What are the four different types of dog collar?

What are the four different types of dog collar?

Author: Fionna Monk

Finding the right dog collar in a sea of different designs and types can be challenging. But remember, it’s more than just a matter of style. A secure, comfortable collar is a crucial step in ensuring your furry friend’s safety and comfort on walks and also enhances their training.

Before you dash off to your nearest pet shop, take a look at the various types of dog collars to discover the perfect match for your pooch. A high-quality and durable dog collar is an essential part of every dog’s wardrobe and can be a useful place to attach ID tags, poo bags and leads (though you might prefer walking your dog with a harness). When you’re selecting your dog’s collar, consider your dog’s breed, size, fur type and training needs. Understanding these factors is key to finding a collar which looks good and works wonders for your pup’s requirements and lifestyle. 

Here, we look at the four most common types of dog collar which is most suitable for your four-legged friend.

The different types of dog collars

Here's an overview of the most common dog collar types you'll encounter, tailored to suit various breeds and behaviours.

Topdog proudly showcases unique, hand-drawn designs across our dog collar collection, with each design representing a distinct charity. With every purchase, we commit to donating £1 to the associated charity, reinforcing our dedication to giving back and making a difference. Our buckle collars are not only hand washable and quick-drying but also feature durable black metal D rings for secure lead and ID tag attachment. For added convenience and safety, these collars are adjustable and equipped with Topdog-approved buckles to ensure a perfect fit for your furry friend.

Interested in finding out more? Browse our full collar collection.

1. Buckle/ flat dog collar

Standard flat/buckle collars, designed to rest comfortably against your dog's neck, often come with a quick-release buckle for easy fitting. They are best suited for dogs with good leash manners that do not pull, making them perfect for attaching ID tags. Often made from durable and weatherproof nylon, these collars have the advantage of being long-wearing for outdoor-loving dogs. 

2. Choke chain dog collar

Choke collars restrict a dog prone to pulling, usually made from metal chains which tighten around the neck when a dog pulls. Choke dog collars use pain and discomfort to force a dog to ‘behave’. Most experts agree that choke collars are incredibly detrimental, inflicting physical and emotional damage on your dog. Not only can they cause injury, but also halt training progress. 

3. Head halter dog collar

Head halter collars, inspired by horse halters, consist of two loops: one for the dog’s neck and another for the snout, allowing normal behaviours like panting and drinking. Despite their rather strange appearance, they are safe when properly fitted and used, offering control by redirecting the dog's pulling. They connect either under the chin or behind the ears, aiming to give handlers better control. However, head halter collars are not suitable for all dogs, especially those with neck injuries or at risk of tracheal collapse.

4. Slip/ martingale collar

Martingale collars, also called limited slip or greyhound collars, are designed to prevent dogs with wide necks and narrow heads from slipping out while on a leash. Slip collars are made from two loops of fabric. These collars tighten a little when the leash is pulled but have a built-in stop mechanism to avoid discomfort by preventing excessive tightening, ensuring safety and comfort for the dog.

What is the best type of collar for my dog?

It’s actually a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar and ID tag when out in public, so it’s imperative to ensure your dog’s collar is comfortable and secure. Various breeds may need specific collar types to suit their unique needs. For instance, Whippets or Greyhounds, have heads which are narrower than their neck. Therefore, a tighter martingale collar is most suitable to prevent slipping. For more information on which style of collar would work best for your dog, seek advice from your vet. 

What size collar does my dog need?

topdog dog collar size chart

Though some collars are marketed towards certain breeds, don’t rely on this. Every dog is different, so measuring your pooch’s neck is the best way to start:

  1. Start by positioning one end of the tape measure at the nape of your dog’s neck, located just above the shoulders. 
  2. Then, circle the tape measure around to the top of the chest, ensuring both ends meet. 
  3. Similar to taking chest measurements, the tape should be close-fitting yet comfortable, allowing enough space to slip two fingers between the tape and your dog's neck for a perfect fit.

For dogs with variable coat lengths due to grooming, an adjustable collar is ideal. Plus, for canines with fluctuating weight changes or growing puppies, it's important to regularly ensure their collar remains comfortable.

Which type of collar is best for training?

The best type of collar for training your dog depends on their experience and breed. The slip collar, or Martingale collar tightens around a dog’s neck if it pulls, without choking your dog like a choke chain collar. Designed to be fitted high on the dog’s neck, just below the ears, it keeps the tightening action above the jawline, which guides the head into natural alignment. Discouraging pulling, this collar is a suitable choice for a gentle training collar to promote better walking etiquette. 

A head halter, like a horse’s bridle but designed for dogs, is a type of training collar which offers superior training control, taking pressure entirely away from the dog’s neck. A head halter collar features a padded design with two loops. One loop goes over the nose and the other over the back of the head to suit dogs prone to pulling but sensitive to neck pressure. While effective for strong pullers, it may not suit dogs with strong necks prone to slipping out, and some may resist wearing it. Training your dog to accept the halter by associating it with positive rewards, like treats, can ease this process.

What type of dog collar is most comfortable?

A simple, flat nylon collar serves as a comfortable and cost-effective option for dogs getting used to wearing gear. Equipped with a quick-release buckle, these collars are perfect for easily putting on or removing, especially suitable for energetic puppies or cautious rescues adjusting to walking equipment. Here are a few other less common collar types you might come across, and which circumstances they are most suited to:

Collar Type



Waterproof/ rubber dog collars

Made from PVC-coated, rubber or BioThane. 

Ideal for dogs who love swimming in water, as these collars don’t absorb the dreaded wet dog smell. 

Leather/ rolled collars

Classic, strong and hard-wearing with a ‘vintage’ feel. Can be rolled or flat. 

Good for dogs with sensitive skin or wrinkles and rolls. Unsuitable for dogs which pull excessively. 

GPS/ smart collars

These are dog collars which have smart tracking devices integrated/ the ability to attach one.

Used to track dog’s health or monitor dogs prone to escaping or running off.


A well-chosen, comfortable, and secure collar is vital for your dog's safety during walks and plays a significant role in their training. Before rushing to purchase, explore the different collar types to find the one that best suits your dog's breed, size, coat, and training needs so it not only looks great but also meets your dog's specific needs effectively.

Need a lead to go with that? Shop our collection of matching dog leads.

Or, check out our guide to different types of dog harness here.

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