Buying Your Dog a Collar | What you Need to Know

Picture of a dalmatian

Choosing the right collar for your dog can be a real challenge especially if you find yourself at a store without the pooch in question! Today’s collars are available in a variety of different styles, colors, and materials. Many of them come with an attached list of what breeds they are most likely to fit to help pet owners shopping sans their pet. While this can be a great guideline, sometimes it isn’t a foolproof method of finding Fido a collar that will be the perfect fit.

But the variety of collar designs is one of the most fun parts of being a dog owner. You can choose one or several to allow you to change things up according to Fido’s mood. Many shops offer collars in extremely affordable price points, making it possible to buy collars with novelty themes that you can change with each season if you so choose. But if you are shelling out big bucks for a leather or specialty collar, you’re going to want to be certain that the one you select fits properly and will stand up well to a little wear and tear.

Types of Collars

With so many types of collars to choose from, it can be very difficult to decide which one is the right one for your best canine pal. When considering a collar, it is important to take your dog’s age into account. A puppy will outgrow any collar you purchase now, so you will not want to buy an extremely expensive one because you will most likely be replacing it within a month or two.

Of course, the very best thing to do is to take Fido with you on your collar shopping expedition. Since each dog is an individual, a collar that might fit one Beagle might not fit yours at all, so it is hard to use a generality as a guideline. If you are unable to take your dog with you to the store, the next best thing is to use a tape measure to get an accurate measurement of your dog’s neck. Since your dog should not wear a collar that is the precise measurement of his neck girth as it would be too tight, you must add 2” to your final measurement to find the size collar that will best fit your dog. Some experts say that when the collar is on your dog’s neck you should be able to fit two fingers underneath it. If you can do that, the measurement is considered correct. You want to be certain that the collar is not too tight but also that it is not so loose that your dog can easily slip his head out of it and land himself into all kinds of trouble!

Armed with the correct size for your dog, you can then start to consider styles. If you have a dog that is a puller, a standard flat buckle collar might not be the best choice for you. Consider ahead of time the purpose for the collar you are purchasing as it will help you narrow down the best options when you arrive at the store.

Here is a list of various types of collars available for dogs today:

Standard flat collars

Standard flat collars can be purchased nearly anywhere from your local department store to specialty pet shops. They are most commonly made of fabric or nylon and have buckle or plastic clasp closures.

The beauty of the standard flat collar, the gold standard choice for most pet owners, is that they are available in a cornucopia of colors, patterns, and styles. Many of them even come with matching patterned and/or colored leads, making your pooch look like a real fashionista!

Standard flat collars are quite easy to slip on and off, and many dogs just simply sport them all the time along with their identification tags.

Martingale collars

Martingale collars are typically used for training purposes. They are most commonly made of nylon or cloth like the standard flat collar; however, martingales are also equipped with chains which tighten when a dog pulls. The dog himself controls the tension on the chain portion of the collar with it tightening during pulling and releasing once the motion ceases.

The Martingale is often used when training a dog to do the proper heel position or simply not to rip your arm off when out on a walk. They are also not typically used as an every day, around the house collar as the chain portion could get caught on something and cause the dog to choke.

Glow in the dark

Glow in the dark collars are often made of neoprene. These collars are designed with safety in mind. If you’re out with your pooch doing a midnight stroll, you’ll want to be sure that he is visible to motorists. A glow in the dark collar can be made of reflective fabric or can contain flashing lights to ensure your dog is not missed!

Chain/slip collars

Choke chains or slip collars are training tools. Because these leads tighten and can cut off circulation to the neck, they should never be left on a dog that is not being supervised. Choke chains, and even nylon slip collars, must be used properly in order to be effective. If the collar rests in a position that is not correct, it can cause serious damage the trachea and neck areas of a dog when tightened.

Once you have selected the correct collar for the job you have in mind, it is then time to explore your options for materials. Here is a list of the most common collar materials and their benefits:


Nylon collars earn top marks from dog owners for their versatility and wallet-friendly prices. Available in every color under the rainbow and lots of patterns too, you’ll find something to suit your pooch’s personality to a T! However, nylon collars are prone to trapping odors and may need to be washed more frequently as a result. Nylon collars are also prone to breaking down from regular wear, meaning you will have to replace them more frequently.


If you’ve heard of neoprene before, it might be in reference to scuba diving as it is the material used to construct wetsuits. Neoprene collars are a relatively new innovation. A webbed fabric is included on the backing to prevent any irritation to your dog’s skin or hair.

The main advantage to neoprene is that it is waterproof. This type of collar is well known for its durability. Neoprene collars are most typically neon-hued, making them a fun alternative to a nylon collar which does not stand up as well to wear and tear. They are however more cumbersome for your dog as they don’t have as much give as other types of collars.


Leather offers your pooch functionality and fashion all rolled up into one great collar. Leather collars are far more expensive than your average collar; however, they also will stand the test of time if cared for properly.

Leather collars are very durable and because the hide allows for breathing, they are far less likely to retain any smells. Best of all, leather can be cleaned by simply a quick wipedown with a cloth and can stand up to the worst beating your dog can dish out!

Cool Collar Companies to Check Out

If you’re looking for a collar that is truly unique, you’ll want to skip the big box pet stores and check out some of the more artisanal options available. Here are some great companies selling unique collars you’ll want to consider for your next collar acquisition:

Found My Animal
Found My Animal is a company which offers high quality, unique pet apparel. A business with a passion for rescue, Found My Animal’s products are designed to show support for pet adoption by stamping the word FOUND on each collar for your dog to sport with pride. These cool collars are fashioned out of hand-dyed fisherman’s rope and furnished with leather buckle closures. Distinctive and colorful, your pooch will stand out from the crowd while wearing his Found My Animal collar.

Danes and Divas
If you want your pooch to step out with his best fashion foot forward, you’ll want to consider a collar from Danes and Divas. A company founded in 2012 with a focus on providing beautifully crafted pet clothing that is also functional, you will love the variety of collar options available to you from Danes and Divas. Danes and Divas also donates a portion of each sale back to local shelters and pet-related charities on a global scale.

Danes and Divas offers a product that is big on luxury. No expense is spared in creating a masterpiece specifically with your dog in mind! Available in many styles, colors, and fabrics, these affordable pieces mean that you can purchase more than just one to give Fido some wardrobe options to play with!

Coconut Collars
All the cool canine kids are sporting a Coconut Collar! A proud Canadian company, Coconut Collars handcrafts all of their pet apparel options with the utmost of care. The company boasts of over 125 color and fabric options to be sure that every dog has something that is just right for his personality and canine style. Coconut Collars offers a premium level service by customizing each order to your individual dog, so you will be sure to receive a collar that fits your dog perfectly.

If you’re ready for your next collar shopping adventure, get out your measuring tape to ensure a correct measurement and let the fun begin!



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