Choosing Your Dog’s Collar and Lead

Pet shops can stock many types of collars and leads. Generally, your choice will depend on what you prefer, but there are a few points to take into consideration.

Leads (leashes), collars and harnesses are usually made from rope, leather, chain or nylon webbing.

Choosing Your Lead

Leather and Chain Leads: If you dog is one of the large breeds, you would be advised to select a strong lead made of leather or chain with a leather handle. Dogs that chew their leads will also benefit a chain lead.

Nylon leads: These are lightweight leads and usually washable, so they are useful to put in your pocket on a long walk or in case of an emergency.

Rope Leads: Slip leads (with a loop that goes around the dog’s neck) and showing leads are often made from soft rope.

Retractable leads: Some dogs need to be kept on their lead at all times e.g young or untrained dogs, deaf, blind or elderly dogs. Retractable leads are usually made from thin nylon rope or webbing on a spool that can extend 4 to 6 metres. This allows the dog to explore when out walking and allows you to keep control.

Choosing Your Collar

Leather collars: These are strong and durable and most dogs find them comfortable as they do not chafe the neck when fitted correctly. They are available in several styles – rolled, flat, studded etc. A leather collar 12mm wide is adequate for most dogs (larger breeds, bull terriers, greyhounds etc may need a wider collar – 2.5 to 4cm is usually suitable)

Nylon Collars: Smaller breeds are more suited to nylon collars as they are less durable than leather. They can also cause rubbing on the neck, especially if the dog pulls on the lead.

Chain Collars: These are made from several rows of chain with a buckle and leather strap. Care should be taken to use the correct size as they may pinch the skin of the dog’s neck if too narrow.

Check Chains (Choke Chain): I advise against using a check chain unless absolutely necessary as very few people know how to fit and use them correctly. Half-check collars (a nylon band with a chain attached) are minimally better. They are a training aid only and should only be used when walking or training.

Puppy’s First Collar and Lead Arrived at that momentous time when you buy your puppy’s first collar and lead? Here are some safety points to remember:-

  • Do not fasten the collar too tightly – make sure you can fit three fingers under it.
  • Never use a check chain on a young puppy – they can damage the pup’s neck.
  • Keep an eye on your puppy especially at first as sometimes they try and rub the collar off and can get it caught on anything projecting.
  • Even when the puppy is very young, its a good idea to attach the lead to the collar and make it into a game – the puppy will get used to the feel of the lead and it will be easier for you when the time comes to start training.

Finally, remember to check your dog’s collar and lead regularly for damaged stitching or wear and replace it before it breaks.