Types of Collars for Dogs


In this Article

  • What Kind of Collar Is Right for Your Dog?
  • Tips for Choosing Dog Collars

Every dog should have a collar that gets worn most of the time. They’re easy for dogs to wear and provide a good way to attach a dog leash, vaccine information, or dog ID tag.

You can purchase a good dog collar that is both attractive and effective. Let your dog get used to it by letting them smell it, rub against it, and gradually start to wear it. The dog needs to associate their collar with something positive that they enjoy wearing. 

What Kind of Collar Is Right for Your Dog?

To help you choose the right collar for your dog here is some information about some of the most common types. If you feel unsure or have questions, your veterinarian can also help you decide. A few of the most common dog collars include:

Flat collar. This is the most popular type of collar. It has a quick-release snap closure and a ring to attach a leash. The collars come in a variety of designs and colors. 

Martingale collar. This collar was designed specifically for dogs with narrow heads, like Greyhounds and other sighthounds. It helps prevent anxious or fearful dogs from slipping out. The collar is designed with a strip of material with rings on each end, attached to a smaller loop. The leash attaches to the smaller loop and the collar tightens when your dog tries to back out without choking them. Martingale collars are often used as an alternative to choke collars. 

Head halter. The head halter is designed to fit around your dog’s head just behind the ears, while another strap fits around your dog’s muzzle. This style is good for large, strong dogs that like to pull. These are also known as gentle leads/gentle leaders.

Because the head collar is placed around the dog’s muzzle, having it properly fitted for your dog is essential. It is not meant to be used to jerk or aggressively pull your dog. Instead, it’s meant to be used as a tool to help gently guide your dog in the direction you want to go.

Flea/tick collar. These collars are often worn in addition to regular collars. They’re infused with chemicals that help your dog stay protected against fleas and ticks. The key with these is to keep track of how long the collar is effective and change it out as needed. 

Vibrating collar. This collar uses a vibrating sensation to get your dog’s attention. This can be useful for deaf dogs that can’t hear your voice.

Elizabethan collar. This collar is used to help prevent your dog from licking or scratching after experiencing a wound or having a procedure done at the vet. The dog should be able to eat and drink while wearing the collar but should not be able to reach the part of their body that’s healing.

GPS collar. This collar comes equipped with global positioning satellite technology to help locate your dog if they get lost.

Tips for Choosing Dog Collars

Choose the right size collar for your dog. The flat collar should fit comfortably around your dog’s neck but not so tight that it chokes the dog. A good rule of thumb is to be able to fit two fingers underneath the collar when the dog is wearing it. 

Avoid certain types of collars. Some vendors sell collars known as aversion collars that deliver your dog physical discomfort or pain to teach the dog what to do. Some examples of aversion collars include:

  • Choke chain collars that use metal links to control your dog.
  • Pinch collars made of fang-shaped metal links that dig into your dog’s skin.
  • Shock collars use an electrical current that passes through metal contact points on the collar to give your dog an electric shock.

While these types of collars may temporarily stop unwanted behavior, they don’t teach your dog what you would like them to do. Instead, the aversion collars cause fear, anxiety, and sometimes aggression.

When in doubt, stay away from dog tools that may harm your pets. You’re better off investing time in their training and helping them learn how to behave well (without scary or painful strategies). 

It’s always better to use humane collars that won’t harm your pet. Using positive reinforcement and patient training can help achieve good behavior in any dog.

Show Sources


Animal Humane Society: “Dog collars.” 

American Kennel Club: “The Best Collars & Leashes for Puppies & Dogs.” 

Hinsdale Humane Society: “Types of Collars.” 

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