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Martingale collars have been indispensable to Greyhound people for ages, but in the recent past, they’ve become even more popular among pet parents with dogs of all types. The martingale is a type of collar that keeps dogs safely on-leash without choking them.
Read on to learn all about martingale collars—what they are, what kind of dogs benefit from using them, and how to choose and fit one to your dog.
Country Brook Petz Martingale Dog Collar
Made of comfy nylon webbing material, this bestselling martingale collar comes in a range of colors and sizes and is adjustable for a more perfect fit for your dog.
What is a martingale collar?
Martingale collars, also called no-slip or limited-slip collars, are a type of dog collar that provides more control than a typical flat collar to prevent dogs from backing or slipping out. They look a lot like a flat collar, but about a third of the length of the collar is actually a smaller loop of fabric with a D-ring attached (see image above). On some martingale collars, the smaller loop is made from chain instead of fabric.
The collar works by constricting when the dog pulls on the leash. Tension on the leash causes the smaller loop to tighten, which in turn pulls the larger loop tighter—but not too tight! Martingale collars are adjustable and shouldn’t tighten past the width of the dog’s neck. They offer comfortable security without harming your dog.
What’s the difference between martingale collars and choke collars?
On the surface, martingale collars may seem similar to choke collars because they tighten when the leash is tense. But a properly fitted martingale collar does not choke a dog. Because of the way they’re constructed, martingale collars can only tighten to the width of a dog’s neck—unlike a chain choke collar, which doesn’t have a limit on how tightly it can constrict.
What breeds should use martingale collars?
Martingale collars are sometimes called “greyhound collars” because they’re designed for dogs whose heads are narrower than their necks. They’re a popular choice for Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, and other slim-headed breeds.
But martingale collars are useful for more than just sighthounds! They’re a good choice for any dog who tends to back out of their collar, or for people who want a little more control of the leash without putting their dog in harm’s way. In fact, many rescue group use martingales as “back-up collars,” placing them alongside flat collars for extra security on walks.
How to choose and fit a martingale collar for your dog
Martingale collars come in different widths for different dogs. Many dogs will do well with a simple 1″ wide martingale collar. But for narrow-headed dogs like Greyhound and their cousins, a wider, padded martingale offers greater security and comfort.
Whatever style of martingale collar you choose, it’s important to purchase one that fits well. To find the right size, measure around the base of your dog’s skull just behind the ears. This measurement is the same as the collar when it’s fully tightened or closed. The size chart for the PetSafe brand martingale collar is a good example. Choose the smallest collar that will comfortably fit your dog.
Once you’ve found the right size martingale collar, you’ll need to adjust the fit to your dog. First, slip the collar over your dog’s neck and pull it up to the spot just behind their ears. Then, pull up on the smaller loop and watch the metal slides on either side. According to UK collar maker Doggy Boho, a well-fitted martingale collar will have approximately two-finger width’s distance between the two sides to ensure appropriate tightening when pulled.
How to safely use a martingale collar
Martingale collars are best for safely walking dogs who may otherwise slip or back out of a traditional collar. They’re not meant as a walking aid for dogs who pull. After all, if your dog pulls nonstop, they’ll have a tight collar constantly, which isn’t very comfortable. For pups who tug on their leash, it may be more useful to work on loose-leash walking skills or investigate no-pull harnesses.
Professional dog trainers recommend using martingale collars only on walks and removing them while at home. Although martingale collars are safe, the loose design and dangling ring does have a higher chance of getting caught on things. For that reason, dogs should always be supervised while wearing martingale collars.
Blueberry Pet Essentials Martingale Collar
With 21 colors to choose from, there’s bound to be a Blueberry Pet martingale collar to suit your dog’s style. You can even personalize the collar’s nylon band with your pet’s name and contact info.
Blueberry Pet Essentials Martingale Dog Collar
You can choose from 21 colors and have the option to engrave your pet’s name with this martingale collar.
Max and Neo Nylon Martingale Dog Collar
This martingale collar is constructed with nylon material and boasts a locking buckle and reflective stitching for additional safety. As a bonus, this brand donates a collar to a dog rescue for every one that they sell.
Max and Neo Martingale Dog Collar
The manufacturer of this high-quality nylon martingale collar donates a collar to a dog rescue for every purchase.
PetSafe Martingale Collar
Available in four color options and a range of sizes, this PetSafe collar is an affordable martingale option that’s made out of sturdy nylon material.
If It Barks 1.5″ Martingale Collar
This adjustable martingale collar is made from heavy-duty material and comes in a range of colors and sizes. You can also order a custom size if needed.