One of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "What is the best way to make sure I am picking the right size of collar for my dog?"
While fit does depend a bit on personal preference, there are some tips you can use to make sure you're getting the perfect collar for your dog.
The measurements listed for all collars in my shop are the lengths of the actual collar on the available settings - NOT the snug neck size they are designed for, since this can vary depending on preference of fit. I measure the lengths of the collars when they are unbuckled and laying flat on a measuring tape. It is important to take into account some breathing room to make sure your dog is fitted comfortably.
Toro is pictured here wearing a large buckle collar (16 - 20") - his snug neck measures 18".
I recommend measuring your dog's neck, snug but not tight, at the place where the collar would normally sit.
This is easiest to do with a soft fabric measuring tape, commonly used for sewing and crafts (shown above). If you don't have a soft/flexible tape measure, simply use a piece of string - once you have the length marked out, you can then lay the string on a flat ruler or tape measure to get the measurement. Be aware that you are not measuring too high behind the ears, or too low near the shoulders.
Most dogs will wear a flat buckle collar that is 0.5 - 2" larger than their snug neck size. As an example, Luci's snug neck measurement is 14.5" and she wears a medium buckle collar (13 - 17" or 14 - 18", depending on the style).
In this photo, Luci is wearing a medium buckle collar (14 - 18").
The sizes listed on the website refer to the length of the collar with the chain fully relaxed. You will want to ensure that the collar has enough room to sit comfortably on your dog's neck with room for the chain to tighten slightly when pulled - the chain can tighten a distance of ~3.5". For most dogs, this means choosing a martingale that measures 1 - 2.5" larger than your dog's snug neck size. As an example, as mentioned earlier Luci's snug neck measurement is 14.5" and she wears a medium martingale collar (16 - 17.5").
In this photo, Luci is wearing a medium martingale collar on the 17" setting.
There may be times when your dog fits into the measurement range for more than one collar size. In these situations, it is helpful to consider:
- If your dog is still growing
- If your dog has a coat length that varies with the seasons/between grooms
- For martingale collars, if you prefer to be able to put on/remove the collar over your dog's head without unbuckling it.
If so, it may be helpful to size up to allow room for growth.
I hope these tips and photos help you ensure you are choosing a collar that will be a great fit for your dog. At the end of the day, fit can be a very personal preference, so choose the size that is best for you and your dog. As always, if you receive your collar and the fit isn't right, exchanges are gladly accepted - just be sure to leave the original tags on when trying it on for the first time.
Have any more fit related questions? Pop them into the comments below!
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Toro is pictured here wearing a large martingale collar (18 - 19.5") - his snug neck measures 18".