, including wiry, wavy, and curly, but is not recommended for long fur or coats with an undercoat.
Price at time of publish: $11
Brush Type: Curry | Dimensions: 5.125 x 3.5 inches | Coat Type: Short, wire, curly/wavy
Our overall favorite is the Christensen Original Series Oval Brush. The pin-style brush works for all hair types and it's well-made with a lightweight beechwood body. If you are looking for a brush that can be used before, during, and after bathtime, we recommend the Le Salon Essential Rubber Curry Grooming Brush which collects loose fur and gives your dog a soothing massage.
What to Look for in a Dog Brush
Dog brushes come in different styles for use on dogs with different types of coats. Some of the most common dog brushes include:
Slicker brush: These have very thin closely-set wire bristles. Choose a slicker brush with bristles that feel soft on your skin, not sharp or scratchy.
Bristle brush: These are made from soft nylon bristles.
Pin brush: These have widely spaced metal pins set into a rubber cushion. Look for a brush that has pins with rounded ends to ensure the brush is soft against your dog’s skin.
Combo brush: With two brushes on one handle, these are usually a bristle brush on one side and a pin brush on the other.
Deshedding tool: These rake-like tools remove loose hair from your dog’s coat.
Grooming gloves: These rubber or silicone-coated gloves are worn on your hands so you can brush your dog by running your hands over its body.
Curry brush: These are made of rubber or soft plastic and gently remove dirt and loose hair from the coat. They can also be used in the bath to work the shampoo into the coat and remove more loose hair.
The brush you choose depends on the type of hair your dog has. There are five primary types:
Smooth Coat: Hair lies close to the body, like on a Dalmatian.
Double Coat: A soft undercoat and a tougher topcoat, like a Siberian Husky.
Long Coat: Long and coarse with an undercoat—like an Irish Setter—or silky and long without an undercoat, like an Afghan Hound.
Wire Coat: A coarse, short coat that feels harsh and bristly to the touch, like an Airedale Terrier.
Curly Coat: Thick, soft curls that rest close to the body, like on a Bichon Frisé.
Dogs with short, smooth coats need a soft bristle brush, rubber curry brush, or grooming glove. Dogs with medium-length coats can use a slicker brush or pin brush. Dogs with long coats need a pin brush or slicker brush. Double-coated dogs with undercoats that shed can benefit from a deshedding tool in addition to a brush for everyday use, such as a slicker brush or pin brush.
How We Tested
We researched and purchased 23 dog grooming tools and sent each one to a real home with at least one dog for real-world testing.
Over the course of four weeks, each of our canine participants was groomed with their assigned brush at least once a week by their most trusted human companion. Each human participant was tasked with gathering insights and providing feedback in the following categories: quality, ease of use, effectiveness, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Equipped with this first-hand information, we ranked and categorized our top picks—all of which received high marks from our testers.
Should you brush your dog before or after a bath?
Both, but always brush your dog before a bath. If their hair has any knots, water will make it more difficult to remove mats and tangles. Even if your dog’s hair is not tangled, it can be helpful to brush it thoroughly before the bath to remove loose hair and other items that tend to collect on our canines, like leaves and twigs. After the bath and once your dog's hair is dry, it's also beneficial to brush through again to ensure the coat is untangled and to help collect hair that's been shed.
Do dogs like being brushed?
Try a brush on your arm before you use it on your dog and see how it feels. Brushing is a pleasurable bonding activity that many dogs enjoy, especially when brushing is introduced early in puppyhood. If your dog does not like being brushed, create good associations with this necessary chore by giving them lots of tasty treats and praise during brushing sessions. Be sure to brush regularly to avoid mats and tangles, as trying to brush a tangled coat is uncomfortable and even painful for the dog. If your dog is too matted to brush, seek help from a professional groomer.
How do you get dog hair out of the brush?
You can use your fingers to remove dog hair from the brush or a straight metal comb. Simply insert the comb at the base of the brush beneath the hair and lift it off the bristles in one large clump.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This roundup was updated by Anna Mejorada, a writer for The Spruce Pets, who shares her home with a happy Pomeranian named Gidget. Before researching and writing about pet products for a living, Mejorada embarked on a self-mandated, ongoing quest to find the optimal items for her dog. She is now delightfully devoted to helping humans discover and select the most favorable products for their pets.
A previous version was written by Mary Jo DiLonardo, a veteran reviewer of dog products for The Spruce Pets. The proud mom of a rescue dog, she has fostered around four dozen dogs and puppies. DiLonardo has tried lots of different brushes on her own dog and foster pups and is always looking for the most effective and comfortable tools. For more than 25 years, she has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place.