How to find a suitable collar for your dog

Some would always go for a dog harness, the other four-legged friends only go for walks through the woods and meadows wearing dog collars. Again and again the question arises, which is better: dog harness or dog collar? Since there is no clear answer to this question, but every dog is different and has different requirements, the following article will mainly provide you with information about collars, but also a general overview of the many different types of dog harnesses. You will learn what types of collars are available, what you should look out for when buying, what materials are available and what makes for an optimal fit. Enjoy reading.

Are dog harnesses not much better than dog collars?

As already mentioned in the introduction, every quadruped has its own specific requirements. While some dogs pull strongly and always keep a stubborn head, there are also dogs that, even without a leash, always stay close to their owner without effort. With those who pull strongly, a dog harness is of advantage, because otherwise there is a danger of injury in the larynx area. Even when using towing lines, you should always prefer to use a chest harness, as the high effort required and the resulting effect in connection with the long leash can cause considerable injuries. For all other situations and dog types, collars are also a good solution.

Why use a dog collar or harness at all?

Collars and harnesses mainly indicate that the dog has an owner and is not a stray. You should also attach the tax stamp of the municipality where you live. In addition to the common tax stamp, there are donation-based organisations such as Tasso, where you can get a stamp with a number combination free of charge as a member. With the help of this number combination, your dog can be identified and brought home safely in case he gets lost. This is only possible if the tag is worn visibly - i.e. attached to the collar or dog harness - on the Furry Friend. In addition, a dog collar or harness is considered to be an anchor point between the leash and the dog. Because only with the help of such a product is it possible to keep your pet on a leash and then take it out.

Gestromter Hund mit braunem Ledergeschirr Cloud7 Dog Harness Central Park Saddle Brown

The different types of dog harnesses

In principle, dog harnesses can be divided into Y- and H- harnesses as well as Norwegian and saddle harnesses. While H- and Y-harnesses, also called safety harnesses, offer a wide range of adjustment possibilities and go once around the shoulder, chest and belly area, Norwegian and saddle harnesses are less flexible around the chest, but especially easy to put on. The latter harnesses usually have only a horizontal chest strap and a comparatively narrow belly strap. From simple nylon harnesses to padded and padded harnesses with chest strap or with reflectors up to elegant leather harnesses, there is a wide variety of harnesses in every price segment and from XXS for Chihuahuas to XXL for Ridgebacks. Further keywords here are power harnesses, soft harnesses or training harnesses.

The advantages and disadvantages of the different types of dog harnesses at a glance:

  • Y- and H- harnesses: There is a risk of mistakes when adjusting these chest harnesses. A harness that does not fit properly can cause pain, pressure points and long-term consequences for your pet. On the other hand, these harnesses are extremely escape-proof due to their tight fit. For this reason, these harnesses are also particularly suitable for cycling and jogging.
  • Norwegian Harnesses and Saddle Harnesses: The missing belly strap on Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses can in rare cases lead to slipping out. At the same time these harnesses offer a lot of freedom of movement and are quickly accepted by their wearers. They are also very easy to put on and can be put on in just a few steps.
  • When choosing a harness, please always make sure that there is sufficient freedom of movement of the front legs and the best possible adjustment options, which are nevertheless simple. A dog harness should never cause chafing, but should provide a feeling of security and comfort for the wearer. General advantages of dog harnesses are, for example, that they do not press on the neck muscles when pulled hard because of the effort required, but the pressure is distributed evenly over the chest and back area. By means of rings on the chest (front rings) or on the back, the four-legged friend can easily be leashed over the dog harness and even be strapped in the car by special systems available in various designs.

    Weinrotes Hundehalsband aus Nappaleder Cloud7 Dog Collar Vondelpark Burgundy

    The different types of dog collars

    In addition to the most diverse designs, you can now choose from a variety of materials, colors, patterns and closure techniques for collars. The following collar types are the most common:

    • Collar with buckle
    • Collar with click fastener
    • Length adjustable collars
    • Martingale / Pull-stop collars
    • Glow-in-the-dark collars
    • The best known are probably collars with thorn or plug buckles. These are classic dog collars, which are put around the neck in the form of a band and are closed there for putting on either by a click fastener or a buckle. Beside these models there are still different variants to simply pull over the head, which help with stopper against strong pulling (these pull-stop collars are also called Martingales), or meanwhile even light collars. The latter are great for walks in the dark, so that not only you can always keep an eye on your dog, but also others, such as car drivers, can see him. This modern type of collar can usually be recharged by cable so that you never run out of power. However, due to the high plastic content, these light collars are not to everyone's taste. Most collars are adjustable in length, which is especially useful if you have a puppy at home. Especially during the growth phase you should pay attention to this factor so that you don't have to buy a new one every few weeks. With the so-called Martingale collars you should always make sure that a pull stopper is available. Otherwise these choking collars violate animal protection laws and in the worst case scenario your dog will suffer considerable damage to the larynx. This area also includes spiked collars and models that give electric shocks. Fortunately, such collars have been banned in Germany for several years.

      You should pay attention to the following when buying a collar

      The correct width:

      Collars should always be too wide rather than too narrow. Only then can the pressure be optimally distributed to prevent injuries, for example to the larynx, and unpleasant wearing sensations for the dog. The size of the dog also plays a role. Small dogs prefer rather narrow collars.

      The combination with the leash:

      It is also recommended that a collar has rings to hook the leash to. D-rings or round rings are suitable for this. Most leashes have a carabiner for fastening, so a ring or other loops are very practical. Most dog owners would also like a matching set consisting of collar and leash. The availability of the set should also be considered when buying the collar.

      Stable closure for security:

      The buckle must be of the required size and be trustworthy; especially with large dogs this is extremely important. If a dog pulls hard, the clasp should be strong and secure. Sturdy buckles and pin buckles are especially suitable here. Only in this way can safety in road traffic be guaranteed.


      Finding the right fit for the dog is not so easy. The collar should be wide enough to neither restrict nor injure the dog and at the same time tight enough to prevent your four-legged friend from slipping out during a walk. A good rule of thumb is that 1-2 finger widths should easily fit between the collar and the dog when trying it on. Very pleasant is that most of the common collars are adjustable in size by different steps. If you have a size chart available, it is advisable to use the loose measurements rather than the smaller ones for size ranges of the neck circumference. At the same time, it is important to note that some materials, such as leather, can widen over time.


      For optimal wearing comfort, you should make sure that the collar has soft, slightly rounded edges and, especially from the inside, that the material is as soft as possible to avoid chafe marks. You should also avoid using too many metal parts, as these can become cold in winter and hot in summer, and also because they have a negative effect on the flexibility of the collar. In addition, more metal parts mean extra weight on the dog's neck. Sufficient freedom of movement is another point which again plays a decisive role. In the next point you will find out for which dogs a padded collar is worthwhile.

      Greyhound collars:

      Greyhounds often wear wider collars with padding because of their rather long, narrow neck. So if you are the owner of a sighthound, you will also find a sighthound collar quickly.

      Dog collars for puppies:

      There are rarely explicit puppy collars. What makes a suitable model for puppies and young dogs, however, is the easy adjustability in length. The collar should at best "grow" with the neck circumference, so that you as a dog owner do not have to buy a new one constantly during the growth phase. Particularly practical for puppies are continuously adjustable collars, which can be moved effortlessly in length.

      Detail eines Halsbands aus Fischgratstoff und Nappaleder Cloud7 Dog Collar Boboli Rosé

      What material is available for dog collars?

      The choice of dog collars available online and in stationary specialist shops is almost infinite. Almost every day a new innovation follows. You will find an overview of the most common materials below.

      Leather collars:

      Leather collars are especially popular because they are an extremely robust and durable natural material. It is important that only vegetable tanned leather is allowed near your pet. Chemically tanned leather can score points with longer colour intensity, but these products damage the sensitive dog nose and skin. Since leather is a natural product, these collars can develop and change over time. Especially with greasy leather, there is a possibility that a leather collar will expand over time. However, the natural patina that develops over time is very popular because of its charming appearance. For even longer durability, the leather should be re-greased or oiled regularly. There are fine leather collars available in both minimalist and braided versions. Swimming with leather collars is not recommended, unless the collar is made of so-called wash leather, which can even be washed in the washing machine at 30 degrees with a special leather detergent.

      Fabric collars:

      This mostly vegan variant is especially practical if you want to wash the collar often. They are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, since the manufacturers can use the complete range of fabric variations. Whether colourful patterned with flowers and stripes or plain - there is certainly something for every taste among the fabric collars. While most of these fabric collars are made of cotton, nylon or neoprene are also quite popular options. Materials such as nylon dry quickly and remain dimensionally stable and light even when wet. These products are also a functional choice for all dog owners with water lovers.

      Dog collars made from BioThane:

      BioThane is a relatively new material that is as indestructible as leather. It is durable, odourless, antibacterial and extremely tear-resistant; depending on the thickness of the collar it can even withstand loads of up to 340 kg. BioThane retains its shape and lightness even in water, making it an ideal material for all dogs that love to swim. Waterproof BioThane collars are suitable for all weather conditions and remain flexible even in cold weather. They are also UV resistant so the colour does not fade over time.

      Dog collars made from dew:

      Dew dog collars are becoming more and more popular, especially near the sea. Suitable for sailing boats and ships, the material is not only establishing itself as a common accessory for walking on the beach or in the harbour. Dew has been used for hundreds of years in seafaring, so its stability is probably beyond question.

      Dog collars for special occasions:

      For special occasions and celebrations, many dog owners not only dress themselves up, but also the dog. In addition, there is now a growing range of velvet collars with rhinestones, pendants, embroideries, names and initials. Even dog necklaces and dog jewellery are now more and more frequently falling terms. Dog flies, bandanas and bows are also a clever option to spice up the collar for parties and the like.

      Großer Hund mit schwarzem geflochtenen Lederhalsband Cloud7 Dog Collar Hyde Park Black

      Collars for large dogs - what is important?

      Especially for XXL sizes it is important to use a very wide collar according to the neck circumference. Large dog breeds such as Akitas, St. Bernards, Great Danes, Wolfhounds and Ridgebacks need collars that are both stable and resilient. It is best to pay attention to both robust material and large, stable buckles that can be securely locked. XXL dogs have particularly high strength and would let delicate variants tear quickly or cut into the skin. Apart from that, daintier models do not offer sufficient hold and pressure distribution in the larynx area, should the dog pull once.

      Are there special collars for small dogs?

      With small dogs you should always make sure that the collar is not too heavy. The metal parts should therefore be as light as possible, so that the weight does not burden the quadruped. Due to their own small body mass, small dogs only need a narrower collar, which should still be strong enough to withstand the pulling force. Even very small dogs, which at first sight are thought to have less strength, can expend a lot of energy and with the necessary will, for example through hunting instinct, can let undreamt-of forces work. A high-quality collar is therefore a must for every dog size.

      How do I get my puppy used to a dog collar?

      The easiest way to get your puppy used to a dog collar is to put it on and let him wear it in several stages each day. While some puppies will not be bothered by the collar, others will be upset by the collar and find it disturbing at first. In this case you should leave it on for only a few minutes and then take it off again. At a later time you can try it again and repeat the process until your quadruped feels completely comfortable in it. As soon as your puppy is no longer disturbed by the collar, you can leave the collar on your young dog. Once your dog has got used to the collar, all doors are open for you to try out the wide range of collars and find the right one for you, according to the requirements of your favourite and your personal taste.