Do you find your dog’s hair in the strangest places? I definitely do – from my sofa to my sweater, my German Shepherd’s hair sneaks into every crook and crevice around the house!
With their double coats, German Shepherd’s can be very heavy shedding dogs – especially twice a year when they “blow” their coats (aka German Shepherd shedding season).
To help you manage your German Shepherd’s grooming needs, I’ve put together this beginner’s guide to the best brushes for German Shepherds.
This article also gives you tips for brushing your German Shepherd and details on what to expect during shedding season.
German Shepherd Shedding Season
Luckily, German Shepherds are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming for much of the year (outside of the dreaded shedding season!). I usually brush Allie once a week, and her coat looks clean, shiny, and beautiful.
But during shedding season, once a week just won’t cut it!
So, what is this German Shepherd shedding season?
German Shepherds “blow” their coat twice a year – in spring and in fall. As the days get shorter and winter approaches, your German Shepherd will get ready for the colder weather by growing their winter coat. That means those old summer hairs have got to go – they’re pushed out by the new growth and scattered all around your house!
Then, in the spring, as the days get longer, your German Shepherd will blow their coat again to get rid of that extra winter coat insulation.
Tips for Brushing Your German Shepherd
It’s very important to start grooming your German Shepherd at a young age and make it an enjoyable experience. Once your GSD is an adult, you want your dog to be used to grooming so you aren’t trying to wrangle a full-sized German Shepherd every time the brush comes out.
Use treats and lots of love so your pup will learn that grooming time is enjoyable, like a personal spa day.
Here are a few other tips for brushing your German Shepherd.
- Brush your dog regularly. Not only does this give your dog all the benefits of brushing, but it also gets them used to the process.
- Brush in the direction of hair growth.
- Examine your dog’s skin when brushing. Check for fleas, cysts, or other abnormalities.
- De-shedding tools are super helpful for getting out hair matts, especially for long-haired German Shepherds or during shedding season. Remember to be gentle when brushing the matted sections so you don’t hurt your dog.
- Try a leave-in conditioner or coat spray to help soften the coat before grooming.
Types of Dog Brushes
There’s a dog brush out there for every type of dog imaginable – from short hair to long hair to curly hair to silky hair. Here’s a quick description of the main types of dog brushes to help you pick the best brush for your German Shepherd’s needs.
These brushes have thin, short wires that are spaced very close together, making them great for tackling tangles.
They’re best for medium to long-haired dogs (which means they’re one of the best brushes for long-haired German Shepherds). Remember to be gentle with these brushes, as those pokey little wires can hurt if you press too hard.
These are very similar to slicker brushes, but the pins typically have a rubber tip on the ends. The wires are also spaced further apart than in a slicker brush. While they’re very common, pin brushes are probably the least useful dog brush.
This type of dog brush is designed to go deep into a dog’s thick coat, removing mats and the dead undercoat. This makes a rake brush ideal for German Shepherd shedding season. And this is another one of the best brushes for long-haired German Shepherds as well.
These brushes are best for short-haired dogs. They typically have clusters of tightly-packed bristles. The main purpose of a bristle brush is to remove dirt and debris from your dog’s coat and give it a nice shine!
Best Brushes for German Shepherds
Here are some recommendations for a few top-notch grooming tools for your German Shepherd – or any large dog with a double coat.
This dog grooming tool works wonders in helping reduce shedding and removing excess hair from your German Shepherd – which is why it’s so popular! The FURminator really gets in there and removes loose hair from the undercoat of your dog.
Less loose hair on your dog means less hair around your house.
It has a durable, quality stainless steel design with a rubber handle for an easy grip. Once you’re done brushing your German Shepherd, just use the FURejector button to get all the hair out of the tool – super handy!
And yes, it actually reduces shedding noticeably after just a few uses. While the FURminator is on the pricey side, I definitely think it’s worth the money.
This is another great de-shedding tool, developed by pet grooming experts to reduce shedding by up to 95% – that’s a bold claim! But it comes with a lifetime guarantee, and based on customer reviews, it lives up to its promise.
The DakPets de-shedding tool is built to last – the handle and bristles are sturdy and will work perfectly on your German Shepherd’s coat. The wide design is ideal for larger dogs.
However, it’s worth noting that the bristles are relatively short and thin, so they won’t get down into your dog’s undercoat if there are lots of mats.
This DakPets tool is an excellent way to prevent dog hair from floating around your house!
This slicker brush from Hertzko gently removes loose hair from your German Shepherd’s undercoat, while still being tough enough for matts and tangles (again, the toughest undercoat tangles may be too much for this type of brush).
The bristles go deep but don’t scratch the skin – it feels more like a nice massage. It’s also a great brush for removing dirt and dander from your dog’s coat, leaving it soft and shiny.
The best feature of this slicker brush is that it is self-cleaning. With the push of a button, the bristles retract, making it quick and easy to wipe off the leftover hair.
Add in a comfortable grip and durable construction, and you’ll love this all-around brush!
A great alternative to the FURminator is the Groom Ninja for German Shepherds. This simple tool – consisting only of a wooden block that serves as a handle and a steel comb – can handle everything from grooming to de-shedding to cleaning.
This brush is perfect for removing loose hair from dogs with double coats, but it’s not so great at removing mats and tangles.
Because of its simple design, the Groom Ninja is very durable, and the small handle is ergonomically designed and feels very comfortable and natural.
With three different sizes to choose from and a relatively inexpensive price, the Groom Ninja is a cheaper but efficient choice if you’re not ready to spring for the FURminator (I’ll go more into this matchup later).
This is the only “rake” style brush on my list, and it’s my go-to tool for the most stubborn mats. One side of the comb has 12 teeth, perfect for gently working out tangles. The other side is filled with 23 teeth to help with de-shedding. It’s quick, easy, and painless for your pup.
While the plastic handle isn’t the most durable on the market, I still love the GoPets Dematting Comb for tackling matted fur.
Groom Ninja vs. FURminator
Here’s a breakdown each of these grooming tools – and I’ll declare which tool is the winner (in my opinion).
Design/Ease of Use
The Groom Ninja has a very simple design and is easy to use, but it lacks an actual handle. It’s basically just a wooden block. Personally, I think it’s a bit hard to hold, especially during longer grooming sessions.
When using the Groom Ninja with a German Shepherd, you’ll need the larger size, which is a little awkward and tricky to control.
The FURminator is more like a typical brush, with a long handle that makes it easier to use. The handle is made of textured rubber, so it’s not going to slip out of your hand, and you have more control over the brush.
If budget is your number one concern, the Groom Ninja outshines the FURminator. It’s considerably more affordable – typically priced under $20.
The FURminator, on the other hand, is the priciest option. It will usually run closer to $40 for the large size.
Winner: Groom Ninja
The Groom Ninja has very fine blades that collect loose fur effectively. But it doesn’t cut the hair at all. And be careful – those blades are pretty sharp! Brush gently to avoid hurting your dog.
The FURminator’s design also allows it to collect loose hair easily. But it doesn’t just brush and collect your dog’s fur – it actually cuts the hair just slightly to help reduce shedding. And when you’re done, just push a button for easy cleaning.
And the winner is…
The FURminator! Sure, it’s a little expensive, but it lasts forever!
I’ve groomed Allie with the same FURminator I’ve had for almost 12 years, and it’s still in excellent shape. I purchased it for our Rottweiler because his hair matted very easily, and now it has been passed on to Allie.
Personally, when it comes to de-shedding, I found that the FURminator slightly better so it takes the title for the best brush for German Shepherds.
Once you accept the fact that your German Shepherd is going to shed – a lot – you can arm yourself with the tools you need to make it as painless as possible.
I’m sure that one of these brushes will help eliminate the “dread” from German Shepherd shedding season.
Are there are any tips or tricks you use to keep your German Shepherd’s fur from taking over your house? Or do you have a different favorite brush to help with shedding and mats?
Let me know in the comments below!