German Shepherds need year-round grooming, no matter which type of coat they have.
During the colder months, a few times a week will suffice, but daily brushing is usually required in the heavy shedding season.
Since we’re spending so much time grooming our beloved furry friends, it makes sense to get the brush that’s most comfortable and effective for you and your pet.
We’ve tried as many dog brushes as we could find to narrow the field down to just a few choices.
The following ten reviews will compare those choices, but only the top three have earned our recommendations.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
The 10 Best Brushes for German Shepherds
1. Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Best Overall
It’s hard to tell who appreciated the Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker brush more, our pets or us! Outside of the heavy-shedding season, this brush is the tool we think does the best job for your Shepherd and makes it easiest for you. The self-protecting bristles didn’t bend when dealing with matted and tangled long fur coats. Even better, they retract at the push of a button, leaving all the hair free to be removed. The time this saved us over traditional style brushes can’t be understated.
The handle was comfortable to hold, but much more importantly, the grooming experience seemed extremely pleasurable for our doggos! After using the Hertzko brush, our pups would get excited about grooming because they enjoyed the feeling so much. And it makes sense because this brush painlessly de-tangles while gently massaging and increasing circulation. That said, for you’ll want to be gentle with shorter-haired German Shepherds as the bristles achieve deep penetration. In the end, this was our favorite brush and top recommendation.
2. Upsky Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Best Value
For a functional grooming tool that’s also affordable, we think the Upsky slicker brush is the best brush for German Shepherd for the money. It provides the same functionality as our top pick at about half the price. That said, it has its drawbacks that prevent it from overtaking the Hertzko brush in our top spot. With the pull of a trigger, a plastic plate slides over the bristles to make hair removal easy. However, we noticed that some hair, particularly around the edges, would be wedged in and require some digging to get out. This wasn’t as effective as the retraction of the Hertzko and held this brush back in our eyes.
The Upsky brush provided a very comfortable grooming experience for our German Shepherds, which is one of the most important factors for us. It did a great job of removing tangles and mats, and the dogs seemed to genuinely enjoy it. That said, the bristles have very sharp tips, so be gentle with short-haired Shepherds. When it’s time to store, a bristle cover protects your bristles and your skin, while a hanging hole adds convenience.
When it’s heavy shedding season, your shepherd will need constant attention to thin their undercoat, and keep all the loose fur from getting matted and tangled. To that end, the HappyDogz pet shedding brush reduces shedding by up to 95%, removing almost all of the loose fur while detangling and massaging your dog’s coat. With so much heavy hair and two coats to get through, you’ll need a strong shedding brush to withstand daily use, and this brush has a stainless-steel blade for just that reason. Better yet, a 10-year replacement guarantee ensures the HappyDogz brush will be around to groom your dog for most of its life.
Many of the shedding brushes on the market today are self-cleaning and able to remove all the fur at the push of a button. Unfortunately, this brush doesn’t have that feature, which is part of why it didn’t earn our top recommendation. Despite missing this feature, the HappyDogz brush is one of the more expensive options we tested. Overall, it’s an excellent choice if you don’t mind spending a little bit more for the quality.
4. Pet Neat Pet Grooming Brush
Removing up to 95% of tangles and dead hair in just 10 minutes, this grooming brush from Pet Neat is a great choice during the summer months when Shepherds shed most heavily. Since you’re going to be grooming your dog’s coat daily during this time of the year, you want a brush that will make short work of it. Cleaning the brush adds even more time, so the head of this one detaches to make it easier to clean. We still prefer the self-cleaning brushes, but this is one is priced too affordably to include such a feature. We were surprised at how comfortable it was to hold, especially since it’s very durable and doesn’t flex or give.
The most important trait for a brush is effective hair removal from both the guard coat and the undercoat of your German Shepherd. Pet Neat’s grooming brush didn’t seem to penetrate deep enough into the undercoat to remove as much hair as we’d like. It’s excellent for shorter hair Shepherds, but it will have a hard time with longer fur.
5. Thunderpaws De-Shedding Tool
Equipped with a four-inch-wide stainless-steel comb, this de-shedding tool from Thunderpaws is meant to help with the heaviest shedding. The blade is detachable for easy cleaning and even includes a blade guard for safe storage. It’s priced pretty low compared to similar products, especially when you consider the fact that it’s protected by a lifetime warranty.
Though it certainly has some desirable traits, this brush had just as many drawbacks, which is why it landed right in the middle of this list. First, the teeth weren’t quite long enough to reach into the undercoat. That’s where a lot of the loose hair is caught, so we need a brush that can remove the hair. More than just removing loose hair, this tool seemed to pull just as much hair that was still attached. Naturally, none of our dogs enjoyed this! Since it kept pulling hair and wasn’t efficient at removing the loose strands, it took much longer to get a dog groomed with this product than with competitors.
6. CleanHouse Dog Hair Brush
Professional-grade yet affordably priced, the CleanHouse Pets slicker brush was a solid performer that just didn’t separate itself from the rest. It’s very durable, which is backed up by the lifetime warranty. We felt that its best feature was the self-cleaning button, which makes it quick and easy to remove all the loose fur that’s been collected on the bristles. That said, we didn’t like that the button had to be held down by finger to keep the bristles extended. This poorly conceived idea caused hand cramping.
Less maneuverable than other brushes, the bulky size of the CleanHouse Pets brush makes it difficult to use around sensitive or smaller areas like their hindquarters or face. Even worse, the bristles were too sharp and we had to be very gentle to avoid hurting any of the dogs. This meant that less hair was picked up, so the whole process took longer.
7. smartelf Pet Grooming Brush
Moving on down the list, the smartelf pet grooming brush is a cheaply priced option that’s also cheaply made. It works fine for its intended purpose; it just won’t do it for very long! Ours broke in just a few weeks of use, not even during the heavy shedding season. Sometimes you get what you pay for, and this is a great example.
We appreciated the self-cleaning button that makes it quick and easy to remove the collected hair. However, the bristles themselves were a weak point. First, they bend very easily, so if you drop the brush with them extended, you’ll probably bend a few. This makes the self-cleaning feature much more difficult to use properly. Worse, they’re very sharp and can easily hurt your dog, especially if they have shorter hair. Though it is cheap, we think there are similarly priced options that far outperformed this one.
8. Furminator Long Dog Hair Brush
Highly recommended by professionals, the Furminator Pro was one brush we were very excited to try out but didn’t live up to expectations. This one is a bit different from the rest that we tested since it’s more of a comb. The teeth are larger and more spread apart. Even better, the teeth all rotate so that they don’t get caught in the tangles or matting, instead gently combing through it. We liked the idea, but it didn’t play out the way we hoped. While most of the brushes we tested collected the loose fur while they detangled, the Furminator only detangled. The loose fur was then all over the place! Much of it still on the dog, and the rest on the floor and floating around the air.
The third time we used the Furminator Pro, the handle fell off. This was disappointing from a product that’s so highly recommended. It was replaced free of charge, so at least Furminator stands behind their products. We noticed that it took several more passes with this brush to get a nice smooth coat. We think it’s because of the extra space between the teeth.
9. Paws Pamper Boar Bristle & Pin Brush
Paws Pamper has made a versatile grooming brush with boar bristles on one side and a pin brush on the other. We loved the concept, but it’s not the best choice for German Shepherds specifically. While the pin side was great at removing the loose hair, and even reached deep into the undercoat, the bristle side just tangled all of our dogs’ hair up, and actually made it worse! We had to use the pin side again afterward to remove the tangles.
While the pin brush side was effective at removing plenty of loose hair, it did not collect it. This meant our floor was covered, and hairs were floating around for a while afterward. We definitely prefer brushes that hold onto the hair for easy cleanup. Our final complaint about this double-sided brush from Paws Pamper is that it’s just too big for hitting the smaller and more sensitive areas like the hindquarters and face.
10. AriTan Self Cleaning Slicker Brush
Rounding out the bottom of our list in the tenth position is this slicker brush from AriTan. It’s a self-cleaning design, though not well thought out. You have to hold the button down to keep the bristles extended, so you’ll be holding the button the whole time you’re grooming. This is very uncomfortable and left our hands cramped. Especially if you’re grooming several times a week, this is going to quickly become a nuisance that turns you off from your pet’s maintenance.
The bristles themselves were also a weak point on the AriTan brush. Since they’re so thin, they’re easily bent. Worse, they were sharp enough to pierce skin, even drawing blood from one of our fingers! If it draws blood from us, we don’t like the implications that has for our furry friends. For these reasons, the AriTan brush doesn’t earn our recommendation at the final position on this list.
Grooming your German Shepherd can be a great bonding experience for both of you unless it’s ruined by poor performing tools. After reading our reviews you should be able to avoid the brushes that will detract from your grooming experience and instead pick one that will please both you and your pup. We felt that the Hertzko slicker brush was the best choice overall. The self-protecting bristles won’t bend and they retract at the push of a button for easy har removal. Our dogs loved grooming time with this brush and it detangled the hair easily, reducing the amount of time we spent grooming.
For the best value, we suggest the Upsky 005 slicker brush. It’s dirt cheap and grooms as well as brushes that cost more than twice as much. It’s self-cleaning, includes a bristle cover and hanging hole for easy storage, and our dogs seemed to love how it felt when we groomed them with it. Finally, our premium pick in the third position is the HappyDogz pet shedding brush that reduces shedding up to 95%! It comes with a detachable stainless-steel blade that’s protected by a 10-year replacement guarantee and felt excellent for our Shepherds.
Featured Image Credit By: GSDLover, pixabay
Emily started this blog out of pure passion. She LOVES her 3 dogs; Chew Barka, Cooper & Nelson, and spends countless hours every day playing with them.
When she’s not nerding out on dogs, you’ll find her on a snowboard or in the kitchen baking chocolate brownies.
She’s been featured in PetAware, Dogtime, and ModernDog.
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Brushes for German Shepherds
- 1. Hertzko Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Best Overall
- 2. Upsky Self Cleaning Slicker Brush – Best Value
- 3. HappyDogz Shedding Brush – Premium Choice
- 4. Pet Neat Pet Grooming Brush
- 5. Thunderpaws De-Shedding Tool
- 6. CleanHouse Dog Hair Brush
- 7. smartelf Pet Grooming Brush
- 8. Furminator Long Dog Hair Brush
- 9. Paws Pamper Boar Bristle & Pin Brush
- 10. AriTan Self Cleaning Slicker Brush