The contemporary market for dog collars is so extensive that it spoils you for choice. In our own store we sell collars in eight different styles, so we understand that the choices presented to owners can be challenging. How can you figure out which collar is the right fit for your concerns and your dog’s comfort?
Picking the perfect collar isn’t just about finding one that looks good to you. The collar also has to fit your dog properly and function practically. The biggest factors you need to consider when you choose a collar are material and fit.
The overwhelming majority of modern collars are made out of either leather or nylon.
Professional trainers frequently choose nylon thanks to the range of extra features that nylon collars can offer. Reflective material, for instance, can be sewn into the lining to improve your dog’s visibility. (Our IDC Luminous Reflector range is just one example.) A reflective collar protects your dog in both low-light and poor weather conditions. This added safety is especially important if you and your dog do a lot of walking close to roads. Reflective collars are also a good idea if you regularly let your dog off-leash.
Leather collars generally cost more than nylon ones, but they make up for this added expense with greater durability. A well-maintained leather dog collar can deliver reliable service for 10 years or even longer. There are practical advantages to leather, as well. Leather collars cause less fur matting; this makes them more convenient for long-haired dogs. Leather will also mold itself to your dog over time, providing great levels of comfort.
Many owners also prefer leather for style reasons. It looks smart, and choosing a leather collar gives you an even wider range of design choices. However, if you’re looking for a high-quality harness for your dog, then you should do some reading.
Note that it’s possible to combine the benefits of leather with those of nylon. In our IDC Lumino range, for instance, fluorescent strips add high visibility to the comfort and durability of leather.
The reliable rule of thumb for sizing a dog collar is to measure the circumference of your dog’s neck and then add two inches. A regular cloth tape measure works perfectly for measuring your dog.
A good collar fit is essential if you want your dog to be comfortable, safe, and healthy. A tight collar can restrict your dog’s breathing and cause a great deal of discomfort. Loose collars can get your dog tangled up on random objects or simply fall off.
Once you try a collar on your dog, check the fit by sliding two fingers under it. This amount of space ensures that the collar is snug enough to stay on but not so tight that it restricts breathing.
You also need to think about the width of the collar. The wider a collar is, the heavier and more restrictive it will be. Collar width should be directly related to your dog’s overall size, with thinner collars being more comfortable for smaller dogs. This is why we stock a wide range of collar widths; our models go from less than an inch to almost 10 inches wide.
Remember that growth and weight changes will affect the fit of your dog’s collar over time. Make a habit of periodically testing the fit with the two-finger check.
Collars Vs. Harnesses
In most jurisdictions, regulations oblige you to fit your dog with an ID tag at all times. This strongly encourages all owners to fit a collar, and most owners find it convenient to attach a leash directly to the collar for walking.
Some dogs dislike wearing collars, though. Training these dogs to respond well to walking with a leash generally calls for a harness rather than a collar.
There is no universal rule dictating whether collars or harnesses are better for walking your dog. It really comes down to the preference of the specific pet. If you’d like to learn more about the respective benefits of collars and harnesses, we have a guide on the subject available here.