Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Groom an Australian Shepherd: Tips, Tricks & FAQs

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Dogster Team

australian sheperd dog looking away outdoors

How to Groom an Australian Shepherd: Tips, Tricks & FAQs

Everyone needs a little spa treatment now and then, and your Australian Shepherd deserves to be spoiled too! A proper grooming routine will help ensure that their double coat stays as healthy as possible and doesn’t get matted with uncomfortable tangles. Tackling their fur with a good brush can even help control their shedding.

Your Australian Shepherd might not need as much work as some other breeds, but their double coat does require plenty of maintenance. This step-by-step grooming guide will help you figure out the best routine for you and your dog.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-01-TEST

The 5 Tips & Tricks for Grooming an Australian Shepherd

1. Create a Grooming Schedule

Due to their thick double coats, Australian Shepherds are renowned for shedding, especially when they lose their thick winter fur. A dedicated grooming schedule will help you stay on top of all the loose fur that your Aussie will leave around the house. Instead of ending up on your carpet or bedclothes, you’ll collect the hair as you groom them and be able to toss it away more easily.

Australian Shepherds can be prone to developing nasty tangles in their fur due to its length. As they play in the garden or chase a ball through the foliage, their fur can collect all sorts of debris. These matted knots can be uncomfortable, especially when you have to untangle them.

You don’t have to brush your Australian Shepherd every day unless it’s the shedding season, but a regular grooming session once or twice a week will help.

muddy australian sheperd dog being bathed by owner
Image by: sherwood, Shutterstock

2. Use the Right Brush

Not all brushes are capable of tackling a heavy double coat. It’s also often easier to have more than one brush in your grooming kit to ensure that you get deep into your Aussie’s fur.

For your Australian Shepherd, a slicker brush and an undercoat rake are two of the most basic tools that you can use. You can also use a de-matter to tackle more stubborn mats that can form in their coat.

Bristle brushes can be useful too, provided that they’re combined with a brush capable of reaching deep into your dog’s fur. While they’re not as likely to remove as much fur as a slicker brush, you can use a soft bristle brush to help redistribute the oils through the guard fur layer. This can help keep your Aussie’s fur looking neat, tidy, and shiny.

3. Tend to Their Ears, Teeth, & Claws

A proper grooming routine doesn’t just involve tending to your dog’s fur. It also means maintaining their teeth and claws and regularly checking their ears.

Brushing your Aussie’s teeth with specially formulated dog toothpaste will help prevent them from developing dental illnesses 1 like gingivitis or periodontal disease. You don’t have to brush them twice a day, but you should grab your dog’s toothbrush a few times a week at least.

Grooming sessions also give you the perfect opportunity to check your Australian Shepherd’s ears. Dirt can build up under their folded ears and lead to uncomfortable ear infections if you don’t clean them regularly.

Finally, trimming your dog’s claws every other week prevents them from touching the floor as your Aussie walks. If you’ve ever tapped too long nails on a table, you’ll know it can be painful. The same is true for your dog and their claws.

australian sheperd dog being groomed by owner
Image Credit: Olga Aniven, Shutterstock

4. Trim, Don’t Shave

While they might have become popular companions in recent years, Australian Shepherds were originally bred to be working dogs. Their role in farmers’ fields helping herd animals required them to have natural protection against the weather that they faced. This is why the breed has a thick coat.

Despite how heavy and uncomfortable it might look, especially during summer, the double coat is designed to keep your Australian Shepherd cool or warm depending on the weather. Shaving it off removes your Aussie’s protection1 from the weather and can interfere with the health of their skin and their fur when it grows back.

You can, however, trim your Australian Shepherd’s coat, provided that you don’t cut it too short. Trim their tails, ears, feet, trousers, and legs if their fur is getting too long. Tending to these areas will also help you make sure these places don’t get clogged with dirt.

5. Bathe Only When Necessary

There are many natural oils in your Australian Shepherd’s skin and coat that help protect them and keep them healthy. The natural oils are also an important part of an Australian Shepherd’s double coat. Like their woolly undercoat and guard layer, the oils in their skin protect them1 from the elements.

Bathing them, even with a shampoo formulated for dogs, strips these natural oils from their skin. Regular baths can keep your dog smelling fresh and remove all the dirt in their fur, but they can also dry out and irritate your dog’s skin.

Unless your Australian Shepherd jumped into the muddiest puddle available or encountered a skunk, baths aren’t a necessity. Using a brush regularly is more than enough to keep their fur in good health. It’s best if you don’t bathe them more than once a month.

australian sheperd dog taking a bath in a blue container
Image Credit: EVGENY K777, Shutterstock

Are Australian Shepherds Easy to Groom?

Despite the need for brushes that can handle a thick double coat, the Australian Shepherd isn’t one of the highest maintenance breeds. They do require a great deal of grooming — especially during the shedding season — but you don’t need to brush them every day (though you can if you have the time).

Grabbing a brush twice or three times a week is usually more than enough to control their shedding and keep their fur from matting. It also enables you to make sure your dog isn’t suffering from any skin allergies or pests like fleas and ticks.

If you don’t always have time to groom your Australian Shepherd, you can take them to a professional groomer. It’s a more expensive option, but it’s a good way to make sure your Aussie’s grooming needs are met.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03

What Grooming Tools Do You Need?

Part of a successful grooming routine means owning the necessary supplies. Most of your Australian Shepherd’s grooming needs are the same as those of other dog breeds, but their thick double coat can require specific tools.

Red Tri Australian Shepherds
Image by: Fotoschauer, Shutterstock

Slicker Brush

Wide with metal bristles, a slicker brush is one of the best tools for dogs with long fur. It helps you detangle mats and remove debris from your dog’s coat. It’ll also help get rid of the loose dead hair embedded in your Australian Shepherd’s coat and keep the finer guard fur looking sleek and shiny.

Undercoat Rake

A good slicker brush is useful, but it can struggle to tackle the dense undercoat that dogs with double coats have. That’s where an undercoat rake can help. Specifically designed to reach deep into a dog’s coat, an undercoat rake will remove dirt, tangles, and loose hair from your Australian Shepherd’s woolly fur layer.

Toothbrush & Paste

Even if your Australian Shepherd loves to chow down on dental-care treats, it’s always wise to keep a toothbrush and paste handy. Tending to their teeth at least three times a week will help keep their teeth in good condition. Don’t use human toothbrushes or paste to brush your dog’s teeth, though; only use tools and formulas designed for dogs.

Nail Clippers or Grinder

While the brushes that you keep in your grooming kit can change depending on your dog, nail clippers — or a grinder, if you prefer — are essential. You won’t need to cut your Australian Shepherd’s claws every day, but you’ll need to tend to them regularly.


You shouldn’t bathe your Australian Shepherd that often, but when you do, you need to use dog shampoo instead of a human formula. Dog shampoo is designed specifically for use on dogs and won’t harm their skin as much as human shampoo will. Human formulas are also more likely to contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs and are best avoided.

Dogster_Website dividers_v1_Jan 18 2024-03


Australian Shepherds are adorably fluffy. While their fur is beautifully patterned, it does require a great deal of maintenance to keep it healthy. Fortunately, a dedicated grooming routine isn’t difficult to put in place. A slicker brush and an undercoat rake are both good brushes for tackling Aussie fur.

Your dog’s grooming kit should also include nail clippers and a dog toothbrush. With all these tools, you’ll be perfectly equipped to tackle your Australian Shepherd’s grooming needs.

Featured Image Credit: Petra Heike Laicher, Pixabay

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.