Seeing a large dog wearing a gold chain is now commonplace on social media, as these pieces of dog jewelry have become all the rage in canine fashion.
But what is the best type of collar for big dogs?
When you have a large dog, choosing the right collar is critical not just because of its size but also its power.
That’s right, collars aren’t only a fashion statement, they’re an aid to help you keep you and your hound safe when out for a training session or on a walk through the park.
To find the best dog collar for your pup, you should first consider the benefits and drawbacks of the options available to you.
Only then will you be able to choose the best option.
Types of Dog Collars Available for Large Dogs
There are a wide variety of dog collars often used on big dog breeds. Consider the pros and cons of each style of collar and then decide what’s best suited to your dog breed.
1) Tactical Dog Collar
A tactical collar is a collar that has been made with heavy pullers in mind - Whether it’s a military or police dog eager to perform a task or just a large pet excited to go out for his daily walk.
They give you the control you need to safely handle your dog during walking or training sessions.
Made from super durable materials like military-grade nylon and neoprene linings that won’t irritate your dog's skin when pulled on, these collars are made to last.
They often come with a sturdy emergency handle which allows the dog owner to be in control of their dog in any situation.
Pros of a tactical dog collar
This is an excellent option if you're looking for a big dog collar that won’t wear out after a few months.
Their specially designed emergency handles help you gain control of your dog in any situation, and the stainless steel D-ring makes attaching a leash a breeze.
A good quality tactical collar will come with a sturdy quick-release buckle which allows you to take the collar off as fast as you put it on your dog.
Cons of the Tactical Collar
There are a lot of cheap, imitation products on the market.
Unfortunately, these collars have not only given some dog owners a false sense of security, but have caused dogs some issues too.
Tactical collars are made to be extremely durable, so they are wider than normal collars. With cheap versions of this style, a dog's skin will become irritated and cause discomfort.
2) Flat Collar
The flat collar is the most common and most basic type of dog collar. It’s the most basic type and there isn’t a pet shop that won’t have it.
They are generally favored because they easily hold identification tags and attach to a lead, but don’t get in the way. So it’s easy for dogs to get used to wearing them.
Flat collars are often made with either nylon or leather. Both materials are fairly durable and safe to use. Additionally, many of these collars are fitted with quick-release buckles, which make them easy to put on and take off.
Pros of the flat collar
This is a great option for large-breed dogs that are active and like to play. They don’t get in the way and won’t hinder your dog's movement. They’re also easy to maintain due to the washable materials they’re often produced in.
Cons of the flat collar
Some large breed dogs are extremely powerful and will pull their owners along when excited. The flat collar does little to prevent this and could cause you to lose control of your dog when out for a walk or run.
3) Choke Chain Collar
Often used on dogs with an aggressive nature, the choke chain is a type of dog collar mainly used to gain control over powerful pullers or those being trained for behavior correction.
These are basically small metal nooses that sit loosely on your dog’s neck. However, if they pull on the lead or you jerk on it, the noose will tighten.
Theoretically, these help train dogs because they learn to avoid repeating behaviors that lead to the brief choking that this collar causes.
However, they bring up many concerns regarding safety and even its effectiveness as a training tool for the untrained handler.
Pros of the choke chain collar
Some argue that with a quick jerk to the leash a dog's behavior can be corrected and it reduces pulling.
Cons of the choke chain collar
Most people aren’t professional trainers, and using the choke chain incorrectly will cause damage to a dog's trachea and even escalate aggression.
4) Martingale Collar
The Martingale collar is typically used on big dogs with narrow heads that could easily slip off a typical flat collar. These include Dobermans, Greyhounds, and Salukis.
Nevertheless, they are also used on brawny dogs like American Staffordshire Terriers (Stafford Terriers) because they work much like the choker.
What makes the Martingale superior to a choke chain is that it has a limit as to how tightly it can squeeze around your dog’s neck. So, for as long as it fits properly, there’s no risk of asphyxiation.
Nevertheless, these types of dog collars are controversial, and while they might actually be useful in some situations, they should only be used with the guidance of an experienced dog behaviorist.
Pros of the Martingale Collar
Some dogs, such as the greyhound have heads smaller or narrower than their necks. While a normal collar could easily slip off these types of dogs, the Martingale Collar will stay put.
Cons of the Martingale Collar
They work in a similar way to the choke chain and are regarded as cruel by many people as they restrict a dog's airflow when used incorrectly.
5) Prong Collar
Also commonly referred to as a “pinch collar,” the prong collar is training aid that is the subject of much controversy. It is composed of a series of links with “prongs” that protrude against your dog’s neck. When pulled or tugged on, it delivers pressure around the dog’s neck.
Many behaviorists swear by the prong collar, especially when training powerful and large dogs. However, it requires thorough knowledge of how to use it effectively, safely, and as humanely as possible. Without proper instruction, using it could cause more harm than good on your dog.
Pros of the prong collar
Prong collars are inexpensive and easy to come by. For that reason, many large dog owners favor them to help with behavioral training.
Cons of the prong collar
They aren’t as effective as other collars for training. Some dogs simply get annoyed at the prongs and will continue to bark in a show of annoyance.
6) Electric Collar
Electric collars, also known as shock collars, are devices that deliver a current using a remote control. The current is never strong enough to actually shock or electrocute an animal, but it is uncomfortable enough to make an impact.
This is most often used on big breeds or powerful ones with seemingly unmanageable behavior.
The tricky part about using an electric collar is that it’s not meant to be used as punishment, but a deterrent for unwanted behavior. To use it effectively, you need to have excellent dog behavior management skills at the level of experienced animal behaviorists.
Pros of the electric collar
While it is difficult to find pros to using a shock collar for behavioral training, one plus side is that you can adjust the intensity according to the size of your dog.
Another positive is that it often heeds quick results, making training sessions for large dog breeds shorter.
Cons of the electric collar
Using fear instead of positive reinforcement (a treat or a simple acknowledgment when a dog does something right) is controversial, to say the least.
While many will question the effectiveness of this method, others will argue that it’s just cruel to shock your dog into submission.
7) Cuban Link Dog Chain Collar
The Cuban dog collar is called such because it features the iconic Cuban links of the popular streetwear culture. They work like flat collars but are made of metal and are crafted to look like jewelry. They’re made to sit right at the base of the neck, hold identification (which is oftentimes blinged up as well), and attach to an equally stylish leash.
When selecting this type of collar, avoid cheaper plastic imitations. Be sure to find a well-crafted one that is made with stainless steel so it won’t rust or break. Otherwise, all you’ll get is a large dog necklace that won’t hold up to the pulling pressure of your big dog.
Pros of the Cuban link collar
These collars are fancy as all heck and sure to make a statement wherever you and your dog goes.
As they’re made of stainless steel and plated with 18k gold, they don’t attract dirt and are easy to clean.
Cons of the Cuban link collar
If you’re looking for a large dog collar to suit your active lifestyle, this probably isn’t the best option for you.
These collars aren’t meant for dogs that like to play rough, run through the woods or go swimming in a pond.
So, what is the best type of collar for big dogs?
With all dogs, but most especially with big breeds, it’s essential to control them through behavior training rather than through tools, gadgets, and accessories.
Leave the electric, prong, Martingale, and choke chain collars to experienced behaviorists trained to use them properly.
The best types of dog collars for you to use on your large dog are either tactical, flat or Cuban dog collars, and the reasons are pretty obvious:
Tactical collars not only look good, but they are also the best collar if you have a dog that is extremely large and active.
Flat collars are the most basic dog accessories you will ever need. They’re stylish in their own right, especially when you find them in your favorite colors or patterns.
But most importantly, they're available in different sizes, convenient, fuss-free options that are easy to find and comfortable to wear.
Cuban link dog chains are just as easy to wear but they are also hypoallergenic for sensitives skin, won’t attract dust and will not frey like most textile based collars. These are better options for cosmopolitan dog owners that want their dogs to look as good as they do (or even better!).
Beyond the style factor, however, these accessories function beyond fashion as they tend to be more durable than their nylon counterparts.
Whether you want a gold dog chain or something else entirely, choosing the best dog collar for large breeds involves much more than finding one that fits well.
Collars should be durable and enable you to have full control despite having a big, powerful dog. Naturally, you’ll also want something that complements your pet’s apparent good looks and even keep up with the latest fashion trends on social media.