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Do you want to learn how to brush a German Shepherd so professionally that compliments rain down on your skills?
I’ll let you in on the easiest brushing tips and show you the simple tools to ensure your German Shepherd looks like he’s show quality ready and picture-perfect…
Even if you own a German Shepherd puppy!
All without breaking your bank or stressing either of you out.
Let’s get right into the only brushing how-to guide you’ll ever need for your German Shepherd’s grooming.
How Often Should You Brush a German Shepherd?
Brush your dog at least 3 to 4 times a week for 10 minutes each session. During the coat blowing season in spring and fall, daily brushing of at least 10 to 15 minutes is preferred. At each brushing, make sure you pay special attention to areas prone to clumping, like under the belly, the back of the legs, the length of the tail, and behind their ears. You can brush your German Shepherd puppy every other day with a gentle brushing glove that introduces them to grooming.
A GSD is a double-coated breed that needs routine grooming. If your dog is very active and outdoors a lot, make sure you brush more regularly, especially after swimming or running through trails and tall grass.
Follow these 3 German Shepherd brushing tips to decrease shedding and help your dog stay healthy:
brush regularly (stick to a routine and schedule)
brush for a set time to get your dog used to grooming
choose the right tools for brushing that are gentle
You’ll also want to keep your dog on a set brushing schedule to maintain their coat health. Here’s a good schedule for you and your dog.
German Shepherd Puppy and Adult Brushing Schedule
Regular Brushing Schedule
Blowing Coat Schedule
Adult: At least 3-4 times a week for 5-10 minutes each time.
At least 10-15 minutes daily for the time your dog blows their coat — Spring, Fall (for about 2 weeks).
Puppy: Daily brushing of 1 to 3 minutes each grooming session.
Puppies don’t blow their coats, but around 4 months of age, they’ll begin to shed their puppy coats which are replaced by their adult fur.
How often you brush your German Shepherd depends on if they’re blowing their coat or not.
Don’t neglect to brush or you wind up with a mess of dog fur and unhealthy skin!
Keeping to a brushing schedule and routine helps you to stay on top of your German Shepherd’s health and to catch issues before they become big problems.
When to Start Brushing a German Shepherd Puppy?
You can start brushing your German Shepherd puppy when they are 6 to 8 weeks old using a gentle grooming glove that doesn’t pull the fur. Since German Shepherd puppies have a soft and fluffy puppy coat you don’t need lots of brushes. Use the grooming glove to brush your puppy in short sessions of only 1 to 2 minutes in the beginning. This gets your puppy used to being handled and brushed and makes later brushing much easier on both of you.
Work up to 3 to 5-minute sessions daily using the grooming glove before introducing the undercoat rake when their adult coats grow in. Use plenty of rewards and positive training to teach your German Shepherd puppy how to like being brushed.
Go slowly with brushing your puppy since the first introductions to being brushed by you will set up their later expectations for a grooming routine.
Should You Brush Your German Shepherd Daily?
Yes, you can brush your German Shepherd daily to help decrease shedding and keep their skin healthy. Daily brushing of your GSD improves air circulation through their undercoat and a proper brushing routine keeps shedding to a minimum when done regularly. If you brush daily, ensure you only use light pressure and gentle strokes, preferably with a rake brush that is coated in Teflon to glide effortlessly through your German Shepherd’s fur. In addition, you can brush daily with a grooming glove that has soft rubber nubs that easily remove dead fur and is gentle enough for puppies.
⬇ A list of the best brushes for your German Shepherd that are gentle is found below. ⬇
How to Brush a German Shepherd Effortlessly
It doesn’t take much time to get your GSD model ready.
Set out all of your supplies beforehand to make brushing easier on you and your dog. You don’t need fancy brushes, but you will need the basics.
Brushing an energetic German Shepherd puppy can become especially hard as they wiggle and squirm, so arm yourself with a bag of tasty treats to convince them to stay still while you brush them.
Follow these 5 steps to brush your German Shepherd and you’ll find that grooming your GSD actually doesn’t require much effort once you have a short checklist.
1. Start brushing with the undercoat rake from the back and hindquarters.
Starting from the back of your GSD helps anxious dogs to remain calm. Go over the body areas a few times with longer, lighter strokes.
Brush through the feathers on the back of his legs, the thick coat around his neck (the ruff), and on his back legs and the long hairs of his tail.
Did you know that most of your German Shepherd’s shedding when they blow their coats come from the undercoat of their fur?
So, you want to remove as much loose fur and dirt as possible with the undercoat rake brush during the seasons they blow their coats. Doing this first step is paramount to grooming your German Shepherd and keeping their fur and skin healthy.
2. Use a grooming spray to loosen clumps of fur if you’re having issues with brushing or want to lessen smells.
The brush should glide easily after a quick spray down with a grooming solution. This also helps give your dog more comfort as the spray makes hair smooth and soft, so it’s easier to brush.
If your puppy or dog doesn’t like the spray noise, try spraying the grooming solution into your hands and run it through their fur. This Vet’s Best Moisture Mist Conditioner has the added bonus of helping with dry, flakey skin which many German Shepherds are prone to have.
Don’t spray the solution near their face and avoid over saturating their fur if it’s cold. Use your rake brush to work the solution into their skin and dislodge dirt and hard to brush areas.
If your dog has smells or patches of spots you want to clean and deodorize, then use a specialty cleaning wipe that takes away unwanted scents and removes mud when a full bath isn’t in order (Or on smelly puppies that hate baths!).
3. Next, use the pin brush on thicker areas of hair.
Thick hair areas, such as around the neck, back of the legs, and belly areas, are where you need to pay close attention because the hair tends to get easily overlooked since it’s thicker. Use light pressure to avoid any scratching.
Be careful not to scratch your dog’s skin when using the pin brush, especially when introducing the brush to your puppy. Avoid using this brush on their stomachs and bellies unless you have a soft touch.
4. Now, take your comb and run the comb through all the hair.
A comb helps to ensure you have left no spots left unbrushed, and gives you a hand in smaller areas like the face and feet.
Grooming with a comb also shows you any spots you might have overlooked that need brushed. The teeth of the comb are finer and can help you remove any clumps of fur or debris that the rake brush or pin brush might miss.
A comb can also help you pull out sticks and grass that tend to lodge within the coat and could cause skin irritation if left unremoved.
5. Finally, groom the hair with a soft bristle brush.
The bristle brush distributes the natural oils while being gentle on the skin. It also has rounded tips to avoid any scratching on delicate fur on one side, and on the other has smooth bristles.
Use both sides of the brush. The pin side separates hair and any tangles, while the softer side smooths out the fur and gives the coat a glossy luster when used regularly.
Use the bristle brush after the rake brush and pin brush to give your GSD’s coat a final shine to the coat and get rid of the last bits of loose hair.
You can step back and admire your show-stopping brushing work. Get ready to receive compliments as you walk your dog through your neighborhood and town.
Next, read about what brushes work best for your German Shepherd. 🐕
Best Brush for German Shepherds: Easy Owner’s Guide
The Shepherd’s fur generally doesn’t mat and tangle.
The hair can clump, but combs out easily and doesn’t need harsh tools to maintain a healthy coat. However, there is a rare occasion you might find a tangle from a seed, stick, or other items that need special attention with a comb to remove.
While they’re known as a high shedding breed, their coats are low odor and are easily maintained through a brushing routine that you can start when they’re puppies…
Right at home!
Use this guide to check that you have the best brushes for grooming your German Shepherd.
Undercoat rake brush
Everyday grooming and blowing coat seasons
Great all-season tool
Dual-sided pin and bristle brush
Thicker coats and adding shine
Use the softer bristle side for extended brushing since it’s soft and gentle
Distributes shampoo and remove loose hair
Works great to remove hair off furniture and can use the brush both wet and dry
For detailed work around the face and paws
Buy a metal comb with rounded end tips for sensitive skin GSDs
Makes brushing easier for puppies
Simply brush your puppy with the glove and they think you’re petting them
Here are the best brushes for German Shepherds, even puppies.
The Undercoat Rake Brush: Best Grooming Brush for German Shepherd
If you can only afford one grooming brush in your kit, then the undercoat rake brush is it!
The undercoat rake will become the go-to everyday grooming brush that you can’t live without.
It’s built with safety and health in mind. The wide pins ease their way through knots and soften coats by removing the dead hair.
Undercoat rake tools are so safe and gentle you will use them daily. My GSD prefers the rake tool to all the other grooming tools.
This is the first tool you need to start your brushing routine with, and it’s a great idea to have more than one rake brush in your home. I have two — one by the back door for brushing in the yard and one in my waist pack for dog walks (brushing outdoors means less fur in the house).
Use a rake brush with an easy-to-grip handle to avoid letting the brush slip and fall on your dog. You also want a rake tool that has rounded tips to easily glide through your dog’s fur without pulling.
The Zoom Groom: Best Brush for Wet and Dry Grooming
The Zoom Groom brush works great for getting shampoo and conditioner onto the skin of thick-coated German Shepherds.
Massaging bristles work through deep undercoats to work products into the coat and hair without discomfort.
With gentle rubber tips, this tool is also perfect for dry brushing German Shepherd puppies!
Use the gentle and soft rubber Zoom Groom to work up a cleansing lather of shampoo or to helps reach your dog’s skin through their dense fur if you need to apply any treatments.
The wet and dry brush is a convenient tool to keep on hand for times when you need both a brush in the bath and after the bath.
The Dual-Sided Pin Brush: Best Brush for Adding Shine
The dual-sided pin brush allows you to comb through thick areas of fur and offers your dog gentle brushing for longer grooming sessions.
First, remember to brush through the coat with the pin side to loosen and remove dead hair. The pin brush works best after using the undercoat rake since the undercoat rake removes so much fur first.
Once you’ve made sure the longer layers of hair, such as around the neck, behind the ears, on the belly, and behind the back legs is clump-free from using the pin brush, flip the brush over for the nylon bristle side.
The glove is embedded with soft rubber tips that remove tangles, massage the skin, and is generally well-tolerated and even enjoyed by German Shepherd puppies.
The grooming glove is the best brush for a German Shepherd puppy because:
It’s so gentle and easy to use, even on a daily basis
Your GSD pup won’t even know he’s getting brushed because he’ll think you’re petting him
The soft rubber nubs and glove-style brush allow you to reach into more places and remove dead fur that a brush might miss
You don’t need an undercoat rake brush for a German Shepherd puppy… yet. But, you should have the right tools on hand since your German Shepherd puppy will lose their puppy coat soon.
Their adult coats will grow in quicker than you think!
What to Expect When Grooming Your German Shepherd’s Puppy Coat
Around 4 months of age, your German Shepherd’s puppy coat will begin to change. You’ll notice they aren’t as fluffy as the babyfur begins to fall out and gets replaced by their adult coat.
The adult coat that grows in generally begins to show in his tail and the middle of his back first but will continue to change at 5 and 6 months old.
Be sure to have the right tools ready for grooming their adult coats, as you’ll need to introduce them slowly to different brushes early on. This avoids later stress once you brush them with the grooming glove less frequently or their coats need a more in-depth brushing.
Benefits of Brushing Your German Shepherd
Some GSD owners overlook routine care for their dogs. But a GSD’s health depends in part on its brushing.
Benefits of brushing your German Shepherd:
Regular brushing prevents excessive hair-drop onto your floors, furniture, and clothes (source).
Brushing keeps your dog’s skin and coat in good condition and gives you time to inspect your dog’s overall health (source).
Grooming acts as a light massage and brushing is a natural way to release stress for your pet. Less stress helps your dog feel relaxed and happy (source).
With regular brushing, you remove the shedding undercoat which ensures ideal airflow through your dog’s coat and avoids matting.
Brushing is a time for bonding!
Use your time while brushing your German Shepherd to talk to your pet and increase your bond.
Take your time and don’t rush.
Keeps skin and coat in condition
Brushing has the benefit of keeping dead fur off the skin. This allows the skin to breathe.
Provides a relaxing massage
Brushing is a light massage for your dog. It helps relax your dog. A relaxed dog is a happy dog.
Helps with bonding time
Brushing gives you and your dog time to bond. Talk to your dog in a soothing tone.
German Shepherd Brushing Tips
After years of owning GSDs, I’ve come up with simple tips to make brushing a breeze.
Here are the brushing tips that will help you the most:
Use a grooming spray to help tease out clumps. A light spray before brushing also gives the fur more slip, so that your tools glide easier.
Use long, smooth strokes. Don’t apply downward pressure as you brush. Pressing too hard can dig the tool into your dog’s skin. This is uncomfortable for your pet and damages their skin.
A metal comb is the best tool for detailed areas. Like the face, ears, and paws. Use small strokes to pull out the debris and make sure the hair is smooth.
As you’re grooming, check the skin and coat. Look for signs of fleas and ticks or bite marks. Feel for lumps and bumps. Check with your vet and seek help when you find these items.
Develop a routine for properly brushing your German Shepherd. You’ll enjoy how much better your dog’s coat looks and feels!
Grooming a German Shepherd is simple and fuss-free when you find the best brushes for their thick, double coats and sensitive skin. It also helps to know simple steps to make grooming your GSD easier on your dog, and less stressful for you.
How to Brush a German Shepherd at Home
Set aside a few days a week to learn how to brush your German Shepherd properly.
Stick to a regular brushing routine and use tools that work for your German Shepherd’s coat. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on professional grooming when you can give your dog a similar experience at home. Your German Shepherd’s coat will stay healthy and shiny with minimal effort once you stick to a routine and use the correct tools.
With the right tools for the job, your work will be quicker and your Shepherd happier!
Learning how to brush a German Shepherd puppy or dog is easy when you know the right way and have the right tools.
Want to know how to reduce shedding even more than brushing alone?
Catherine Krasavin owns Shepherd Sense, a dog website aimed at German Shepherd owners and lovers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree, with Honors, and has been training dogs for over a decade. Catherine’s currently attending continuing education courses to keep up with the latest in animal science, as well as earning her diploma in dog training. She owns a plush coat German Shepherd who was awarded Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Gold Award - the highest level of achievement.
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