Dog collars are a massive deal these days and with so many design and style options to choose from, picking a collar for your dog can quickly become a daunting task.
There's different sizes, different widths, different buckles, different fittings, different collar types and many different creative techniques -each aspect brings different and varying levels of safety, style and comfort to the table but it's easy to become overwhelmed and perplexed when faced with the sheer scale of options before you.
Figuring out which type of collar is best for your individual dog can be a difficult task if you aren't aware of what all these different options offer you and your dog. Let's face it, not all dogs are the same. They're not built the same, they don't all walk the same, some have thicker necks than others, some have longer necks than others -the list of physical and physiological differences between breeds is lengthy. So why would every breed and type of dog in the world wear the same style of collar? It doesn't make much sense, not to us anyway.
With all that in mind, and to try and shed some light on the vast collar options available for your dog, we've put together a comprehensive guide to all the collar options available at Rocky&Bud.
So grab a cup of tea, get comfy and get yourself ready (haha).
We'll start with the most popular option worldwide.The standard Buckle Collar. Sometimes it's also referred to as a 'side-release' buckle or even a 'quick-release' buckle. They all mean the same thing but what exactly is it and what does it offer?
The contoured aspect of the plastic side-release buckle means that the collar sits comfortably and snug against your dog's neck. Plastic isn't a harsh material and it's lightweight so it's perfect for every day wear. It also doesn't rust and isn't compromised by mud and debris that your dog will encounter every day so if you have a dog that likes to swim, dig and be filthy (like mine), plastic isn't a bad option.
Rest assured that at Rocky&Bud we only use the strongest, most durable plastic buckles available to us. As I mentioned before, if you have a dog that loves to swim, or if you spend a lot of time walking on the beach, we always recommend plastic over metal buckles as although the metal buckles we use do not rust, they are susceptable to build up of sand and mud which can in time, compromise the safety of a metal or brass buckle. Metal buckles, for this reason, are not necessarily stronger than plastic buckles -contrary to popular belief.
But if you prefer metal buckles, for whatever reason, we offer them as an upgrade option through the website in both silver and brass colours.
For those still on the fence at this point, who may prefer the idea of a standard buckle collar but aren't convinced by plastic, this is where we add another dimension to the vast majority of options available - The Lock-Safe Buckle.
The Lock-Safe Buckle is another upgrade option through our website, offering all the practicality of a plastic buckle (for those lucky beach dwellers) with the added security of a lock mechanism. The red lock in the middle of the buckle locks the collar in place so that the buckle itself cannot be undone without being 'unlocked' -just slide the red lock in the centre of the buckle to the left to release the mechanism and allow the collar to be undone, and slide to the right to lock it in place.
When the lock is closed, it does not allow the clasps on the buckle to be pushed and released.
*Please note that both Lock-Safe and Metal Buckles are subject to an additional charge and are only available for 20mm and 25mm width collars.
***It is at this point where I will make a brief safety statement***
As your dog's owner, please be aware of what styles and fittings will be best for your dog -know your dog's limits and capabilities.
If for example, you have a giant breed who pulls on the lead, consider one of our other collar styles over metal or plastic side-release buckles. You can never be too safe and because we do not manufacture the fittings for our collars, we cannot tell you with all certainty that the buckles will never break, that would be a lie and a liability on our behalf. We do our absolute best to source the strongest buckles we can but plastic is plastic and metal is metal and well, things happen. Please regularly check all your dogs collars for signs of wear and tear and if ever in doubt, do not use it.
Contrary to what the name would have you believe, these aren't solely for indoor use.
Our House Collars are just as functional for walks as any other collar style we offer, the only difference is, there's no buckle.
These collars are less bulky due to the lack of buckle, they're more lightweight (although just as durable) and these are the main collar types I use on my own dogs.
They simply slip over your dog's head and adjust to size. That's it -voila! you're good to go.
House collars are made in the exact same way, offering the exact same durability and versatility as all our other collar styles and they're also a safer alternative for those dogs you may worry about wearing standard collars.
Added bonus, you also get to see more of the fabric design!
If you are unsure about plastic buckles or any other collar design, consider the House Collar a great alternative, providing your dog isn't adverse to things going over its head.
However, this is a blog post about which collar styles are best for your individual dog, so if your dog has a head that is narrower than its neck and who may try to slip out of a collar, this probably isn't the best option for you. There are other options though, we can assure you of that!
A popular option amongst Sighthound owners, the Martingale is perfect for those dogs we mentioned above who's heads are narrower than their necks.
Martingales sit loosely around the widest part of you dog's neck but feature a 'loop' of fabric where the d-ring sits and the lead attaches to. The loop allows the collar to tighten enough when pulled against, that the dog cannot slip out of the collar completely but also not enough to choke the dog.
When used correctly, a martingale should never, ever cause a dog any harm and certainly shouldn't tighten enough to cause any discomfort.
When the dog pulls back or tries to pull out of the collar, the loop is pulled flush and the collar tightens behind the dog's ears which means it will not slip over the dog's head -you still have control and don't need to chase down a loose dog. Win win.
We do not recommend Martingales for dogs who pull on the lead as the loop will allow the collar to tighten a certain amount when sitting low on the neck and can choke a dog when used incorrectly.
Alternatively, chain Martingales are available as an upgrade option on our website.
They work in the exact same way as our standard Martingales but as you can see, theres a chain loop instead of a fabric loop.
Personal preference is the only difference here.
*Chain Martingales are subject to an additional charge.
Now that we have the different collar styles out of the way, let's talk about widths!
At Rocky&Bud, we like to keep you in complete control of all aspects of your dog's collar. Not only can you choose which type of collar your dog wears, but you also tell us what width of collar you prefer on your dog. This is something we have always felt very strongly about!
We are firm believers that each dog should be allowed its own individual style and we don't all like the same things so why is it widely accepted that collar widths are not an option and are based on the size of neck your dog has?
Like we discussed at the start, dogs vary so much physically from breed to breed and so should the collars we choose.
The vast majority of collars widely available on the market base the width of the collar on the size of collar you buy, so a Whippet may have the same size neck as a Jack Russell but we all know, chances are the Whippet will wear a wider collar. But we aren't often given the option to choose what width we buy.
Another example I can draw from within true collar collectors is that some smaller dogs absolutely suit wider width collars.
Here's a picture of a Working Cocker Spaniel who is typically medium in size. Based on her neck measurement (14 inches), the majority of collars available on the market for her would be 20mm in width, yet here she is rocking 40mm width!
At Rocky&Bud, we offer five different widths -15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 40mm and 50mm. You choose what width you buy, we don't make that assumption for you.
However, to help you decide, based purely on the most popular widths for the standard sizes, it goes as follows:
Small - 15mm
Medium - 20mm
Large - 25mm/40mm
Extra Large - 25mm/40mm
Sighthound Breeds - 40mm/50mm
For dogs with longer necks, the collar world is your oyster! Wider widths stand out a little more and absolutely show off more of the fabric design. I prefer wider widths on my dogs because they have enough neck to show them off and wider collars don't hinder them in any way. If you have a dog that pulls the lead, consider a wider width to offer more protection against their throat.
That's the beauty of being able to choose! You may not like the wider widths and that's absolutely fine, but if you do, Rocky&Bud gives you that option and so much choice. There's no 'one size fits all' rule with us and we encourage individuality and freedom when it comes to your dog's style.
No other collar company in The UK (that we're aware of) offers the same flexibility and personalised sizing options and makes it as easy as we do, and we're proud of that!
Here are a few dogs in different widths to hopefully help you draw some inspiration:
With all this in mind, there are some widths for some collar sizes we choose not offer, for a multitude of reasons, mainly safety. 15mm and 20mm widths are not available for dogs with larger necks, purely because they aren't comfortable if the dog chooses to pull in to them and the buckles on the smaller collars are not made for large or giant breeds of dog.
Are you still with me?
If so, hopefully this post has helped a little with your choice and the multitude of options available to you. It can seem very complicated but have a good think about what works for your dog and go from there. Once you've sussed that out, choosing the fabric design will be a piece of cake!
So have a browse of our designs, have a think about what width and style you'd like to try next and never forget that we're always available if you need some help deciding. If you're truly stuck, we've been in this game a long time, why not send us a picture of your dog and let us help you?
The bottom line is, have fun with it. We love to see dogs with their own individual style and dogs who are breaking the mould -wearing collar widths, designs and styles not often associated with their size/breed.
Let your dog's style shine bright!
Don't forget to comment and share this post :)
If you need any help at all, you know where we are.
Have fun out there,
Rocky&Bud Dog Designs.