Your dog's collar needs to provide a snug, comfortable fit. There always needs to be a little leeway in case your dog decides to bolt off unexpectedly.
Luckily, there is an easy general rule of thumb that'll guide you when wondering what the recommended space between a dog's collar and its neck must be.
Collars do, of course, differ, but with our guidance, your dog's collar or harness will always be fitted properly and without any degree of discomfort arising.
General Guidelines for Collar Fitment
The general rule of thumb is to leave enough space between your dog's neck and collar for your index and middle finger to fit in comfortably when held together. Two fingers’ worth of space is all you need to give a comfortable and safe fit.
Now, this is easy enough when you've already got a collar, but the easiest way to determine the length you need to buy is to measure.
How Tight is Too Tight?
The size of your collar should equate to roughly two to three inches larger than the circumference of the neck of your dog.
Large breeds will, of course, need a little more length, while all breeds should stick to a minimum of an inch clearance in the case of very small dogs.
Ultimately, your dog's collar needs to fit with enough room to move around but not enough to hang loosely.
Which Collar Type Suits my Breed?
Wider collars are generally suited to larger breeds of dogs, although a small dog that pulls a lot may need a little bit of a bigger collar. Always make sure that no matter what you choose, it is adjustable. When the exact circumference isn't available, here's a general size to weight reference:
- Extra Extra Small - XXS - Dogs weighing up to 5 pounds
- Extra Small - XS - Dogs weighing between 5 and 10 pounds
- Small - S - Dogs weighing between 10 and 25 pounds
- Medium - M - Dogs weighing between 25 and 55 pounds
- Large - L - Dogs weighing between 55 and 75 pounds
- Extra Large - XL - Dogs weighing 75 pounds and above
Dog Collar Classifications
There are tons of different types of dog collars available. The options far extend beyond these basic six that we're listing, but you normally have to pick from one of these popular styles.
This is your standard type, and the most affordable; every dog must learn to use one.
Similar to halter used by a horse, this collar slips over the snout and is helpful for training a dog whose attention diverts easily, causing pulling.
You get front-clip harnesses and back-clip harnesses, as well as those with both. All are excellent training tools.
This collar is highly frowned upon by most owners, but with humane use, some claim that it is useful for training difficult dogs. Others argue against the use of anything that causes harm in any way.
The Humane Society says that a prong collar needs to be the right size, and it must be seated high on the neck, used after consultation with a professional trainer only.
This is an inhumane training tool which uses small electrical shocks to control the barking of untrained dogs without time, effort or an emotional connection
Use a martingale for dogs who have very slim, thin heads. They're ideal for Greyhounds and Whippets.
Only use a slip collar when an extremely unruly or unhappy dog needs to be brought under control for their own safety. These collars are normally only used at shelters and by vets, and only when there is no other option
Where Should My Dog's Collar Sit?
Your dog's collar should be seated high upon its neck, laying snugly just behind the ears. Your dog's collar shouldn't be able to shift to the lower area of the neck where the throat and trachea hold the risk of being pinched.
Fitting a Harness vs. a Collar
Harnesses aren't suited to all-day use. They're not as comfortable as a collar. When using a harness, you do, however, have far more control.
They're excellent training tools for puppies who still need to learn to behave while on a leash. If you've got a strong dog or are physically weak and plan to go walking over an extended distance, a harness is a far better option.
Dog harnesses are at times preferred by multiple dog owners as there is less likelihood of accidental entanglement with the leash.
Always Buy the Best Dog Collar Possible
A good collar will last for years; it's an asset that'll always be comfortable, holding possibly the name tag for your pet.
When your dog sees their collar and leash come out, they'll know exactly what is coming. It's a favorite that should be introduced to a puppy as young as possible.