Nylon Vs. Leather Dog Collars

The nylon dog collar versus the leather dog collar: is one better than the other? There’s more to this decision than you might guess. We’ve distilled what you need to know into a simple side-by-side comparison to help you choose the best dog collar material for your companion, whether she is plain or pedigreed.

First Things First: What’s In A Dog Collar?

In its purest form the flat dog collar is an adjustable strip of nylon or leather, secured by a plastic clasp or metal buckle. Though there are collars made for special uses—walking or training your dog, for example—the standard flat collar is meant to stay on her always. It’s a perfect collar for most dogs in most situations.

Does My Dog Need A Collar?

Yes, and for two excellent reasons:

  1. Control, where the leash attaches to him on one end by way of his collar or harness and to you on the other, and
  2. I.D. where the collar’s “D” ring provides a convenient place for your dog’s identification tags.

What To Put On Dog Tags

Even if your dog’s collar is personalized, dog tags are still a must. With multiple tags, you’ll have plenty of room for all the critical contact and health information needed if your dog gets lost. Here’s what to include:

  • Cell phone number
  • Rabies tag, updated with each vaccination
  • Any health issues – particularly a pressing one requiring regular medication or management
  • If your dog is microchipped – include the name and phone number of the microchipping company

A Collar Comparison: Nylon Vs. Leather

Nylon collars are usually flat, made of woven nylon mesh with a metal buckle or plastic clasp, and come in wide-ranging colors and patterns, often with coordinating leashes. It’s relatively easy to find a nylon collar to fit a dog of any size, and most can be personalized with embroidery.

Leather collars are usually made from cowhide and come flat or rolled, typically (but not always) with a buckle closure. You can think of a leather dog collar more or less as a belt for your dog’s neck; the quality of the leather determines the price. The leather dog collar now comes in a multitude of colors, and in many widths and varied styles. And many leather collars may be personalized with embossing or engraving.

Whether he sports a cheerful embroidered nylon collar or an elegant leather one, he’ll also look simply smashing. So in the end his collar possesses both form and function.

The Details:

  • Durability - Both leather and nylon make durable dog collars, but leather outlasts nylon so long as it is maintained and stays relatively dry; be advised it can be an attractive chew toy for some dogs, and for puppies especially. A nylon dog collar is also lightweight, and less likely to break than leather. A dog who spends time in the water should wear a nylon collar, which tolerates moisture and humidity better than leather.
  • Comfort - When properly fitted, both nylon and leather dog collars are comfortable for most dogs. Some dogs are allergic to nylon, and leather can cause chafing if it is allowed to become dry and brittle; exercise due diligence.
  • Cost - Expect to pay more initially for a leather collar, but assume its cost may be offset by its impressive longevity.

Did you know? Leather breathes; it is safe, natural, and organic. And the oils in your dog’s own skin and coat will help soften and “break in” the leather in his handsome collar.

  • Safety - Nylon and leather collars are both safe for your dog, but each material will stretch over time. Nylon can also be a strangulation hazard in a tussle between dogs—even a friendly one—if one dog’s mouth becomes entangled in the other dog’s collar; always carefully supervise dog play. Alternately, a leather collar will break under enough force, but should not be viewed as a “breakaway” collar.
  • Care and Upkeep - Most nylon collars can be machine washed. Leather can and should be cleaned with soap and water; follow up with an application of leather conditioner to keep the collar supple and prolong its life. Because both leather and nylon can develop a foul odor, it’s important to keep them clean.

How To Measure A Dog Collar

A Wider Collar puts less pressure on your dog’s neck because the force she exerts against it is distributed over a wider area. Note that a wide collar should be avoided for a dog with a short neck

The Collar’s Length should be determined by adding about three inches or so to the circumference of your dog’s neck, obtained with a tape measure; a dog with a 20-inch neck should wear a collar adjustable from 18 to 22 inches.

A Properly Fitted Collar is snug, but not tight; you should be able to get two fingers under it comfortably.

Some Dog Collars should be monitored often for the correct fit. Be vigilant if you have

  • A growing puppy,
  • A dog whose hair is regularly groomed, or
  • A dog experiencing weight loss or weight gain.

It’s not rocket science, but it’s essential: consider your dog’s lifestyle and environment, choose nylon or leather, measure him, and buy him a snazzy new collar. Finish it off with personalization to help keep him safe and sound.

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