Ang recently schooled us on giant breed dogs, and now she’s back to talk collars with us in two parts: today we’re starting with the basics of collar qualities, materials, and types.
Collars are the primary dog fashion accessory; we actually have a “puppy closet” for the obscene number of collars that we have. There are so many types, and many of them have a specific purpose. The goal here is to break down the different types and materials so you can make the best choice for yourself.
The important basics of collar knowledge
- The wider the collar, the less pressure is put on your dog’s trachea.
- When buying a collar, every manufacturer uses different sizing techniques. Make sure you know their sizing policy before you buy.
- The standard way to know if a collar fits is to put two fingers between your dog’s collar and neck. It should fit snugly, not too tight, and not too loose.
- Plastic buckles can shatter in harsh winter conditions. If you live in an area that often goes below freezing, avoid plastic buckles.
- While it is easy (and fun) to upcycle belts for dog collars, the type of leather used in belts is usually a softer porous type, which is more likely to stretch. Use these as special occasion pieces unless you know what kind of leather it is.
Collars are made from many materials, including inner tubes, but the two most common materials are nylon and leather.
Leather breathes, it’s natural and organic, it holds up to a LOT of abuse, and as long as you get a good quality collar, there is minimal upkeep. Leather is NOT good for humid environments because it can rot, compromising the leather. My personal favorite place for leather collars is Paco Collars. They are more expensive than Petsmart, but they are sturdy as hell, cheaper in the long run, absolutely GORGEOUS, and their customer service is ridiculously good. My Chinook Hobo has worn a double layered Griffin collar for years. Nee, my Dane, had a gorgeous Gaelic one. He now has one from Moxie & Oliver.
The most common material used in collars. It’s cheap, good in water, and durable — but nylon can wear down over time, especially if the material is thin. It also can be a hazard if your dog has a habit of getting stuck, or you have more than one dog and they chew on each other’s collars. Since nylon doesn’t break, it’s easy for your dog to get stuck and choke. My favorite place for nylon collars is Blocky Dogs. They’re built to last and made from military grade materials, but they can weigh over a pound, so they aren’t a good choice for medium or smaller dogs.
Every day collars
Also known as buckle collars, these are the standard dog collars that come to mind. They consist of a strip of material, and a fastener of some type and usually a buckle made of metal or plastic.
Also known as sighthound/greyhound collars, half check collars, and limited slip collars. They combine a flat collar with a slip collar. This means that the collar slightly closes, but not enough to choke the dog. This is great for pups who have a tendency to slip their collars, especially ones with big fat necks. Not so good for dogs with a lot of hair, since it can get tangled up. My English Setter Araby has a martingale from 2 Hounds Design. It’s a great choice for her because she has some throat problems, and the very nature of the Martingale means that the pressure is applied to her neck before her throat. We have it sized so even when it’s fully closed, it’s too big to choke her, but too small to go over her head. 2 Hounds collars are lined for comfort, and while I wouldn’t suggest getting one of their silk brocade options for playing in the mud, their construction is durable and guaranteed against flaws in workmanship.
Good start, guys! Read up now, and next week we’ll be back with Part II: Training collars.