If you’ve recently adopted a new puppy or dog, one of the first things you’ll need to purchase is a dog collar. Many people think they can ‘guesstimate’ and choose the right collar for their dog. However, this can lead to collars that are too loose, too tight, or just don’t fit right. This guide will give you the low down on different types of collars as well as how to properly measure a dog for the most comfortable, well-fitting collar.
How to Measure for a Dog Collar
Collars are made to rest higher up on the dog’s neck. Measure higher up on the dog’s neck and add two inches to the measurement. This is the ideal way to measure for a dog’s collar, as it provides the best fit and still allows the dog to be comfortable without slipping out too easily.
While this is the recommended way to measure for a dog collar, owners should keep in mind that it may not work for all breeds. For example, we own a two year old Sheltie. If we chose a collar based on her measurements, it would be too tight because her breed features such a large, thick and fluffy mane. Therefore, we need to choose a collar that fits her specific needs, rather than using the standard measurements.
In short, you should be able to fit two fingers beneath the collar when it is being worn by your dog. One finger or less means the collar is too tight, whereas three fingers or more means the collar is too loose.
If you are purchasing a collar for a puppy, then be sure to regularly check the fit of his collar. Otherwise, as he grows his collar could become too tight and cause issues. I recommend checking your dog’s collar at least once a week and making adjustments as necessary to ensure that your puppy’s collar stays comfortable and remains well-fitting.
Types of Dog Collars
There are possibly thousands of different color combinations and ‘designs’ but relatively few actual ‘types’ of collars. Traditional collars are the most popular type of collar and can be easily fitted using the measurement strategy provided above.
Chain slip collars are also another popular choice, but many owners often choose chain slip collars that are often too tight or too loose. If you are choosing a chain slip collar, take your dog’s measurements and add approximately two and a half to three inches. For example, if your dog’s neck is ten inches then you would choose a collar that is twelve or thirteen inches.
Halter style collars wrap around the dog’s nose and around the back of his head. These collars should be fitted on a case-by-case basis; as measuring is not always the most effective way of finding the most well-fitting collar. Harnesses, which go around the neck and shoulders of the dog, should also be fitted on a case-by-case basis.
If you’ve chosen a pronged collar, you will need to measure around the neck just below the ears. These collars should fit more snuggly than a traditional collar and sit much higher up on the neck.
Also, if you choose a leather collar for your dog―keep in mind that over time leather stretches and gives way. So it is important to regularly check how your dog’s leather collar is fitting and adjust as necessary.
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Drs. Foster & Smith: Collar Selection Guide
Pet Education: How to Measure Your Pet for a Collar