What every fashionable (and practical) canine is wearing this year.
Buying a collar for your dog can often be like hunting for a pair of shoes for yourself—they must be functional, attractive, dependable and comfortable. Of course, you probably have more than one pair of shoes just as your dog will have more than one collar-and-leash set, but you’re going to have a favored pair you wear every day.
When deciding on a collar, you will want something your dog will be comfortable wearing; one that isn’t too heavy and is durable and long-lasting. Here are a few of my favorite leashes and collars. I think you’ll like them, too.
For Noble Hounds
If you have a dog with a long neck (such as a whippet or greyhound) or a generally big dog (such as a rottie or pit), you’ll want a sturdy collar that is extra wide. This helps decrease the amount of pressure on the windpipe and throat when he or she is on leash. I prefer the enduring quality of nylon. It’s strong, long-lasting and soft enough for my big bully dog to wear every day. 2 Hounds Design has one of my favorite designs (I went with the extra-wide martingale design and it’s held up for more than 2 years). You can choose from premium solid brass or silver hardware. The silver slides are nickel-plated solid brass and the D-ring is nickel-plated welded steel. Starting at $35, they are a bargain as they hold up for a very long time and always look great on a dog.
Best Walking/Hiking Leash
The Quantum 6-in-1 walking leash from Kurgo is by far my favorite “daily” leash. Also made of nylon, with a reflective stripe, it offers a sturdy, multi-functional design for “hands-free” walking. This leash also functions as a 3-ft. training lead (just adjust the width with the carabiner). It’s perfect for hiking because it enables you to use it hands-free while keeping your dog under control; plus it offers you access to a quick-release carabiner in case of trouble. You can either loop it around your waist (or still keep a 6-ft. lead on your dog) or your shoulder. This is my “go to” leash for Bree, who prefers a loose walking style while I use a 3-ft. lead on her brother, who prefers a shorter lead.
Leashes for Pullers
The Kinn Kangaroo Plus Plush Comfort Leash and Bag Dispenser is not only an elegant leash, it features a built-in shock absorber that helps reduce impact on you and your dog if there are any “sudden” movements (aka lunging). The bag dispenser is within reach and super easy to refill with regular grocery bags or custom bags. I especially love the super-soft fleece handle, which helps reduce stress on your hand.
Environmentally Friendly Collars & Leashes
I can’t leave without mentioning two of my other favorite collars, both of which are from environmentally responsible companies that offer collars so sturdy you’ll never need to buy another (but you’ll want to because they come out with brilliant new designs every year).
The first is made from recycled bicycle tires, the Cycle Dog Collar (featuring a Bottle Opener) is not only eco-friendly, it’s incredibly well made. The result is a super soft material that is mold-resistant (perfect for dock diving dogs) and the collars last forever. An extra bonus is the clever seatbelt-style metal buckle (it opens very similar to the way an airplane seat security belt does)—and if that’s not enough, it also features a bottle opener on the collar. Perfect when you’re out camping with your best friend and need to open a beer.
The second comes from Planet Dog. It offers a beautiful collar made from hemp and is lined with fleece. While my dogs love the fleece-lined collar, I love the fleece-lined leash. Hemp is some of the sturdiest fiber on the planet, so I never fear a leash breaking and the fleece feels lovely in my hands—even with the worst puller. There are six colors to choose from (so you can find the perfect match for your leash or collar) and they are all very “earthy” and relaxed. This is one of my “leashes of choice” for Brock (whom I need to keep on a shorter leash and who also pulls a lot).
Collars for the Holidays
The best costume is one your pet doesn’t even notice. These collars do the trick. Made from soft nylon, they are strong, long-lasting and feature adorable designs that you never have to worry about. One of our favorites is the Sleigh Ride Collection from UpCountry. (My favorite holiday design is the Naughty/Nice collar.)
Looking for something a little more formal? These rhinestone bowtie designs are enough for even the most pompous pomeranian. They feature a breakaway function so you can put one on your cat as well. Do you prefer something not quite as flashy? Check out these Formal Wear collars (photo) from Fabuleash.
If you’re into beadwork, not only are the hand-beaded collars from ZanyZak beautiful, they help out the Embera tribe. My favorite is the Apache beaded collar sports a black base, highlighted with silver conchos and blue turquoise beads that looks so utterly amazing on our diva-dog, Bree. I love using this collar for special occasions.
There are millions of options for collars and leashes and let’s face it, a person can never have too many designs from which to choose. If you’re getting one as a gift for a fellow dog-lover, be sure to know the dog’s neck size so you don’t have to worry about returns.
About the Author: Stacy Mantle is a fulltime freelance writer, bestselling author and founder of PetsWeekly.com. She resides in the deserts of the Southwest with a few dogs, several cats and a very understanding husband.