Best Brush for Australian Shepherds – [Shedding and Grooming]

​Aussie's are an interesting ​case when it comes to brushing: their long coat is prone to matting, but they're also heavy ​shedders. ​Problem is we can't deshed them properly until we deal with all the tangles first (some of which are deep in their coat).

As far as the best brush for Australian Shepherds goes, we ideally need two seperate brushes to handle both ​shedding and tangles.

​Here's the gist of it:

  1. ​We want to ​remove all the ​mats & tangles first with a long-pin slicker brush.
  2. ​Once they're clear of tangles all you need is a ​soft pin brush (used twice weekly) to maintain their coat and remove loose hair.
  3. If you're still having trouble with stubborn tangles or the crazy amounts of shedding, we have a few extra tricks for that below.

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​Product

​PRODUCT DETAILS

BEST BRUSH FOR MATS + TANGLES

​Paw Br​others
​Extra Long Slicker

Extra Long Pin Slicker
Paw Brothers
Extra Long Pin Slicker

Incredibly efficient at removing mats and comfortable for your dog. Extra long pins remove tangles deep within long undercoats.

BEST BRUSH FOR MAINTENANCE ​+ DESHEDDING

Chris Christensen 
​Oval Pin Brush

​Oval Pin Brush
​Chris Christensen
​Oval Pin Brush

​Exactly what you need for daily ​maintenance and deshedding, while ​very comfortable on your dog's skin.

​Andis
​Steel Greyhound Comb

​Steel Greyhound Comb
​Andis
​Steel Greyhound Comb

​A long-pin​ steel comb is a perfect (and inexpensive) tool for removing deep tangles that a slicker can't reach. We recommend using this ​comb in combination with a slicker brush.

Aussie's unlimited energy and drive tends to get them in trouble with their thick coat. Before long all that long fur is a mop of tangles and debris, not to mention all the shedding hair around your house.

​If you've ever wondered how a professional groomer deals with your dog (and how they make them look so nice) I'll reveal exactly how I groom each one in my shop.

best brush for australian shepherds

Why Australian Shepherds Shed

​First a quick lesson on why dog's shed in the first place.  

​Dog hair is similar to human hai​r in that old and damaged hairs are released to make room for new incoming hairs, ​dogs just have a lot more hair to lose. Therefore, shedding is a completely healthy and normal response​ that you can expect year round.

In some cases extreme hair loss can be attributed to conditions such as stress, physical pain, ​or nutritional deficiencies. Also, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, or being spayed or neutered, can cause temporary fluctuations in shedding. 

Itchiness can lead to more scratching, which can lead to a lot of extra shedding. Check your dog for fleas, tickets, or parasites, or if they may have developed allergies.

In each case you must consult with a vet to better understand the root of the problem, so that you may resolve it. 

Shedding Season

shedding season

Twice a year you'll be treated to a full "blow out", where you'll be faced with a seemingly endless amount of shedding hair. You have entered the dreaded Shedding Season

Double-coated breeds will naturally adjust the thickness of their coat based on temperature and daylight hours, therefore you can expect two big spikes in shedding every year - Spring and Fall. We call this "Blowing their Coat", and it often causes ​owners to question their own sanity.

​This hurricane of shedding typically lasts for 4 - 6 weeks, during which owners have to weather the storm until it's over. Thankfully, there are ways to control this shedding period with ​a few quick tools. 

​This is great and all, but how do we control all that shedding and tangles?​

australian shepherd grooming

Australian Shepherd Grooming

Australian Shepherds are a double-coated breed, meaning there is a top layer (often called the guard coat), and a hidden layer underneath (called the under coat). And it's the undercoat which is responsible for the hair all over your home, car, and clothes. 

So how do we control shedding, remove tangles, and keep​ our Aussies looking their best? With proper brushing, bathing, nutrition, and a few other little tricks...

brushing and grooming like a pro

Brushing Like a Pro

​The tried and true method of brushing is still the best way to control a shedding dog. 

  • If your dog has some particularly tough tangles, ​start by giving them a bath ​with plenty of detangling shampoo/conditioner. Afterwards try brushing them while still a bit damp.
  • ​Start with a good slicker, and use it ​work through their matted coat. Pay special attention to​ areas prone to ​tangles - such as the butt, mane, and neck.
  • ​Do not go over the same area more than 3 times with a slicker, as you may cause brush burn.
  • Once you've dealt with all the mats​, move on to a soft (but strong) pin brush, and ​use it throughout their entire coat. Keep a routine of ​doing this once every 3 days.
  • ​Finally, you can try using a greyhound comb (a long pinned steel comb) to reach deep into their coat and remove tangles a slicker brush cannot reach.

​Why Do We Need A Slicker AND A Pin Brush?

​You may be asking why we don't just buy a slicker brush and call it a day (or vice versa). It's because they're tools each designed for a specific purpose.

A slicker is made up of hundreds of tiny sharp pins that separate twisted hairs as it combs through their coat. But excessive use leads to brush burn, irritating your dog's skin, so we only use this as necessary.

A long pinned-brush has dulled pins ​and is comfortable for daily or weekly use of removing loose hair. But a pin brush isn't strong enough to work through tough tangles on a thick coated dog.

But together, these tools make up the ultimate team to keeping your Aussie looking and feeling great.

Don't Use This!

​We do not recommend ​using Furminators or other similar deshedding tools on your ​Aussie. While they do indeed get a lot of hair out, deshedding tools actually cut the cut hairs instead of brushing them out. This results in a very choppy and rough looking coat over time.​

Australian Shepherd shedding

Bathing to Maximize Deshedding & Remove Tangles

​Brushing is a great start, but to remove an absolute ton of hair, or to help loosen up stubborn tangles, we recommend bathing with a good deshedding shampoo​. 

​These are full of extra conditioners and omega oils that slick the hair down and allows for easier removal. And it works!

Simply bathe your dog like you normally would, while applying a generous amount of deshedding shampoo to scrub into their coat. Let the shampoo works it's magic for 10 to 15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing and drying.

While they're still a bit damp, gently brush them out ​with your long-pinned brush or comb, and just see how much extra hair comes off, it's actually quite amazing.

​Groomers Ultimate Weapon: The High Velocity Dryer

Many professional groomers have a high-velocity dryer which blows all the loose hair off your dog in a short amount of time. Think of a leaf-blower with a hose, designed specifically to dry and remove dog hair. It's extremely effective, and reduces shedding for 2 or 3 weeks afterwards.

Another option is to buy your own high velocity dryer, which can save you many trips to the groomer, and be a huge life saver in terms of shedding. Check out this video I found to see just how effective it is.

Healthy Diet = Healthy Coat

Food can make all the difference. Up to 30% of your dog's daily protein requirement is used to grow and maintain hair follicles, meaning that a poor diet can lead to an unhealthy (and excessively shedding) coat.

Understanding the nutritional requirements of your ​Aussie, and ensuring they receive a balanced diet of proteins and fats will help improve skin elasticity, and hair follicle strength. And not to mention​ an Aussie's active lifestyle requires a strong diet to keep them healthy and happy. 

​What ​Is The Best Brush for Australian Shepherds?

​When it comes to Aussie's we have a 2 pronged approach in my grooming shop. We start with a slicker brush to remove any thick tangles or mats, and then a pin brush to remove loose hair. Using this combo also "fluffs" their coat out, and gives them a nice finish. 

Finally, we'll often reach for a greyhound comb (a long pinned steel comb) to work out any deep tangles near the skin (which the slicker or pin brush can't reach). 

1. Slicker Brush

My Recommendation:

Paw Brothers Extra Long Pin Slicker
Paw Brothers Extra Long Pin Slicker

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​You won't need a overly expensive or fancy slicker here, but you do need one with a high pin count, and long bendable pins. The idea is that the hundreds of tiny pins will separate twisted hairs as they brush through, while the bendable structure will relieve some of the pressure applied ​as to not irritate skin (causing nasty brush burn).

PROS

  • ​Each pin tip has been smoothed to avoid irritating skin.
  • ​Long, bendable pins for avoiding brush burn.
  • ​Dense with Pins, used for separating hairs and making dematting easier.
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    Strong and comfortable design (you can drop it and it will never break).
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    Leaves their coat looking "fluffed"

​CONS

  • ​Overuse can irritate skin, ​limit use to ​once per week, and don't go over the same spot more than 3 times.
  • Pins wear down over time, and you may need to replace after several months of use.

2. Pin Comb

My Recommendation:

Paw Brothers Extra Long Pin Slicker
Paw Brothers Extra Long Pin Slicker

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​Now that your Aussie is free from tangles, it's time to move onto deshedding, and for that all we need is a​ good pin brush. There are plenty of pin brushes out there, ​so what makes a good one? 

The ideal pin brush has a large surface area so we can work quickly, has long pins that reach deep into their coat but don't stab or cause pain (rounded tips), and the long pins remain sturdy and won't break down quickly. And of course, the ideal brush pulls out all that loose hair. 

PROS

  • ​It's big, great for bigger dogs and brushing dog out faster. 
  • ​Pins are very strong, but don't stab and cause any pain. 
  • ​Very long pins, great for long and thick Aussie coats.
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    Strong and comfortable design (very long life, and you can drop it many times ).
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    Leaves their coat looking "fluffed"

​CONS

  • ​Not great at removing tough Aussie coat tangles, we recommend a slicker brush for that.

​3. ​Greyhound Comb

My Recommendation:

Andis Steel 'Greyhound' Comb
Andis Steel 'Greyhound' Comb

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​So we have a Slicker and a Pin brush, why do we need a Greyhound Comb? 

This is the perfect (and inexpensive) ​accomplice to everything we've mentioned so far. I call ​it my "seek and destroy" tool, after using ​a slicker I'll glide through their coat with a greyhound comb to find any left over mats I may have missed. It's perfect clearing out all the loose fur​ trapped deep in their undercoat ​(especially around their butt, neck, and mane)

PROS

  • ​Super affordable and effective
  • ​Extra long pins remove deep tangles and loose fur.
  • ​Great for finishing touches.

​CONS

  • These break down over time, and comb needles will bend. Thankfully, it's cheap to replace.

​Other Useful Tools

​Here's a few other very useful tools we use for deshedding in my grooming shop, they are completely optional but great for living in a shed free home. 

​4. High Velocity Dryer

My Recommendation:

SHELANDY 3.2HP Pet Dryer
SHELANDY 3.2HP Pet Dryer

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While not quite as powerful as your professional commercial-grade pet dryer, this is a really great personal dryer that can most certainly get the job done (and is quite a bit more affordable). 

By blowing out your dog's coat you'll release a shocking amount of loose hair, and you can massively reduce shedding for a few weeks​. Not to mention it'll save you from making constant trips to your groomer.

Please Note: Use this outside if possible, or else you'll have hair ​or water stuck to every part of your room. 

PROS

  • ​​Blows out coat and leaves your dog shed free for up to 3 weeks. 
  • ​​Affordable and very effective  - (The same cost as a single visit to a groomer)
  • ​​Dries coat effectively and safely.

​CONS

  • ​Loud. All dryers are loud to some degree, and this one is no exception.

​​5. ​Deshedding Treatment

My Recommendation:

​FURminator deShedding Shampoo / Conditioner
​FURminator deShedding Shampoo / Conditioner

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This is an absolute life saver with Aussie coats, and works great if you use it along with regular brushing.

This will take care of that final 20% of shedding that never seems to go away - ​and really help with keeping their coat free from mats.

Quick note: You might notice an increase in shedding for 24 hours after use. Since you've loosened up so much hair it will continue to fall out for a short time, but then they'll be shed free for a week or two. 

PROS

  • ​Helps with removing some of that stubborn undercoat, while keeping your dog clean and soft.
  • ​Moisturizes with omega oils, helps with dry skin and dander.
  • ​Uses all natural and safe ingredients, no weird deShedding chemicals.

​CONS

  • ​If you brush your dog often then deShedding Shampoo will take care of that last remaining bit, but it won't make a huge difference on it's own.
Katlin Primrose

​Katlin is ​a 7-year certified advanced professional groomer, a registered veterinarian tech assistant (working in emergency, exotics, and general practice), and even owns her own popular collar and leash brand. You might say she's multi-talented when it comes to pets. 

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