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What Brushes are Right for Me?

Do you know what the four main types of brushes are? What makes one type of brush different from the other can be confusing, especially when brushes of the same type can vary so much in size, shape and color.

Today we will go through the different brush types, what they do and the best time to use each one. It is important to note that all Chris Christensen brushes have round ground pins. Each pin is ground until it is round at the end. This is important to you that cheaply made brushes without round ground pins can scratch your dog/cat. Not only is this uncomfortable, but can make your dog or cat dislike grooming and it can also lead to skin problems.

Chris Christensen Pin brushes come in three different shapes. Oval which are the general all use brush. Oblong which are great for styling and for brushing in narrow spaces like armpits and groins. There is also a pocket size which is great for toy breeds and cats and as well is the perfect size to keep in your pocket while going in the ring. One thing all pin brushes have in common is straight pins. Original series, Fusion series, Gold series and Breezy Brushes are all lines of pin brushes we have at Chris Christensen Systems, there is sure to be the perfect one for you (Check here for a guide for which Breezy Brush to use on which breed). 

Slicker brushes also vary in size and shape, but the one thing in common is that the pins are always bent. Slickers are great for getting out finer hairs, creating volume and getting a smooth finish. Slickers are not usually used on drop-coated breeds, except for the short leg hair. For ears, tail or topknot only use slickers for last 10% of drying process to avoid taking out too much coat. Chris Christensen slickers have wooden handles, special padding and round ground pins. The Big G, The Big K and the Mark series of slickers are all different slicker lines here at CCS. 

Natural bristles brushes are typically animal hair such as Boar or Goat. Natural bristle brushes have a coating called a cuticle, which lifts and absorbs skin oils and powdery pigments, tend to spread out when pressure is applied creating a smooth even finish. They are great for chalk and other powder type applications. Like dog hair, the natural hairs may dry out and break, we suggest that you keep them in a sealed container (e.g. Tupperware). The Boar brush, the Ionic Brass/Boar brush and the Chalk brush are all-natural bristle brushes by CCS.

Synthetic bristle brushes are constructed of man-made materials such as nylon. These brushes don’t have a cuticle and therefore don’t readily absorb oils or powdery pigments. These brushes are a good choice for use with cream or liquid products or on wet hair. Synthetic brushes tend to be flatter and stiffer than natural bristles and the bristles tend to cling together rather than spreading out. These brushes are easy to clean and store. The synthetic brushes we have at CCs are the Andreas brush and the Ionic Purple Nylon/Brass brush.

What brush you choose if a very personal preference. As a general rule the longer the coat the longer the pin in the brush you should use. The coarser the coat the firmer the pad of the brush should be and the softer the coat the softer the pad of the brush should be. If you are new to brushes, you may want to try a Breezy Brush and again, we have created a document that suggests the perfect brush for every dog out there.

Brushes are an important investment in your grooming arsenal. We suggest you buy a brush cover, keep your brush in the box it came in or otherwise protect the brush from unwanted dirt, debris or crushing.

Allison Alexander Foley, Chris Christensen Systems' Creative Educational Advisor, and owner of Leading Edge Dog Show Academy.