Choosing the Right Collar and Harness for Your Dog

By Suzanne

black dog with blue martingale harness

2 Hounds Design loves creating beautiful and stylish products but safety and comfort will always remain our two utmost priorities.  Safety and comfort should be top of mind when it comes to choosing the right collar and harness for your dog. We use only premium quality materials and every product we ship is thoroughly inspected.  In order to choose the right style and size collar or Freedom No-Pull Harness for your dog, explore the options we’ve detailed below.

Picking Your Collar Style

There are a lot of collar styles out there. We know it can be a bit overwhelming. We put together a list below of the safe collar styles we have available. Be sure to read through each of them before choosing the right collar style for your pup’s needs.

A martingale collar is commonly referred to as a double loop collar. This style collar slips over the dog’s head and does not have a buckle.  A martingale collar is made with two loops.  The larger loop is adjustable and is the actual “collar”. The smaller loop is the martingale or “control loop”.  The leash attaches to a D-ring on the martingale loop. This gently tightens the collar around the dog’s neck when he or she pulls, but only to a limited extent.  This type of collar is great if your dog can easily back out of a regular collar.

A side release collar is a standard quick release buckle collar.  It is adjustable and should fit snuggly around the dog’s neck while still allowing two fingers to fit comfortably underneath.  This type of collar is the one most often seen in pet stores.

A buckle martingale collar is the best of both worlds.  They are perfect if your dog has a large head compared with their neck size.  You put it on like a regular buckle collar yet you still have the benefit of the martingale control loop.

A tag collar is the best option if you are looking for an everyday collar.  They slip on over the head and are then adjusted to stay in place.  Their purpose is for identification.  We recommend using flat tags which you can order directly through us.  This type of collar is more comfortable for the dog because it doesn’t have a buckle. It is also safer than a martingale because it won’t tighten if it gets caught on something.

Finding the Right Collar Size

Okay, so you’ve read up on collar styles, and now you’re ready to make a purchase, right? Not quite, yet. Similar to how your pup can get ahead of themselves and start tugging on that leash when they get excited, you need to heel and refocus for another few minutes. When it comes to ordering the right collar size for your dog, it is crucial that you measure your dog. If you aren’t 100% sure of their sizing, please take the time to measure for accuracy. The general guidelines below do NOT take the place of measuring your dog; you should always measure to make sure you are ordering the correct size.

Martingale collars can be made in your choice of 5/8”, 1”, 1.5″ or 2″.  Buckle martingale collars and side release buckle collars are available in 5/8”, 1”, or 1.5” widths.

Italian Greyhounds and other very small breeds most often need an XS collar, which is adjustable from 7-11 inches. The very small breeds do best with a 5/8” or 1” wide Martingale Collar. We don’t recommend buckle martingale collars for dogs this small because the buckle reduces the amount of adjustability.

Whippets, Jack Russell Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, and other small/medium-sized breeds most often need a size small, which is adjustable from 10-14 inches. Whippets can wear a 5/8”, 1”, or 1.5” wide collar because they have such long necks. Other small/medium-sized breeds do best with 5/8” or 1” wide dog collars.

Greyhounds, Beagles, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and other medium-sized dogs will usually need a medium collar, which is adjustable from 13-18 inches. Some larger greyhounds (80+ lbs.) sometimes need a size large collar, which is adjustable from 15-20 inches. You will be able to determine this when you measure your dog’s neck.

Large Greyhounds, smaller Labs, Golden Retrievers, and other large breed dogs most often need a size large collar, which is adjustable from 15-20 inches.

Great Danes, larger Labs, and other very large breed dogs will definitely need measurements to determine the correct size. Some Danes can wear a size large while some require an XL collar. It really depends on the size of your dog.

If you have a dog whose neck is larger than XXL (26-34 inches) you will need to select “Specify” from the size menu. In the comments section of your order, specify your dog’s measurements in the comments section when you check out.

What About Harnesses?

We discussed all the great collar sizes and styles above, but we realize some dogs prefer harnesses. Especially for those big-time puller dogs. That’s why we have the Freedom No-Pull Harness. We broke down the details on our top-selling harness below. Read up on the harness sizing details below and find the perfect fit for your pup.

Freedom No-Pull Harness (Size Chart)

The Freedom No-Pull Harness features a patented control loop with a D-ring on the back of the harness. This tightens gently around your dog’s chest to discourage pulling. The goal is to make walking your dog an easy, more enjoyable experience for both of you.  It features a structural ring on the front of the harness. Connecting to this ring is optional but recommended, as it allows you to connect to the front and back of the harness simultaneously. Used this way, the main connection on the back of the harness tightens gently around the chest to discourage pulling behavior, while the connection on the front of the harness allows you to redirect your dog’s attention back to you for training and treats.

The Details

The Freedom No-Pull Harness comes in two widths:

  • 5/8” for smaller dogs, under 40 lbs., for example Dachshunds, Italian Greyhounds, Whippets, Jack Russell Terriers, Beagles, etc.
  • 1” wide for larger dogs, 40 lbs. and over, such as Basset Hounds, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Greyhounds, Mastiffs, etc.

To measure for the harness, use a soft measuring tape (or a piece of string) and measure all the way around the largest part of your dog’s chest. Choose the smallest size that fits within that measurement.

Some examples:

  • With a 5/8” harness, if your dog has a 24” chest, we recommend size Small for the best fit.
  • For a 1” harness, if your dog has a 28″ chest, we recommend size Medium for the best fit.

Make Your Selection

Now that you’ve read up on all our sizing and styling details, you should feel confident in picking the perfect collar or harness for your furry friend. As with most dog-related things, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. This is probably more obvious when it comes to things like collars and harnesses as opposed to training and feeding, but still important to point out. Your dog may be classified as a “large breed dog” but they may be on the smaller side, or the other way around. That is why it is important to measure your pup before ordering a collar or harness. A poor-fitting collar or harness can be painful to your pup, or easily escapable on a walk, making it dangerous. Be sure to do your research when picking your pieces for your pooch. And finally, be sure to pick the design that best fits your dog’s individual personality.

If you need more insight on how to measure your dog for a collar, harness, apparel, or even a fun costume, check out this in-depth measuring guide from the AKC.

Comfort, Style & Safety

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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