What are the Different Types of Dog Collars?

S. Mithra
S. Mithra
Pair of smooth-haired Dachshund puppies.
Pair of smooth-haired Dachshund puppies.

Training your dog to sit or stay, parading her at a dog show, or strolling down the beach all require the right type of dog collars. Different types of dog collars are designed for puppies, training, excitable mutts, larger dogs, or exercise. They come in many materials yet fulfill distinctive functions, so equip you and your pet with the right one.

Most dog collars are made to attach to a leash.
Most dog collars are made to attach to a leash.

The most common type of dog collar is the buckle variety. They are just like a human's belt. A flat or slightly rounded piece of material attaches to a metal buckle that adjusts in size by fitting into spaced holes. The buckle collar comes in nylon, leather, or natural fabric in many colors and designs. You can have your pooch's name burned into designer leather or embroidered onto durable nylon.

Some collars are designed for exercising.
Some collars are designed for exercising.

Variations on this basic collar fulfill some safety features. The breakaway collar was designed to pull apart under a lot of stress, such as your dog catching himself on a fence post and may choke. Some are equipped with "release" tabs that snap apart the collar in less time it takes to unbuckle. These closures should be selected based on your preferences and your dog's habits.

Training collars were developed specifically to help you train your new puppy or adopted dog. These are equipped with ways of communicating "don't do that" to dogs without abusing or hurting them. To prevent mishaps, listen to an expert dog trainer when you are purchasing and using these collars in conjunction with a responsible training regimen.

Choke collars look like medieval torture tools, but they have been proven to harm dogs less than other kinds of training collars. Great for large dogs, a choke collar has perpendicular metal prongs evenly spaced around the inside of the collar. When you yank on the attached leash, the prongs prod your dog's neck. They distribute the pressure all around the collar and don't concentrate it on the trachea. When used correctly, this will safely inhibit your dog from running away, tugging on the lead, or jumping.

Other kinds of training collars are the slip, or choke, type. These form a slipknot, rather than a fixed size, so when you pull on the lead, the collar's diameter shrinks. These collars are heavy, durable, and let you "correct" a dog's unwanted behavior with a quick yank. Although metal chain is a popular choice, they also come in braided metal, leather, or nylon. You can even link the leash in such a way that it becomes a fixed collar, appropriate for casual walks.

Finally, the last type of dog collars are halters. A halter wraps around the nose of the dog in addition to its neck for more exact control. However, a halter is not to be confused with a muzzle that restricts your dog from opening its mouth. A halter allows your dog to drink, bark, yawn, and accept treats. Some trainers recommend this for some dogs that respond to subtle tugs.

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Discussion Comments


Another thing that is important to note is that with any type of dog collar, further training and owner participation is necessary. There are a lot of cool dog collars out there, but finding a collar that fits a dog well and also trains the dog to cooperate can be hard. But it only requires a little more work and the rewards can be great for both the owner and the pet. I have had many experiences with unruly dogs, and its amazing how a comfortable harness has given me more control while also giving my dog the freedom to explore.

Also, the choke collar has often been viewed as being inhumane, but with owner participation and proper training, these collars actually work really well for many dogs. The problem is that many people don’t have the time to really learn how to use those types of collars, and they become a last resort for a disobedient dog. But if a dog is trained in how a choke collar works, it will usually become more obedient and won’t have to deal with unnecessary choking or pulling.


I'd just like to add that we really have a great opportunity these days to let our dogs show off a bit of our personal fashion. Dog collars now range from the more simple and traditional types to those found in boutiques and designer stores. There are quite a few boutiques where I live that cater solely to fashion for dogs, and I have seen a huge increase in the number of dog’s wearing bling dog collars and the like.

Of course, these types of collars can sometimes be a bit excessive, but even with more simple collars it is now a lot easier to find collars that are both fashionable and comfortable for the dog. I think that’s also really important, as many dogs would probably respond better if they felt comfortable in their collars.

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    • Pair of smooth-haired Dachshund puppies.
      Pair of smooth-haired Dachshund puppies.
    • Most dog collars are made to attach to a leash.
      By: Alexey Stiop
      Most dog collars are made to attach to a leash.
    • Some collars are designed for exercising.
      By: Mat Hayward
      Some collars are designed for exercising.