If you have a poodle, you will notice that poodle fur is more like human hair than most dog hair. The similarity is evident both visually, texturally, and in the way that the hair continually grows. Because of the unique nature of a poodle’s coat, daily brushing is essential for your dog’s health and the health of its hair.

Poodles have high-maintenance hair. Because a poodle probably has more hair than you do, it may need more time than you spend on your own. If you have curly hair, you know that your hair requires extra time and proper combs and brushes. The same is true for your curly-haired dog.

To have the perfect coat, you need the best grooming tools. We have found the nine best brushes to keep your dog’s hair looking its best.

Understanding Your Poodle’s Hair

Poodles have two types of hair:

  1. Outer Hair —  Outer hair is wiry and comprises only 20% of your dog’s coat.
  2. Undercoat — The undercoat (or secondary hair) is dense and coarse and comprises 80% of your dog’s coat. The undercoat can be either “curly” with soft curls or “corded” with hair that is almost in ringlets.

The curly or corded undercoat is the hair that needs the most attention because it can tangle and mat easily.

8 Benefits of Daily Poodle Brushing

Brushing your poodle every day is very important. Just like your hair, your poodle’s coat can become an ugly, tangled mess if left unbrushed. The more often you brush, the easier it will be to remove tangles and the less it will hurt your pet. The smoother the fur, the shorter each brushing session will need to be. Eight of the benefits of daily poodle brushing are:

  1. Aesthetics:  Even if you don’t give your poodle fancy haircuts, your poodle will look nicer with freshly brushed hair. If your dog does have a fancy coiffure, you will want to take care of your investment with regular brushing.
  2. Debris Removal: Longer dog hair can capture more debris than short hair. If your dog has rolled around in the grass or leaves, you will want to make sure none is left behind.
  3. Loose hair removal: While poodles don’t shed very much, loose hair from previous brushings may be left behind and may bond with other hair to form tangles if not brushed out.
  4. Detangling: Wavy, curly, and corded undercoats tangle easily. Daily brushing will keep tangles to a minimum.
  5. Mat removal: Tangled hair, when left too long, can become matted. Intensely tangled mats often become thick and form dreadlocks that you cannot remove without cutting out. Sometimes this missing hair looks so bad that you’ll need to sheer your poodle like a sheep, which is a hairstyle that can be cold and embarrassing.
  6. Skin and hair health: Regular brushing helps release natural oils onto your dog’s skin and into your dog’s hair. Brushing results in shinier hair and keeps your dog’s skin from becoming overly dry. Also, the pull of hair mats away from the skin can cause infections, and the lack of airflow around a mat near the skin can cause hot spots.
  7. Pest removal: Daily brushing can help you notice if your dog has encountered ticks, fleas, or mites while outside. These can cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, scabies, tapeworms, or other conditions in dogs.
  8. Trust: If you wait too long between brushings, the process can be painful for your dog.  If the dog associates time spent with you and a brush with pain, the dog may develop a fear of brushing or being petted.

The grooming tools necessary to brush out a poodle’s hair look very similar to the kinds of tools used to brush curly human hair.  The first type you should use during your grooming routine is a slicker brush or detangling comb.  The last type is a bristle brush for finishing.

  1. Detangling Comb:  A detangling comb is an excellent way to help remove tangles and tug out mats in your dog’s hair.
  2. Slicker Brush: The slicker brush is useful for removing tangles and mats.
  3. Bristle Brush: Poodle owners should use a bristle brush last. Most are double-sided. The longer wire teeth penetrate past the outer hair to the undercoat while the bristles smooth the hair. The purpose of this brush is to smooth out the pre-detangled hair.

Best Dog Brushes for Poodles

We’ve divided our list into our favorite three grooming tools from each of these categories: detangling combs, slicker brushes, and bristle brushes.  You’ll need to choose either a detangling comb or slicker brush for the detangling portion of your grooming routine. Then you’ll need a bristle brush as a finishing brush for your grooming regimen.

Safari Dog Mat Remover

Key Benefits:

  • It removes loose hair, tangles, and knots.
  • Rust-resistant, stainless steel blades.
  • Sharp blades cut through matted hair without pulling.
  • A comfortable rubber grip helps reduce wrist strain.

Our favorite detangling comb is the Safari Dog Mat Remover.  This brush is created specifically with those hard-to-remove mats in mind. The engineers of this comb designed its sharp blades to help you tease loose even the worst mats.

When done correctly, this process shouldn’t pull your dog’s hair.  Less pain during grooming is always good for your dog. The comfortable handgrip is better for you. Using this mat remover also helps improve circulation with its massaging action.

There’s a small learning curve using these types of combs, but you will get the hang of it with practice. Using a detangling comb first in your dog grooming process can help keep your dog mat-free.

Pros:

  • It easily removes mats without you having to cut out large clumps of fur.
  • Dogs who usually hate grooming don’t mind this comb.
  • It works great on curly hair.

Cons:

  • The blades may be too small for some dogs or some areas like around the dog’s mouth.

JW Pet Gripsoft Slicker Brush Soft Pin

Key Benefits:

  • The rubber handle has Gripsoft technology for comfort and control.
  • Two lengths of metal teeth remove loose hair and help to loosen matted fur.
  • The metal pins are at a 90-degree angle to the skin, preventing them from scratching your dog’s skin.

The best slicker brush we reviewed was the JW Pet Gripsoft Slicker Brush Soft Pin. A slicker brush is useful for removing tangles and mats in the first step of the brushing process. Many of the best slicker brushes have retractable bristles for easy cleaning, but we found that sometimes simple dog brushes with fewer parts to break are best.

Some slicker brushes can be too rough. The JW brush seems more gentle because the tines don’t rake the skin. Rounded rather than sharp bristles are more comfortable and are better for dogs with sensitive skin.

You’ll also appreciate the rubber-covered, non-slip handle that will allow you more comfort and control while brushing. We also like this brush because it’s a great value. You don’t have to pay a great deal of money for a great dog brush.

Pros:  

  • The gently rounded bristles won’t scratch your dog.
  • Animals who don’t usually like grooming enjoy this brush.
  • The brush feels comfortable in your hand.
  • The bristles are great at removing tangles.

Cons:

  • While many dogs love this slicker brush, other dogs find it to be too stiff and rough.

Petkin Soft Grip Bamboo Two-Sided Dog Brush

Key Benefits:

  • One side features stainless steel pins to get rid of knots and excess fur.
  • The other side features bristles to help distribute your dog’s natural oils throughout its fur.
  • The soft-grip handle is more comfortable for you while grooming.
  • The bristles and pins are great for medium to long hair.
  • The design includes a bamboo paddle.

Hands down, our favorite bristle brush was the Petkin Soft Grip Bamboo Two-Sided Dog Brush.

The second part of your poodle’s grooming regimen should include a bristle brush. These mostly seem to be two-sided brushes. One side has pins for removing knots while the other side has bristles for making your dog’s hair smooth.

Both pets and their owners universally love the Petkin Soft Grip Bamboo Two-Sided Dog Brush. Because the bristles help distribute your dog’s natural oils and the pins help remove tangles, it will leave your poodle with beautiful and shiny hair. The soft grip is comfortable for short or long brushing sessions. This bristle brush is by far the best and most well-loved brush for all types of dogs.

Pros:

  • It leaves your dog with smoother hair.
  • The handle is comfortable for your use.
  • The pins remove loose hair even on dogs like poodles who don’t shed much.
  • The bristles help distribute your dog’s natural oils for shinier hair.
  • The brush works well on human hair as well as pet hair.

Cons:

  • There are no bad reviews for this brush on Chewy.com. Having no bad reviews is only a con because this brush went out of stock while I was typing this article.

5 More Poodle Brushes

These other poodle combs and brushes are also highly recommended.

Pet Magasin Professional Grooming Set, Pack of 3

Purchasing a set is a great deal because it includes three different tools in one package for less than many single grooming tools. You can use the long-toothed undercoat rake and the de-matting comb to remove debris, tangles, and mats. The double-sided brush is your friend for releasing smaller tangles in your dog’s hair and smoothing your poodle’s fur without hurting the dog’s skin. The tools are appropriate sizes for almost all pets.

JW Pet Gripsoft Double Row Undercoat Rake

Rakes take care of the underside of your dog’s fur. The undercoat rake features two levels of teeth. These different levels of teeth lift debris and loose hair from your dog’s undercoat and help to loosen mats in the fur. The teeth are angled to avoid raking the skin while it rakes your dog’s coat. The rake is suitable both for your poodle and other pets.

ConairPRO Dog Undercoat Rake

This rake has a very simplistic, modern design. The patented Memory Grip gel handle conforms to your hand and makes the job of removing tangles and mats less fatiguing.

The short, stainless steel pins help remove extra hair, pesky tangles, burrs, and hair mats.  Thick coats and long hair are no match for this undercoat rake.

Safari Shedding Comb for Long-Haired Dogs

Some of the best designs are simple designs. A wooden handle with stainless steel teeth? Yes, please. The long teeth easily penetrate deep into the undercoat for untangling and un-matting while the short teeth collect loose fur. This comb works great for dogs with medium and long hair.

ConairPRO Pet-It Dog Metal Pin Brush

I love the handle-free design of this brush. Using this brush will feel to your dog more like petting than grooming.

The stainless steel pins are comfort pins that can penetrate deeply into the fur while providing a more pleasant experience than metal pins.

The brush works exceptionally well for long coats and will leave your poodle with smooth and beautiful hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Line Brush Poodle Hair?

Double-coated dogs like poodles benefit from the line brushing method. Start by parting the dog’s hair on its back in a straight line from head to tail. Work through all the hair on one side of the line before starting another line of hair. You can line brush your poodle’s hair with the dog standing up or lying down.

The benefit for you is that it helps break the dog’s body up into manageable regions. Your dog will enjoy the process of you moving from one body region to another because it can feel like a full body massage.

How Do I Detangle Poodle Hair?

Be sure to be as gentle as possible when detangling your pet’s hair. When removing tangles and mats, hold the hair below the tangled or matted hair as you gently pull with the brush so you won’t cause as much pain. Gently work with your detangling comb or slicker brush and fingers to tug the intertwined hairs apart.

Some knots may need to be cut apart with scissors before continuing the process. Some mats may have to be cut out entirely with scissors if you have left them to amass for too long.

Should My Poodle’s Hair Be Wet When I Brush It?

While wetting your dog’s hair isn’t necessary, damp or wet hair is far easier to detangle.  You may consider keeping a spray bottle nearby while grooming.  The spray bottle can contain water or a mixture of water and dog conditioner for extra-tough tangles.  You should be able to find a ready-made conditioning spray to use for this purpose as well.

Conclusion

Poodles may have high-maintenance hair, but creating a daily grooming habit will significantly reduce the time needed to remove tangles and mats. There are many great combs and brushes from which to choose. Choosing the right grooming tools can make the difference between whether your poodle loves or dreads daily brushing. Tools that work well on one dog may not work well on another, so don’t be discouraged in your search.

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