- Understanding the German Shepherd’s Coat
- Types of Dog Brush for a German Shepherd
- Our Best Dog Brushes for German Shepherds
- Top German Shepherd Grooming Tips
- Admire Your Efforts!
Previously known as an Alsatian in the UK, the German Shepherd breed is often seen working as a police or guard dog. This fiercely intelligent yet devoted dog also makes a wonderful companion too, whether it’s assisting a disabled owner or just being a family pet.
The distinctive black, tan and grey colours of the German Shepherd’s coat makes them easily identifiable from any other breed with just a single glance.
However, to keep the coat in prime condition requires a bit more work than smooth-haired breeds, and that includes using the right dog brush.
Here’s a closer look at the best dog brush for a German Shepherd, along with some top tips on how to get the most out of grooming sessions.
Understanding the German Shepherd’s Coat
There’s no escaping the fact that if you want to be a responsible owner of a German Shepherd, you’ll have to be prepared to brush your dog regularly. You’ll also need to be willing to accept the fact that your pet sheds his fur all year round.
Invest in a good vacuum that’s equipped to deal with pet hair and you’ll be far happier than constantly having to get the lint roller out for your clothes!
German Shepherds are what’s known as a double-coated breed. This means they have two layers of fur; a coarse and wiry coat on top with a thick and softer coat underneath. This double-coat provides many benefits to the dog but it’s also a reason why keeping your pooch well-groomed can be such a challenge.
It is possible to find some GSD’s which are described as single-coated. This is actually untrue. Every German Shepherd has two coats but in some, the undercoat is so thin it’s barely visible at all. These are the dogs known as single-coated but they’re extremely rare as it’s considered a ‘fault’ within the breed.
The undercoat changes throughout the year, becoming lighter and thinner in the summer and more dense in the winter. Therefore, although your furry friend will be constantly moulting throughout the year, in spring and autumn you’ll find this problem gets much worse.
When the mercury starts to rise, it may be tempting to shave your German Shepherd. You might be thinking that it will save you the inevitable shedding and will also make him more comfortable, but the reverse is true. No double-coated dog should ever be shaved.
The undercoat helps to provide insulation in cold weather and also keeps heat away from the body in the summer. Shaving your dog could lead to serious problems with his ability to control his own body temperature.
Although the vast majority of German Shepherds are double-coated, there are three separate sub-categories within.
The short-coated German Shepherds are the easiest of them all to care for, but they still require a modest amount of grooming on a regular basis.
The short, smoother coat is more practical for working conditions so these are the dogs most likely to be chosen for police and other types of work. The fur on the outer coat is typically one inch or less in length.
Medium hair length is the one that’s the most desirable of them all. Also known as a plush, the fur is 1-2 inches long. It’s also the look that’s most associated with German Shepherds.
A smaller number of German Shepherds are long-haired; this variation isn’t recognised by all Kennel Clubs. The outer coat is soft, silky and thick with the average length of the fur being at least two inches long.
The long-haired German Shepherds require considerably more brushing than the medium or short-haired varieties – and failing to keep up with grooming will very quickly lead to matts, knots and severe tangles.
Types of Dog Brush for a German Shepherd
There are many different types of brush that you could use for your dog. The best brush for your German Shepherd may depend on whether he’s shedding and the length of his coat. The brush you need for a thick, dense and long coat will be very different to grooming a smooth, short-haired summer coat.
Here are some of the most common types of dog brushes and how they’re useful for your German Shepherd’s coat:
Dematting rakes and combs
With evenly spaced metal teeth, the purpose of these types of brushes is to reach the thick undercoat and get rid of any tangles or matts. Dematters allow you to loosen up knots and deal with heavy clumps of fur. These brushes can be sharp so use them carefully.
You won’t necessarily need a dematting rake every time you brush your dog, but if you think there are tangles in the undercoat, this is one of the best ways to tackle the task.
This collection of brushes and combs can drastically reduce the amount of shedding you have to deal with. Much finer than dematting rakes, deshedding tools can reach the undercoat while also removing excess hair from the top layer of fur too. Some sources suggest that shedding can be reduced by as much as 90% using this type of brush.
Pin and bristle brush
Often found together on opposite sides of the same brush, pin and bristle brushes are a good general-purpose tool for any German Shepherd owner.
The pin side is excellent for loosening the old undercoat as well as removing any dirt or debris which has become trapped in the fur.
It’s very effective in evenly distributing the healthy oils throughout the whole coat, while the soft bristles provide a glossy, smooth finish. A slicker brush will also achieve a similar result to a pin and bristle.
Our Best Dog Brushes for German Shepherds
1. 🏆 Thunderpaws Professional De-shedding Tool and Pet Grooming Brush
|Thunderpaws Professional De-shedding Tool and Pet Grooming Brush, D-Shedz for Breeds of Dogs, Cats...||1,619 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
2. FURminator for Dogs Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Dogs
|FURminator De-Shedding Tool for Large Dogs with Long Hair||1,980 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
3. Pet Neat Pet Grooming Brush [USA]
|Pet Grooming Brush Effectively Reduces Shedding By Up To 95% Professional Deshedding Tool For Dogs...||1 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Top German Shepherd Grooming Tips
Once you’ve got the right brush, it’s time to start grooming. Remember, don’t rush the process; if your dog is unaccustomed to being groomed or is just a puppy, it may take a little while for them to accept the process. It’s important to make it enjoyable and not an anxious experience, so you may need to proceed slowly. Here are a few tips to help:
- Don’t allow your pooch to play with the brush; they’ll think it is a toy and won’t sit quietly when you try to groom them
- Brush from the neck to the base of his back; do the tail, stomach and legs separately
- Shorter coats may not need the legs brushing but it’s essential for longer fur
- You shouldn’t have to go against the grain of the fur with a good brush, even to reach the undercoat. Going in the opposite direction to the growth of the fur can be painful for some dogs of this breed
- Repeated light passes over with the brush are better than a single heavy-handed movement to avoid discomfort for your pet.
- Most German Shepherds need to be brushed 3-4 times per week, minimum, but if you’ve got a longer-coat variety you’ll need to do it daily.
Admire Your Efforts!
Once you’ve finished grooming your dog, he’ll feel more comfortable and look phenomenal too. Doing it regularly will make it less of a chore for both of you, and it can be an intimate bonding experience too.