Choosing the Best Dog Collars for Small Pups to Large Doggos

Reading Time: 4 minutes

best dog training collars for labrador retriever with collarDog collars are the most important of canine accessories. Aside from being fashion items, they are the ideal location to attach dog tags which usually contain the pupper’s name and the owner’s contact details.

Collars also serve as a functional band to attach the leash onto. It provides something for their hooman to grab on to which is especially helpful every time the pupper attempts to escape before finishing their bath!

Navigating Pet Collars and Harnesses!

Needless to say, different dogs require different collars depending on their size, temperament, and breed. It is not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal, like with socks – nuh-uh. So, let’s help you find the perfect collar for your pooch.

Safety First! 2 Things to Consider When Choosing Puppy Collars!

There are a number of things to consider when picking out a collar for your dog. Before reaching for the first cute dog collar you see at the store, think about whether or not it is the practical choice. The first question you should ask yourself is that “Is this collar safe and reliable for my pet?”

1. Size: Collar vs Harness for Small Dogs

Collars and harnesses serve different purposes and have their own pros and cons. Most dog owners prefer a traditional dog collar because they are easy to adjust, a convenient place for their dog ID, and available in more colors and designs.

With Small Dogs or Brachycephalic Breeds, collars can restrict their airways, so may not be safe when used for going on walks or for training.

Harnesses provide better, safer control over your dog, and are more useful for training purposes. They are ideal for smaller dogs. Especially ones with delicate tracheas!

2. Breed: Which Collar is Safest for Your Specific Breed?

Brachycephalic breeds such as Boxers, Bulldogs, or Pugs would do better on a harness that with a collar. Smaller dogs like Yorkies or Chihuahuas can definitely sport a collar, but for walks and training, it may be safer to use a harness.

Bigger dogs, especially those who don’t always behave as well as they should, will do better with a collar, preferably one that offers some control. Think about sled dogs: they throw their entire body weight into that harness and pull!

embroidered dog collars jack russell terrier wearing cute dog harness

The Most Common Cool Dog Collars

Here are the collars you may have heard of before:

Traditional Flat or Rolled Buckle Collars

The buckle collar is your standard dog collar that uses a belt style buckle to attach around your dog’s neck. They are usually made of nylon or leather and come in a flat style or a rolled style. These are often the cheapest option but do come with some safety concerns such as strangulation.

Quick Release / Breakaway Collars

The quick-release collar, such as the Weaver Leather Prism Snap-N-Go Collar is made of nylon and is held together by a plastic closure piece for easier attachment and removal. A variant of this type is the breakaway collar, designed to detach if a strong pull is placed on the collar.

If your dog’s collar gets caught on something, they can get the collar off when they pull hard enough. Most of these collars can also be “locked” so that Pete the Poodle doesn’t tug his way to freedom in the park. Just remember to “unlock” it once you get home!

Safety / Center Ring Collars

Center ring collars are perfect for dog owners who prefer that the ring is separate from the buckle. The center ring is located right behind your dog’s neck, making it easy to attach the leash. When this type of collar is worn loosely, your dog can slip out of it in case they get stuck in the fence or the bushes. This is why they are called safety collars.

The Safest Dog Training Collars!

dog wearing traditional leather dog collar

Some collars are made especially for dog training. If you have a Mr. Tugs-a-lot at home, here are some of your options to ensure his safety:

The Slip Collar

The slip collar useful for training stubborn dogs. The more you pull back on the leash or the more your dog pulls away from you, the tighter the collar will be drawn around the dog’s neck. Once your dog behaves and stops pulling, tension is quickly released on the slip collar.

It’s also a leash and collar combined, so no need to struggle with clipping your dog’s leash on or off their collar!

The Martingale Collar 

This type of collar provides more control over your dog without the choking effect of a slip collar. Collars like the Country Brook Petz Martingale Heavy Duty Collar are made of strong nylon fabric so they won’t cut into the neck like a choke chain would.

When the owner pulls the leash, the martingale tightens evenly around the dog’s neck but the choking action is limited by a fixed loop. This prevents strangulation or neck damage.

The Head Collar

Also known as “the halter”, the head collar, like the  Gentle Leader Head Collar by PetSafe, consists of a strap that goes around your dog’s nose and another strap that goes around their neck just behind the ears. The leash fastens to the halter under the dog’s chin to a ring that’s also attached to the nose strap.

Whenever your dog tries to pull, the collar will push the nose down and back toward you making it difficult to continue pulling. It does this without causing any pain.

pup wear personalized dog collar and dog leash

Small, Medium, Large: How to Measure Your Dog for the Right Collar Size

Measure your dog’s head size from the top of its throat, over the ears to the top of the head. To measure the neck size, loosely measure your dog’s neck where the collar would fit, and slide two fingers between its neck and the measuring tape.

Adding the two fingers should make the collar size about 1-2 inches larger than the size of your dog’s neck.

The Best Dog Collars and Dog Leashes Come in All Colors and Fabrics!

Dog collars can be made from a variety of materials. They are also available in a range of colors and fun patterns! Whatever your preference is, you are sure to find the right collar for your dog.

Leather Dog Collars Make for Cute Dog Collars!

Leather dog collars,  like those by Soft Touch Collars, provide a balance between looks and practicality. They are easy to clean, more durable than most materials, safer than chain collars, and do not cause allergies to your dog. However, leather dog collars are more expensive and limited in design.

No Need for Designer Dog Collars with Simple Nylon Collars

Nylon is the most common material used for dog collars. They’re inexpensive and have plenty of patterns, styles, and widths to choose from. However, they are less durable and more difficult to clean than collars made of other materials. And be warned: some dogs might be allergic to nylon.

leather collars custom dog collars dalmation

Waterproof Collars for Water Furbabies

Does your dog love to swim? Then get a collar made of neoprene, a soft, elastic but durable material. Neoprene collars are best for dogs that are hypersensitive or allergic towards nylon. However, they are more expensive, bulkier, and limited in design than nylon collars.

Reflective Collars

Reflective collars are perfect for dogs who love to cross the road or stroll and hunt at night. Usually made of nylon, they have details that reflect light for increased visibility.

Personalized Dog Collars and Dog Collar Tags for Pampered Pooches!

A customized dog collar is a great way to make your pet stand out. This makes your dog a lot more recognizable when mixed in with others of the same breed. You can easily get a personalized dog collar as well as a designer collar online.

The Benefits of Custom Dog Collars or Embroidered Collars!

Dog ID tags are useful but may sometimes get lost. Customized collars, like those by GoTags, have your dog’s personal info printed, embroidered, or engraved on the collar. This gives you the peace of mind knowing that your dog is safe and easily identifiable should they get lost.

pup smiling with his cute dog collars

Common Questions on Choosing Dog Collars

What things should I consider before getting a collar for my dog?

What is the right way to measure a dog to know which collar size I should get?

Which is the safest dog collar for a dog who tugs a lot?

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.