8 Best Brushes For German Shepherds (Updated In 2020)

Mike PowellEdited by: Mike Powell
Abby TexasReviewed by: Abby Texas

Last Update:

German Shepherds are among the most well-known and easily recognizable breeds for their lovely double coat, so regular grooming is a necessity! 

To keep your dog healthy, looking sleek and beautiful, and knot-free, choose one of the best brushes for German Shepherds.

Here are our favorites!

Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
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Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Gently Removes Loose Undercoat, Mats and Tangled Hair – Your Dog or Cat Will Love Being Brushed with The Grooming Brush
Pet Magasin Professional Grooming Brushes (Pack of 3) Double Sided Brush, Long Tooth Undercoat Dog Rake & De-Matting Comb for Dogs, Cats & Other Animals, Green & Black (DogBrushesTop)
Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Detangling Dog Brush
Our Grade
Our Rating 98/100
Our Rating 96/100
Our Rating 94/100
Feature 1
Great for all dog hair types
Contains all you need to groom both the undercoat and the guard coat
Double-sided pin and bristle brush
Feature 2
Retractable pins for the easiest cleaning experience
Comes with three different types of brushes
Has an ergonomic handle
Best Overall
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
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Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Gently Removes Loose Undercoat, Mats and Tangled Hair – Your Dog or Cat Will Love Being Brushed with The Grooming Brush
Our Grade
Our Rating 98/100
Feature 1
Great for all dog hair types
Feature 2
Retractable pins for the easiest cleaning experience
Custom Button
Best Grooming Kit
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
Pet Magasin Professional Grooming Brushes (Pack of 3) Double Sided Brush, Long Tooth Undercoat Dog Rake & De-Matting Comb for Dogs, Cats & Other Animals, Green & Black (DogBrushesTop)
Our Grade
Our Rating 96/100
Feature 1
Contains all you need to groom both the undercoat and the guard coat
Feature 2
Comes with three different types of brushes
Custom Button
Best Value for Money
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
Hartz Groomer's Best Combo Detangling Dog Brush
Our Grade
Our Rating 94/100
Feature 1
Double-sided pin and bristle brush
Feature 2
Has an ergonomic handle
Custom Button
Sources researched
13
Sources researched
Customer reviews
16,214
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
8
Products tested

Best Brushes For German Shepherds in 2020

Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush

Best overall

PROS

  • Retractable pins for the easiest cleaning experience
  • Ergonomic, non-slip rubber grip
  • A strategically-placed thumb rest helps with comfort
  • Slicker brush is designed to reach the deep undercoat to remove knots

CONS

  • There are no safety caps on the pins, so you’ll need to be extra careful when brushing

It wasn’t hard to choose the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush as our best brush for German Shepherds.

One of the best things about this brush is that it’s great for all dog hair types. If you have other dogs of different breeds, this brush would be suitable for all your dogs (and even cats, if you have them too!).

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Versatile and Easy to Clean 

The Hertzko gets a big thumbs-up for being a self-cleaning slicker brush. That doesn’t mean you can just brush and brush and never remove the hair! But it does make cleaning vastly easier. 

Have you ever had to fight with pins or bristles to loosen fur stuck in them? Not with this brush! An easy one-click button on the back of the brush causes the pins to retract, leaving the hair behind on the smooth surface for easy removal. 

Great for both German Shepherds and their other-breed brothers and sisters!

Pet Magasin Professional Grooming Set

Best Grooming Kit

PROS

  • Comes with three different types of brushes at a very affordable price
  • Contains all you need to groom both the undercoat and the guard coat
  • Suitable for any other dogs you may have besides a German Shepherd, too

CONS

  • The double-sided brush may not be as durable as others and could fall apart if wrangled through heavy German Shepherd hair

If you’re new to grooming a German Shepherd, it could be a good idea to buy a grooming kit like this one, instead of buying multiple brushes separately.

It contains all you’ll need to make a good start on grooming your German Shepherd, and it’s also great for pet owners who have more than one dog (especially if one is short-haired and one is long-haired).

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All You Need In One Set 

When you purchase this kit you’ll get a dematting brush, a long-tooth undercoat rake, and a double-sided pin and bristle brush. That’s basically four brushes in one, for a nice price. 

The undercoat rake and dematting tool are perfect for reaching those tough tangles right next to your German Shepherd’s skin. 

Once the knots are out, you can brush out his guard coat with the pin brush or bristle brush to give him that sleek, shiny look. 

The pin and bristle brush would work for shorter-haired dogs too, so if you have more than one pup, it would be a good buy. 

Hartz Groomer’s Best Combo Detangling Dog Brush

Best Value for Money

PROS

  • Double-sided pin and bristle brush
  • Stainless steel pins have protective tip
  • Ergonomic handle

CONS

  • Not the best for removing deep tangles

If you’re on a budget, this brush may be a good choice for you. It’s a double-sided pin and bristle brush, which will do well to remove mild knots and keep your German Shepherd looking sleek. 

We advise using the brush every day if it’s the only one you use – that way, you’ll stay ahead of any severe mats, because this brush won’t handle them well.

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Pin and Bristle Combo 

An ergonomic handle allows you to brush your German Shepherd vigorously without hurting your hand. The stainless steel pins have a safety tip to stop your dog’s skin from being hurt, and the bristles on the other side are made from nylon, soft and durable. 

These factors make this brush safe for both the brusher and the dog involved! 

Their bristles and pins will do a good job of distributing natural oils through your dog’s coat. They’re not likely to remove serious matting. 

Pat Your Pet 2-Sided Undercoat Rake for Cats & Dogs

Best for Heavy Matting

PROS

  • Rounded outer blades, slightly sharpened inner blades  
  • One 9-toothed side, one 17-toothed side for handling all tangles 
  • Ergonomic, anti-slip grip on the handle 
  • Features no-rust, stainless steel teeth

CONS

  • If you don’t take extra care to be gentle with this tool, it could pull on hair and hurt your dog

If your German Shepherd suffers from severe matting, this could be the ideal grooming tool for you! It’s designed for undercoat grooming specifically, and is surprisingly effective for removing deep-set knots and mats. 

You’ll want to get yourself a guard coat brush to use after you’ve dematted your German Shepherd using this tool, but we definitely recommend it as part of your grooming arsenal.

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Double-Sided, Versatile Comb 

The dual-purpose brush head allows for both detangling and deshedding. One side features 9 teeth, spaced a little apart for easy detangling of knotted hair in the undercoat. The other side has 17 teeth, and is great for thinning and removing dead and loose hair. 

It’s safe, too. The blades are slightly sharpened on the inside, to help work through mats easily. The outsides are rounded and not sharp at all, so you won’t have to worry about them hurting your German Shepherd’s skin.

KONG Dog ZoomGroom Multi-Use Brush

Best for German Shepherd Puppies

PROS

  • Smooth massage-like teeth to ease your GSD puppy into being groomed 
  • Available in a few different colors and two sizes 
  • Helps to distribute natural oils though the fur 

CONS

  • Some people may find it difficult to hold as they brush, as it’s  not ergonomically designed 
  • It looks a bit like a toy, so your puppy may be tempted to chew it 

German Shepherd puppies tend to start growing their first undercoat at around 4 months. For some, it only comes in a bit later though, so you’ll need to keep an eye on your own puppy to see what the signs start showing. 

It’s a super idea to start brushing your pup from a young age so they get used to it. You can’t use the same brush that you would for an adult, though!

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Soft on Puppy Skin 

German Shepherd puppies don’t have their thick double coat yet, so you won’t need to use an undercoat rake or dematting brush yet. 

But it’s a great idea to get a headstart on grooming them, and this brush would be a good one to begin with. The soft, silicone-like material is easy on puppies’ skin, and the points are flattened and fairly wide, so they won’t hurt your puppy.  

It also looks quite a bit like a toy, so it may make them feel more at ease. Of course, this means they may also chew on it, so be careful! 

Pet Neat Professional Deshedding Tool

Best for Undercoat

PROS

  • Quick-release detachable head for easier cleaning 
  • Non-slip handle for extra safety 
  • 4-inch long comb for maximum efficiency 
  • Safe, stainless steel comb

CONS

  • If you have other pets with short hair, this tool  most likely won’t help their shedding

This deshedding tool reportedly does wonders for removing loose hair from long-haired breeds like German Shepherds. The blade is short and wide, designed specifically for gathering loose fur from large dogs. 

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Removes Extra Hair 

German Shepherds tend to drop loose hair all over the place! This little blade might seem like it wouldn’t do much, but it’s just right for gathering hair in one place for easy removal and throwing away (so it doesn’t sit on the furniture). 

It catches hair easily, and the one-touch button allows the blade to come loose so you can remove and dispose of the hair easily. 

JW Pet Gripsoft Small Pin Brush

Best for Guard Coat

PROS

  • Widely-spaced pins for reaching greater surface area
  • Round-tipped bristles for safe brushing
  • Untangles small mats in the surface coat

CONS

  • Won’t get rid of serious mats

For daily guard coat brushing, this brush would work well. It’s not going to be able to handle severe tangles, so it’s best for use after you’ve already been through the undercoat with a rake or dematting tool. 

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Easy and Straightforward 

There’s nothing fancy about this brush, but there doesn’t need to be. The pins are small and nicely spaced, with rounded tips to keep your German Shepherd’s skin as safe as possible. 

The ergonomic handle will make brushing easy, and the GripSoft non-slip sections help keep it safer from both human wrist and dog hair and skin. 

It’s great for vigorous brushing of the guard coat to give your already detangled German Shepherd a good coat-shining.

ConairPRO Pet-It Boar Bristle Brush

Most Ergonomic

PROS

  • Unique, handle-free design
  • Palm Petting grip technology
  • 50% boar bristles and 50% synthetic
  • Works for all coat types

CONS

  • Won’t remove tangles, but is great for surface coat

Comfort can be hard to find when you’re wrestling with tough German Shepherd fur hanging onto a small handle. This brush is a little differently designed, making it the most ergonomic one we’ve come across.

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This brush may be our most ergonomic, but you’ll have a hard time getting rid of mats with it. It’s easy on the hand, using a handle-free design with Pet Petting grip technology. 

This consists of a unique “hook” that fits between your fingers so the brush rests almost effortlessly in your hand as you brush. 

It allows you to put more natural pressure on the brush and glide it through your German Shepherd’s fur easily. 

The petting-like design means your dog may be less wary of this brush than others, and it’s almost like you’re just petting them… With a little something extra in your hand. It’s great for bonding, too! 


What To Look For When Buying A Brush For German Shepherds

Different Types of Brushes 

Slicker Brushes 

Slicker brushes are fantastic for thick, double coats like German Shepherds’. They have short, fine wires that are packed quite closely together. 

These wires move easily through the guard coat and reach deep into the undercoat. They’re great for removing mats and tangles, and can also give the guard coat a nice robust brushing. 

If a slicker brush is what you’ve chosen, make sure the wires have “safety tips” on them, to prevent poking or scratching your dog’s skin. It’s also a good idea to go for a wider brush head, which will be more comfortable for your pup as it disperses pressure quite evenly over the larger surface area.  

Undercoat Rakes 

An undercoat rake has a line or two of pins or wires that are quite close together. They can look just like a real rake, just tiny! 

These grooming tools were designed for dogs with long fur, and they’re great for dealing with knotty undercoats. If you think of the purpose of a rake, it’s to gather up debris. An undercoat rake is the same, except it gathers up dead, loose fur in the undercoat. 

Pin Brushes 

Pin brushes are very similar to human hair brushes. They have thick wire bristles that are often capped with a plastic head to make them safer for your dog’s skin. 

Pin brushes are not the best for undercoats, although we highly recommend them for brushing the guard coat to get that beautiful healthy sheen. 

Try not to use a pin brush for detangling. We recommend a slicker or a dematting brush for that, and this for surface brushing. 

Bristle Brushes 

Bristle brushes have hairs instead of wires, which are short and packed together densely. These types of brushes would do well as a surface brush, just like the pin brushes. 

They’re great for smoothing out the guard coat and bringing a shine to your German Shepherd’s hair. 

However, they won’t do anything for an undercoat. You’ll need to use a bristle brush in conjunction with something else to do the best job of grooming your German Shepherd

Dematting/Deshedding Brushes 

Dematting tools have a single or double line of long blade-like pins. They’re designed to reach deep into the undercoat to handle tangles. 

Deshedding brushes look a little like an old-school roller lawnmower. You’ll find it doesn’t have wires or bristles of any kind, but instead has curved blades. 

Don’t worry, though. The blades are rounded to protect your German Shepherd from being injured, but they do a fantastic job of getting through tough mats and tangles. 

They’re easy to get deep into the undercoat, so we recommend one of these for German Shepherd owners who need to get knots out of their dog’s undercoat on a regular basis. 

Which One Do You Need for a German Shepherd? 

A German Shepherd has a double coat. This means there’s a lot of hair you need to groom! You’ll need a different brush for the undercoat and the guard coat. 

For the undercoat, a dematting brush is a great idea. At the very least, an undercoat rake should be used to get rid of those tangles and mats deep in the coat, near to the skin. 

For the top coat, or guard coat, a pin brush or bristle brush would work well to stimulate blood flow and create that healthy, glowing look. 

You can buy brushes separately, or get a grooming pack that contains a few different types. 

Safety & Comfort 

You may wonder just how dangerous a brush can be, but your German Shepherd’s skin and coat need the best care possible! A hard, sharp, or spiky brush has a chance of poking at your dog’s skin and causing injury. 

At the very least, sharp pins can cause discomfort, and who wants their beloved German Shepherd to hate the experience of being brushed

The brush you choose should also be comfortable and safe for you. You and your German Shepherd are the only two involved in this brushing experience, so it’s essential to find a brush that’s safe and comfy for both of you. This is why it’s one of the top things you should buy when adopting a dog.

Pins 

The pins of a brush are the part that makes contact with the dog’s skin. It makes sense, then, that the pins need to be sturdy and safe enough to not hurt your German Shepherd as you’re brushing them. 

You’ll notice that the pins on a slicker brush are quite a bit thinner than those on a pin brush. This isn’t a problem, though – in fact, it’s what makes them so good at penetrating the undercoat. 

But it is important to make sure the pins on your brush are intact, undamaged, and won’t hurt your German Shepherd. 

It’s also a good idea to check if the pins have a “safety cap” on them. This is a tiny plastic or rubber tip that protects the dog’s skin from the metal of the pins. 

Materials 

There aren’t too many materials that brushes can be made of. Generally, you’ll find brushes with handles made of plastic or wood, and most have pins or blades made from stainless steel. 

Generally, most name-brand brushes will be made of extremely safe material. Of course, your German Shepherd won’t be chewing on the brush, so as long as they’re not sharp, it should be all right. 

You’ll need to choose something that’s safe for you and easy on your hand as well. Many brushes are ergonomically designed to make the brushing experience easy on both human and dog! 

Although there’s nothing wrong with choosing a plastic brush, we recommend going for a wooden one. Woods helps to absorb the natural oils on your dog’s skin and disperse them through the coat for that wonderful sheen. 

Ergonomics 

A brush is a brush, really. The ergonomic difference is in the handle. A  simple, straight handle isn’t likely to be a problem if you’re only going to be using it for a short time. 

But if you’re likely to be spending a chunk of time combing tangles and knots out of your German Shepherd’s coat, it would be a good idea to invest in something with an ergonomic handle to prevent fatigue and pain in your hands and forearms. 

Most brush handles are made to fit the hand nicely and decrease fatigue.Some get a little fancier and include strategically-placed rubber sections for better grip, or even thumb rests. 

Other 

The type of brush and how safe it is for both human and dog are the two most important aspects of shopping for the best brushes for German Shepherds. 

But there are a few other things to consider too. Your German Shepherd’s temperament, how easy the brush is to use, how easy it is to clean, and the cost of the brush are all important factors too. 

They may not be those “make or break” characteristics, but each of them can make a difference to how well the grooming experience goes for you or your German Shepherd. 

Your Dog’s Temperament 

Dogs are as varied as humans! Some are more confident than others, and some are a little timid and skittish. Yes, even big dogs like German Shepherds! 

It’s crucial to take your own dog into consideration when you’re choosing one of the best brushes for German Shepherds. 

Is your dog boisterous and confident? If so, does that mean he’ll be okay with having his hair pulled on occasion, or is he likely to snap at you if you pull on his skin? 

If you have a timid German Shepherd, they may be a little flustered at the feeling of being brushed. You’ll need to be extra gentle, which may call for an extra gentle brush. 

As you can tell, the type of dog you have could make a difference to the type of brush you choose! For example, a more self-assured dog might be perfectly okay with a pin brush, while a more skittish dog might be more comfortable with a bristle brush. 

Ease of Use 

You may be wondering how difficult a brush could be to use! Normal brushes are, of course, perfectly easy to use. 

But certain things can make use easier. For example, an anti-slip handle might seem like something small, but it can make brushing your dog so much easier, especially when trying to work your way through a thick coat like a German Shepherd’s! 

Check out what features your brush of choice has that could make using it easier and more comfortable. 

Ease of Cleaning 

When you brush your German Shepherd, you’ll notice that it’s a bit of a messy experience. Hair can get everywhere! But you’ll definitely notice that a lot of the hair sticks in the brush. 

You may need to clean the brush a few times during the grooming if the brush becomes too packed with hair. So it’s essential to be able to clean the brush quickly and easily. 

One of our top choices is a self-cleaning brush that has retractable pins to make cleaning super easy. But as long as it’s easy to get the hair out of the pins or bristles, it should be quite all right. 

Affordability 

Affordability is always a consideration! Thankfully, many of the brushes on this list are quite affordable, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding one that suits you. 

We do have a Best Value for Money option, which would be ideal for those who are looking for something cost effective. Remember, most of these brushes are fairly durable and will last you a while, which already makes them quite affordable. 


Questions & Answers

How Often Should I Brush My German Shepherd?

If you can, a daily brush is super. If you maintain a sleek, knot-free coat, you’ll only need to brush for ten minutes or so a day to keep your German Shepherd healthy and smooth. 

If daily is too much, then at least three or four times a week is necessary. You can’t neglect brushing! German Shepherds shed their guard coat year-round, and their undercoat twice a year. 

At the absolute least, a weekly brush is the minimum you should go for. You’ll need to spend more time on this brushing session, because you’ll need to work through the undercoat before getting to the guard coat. 

How Do You Brush a German Shepherd?

If your German Shepherd is well-trained, ask him to sit or lie down. Starting on the back of his neck (preferably with a slicker brush), brush down the length of his back. 

Once you get to his tail, brush down his back end and haunches, removing as much hair as you can. Then brush down his hips making sure to not brush against the grain of his fur. 

Then, go back to his tail and give it a good brush, being careful not to pull it. Lift it up once it’s brushed and brush underneath, being careful not to catch his bum. 

Brush down each side, and once that’s done, see if you can get him to roll over so you can brush his belly. Be extra gentle here, and don’t put too much pressure on his tummy. 
Do a quick leg brush once you’re done (be careful around the joints), and do a quick run-over with a pin brush or bristle brush to smooth his coat out.

What Kind of Brush Should I Use on My German Shepherd?

You’ll need a brush that’s suitable for undercoats as well as one that’s great for guard coats. Dogs with double coats, like a German Shepherd, can be a bit more complicated to groom than a short-haired dog, due to their thick undercoat. 

An undercoat rake or dematting tool is essential for removing mats in the undercoat. A slicker brush is also a worthwhile investment, as it reaches into the undercoat while stroking through the guard coat too. 

Apart from that, a pin brush or bristle brush is great for smoothing out the guard coat once you’ve got the knots out of the undercoat. 

How Often Should I Bathe My German Shepherd?

Don’t think you need to bathe your German Shepherd often to keep him clean. Two to three times a year is all that’s needed! 

Every four to five months, give your German Shepherd a good bathe. Make sure to dry him properly afterwards – not only his top coat, but his undercoat too! 

Bathing your German Shepherd too often can actually reduce the natural oils on his skin and cause dry, itchy, and scaly skin! So, rather bathe him too little than too much.

What is the Best Deshedding Tool for German Shepherds?

We’ve included what we believe is the best deshedding tool or German Shepherds in our list of products. If you check it out and feel that we’ve made a good choice, go ahead and get it! 

If you would like to shop around a little more, look for a deshedding tool that has great quality blades that are curved and present no danger to your German Shepherd.

How Can I Get My German Shepherd to Shed Less?

German Shepherds will shed – there’s no getting around it! Here are some things you can do to try and keep their shedding as controlled as possible: 

  • Feed them a dog food that helps to reduce shedding
  • Make sure he drinks enough water during the day. 
  • Brush your German Shepherd regularly. 
  • Bathe your dog 3 – 4 times a year, with a nourishing shampoo. 
  • Get a vet’s checkup if these don’t help!

Can a German Shepherd Be Shaved?

They can, but they shouldn’t be! It can be tempting to shave them to keep them cool, especially in summer, but please refrain. 

Shaving your German Shepherd can cause permanent damage to their skin. Because they have two coats, their skin is extremely well protected. 

When you shave your German Shepherd, you’re exposing that sensitive skin to the environment and the elements. It can cause sunburn extremely easily, as well as causing your poor dog to freeze when the sun goes down. 

We do not recommend shaving your German Shepherd! Rather, dedicate a bit of time every other day to brush him or her, and they’ll stay cool, knot-free, and healthy.