What is the best brush for a Golden Retriever?
About the Breed
Golden Retrievers are among the most popular and recognizable dog breeds in the USA, and for many good reasons. In case you didn't know, these dogs were originally bred to hunt waterfowl and other birds. Over the generations of selective breeding, the Golden Retriever breed emerged.
The breed that many people have known and loved came as a result of all the qualities that people needed in a reliable and trustworthy field dog: loyalty, obedience, and a gentle temperment. Nowadays, Golden Retrievers are among the top choice for sporting dogs, guide dogs, and search and rescue dogs among other roles. The same qualities that make it suited as a working dog also make it a perfect companion for your home - even if you don't plan to ever do anything more than play fetch!
Why is Brushing Your Golden Important?
If you have a Golden Retriever, you are probably aware of the importance of having the best set of brushes to brush/comb your dog. Not just any brush will do for these dogs!
Anyone who has owned, or come in contact with, one of these dogs know they shed A LOT! Even just bumping one with your leg will leave a copious amount of hair on your pants. And if you live with one, there is a good chance that you can find dog hair in every single part of your house.
We recommend brushing your Golden because of the type of coat they have. Unlike most other dogs, Goldens have a unique type of coat that consists of two layers: You have the soft undercoat, which lays flat against the skin. This is the soft and fluffy layer. This is the coat that allows the dog to regulate it's temperature throughout the year. The topcoat is the long coat that is most easily visible on these dogs. It is more oily than most other dog coats, and for a good reason. This oily coat makes sure water is repelled from the body of the dog, and makes sure the soft undercoat always stays dry.
IMPORTANT: Golden Retrievers must be groomed a special way - simply shaving or trimming their entire coat can cause serious health issues, as the dog will not be able to regulate its temperature. Please make sure your dog groomer is familiar with how to groom a Golden before you take your dog to one.
Since this breed generally has a long, flowing coat, shedding is a way of life. By brushing your dog regularly, you help them deal with this and make sure they are comfortable at all times. Some other benefits of regular grooming:
- Less hair to be shed on furniture, carpet, and around your home
- Keeping your dog's coat healthy and less susceptible to fleas and ticks
- Keeping your dog comfortable and healthly year round
How do you know which brush is the best for your Golden Retriever?
The short answer is that there simply isn't one brush that you can use for all your grooming needs if you have a Golden Retriever. Because they have a two-layered coat that is prone to matting, we recommend having a few different combs/brushes that are made specifically for these types of hair. Brushing of both the top coat and undercoat is important - both must be given equal attention to prevent issues such as matting and thinning.
Two factors to consider are whether your dog has any sort of skin allergies or skin conditions. Most dogs are fine, but you will be able to easily tell if your dog has any issues. These would be things like rashes, fungus growths, blisters, warts, and anything else that looks out of the ordinary. Often times, dogs with skin issues will not tolerate being brushed and combed, as it can cause them pain and discomfort. If you are unsure about any skin issues, it is very important to take your dog to the vet as soon as you can.
Another factor is the health of the coat of your dog. A coat that has never been groomed will need different care than the one that has been carefully and regularly groomed. Similarly, the coat that has been brushed every so often will require different care. Time of year also plays as factor, as the golden retriever's coat sheds at different rates throughout the year.
Sometimes, you may need a brush that helps pull out shedded hair, while other times there will not be so much hair that is being shed. The key take-away is that you will at least need two brushes: a topcoat brush, and an undercoat brush.
Brand of Brushes We Recommend: Bass Brushes
Before we go in to the types of brushes we use, we will talk a little bit about brands. There are many brush brands out there, and they all offer various designs suited for any grooming need. It is easy to get caught up in choosing the right brand. We prefer Bass Brushes for pets for a few reasons:
- Not only are they wooden handles, they are made from Bamboo - a highly sustainable source of wood
- They use 100% real boar bristles to make their boar bristle brushes.
- They offer all the types of brushes and combs you could possibly need, for any dog breed as well as cats.
Brushes That You Will Need For Your Golden Retriever
As we mentioned before, there are a few different types of grooming brushes and combs you will need for your golden. You can groom your dog in any order (topcoat then undercoat, or vice versa), but we prefer to start at the undercoat and then proceed to the topcoat. We have found that is just what works for us and our dogs.
Detangler Comb (Undercoat and Topcoat)
We always start with a detangler, and we like to think our dogs are thankful for it! By using a detangler first (pictured below), you will eliminate any tangles or matted fur. When you use the detangler first, it makes the rest of the grooming process easier as the various brushes you use won't get caught on any tangles.
It's important to not be to aggressive when using these combs, as your Golden Retriever will not like having his/her hair pulled!
Slicker-Style Brush (Undercoat)
You have probably seen one of these brushes before. They are made up of thin wires that are attached to a comb. Usually they have a small angle at the tips of the wires. Slicker brushes (like the Bass Slicker below) allow you to comb the undercoat without disturbing the topcoat. Especially during the times of the year when your dog sheds, these types of combs pull dead and loose hair out from the undercoat, while leaving the healthly fur intact.
As with a detangling comb, you need to be careful with the slicker style brushes as well. It is important not to press to hard, as you can scratch/irritate your dogs skin. A gentle hand is all that is needed when using a slicker brush.
Pin Brush (Topcoat)
The Pin brush is best suited for the top coat of your golden, but it will also help a little bit with the undercoat. Pin Brushes are made up of alloy pins attached to a paddle style brush. We like the Bass Pin Brushes, because they use all-metal pins that will not break. The pins on these brushes have small rounded tips that will never fall off, because each pin is made of just one piece of metal.
With cheaper, lower quality pin brushes, you sometimes see plastic pins with separate rounded tips. When these pins fall off over time, and with use, you will essential be scratching your Golden's skin - not a pleasant experience for anyone involved.
These pin brushes do a little bit of everything for the top coat: detangling, and removing old hair and dirt. The long pins, and the spacing makes them ideal for taking care of the long hair on the topcoat.
Bristle Brush (Undercoat and Topcoat)
We always use the boar-hair bristle brushes to finish the coat.
These brushes are best suited to finish the coat after using the brushes as part of a grooming process, but they can be used on their own as well. There are quite a few benefits to using a bristle brush:
- Spreads natural oils around the coat, and promotes blood flow for healthy skin/hair
- Does a thorough job of removing dirt particles and dead hair/skin from your dogs coats
- Great for short brush-downs between longer grooming sessions
Brushes for Grooming Your Golden Retriever
To sum up, these are the main brushes you will need for your Golden Retriever. We linked them for your reference.
1. Detangling Comb (Undercoat and Topcoat) - used to detangle knots and mats in the fur before brushing/combing
2. Slicker Brush (Undercoat) - used to pull dead and loose hair from the undercoat without disturbing the topcoat
3. Pin Brush (Topcoat) - will remove dirt and loose hair from the topcoat, and smooth it out
4. Bristle Brush (Undercoat and Topcoat) - perfect for promoting blood flow and healthy hair, as well as using it by itself in between longer grooming sessions