Monday, August 31, 2009


Most people have a few different types of collars that they use for their dogs. They all serve a different purpose for different stages and times in a dog’s life.

The basic types of dog collars are: the traditional buckle type collar made of cloth or leather. These are the type of collars that you might see the pet dog owner use. They like the variety of fabrics to choose from. Then there’s the choker chain collar that trainers and show people use. And then there is the Martingale dog collar. It’s a restrain collar like the choker, but it’s a gentler collar so it doesn’t choke the dog.

I love using the Martingale collar on puppies when I am first trying to get them used to having something around their necks. It’s more gentle and kinder to use than the choke collar.

What is a Martingale collar? The Martingale collar used to be called the Greyhound dog collar. These dogs needed a special type of collar because their neck is bigger than their heads. Now it’s become a popular collar for many show dog people of different breeds as well. It is a collar that helps keep the dog comfortable while restraining him on the leash. Looking at this collar, you will see that there are two loops; a large one and a smaller one. The large loop slips over the dog’s neck. The smaller loop has a ring attached to it. This is where the leash clips onto the collar. It is the smaller loop that tightens the larger loop if the dog should try to pull out of it.

The Martingale collar comes in a few different choices. You can get the all chain type, the fabric type or a leather chain combination. A couple of years ago, I had a Martingale collar custom made for one of my dogs that I was showing. It was the leather chain combination. The leather part went around the dog’s neck and the smaller loop was made of the chain. I used to show some of my dogs with a martingale collar years ago and figured I would do it now as well.

The day of the dog show arrived and I put my bitch in the Martingale collar. I groomed her and took her to the ready ring for my handler to take her. She took my girl one time around the ring and as I’m watching her, she removed the Martingale collar and replaced it with a CHOKE collar only she didn’t put her on the choke. She just clipped the two rings together and that’s how she showed her.

Most professional dog handlers have a preference for what type of collar they want to use on the dogs that they’re showing. Sometimes it will depend on the dog as to what type of collar they will use. Check with your handler as to what type of collar they prefer.

As with any collar, never leave it on your dog. Although this is a safer collar to use, remove it when you’re not using it with a leash. Like other collars, it can still get hooked to something and choke your dog.

I find that the Martingale collar along with being gentler on the dog’s neck is also kinder to his fur. There are many places that you can buy a Martingale collar. There’s a gazillion web stores that sell them and many pet stores as well.

Prices will vary as to the type of material used for the Martingale collar (chain, fabric, or combination leather/chain): $10 right on up over $30.

My rating: construction: (4), durability: (4), safety: (4), value: (4)


  1. I love the Martingale's and use them with the vast majority of my dogs. Have for years - it is amazing how many people know nothing about this type of collar.

  2. I love martingales and have switched all of my dogs to them. For an everyday collar, try the Lupine brand. They're extremely durable (made of the same material mountain climbing ropes are) and have a lifetime guarantee even if a puppy decides to gnaw through it. The unique patterns are an added bonus. Surprisingly, these cost no more than most other leashes/collars that don't come with lifetime guarantees.

  3. My mutt (Bernese Mt. and something smaller) just ripped a 7-year-old Martingale fabric/chain collar and I have been all over the internet looking for a replacement. I love the collar, and so does he, particularly the ching chang of his chain. Any suggestions?

  4. You did exactly what I would have suggested and that was to look for it on the internet. You can check your local pet stores or bigger ones like Pet Smart, but I don't know if they carry them or not. Give them a call. Maybe call some trainers in your area for suggestions. Good luck!