Martingale Collars: A Brief History

By Alisha Navarro
putting a martingale collar on a dog
Putting a Martingale Collar on

What is a Martingale Collar?

A Martingale collar can be made from many different types of material. At 2HD, we use a webbing base (either nylon or polypro, depending on the type of collar) and cover that with fabric, ribbons, or other materials to make it pretty. Martingale collars can also be made from Leather, chain, or a combination of fabric and chain or fabric and leather.

The martingale collar has gained popularity in recent years. Before the invention of "no-pull harnesses", the martingale collar was the primary tool for leash training. It was used and endorsed by professional trainers and canine specialists across the country. Gone are the days when harsh training techniques call for prong collars and choke chains.

But where did this style of collar come from, and who invented it?

Where Did It Come From?

The history of the martingale collar is somewhat obscure. As far as we know, it was invented by a British coachman in the 1800's. Dogs often accompanied the coaches to protect them from bandits and other troublemakers. Since much of the coachman's attention was directed at driving the horses, he wanted a collar that the dogs could not back out of when he wasn't looking.

He designed a leather collar with an extra loop that attached to the lead, so that when pressure from the lead pulled on the smaller loop, it would tighten the entire collar around the dog's neck. The name "martingale" may have been borrowed from a piece of horse tack that is used to keep the horse's head in a certain position.

A Shift in Purpose

While the numbers of coaches and coach dogs out on the roads began to decline, the martingale collar did not. Owners of sighthound breeds began to recognize the value of martingale collars for their dogs.

Sighthounds have three characteristics that demand a reliable collar. First, they have a strong sight-based prey drive (if they see something like a small animal, they're going to try to chase it). Secondly, they are very fast! if they start to run, good luck catching them! Thirdly, they have slender heads and large muscular necks, making it easy for a regular buckle collar to slip off.

While choke chains do not slip off easily, they are potentially dangerous to the vertebrae of dogs with long necks. Choke chains do not have any limitation to the amount of constriction. The martingale collar was the perfect alternative, providing the same concept of a choke chain, yet preventing any damage (physical and emotional) to the dog. Martingale collars became more popular than ever, not only in Europe, but here in America as well!

Martingale Collars Today

These days, many professional trainers recommend the martingale collar for any breed, because it provides a way to control the dog in a gentle and effective way. The size can be adjusted so that it only tightens gently around your dogs neck, rather than potentially choking the dog. This prevents the collar from slipping off when pressure is applied, yet it relaxes into a looser fit when the dog is not pulling.

Monsters martingale collar on Wilson the rescue

This style of collar lines up well with the modern technique known as positive reinforcement training, minimizing pain and discomfort in the process of teaching your pup good manners and other skills. Studies have shown that dogs in general respond better to being rewarded for good behavior rather than being punished (jerked with a prong collar or shocked) for bad behavior.

Martingales are the perfect combination of beauty and practicality!

Check out our Martingale Collars at 2 Hounds Design!

Interested in checking out some amazing martingale collars for your special pup? Be sure to browse through our huge selection of specialty items, we have hundreds of beautiful and trendy patterns and designs! And if you have any questions, feel free to contact us! Our friendly team is always happy to help you find what you're looking for.

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Since 2003, 2 Hounds Design has been making quality products that dogs love wearing and people love using! We use Lean Manufacturing principles to drive continuous improvement in the areas of quality, comfort, and on time delivery.

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