The Best Martingale CollarsJanuary 22, 2021 2021-06-03 13:18
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My rescue Australian Cattle Dog has been known to skillfully wriggle out of any collar or harness. She is an escape artist through and through – and while she is trained to walk very well on leash, she would be able to back out of a regular flat collar in seconds.
I was a bit nervous about using a martingale collar to start with, fearing it would tighten too much, like a choke chain and cause her discomfort.
Nevertheless, I was tired of her wriggling out of her collar and diving through bushes in pursuit of squirrels – endangering both them and her! – so I tried out a few products and discovered the answer to my prayers – the Max and Neo Nylon Martingale Collar.
Best Overall Martingale Collar
This inexpensive collar comes in a wide range of sizes, so it will fit almost any dog. The smallest size is suitable for small and toy breeds, like the Dachshund and Yorkshire terrier, while the largest can accommodate a medium-sized English Mastiff.
For my Australian Cattle Dog, Koala, the medium/large collar proved a perfect fit, and the collar has, so far, stood the test of time. I got it over six months ago, so I’m pretty impressed with its durability.
Although there is an extra ring for tags, it’s not as strong as the D-ring you attach the leash to and won’t last as well as the rest of the collar. As I only use this collar for walking and socializing, I’m not too concerned about the tag ring.
I keep my dog’s tags on her everyday collar as I firmly believe that no martingale collar should be left on an unsupervised dog anyway, in case it gets hooked on something and causes the dog to choke.
Not only is this collar affordable and robust, when you purchase one, Max and Neo donate a similar product to a dog rescue center, so you’re not only keeping your dog safe while out and about, you’re also helping a dog in need. Nothing can beat that now, can it?
The Max and Neo martingale collar is, in my opinion, the best overall.
It’s easy to fit on your dog – even one as restless and hairy as my ACD – and easy to remove with its lockable nylon clasp. Heavy-duty nylon makes this collar durable, while the reflective stitching means I can spot my dark-coated ACD easily at night or on an early morning walk in winter.
The range of sizes, ability to adjust the collar, and the high-quality materials lead me to opt for this as the best overall martingale collar. It’s mid-range price certainly helps as well.
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What a difference this collar has made to our walks! The collar only tightens when she tries to back out of it, stopping her from escaping and leaping into the undergrowth like some type of antelope.
When she is walking next to me however, it is looser than a regular collar, not causing her any kind of discomfort.
Mini-Reviews of 6 of the Best Martingale Collars
Although I fell in love with the Max and Neo martingale collar, I’d be equally happy using some of the other products I found in my research.
While some martingale collars are designed for durability, others are more elegant and wouldn’t look out of place in a show ring.
There are also some quality leather options for dogs with skin allergies and a few of the bargain-basement variety that cost less than $10 a collar.
Keep reading to find out which martingale collars made the grade and why.
Best for Comfort
Like traditional martingale collars, the heavy-duty martingale collar from Country Brook Petz has no buckles, clips, or clasps.
The high tensile strength nylon of the collar itself is held together with welded, nickel-plated steel rings and strong box-stitching on the pressure points.
Clips and buckles can snap or corrode but, with this martingale collar, there’s nothing to potentially rub on your dog and cause chafing or sores, making it comfortable even for hypoallergenic dogs and both short-haired and hairless breeds.
Cheaper than the Max and Neo collar, this martingale collar costs around $10 and, depending on the size you choose, will fit anything from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane. The Country Brooks Petz products come in a range of colors, from black to hot pink, so will look as good it feels.
Not only will the Country Brook Petz collar keep your dog safely by your side, but also gives you more control over a nervous dog that tries to back out of its collar when frightened.
Best Leather Martingale Collar
Leather is a great material for any collar - it’s durable, looks smart, and rarely causes allergic reactions. This collar from Mighty Paw is made from 100% genuine leather combined with a stainless-steel chain. The result is both durable and long-lasting.
Although the Mighty Paw’s leather collar is strong, it’s also soft and doesn’t need manipulating and oiling to get a snug, comfortable fit around your dog’s neck. Like the traditional martingale collar, it's designed to fit dogs with large heads and small necks.
Leather products are generally more expensive than nylon ones, and this Mighty Paw collar is no exception to that rule. Having said that, it’s only a dollar or so more than the Max and Neo collar, so is reasonable enough, especially if you've got a dog with sensitive skin.
Best for Puppies
This silky smooth polyester collar is made from the same material as car seat belts, meaning it's both durable and slides easily against itself, releasing the pressure the moment your dog stops struggling. This feature makes it ideal for exercising your dog as he’ll get an instant reward - a release of pressure - the moment he stops trying to escape.
A versatile product, the Dazzbar can be used for both walking and socializing. It's robust enough to give you complete control over a strong dog, even if that happens to be a Pitbull who panics at the sight of other dogs!
This collar won’t fade over time, as nylon collars often will, as its attractive design has been transferred to the fabric using heat sublimation so is embedded into the fibers themselves.
An inexpensive yet high-quality product, the Dazzbar martingale collar is available in four different sizes. The largest measures up to 25” so will fit a standard-sized Labrador, while the smallest can be adjusted to just 5” - the size of a Toy Yorkie’s neck!
Best Budget Martingale Collar
Like the martingale collar from Country Brooke Petz, it has no buckles or clasps - just hard-wearing metal loops. Slip it over your dog’s neck and then adjust to fit - it really is that easy. Made from nylon and high-density webbing this budget collar has a long lifespan and is strong enough for most breeds of dog.
Just one word of warning - never leave your dog unattended while he’s wearing this collar. The control loop could get caught in his mouth and, as there’s no quick release buckle, cause choking.
Used in a supervised environment, however, this durable, cost-effective collar will give you better control over an anxious or frightened animal.
Most Stylish Martingale Collar
This top-of-the-range martingale collar is the canine equivalent of the world’s finest merino sheepskin coat.
Hand-drafted from full-grain leather and lined with the softest sheep’s wool this is the deluxe version of all collars!
A martingale collar isn't just about looking good, though, and this collar is as effective as it is attractive. According to one dog owner: “it is escape-proof!” Not only that, but it's also perfect for dogs with very little fur around their necks and those who are prone to allergies or chafing.
Inevitably, the price of this high-quality collar reflects the cost of the expensive materials used to make it, so it’s not something you’d want your dog to go swimming in!
If you’re out and about, enjoying the bright lights and city streets with your canine companion, however, you’ll turn a few heads with this collar while maintaining control over your dog at all times.
What Is a Martingale Collar and Why Would I Need One?
The martingale collar was originally designed for sighthounds, like greyhounds, whippets, and Salukis, all of whom have narrow heads. Dogs of these proportions can easily slip out of a standard collar, so the martingale was introduced to solve this problem.
Martingale collars also provide extra security on walks and can be equally effective when you take your dog on a playdate.
Can My Dog Wear His Martingale Collar All the Time?
Although some dog owners say they do this frequently, with no ill effect, it is not advised. The control loop, that tightens when pressure is placed on the collar, can easily get caught on things, including your own dog’s mouth or paws, which can lead to choking.
My advice would be to only use your martingale collar for walks and socializing. When your dog’s at home or playing in the yard, put a standard, basic collar on him instead and keep him safe.
How Do I Fit A Martingale Collar?
Before buying a martingale collar, you need to measure your dog’s head and neck diameter. You need to be particularly precise in your measurements if you’ve opted for a slip-on martingale collar as this needs to go on over your dog’s head and then be adjusted to fit his neck snugly.
Like standard collars, once the martingale collar is in place and pressure applied to the control loop, you should still be able to slip two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.
Is A Martingale Collar Dangerous To Use?
A martingale collar can be dangerous to use but, in some circumstances, it’s safer than a standard collar because your dog will be unable to escape his collar and dash off into potential danger.
A martingale collar is potentially dangerous in certain situations, however, particularly:
a. If it hasn’t been fitted correctly, either causing too much pressure or so little that your dog can escape;
b. If your dog is a notorious leash puller – he will need some training first so that he does not constantly pull the collar tight;
c. If you leave your dog unsupervised whilst he’s wearing it.
Martingale collars give you a little more control than a standard collar, without causing your dog pain or distress. They are designed to be used when out exercising, rather than as something your dog would wear all the time, preventing your dog from backing out of his collar and escaping.
They can also help give you the upper hand with a dog that lunges or pulls from time to time. They are not, however, ideal for those that pull all the time as it will remain constantly tight as long as pressure is applied.
The best martingale collars should be made of high-quality, durable fabric, release easily the moment the dog stops struggling, be comfortable to wear and fit correctly.
The Max and Neo nylon martingale collar ticks all the right boxes and the company will gift a similar collar to a dog rescue center for every purchase made. It took me months to get my Australian Cattle Dog to accept a standard collar but she allows this one with no arguments.
While not as adaptable as the Max and Neo collar – which has sizes to fit everything from a Dachshund to an English Mastiff, the Country Brook Petz offering is heavy-duty and affordable. With its welded steel rings and strong stitching, it stands up to all kinds of rough treatment with little to show for it.
Nylon martingale collars will fade over time but the Dazzbar won’t, thanks to its heat sublimation dying process. Perfect for long walks, this martingale collar is made from the same material as car seat belts, releasing easily and smoothly the moment the pressure is off.
If your dog has particularly sensitive skin or is allergic to some synthetic fabrics, Mighty Paw’s leather collar is a great alternative. With a stainless-steel control chain, it looks good and functions well, but is just a little more expensive than the nylon and polyester alternatives.
Speaking of expensive, the winner of our top-of-the-range luxury category is the sheepskin-lined martingale collar from Auburn Leathercrafters. This high-quality collar will make your dog look, and feel, like a million dollars. It is a little on the pricey side, but worth it if you’re heading off to a luxury pet-friendly hotel.
At the other end of the financial scale, we have the Blueberry Pet Essentials budget model which does an impressive job for a collar that costs less than $10. It’s durable, doesn’t have any clips or clasps that could snap or break, and is strong enough for most breeds of dog.
Martingale collars do change some people’s lives and, because they’re virtually impossible to escape from, they also save some dogs’ lives. If you want to walk without worrying about your dog wriggling out of his collar, click here and find the best martingale collar to suit your needs and those of your favorite furry friend.