Choosing the correct dog collar

When it comes to choosing the correct collar for your dog the choice can be overwhelming with a variety of styles, materials and sizes on offer. So to help you make the right decision here are a few tips on choosing the correct collar for your dog.

What is it used for?

One of the first things to consider when looking at dog collars is whether you are looking for a functional collar to walk your dog with or one to simply place their identification tag onto. If it is the later then provided it is a snug fit as described below and has no loose or dangly bits that could get caught then it really comes down to what design of collar that takes your eye. If however your dog is going to have their lead attached to their collar then you should make sure you choose a style which is going to be comfortable for your dog to wear.

  • Is it wide enough? A dog’s neck and throat is very delicate especially in breeds such as Greyhounds or Lurchers and generally speaking the wider the collar the more support and protection it will give the neck. For most medium to large breeds a width of between 1” – 2” will be adequate but for those dogs with a long, slender neck a hound collar, which is wider at the front then the back, is a good idea.
  • The fit. A collar should be a secure but not tight fit with space for you to comfortably slip a couple of fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. That said care should be taken if a dog has learnt to back out of their collar or is likely to try and slip out of it if frightened. In these cases a martingale or half-chain collar may be suitable but these should never be left on an unsupervised dog as they can be a choke hazard if caught.
  • Webbing, fabric or leather? The choice of material often comes down to your own personal preference but you should take into consideration what your dog likes doing on a walk. For instance a waterproof or fabric collar can be more suitable for a dog who likes taking a regular dip in the sea as salt water can cause leather to perish quicker.
  • Quick release or buckle? Collars which have quick release fastening often have the added advantage that they are adjustable in their size and as a result of this they tend to last longer due to the flexibility this offers. This can be an added bonus not only for dogs who are growing but also for those who are regularly clipped as their neck size can jump several centimetres according to the growth of their coat. Although buckled collars tend to only have four or five holes for sizing for people with large or very strong dogs it can be these collars will feel more secure than one with a plastic fastening.
  • Does your dog pull? If you have a dog who has a tendency to pull or is just learning the skill of loose lead walking then it may be that a harness or head collar will be more suitable than a collar as these can prevent injury to your dog’s throat, neck and even the thyroid gland* as the result of prolonged pulling or unintentionally jerking. A well-fitting harness or headcollar along with positive training methods can help reteach dogs how to walk nicely so that exercising is enjoyable for both of you rather than a chore.

It is worth remembering that under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 whenever a dog is in a public place they must wear a collar with identification which shows the owners name and address. If you have a dog who has a tendancy to try and slip their collar then it is a good idea to have these tags on a separate lightweight collar just in case. This is also a good idea if you remove a walking collar when your dog is indoors.

At K9Active we strongly disagree with the use of any type of collar that is designed to cause discomfort or pain to a dog such as choke, prong and electric collars and should someone suggest the use of such a device then you would be well advised to seek an alternative opinion. If you would like any help finding the right collar for your dog or have any questions about the collars, harnesses and headcollars we offer then please get in touch, we are always happy to help and to talk dogs.

*For more information on the thyroid gland you can read our blog “Does your dog’s thyroid work properly?