Purchasing grooming tools can be a very difficult decision. The type of tool you select depends on the coat type you will be grooming. Choosing the incorrect tool for a dog’s coat type can have a detrimental impact on both your effectiveness and your speed as a groomer.
The links and information provided below will help you to better understand your options and choose the best tools for your grooming needs.
Pin Brushes look very similar to those found in stores for people. In grooming, they are used as a finishing tool. They are best used to fluff already detangled curly or wiry coats, or to fine tune already detangled long/drop coats.
Bristle Brushes are commonly seen in local beauty salons. These are also used as finishing tools. They distribute the coat’s natural oils through the fur and add shine. These brushes work best on smooth and short coats, but they can also be used on long or drop coats, as well.
Slicker Brushes are used for detangling and light de-matting work. These can be used to remove loose or dead undercoat by using the line or layer brushing technique. This brush can be used on most coat types.
Rubber Curry Combs can be used to either remove loose or dead hair or to massage shampoo deeper into the coat. The rubber “fingers” of the curry comb work very well on smooth-, medium- and double-coated dogs to release dead and dying hair, and massage the skin back to good health. These brushes are not recommended for long- or silky-coated breeds, since they will only cause tangles.
Shedding Combs have teeth that are two different lengths. The longer teeth are designed to lift and separate the hair, while the shorter teeth remove the packed-in dead hair.
Flea Combs have teeth that are spaced very closely together. This tight spacing allows you to comb through the fur systematically and remove all foreign materials from the animal’s coat. This includes fleas, flea eggs, flea dirt, dead hair, and any other materials that might be in the coat.
Medium/Coarse Combs are used to detangle, de-shed, or fluff medium- to heavy- and curly-coated dogs, making it easier to set patterns and do finish work.
Fine/Coarse Combs are frequently used to detangle, de-shed, or fluff fine to medium- and curly-coated dogs. Once there are no tangles left in the coat, any remaining clipping or scissoring goes quickly.
Face/Finishing Combs are commonly seen in local beauty salons. These are also used as finishing tools. They distribute the coat’s natural oils through the fur and add shine. These brushes work best on smooth and short coats, but they can also be used on long or drop coats, as well.
Tail Combs can be found in a number of varieties. Their name refers to the additional length on the end of the spine that aids in barber rolling drop-coated breeds, or creating clean parts for top knots.
Rotating Pin Combs have teeth that spin to prevent the fur from tangling and breaking. They can be used for detangling, de-shedding, and fluffing.
Grooming Rakes are primarily used on medium-, double- and heavy-coated dogs to remove the thick, dense undercoat. They are set up so that the pins will dig through the topcoat to remove the dead undercoat using only gentle pressure from the groomer.
Carding Tools are dragged gently along the dog’s coat to remove the dead undercoat while keeping the healthy topcoat intact. These can be used on medium, double, heavy and portions of silky-coated breeds.
Undercoat Strippers have sharp curved blades that are blunt at the tips for safety. These are designed to remove mats that can be tight to the skin, without losing too much coat length.
Splitters have blades that are curved like a sickle with rounded, blunt ends for the pet’s safety. These tools are designed to allow the groomer to remove loose hair and undercoat without much effort.
Nail Clippers are used to trim the pet’s nail at a 45o angle.
Nail Grinders are used to soften the rough edges of a freshly trimmed pet nail.
Styptic Products are used to stop any bleeding that may result when a pet’s nail has been trimmed too closely to the quick.
Smooth/Single-Coated dogs are among the easiest to groom. Their coats consist of only a small, short, and stiff guard hair/topcoat, and no undercoat. A few examples of smooth-coated breeds would be the Weimaraner, the Dalmatian, the Boxer, the Vizsla, and the Italian Greyhound.
Medium-Coated dogs can have both a guard hair/topcoat and an undercoat, but their fur doesn’t grow beyond a predetermined short length. A few examples of medium-coated breeds would be the Labrador Retriever, the Rottweiler, the Pug, the Parsons Russell Terrier, and the Australian Cattle Dog.
Double-Coated dogs don’t require frequent grooming; however, because their coats have two layers, consisting of both a stiff guard hair/topcoat and a soft thermal undercoat, grooming can be challenging. A few examples of double-coated breeds would be the Akita, the German Shepherd, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, the Shiba Inu, and the Siberian Husky.
Heavy-Coated breeds can have multiple coat textures combining to create their dense heavy coat. Their coat can consist of a long silky topcoat, a dense undercoat, and some short-coated areas. The long areas can mat easily if not brushed on a regular basis. A few examples of heavy-coated breeds would be the Rough-Coated Collie, the Newfoundland, the Samoyed, the Chow Chow, and the Pomeranian.
Silky-Coated breeds have both long and short smooth coat types. They require regular brushing to prevent tight matting. A few examples of silky-coated breeds are the English Setter, the Cocker Spaniel, the Irish Setter, the English Springer Spaniel, and the Gordon Setter.
Long/Drop-Coated breeds have a long coat covering the entire body. Sometimes these breeds have an undercoat. This coat type requires daily brushing and frequent grooming to prevent tangles and heavy matting. A few examples of long/drop-coated breeds are the Lhasa Apso, the Old English Sheepdog, the Maltese, the Yorkshire Terrier, and the Havanese.
Curly-Coated dogs require regular grooming and daily brushing in order to prevent mats and tangles that may require shaving to remove. A few examples of curly-coated breeds are the Poodle, the Portuguese Water Dog, the Bichon Frise, the Kerry Blue Terrier, and the Bedlington.
Wire/Rough Coated breeds have a long guard hair/topcoat that is wiry and coarse. This will cover the entire body from their nose to their toes. They also have a soft, dense undercoat. These dogs should be brushed daily and groomed on a regular basis to prevent matting. A few examples of wire/rough-coated breeds are the Airedale Terrier, the Cairn Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Wire-Haired Dachshund.
TIPS FOR GROOMERS
Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing grooming tools.
Because brushes are specifically designed for individual coat types, most professional groomers will have at least one of each type of brush to be able to handle anything that walks in the door.
Rubber Curry Combs are an excellent tool for working in shampoo in the bath, on smooth-, medium-, and double-coated breeds. It is not recommended to use these on long, silky, or heavy-coated breeds, since the motions used will cause matting.
Combs can be used to gently detangle a dog; however, it is not recommended to use a comb for de-matting.
For best results with the undercoat stripper, do not comb against or across the grain of the hair. This will cause excessive cutting.