How to Choose the Right Leather Collar for Your Pup

woman feeding treat to dog on leather leash

Your pup is more than just a pet—they’re a beloved member of your family with a unique personality and style, like anyone else in your household.

So, the criteria for choosing their favorite American-made leather goods, including personalized leather dog collars, should be reflective of this. But most importantly, you must consider their comfort and safety before settling on one.

I wish the choice was easy, but it’s not. All thanks to the plethora of options you must comb through before finding one that's stylish, durable, and functional.

You can breathe a sigh of relief because whether your pup is a playful and adventurous explorer, a refined and sophisticated aristocrat, or a quirky and eccentric character, 

I can assure you there's a leather collar out there that's perfect for them.

I’ll help you narrow down your options by outlining the major factors you must consider when choosing the right leather collar for your pup. These factors discuss:

  • The right leather collar design

  • The variety of style and customization options

  • The fit around your pooch’s neck

  • The ease of maintenance and cleaning

1 - Determine the Type of Leather Collar They Need

Leather dog collars are available in a variety of designs that suit pups of different sizes, temperaments, and activity levels.

They range from simple and straightforward designs that use soft leather material for delicate dog breeds to more ornate options made of thick and durable leather with studs, gems, and even embroidery, which are ideal for strong and active dogs.

These options are diverse, and here are some of the most common types of leather collars you’ll come across when shopping around:

  • Flat collars: The most popular type of leather collar, and the type we currently have at Popov Leather. These take on a simple design with a single strip of leather that has a buckle or snap for closure.
    They are the perfect everyday collar because they are lightweight, suitable for various dog breeds from the tiny miniature Dachshund to Great Dane, and come in a variety of colors, widths, and styles.

  • Rolled collars: These collars are made by rolling a flat strip of leather into a tube-like shape. This design reduces the contact area with the dog's neck, which prevents matting and tangling of fur on long-haired breeds, like the Yorkshire Terrier.

  • Martingale collars: Sometimes referred to as limited-slip collars, these collars serve as specialized dog collars intended for breeds with narrow heads, such as Greyhounds and Whippets, that have a tendency to slip out of regular collars. 
    Martingale collars are designed to gently tighten when pulled, providing a secure fit without causing any discomfort or choking for your beloved pup.

  • Head collars: Also known as a gentle leader, these consist of a flat collar and an additional loop. They fit around the dog's nose and head to help control pulling and jumping, making walks more pleasant for both you and your pup.

  • Harnesses: Although not technically collars, leather harnesses are a great alternative to traditional collars for dogs who are prone to pulling or have respiratory issues.
    They distribute pressure evenly across the chest and back, making for a comfortable and safe walking experience.

2 - Select a Collar That Stays True to Your Pup’s Personality and Your Style

When choosing a leather collar for your furry best friend, it’s important that you choose one that allows their personality to shine through and suits your own style preferences, including the leather stitching, color, and customizations.

Start by going for a leather pup collar made of high-quality USA full-grain leather. This type of collar boasts elegance and sophistication and ages gracefully by developing a rich patina that gives it character and individuality.

Furthermore, heritage-quality leather goods are safer and more comfortable for your pup compared to flimsy and inferior “genuine” leather and synthetic materials like nylon, which may also cause irritation to their skin.

customized black leather collar
Popov Leather black leather collar​​

Don’t forget to go for superior-quality hardware that’s strong, durable, and rust-resistant as well. This is especially important if your pup likes to swim or play in the water or if they have nickel allergies.

At Popov Leather, we use USA-sourced full-grain leather with solid brass hardware to give you a flat collar that lasts the entirety of your furry best friend’s life.

The edges remain undyed to avoid bleeding, but they are beveled and burnished using beeswax to create a smooth and polished finish while keeping moisture and dampness at bay.

Still on style, our custom leather collars are available in different natural leather color variations, including English TanHeritage BrownBlack, and Natural.

I recommend engraving your contact information on your pooch’s collar for aesthetic and safety purposes. At a fraction of the collar’s price, we can include a name, address, and phone number on the collar in a crisp, clear font. 

Laser engraving leaves a permanent mark that’s resistant to fading because the highly-focused laser beam cuts or etches into the surface of the leather.

Here’s a brief video showing our wide range of customized leather collars:

3 - Choose the Right Size Collar for Your Dog’s Size and Breed

When you settle on the type and style of leather collar you want to adorn your furry bestie with, then it’s time to move on to the make-or-break factor: the size.

Choosing a collar in the right size is essential for a variety of reasons:

  • It determines how comfortable your pup is in the collar.

  • It ensures your dog can breathe well and prevents possible injury.

  • It improves safety by making sure the collar does not slip off.

So how should the collar fit around your dog's neck?

It should be comfortable and snug without being too tight to prevent them from moving their head freely or breathing properly.

You should also ensure it’s not too loose that it can slip off your pup or be caught on something as they jump and play.

To prevent any mishaps, I recommend measuring the circumference of your pup’s neck using a measuring tape or a piece of string wrapped around the base of its neck.

Be sure to take the measurement when they are sitting upright and lying down to ensure their weight is distributed evenly in either position.

A good rule of thumb is to add an extra inch or two to the measurement or leave room for two fingers between the collar and your pup's neck to ensure the most comfortable fit.

Fact Box: 
There’s a size chart on our specific product pages that can also help you determine the right measurements if you’re unsure or you're gifting a loved one’s dog. The chart highlights neck sizes in inches and matches them to some common dog breeds.

When you provide us with the measurements, we custom-make the collar for your pup so that it fits like a glove while delivering safety and comfort.

I’m so happy with my purchase! The leather collar is absolutely beautiful. I’m very impressed. Pretty true to size. After looking on the website in a few different places, I found a section that offered instructions on what size to order. I’m super pleased with my purchase.

Amy Howells, Verified Customer, Lakewood, United States

It's also important to check the collar regularly to ensure it's still fitting correctly, especially if your pup is still in the growing stage.

Most leather dog collars, including Popov Leather collars, have notches so it's easy to make collar sizing adjustments.

Here are some of our leather dog collars in different sizes and colors:

4 - Match the Width of the Collar to Their Needs

A commonly overlooked feature when selecting the right leather collar for your pup is its width.

However, finding the right-width collar that fits your dog's neck size and shape can ensure that your dog is comfortable wearing the collar for extended periods of time.

You need to consider the size of your pup and the purpose of the collar when determining the width. Generally, wider collars may be suitable for larger and stronger dogs that require more control, while thinner ones are ideal for smaller dogs that need more delicate handling.

The table below guides you on the collar width based on your dog’s size and activity level:

Collar Width Low Activity Medium Activity High Activity
0.5” Suitable for small dogs up to 15 pounds Suitable for small to medium dogs between 15 to 40 pounds Not recommended
0.75” Suitable for medium to large dogs between 40 to 90 pounds Suitable for large to extra large dogs between 90 to 150 pounds Suitable for extra large dogs over 150 pounds
1” Not recommended Suitable for extra large dogs over 150 pounds Suitable for working dogs or dogs who pull on the leash

The width may also affect the safety of your furry friend. For instance, a collar that’s too wide may be more difficult for your dog to break free from in case of an emergency or if they become entangled. This essentially poses a choking hazard.

Contrastingly, a collar that’s too narrow may fail to provide enough strength or stability, increasing the risk of the collar breaking or slipping off.

Choosing an appropriate collar width can help ensure that the collar sits securely on your dog's neck while also allowing for safe and easy removal if needed.

The width is also a style feature, with narrow collars appearing dainty and delicate, perfect for smaller dog breeds like Yorkies, and wider collars making a bold statement for larger dogs like Labradors and German Shepherds.

At Popov Leather, we find a striking balance in width by creating 1” wide collars that deliver in terms of style and functionality. Our collars fit perfectly into 5-foot-long dog leashes with a ¾” inch strap width.

5 - Consider the Maintenance and Cleaning Needs

Getting your dog a high-quality leather collar doesn’t mean they'll remember not to jump into muddy puddles or avoid swimming.

On the flip side, they might enjoy it a little more thanks to the comfort than they are now enjoying.

Unfortunately, other than your pup being excited to take out their new accessory to play, high-quality leather is notorious for gathering everything, including dust, sweat, oils, and dirt from the environment to form a beautiful patina.

Handmade leather collars also quickly accumulate odor from wetness, mold and mildew development, bacteria, and parasites. So, cleaning them periodically keeps them fresh and ensures their longevity.

professional cleaning leather collars
Popov Leather collars​​

Proper cleaning and maintenance can help to preserve the quality of the leather collar over time, keeping it soft, supple, and resistant to tear and wear. Additionally, failure to maintain your leather goods properly may lead to the drying and cracking of this natural material.

Follow these steps to clean and keep your pup’s leather collar in excellent condition for longer:

  1. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt, dust, and debris from the collar. 

  2. Wipe it clean with a damp cloth and our mild Leather Cleaner, paying keen attention to any soiled or stained areas. Avoid using harsh detergents or soaking the collar in water, as it may cause discoloration or weaken the leather's quality.

  3. Air dry the collar away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Avoid using a hairdryer or any other heat source to speed up the drying process, as it can damage the leather.

  4. When the collar is still slightly damp, apply a high-quality leather conditioner, like the Popov Leather Balm, to moisturize and keep the leather soft and supple. Conditioning your leather goods also makes them more flexible and less susceptible to cracking, tearing, and damage.

  5. Leave it out to air dry for at least an hour before wrapping it around your pooch’s neck.

Bonus Tip: Consider a leather collar that is weather-resistant to prevent damage from rain, snow, and other harsh elements.

Find the Perfect Collar That Reflects Your Pup’s Unique Flair

Choosing the right leather collar for your furry friend is crucial for their safety and comfort. With a plethora of options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to make the right choice. However, keeping in mind the factors mentioned above can make the selection process easier.

Popov Leather minimalist flat collars made from high-quality full-grain leather come highly recommended by dog parents of small, medium, and large dogs.

At my leather workshop, we prioritize the comfort and safety of your furry friends, by ensuring our handmade leather collars are sturdy and ragged. 

They last at least a few decades, and when they don’t, we offer you quality assurance with our lifetime warranty that covers shipping, repair, and replacement costs.

Please note that the warranty only applies to damages caused by faulty materials and workmanship as opposed to normal wear and tear, neglect, or unreasonable use.

Action: Protect your investment by regularly cleaning and conditioning your leather collar to extend its lifespan. 

Explore our leather collar collection and order one, two, or several if you have a pack of dogs at home.

Couldn’t be happier with Stout’s new leather collar! Not only does it look great, it is so soft and has already stretched to fit his neck perfectly.” 

Celia Bernhardt, Verified Customer, Lancaster, United States 

Written by Ryan Popoff

Ryan Popoff is the creative mind behind Popov Leather wallets, iPhone cases, belts, watch bands and journals since 2013. With a Bachelor Degree in Fine Arts, my leatherworking journey began at home. I wanted to create a simple leather wallet that could fit into my front pocket and — to my delight — it was a hit with family and friends. Hopefully you love our honest, quality leather goods too! Reach out with questions.

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