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Why do greyhounds wear 2 collars

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Greyhounds wear two collars for safety: a Martingale for walks, preventing escape, and a tag collar for identification at all times.

Greyhound Physiology Demands Special Collars

Greyhounds have distinctive head and neck shape, which requires a different approach to collars. The conditions of neck and head combined with the sensitivity of the breed demand a special approach when choosing the appropriate collar.

Anatomy of Greyhound Neck and Head Structure

One of the prominent features of the breed’s neck is a unique structure. As Greyhounds’ head is similar to the neck, they demand carrying several additional changes into consideration. Greyhound neck is long and slim, which allows the breed to reach extraordinarily high speeds by extending the size of its stride. One of the collars’ crucial conditions is securing around the neck and not slipping off. As one can derive from the image below, a typical neckline does not wrinkle or strain:

Image courtesy of Planet Dog Academy

Typical Neck Measurements

The impressive difference is between Greyhounds, having 13-18 inches in the neck area, and robust breeds, like Labrador Retrievers, who have 18-24 inches in neck size . It implies that Greyhounds are sighthounds, their neck is longer and they are faster, so their collar should be of another design.

What Collar is Appropriate?

The critical factor is making collars at least a 1.5″ to 2″ wide band. A common collar has a considerable width of pressure distribution. Materials used for producing such collars are soft leather or padded nylon. The former is because of the sensitive skin that does not allow using rough materials. Designing such collars focuses only on Greyhounds’ needs and applies to no other animals. A significant influence on pressure and abrasion is also due to the breed’s low concern of body fat. Greyhounds have a smaller body fat percentage of the average 13%-16% fat, unlike other dogs . Beagles’ ppm is 26.1 ppm, and the average of some dogs is from 30-35 ppm . Fewer body wraps require reflecting collagen’s softer nature, and hard materials cannot be used for collars:

Another concern to consider when making a collar for Greyhounds is the material of the collar. The material should be of high quality and durable as it will be wearing and using most of the day. Leather is the most appropriate material as it wears from increased use and becomes softer with time. One should not perceive it as light wear as any material experiences quite stressful pressure in tight contact with a dog’s body. Nylon is another suitable option. It is beneficial for durability due to the variety of types of textures. Nylon collars are notably less durable:

Based on the above, leather collars, though stiffer initially are better, as the amount of stress becomes very soft; in nylon, stress builds up in the collar and it would be good to change nylon collars for 2-3 weeks.


MartingaleCollars: A Safe and Effective Design

Martingale collars are an intervention often considered the safest and most humane way to train dogs and take them for walks. Unlike traditional collars, they provide control, but they do not choke the dog in case it pulls, making them ideal to prevent escape and guide a dog with sensitive constitutions. In a Martingale collar, there are two loops: one adjustable loop goes over the dog’s neck, and another, smaller loop in front of it is connected to the leash. When the tension is applied by the dog taking a step further, the smaller loop tightens, pulling the bigger one around the dog’s neck, thus controlling the animal and not letting it pull. The most important feature of the Martingale collar is that it can tighten only to the point fixed prior. This way the dog is not choked, but rather tightened just enough to discourage it from pulling.

Advantages Over Traditional Collars

There are several advantages to the use of Martingale collars. They are notably safer than traditional flat collars, in that they reduce the risk of a dog slipping out of them. Such “collar slippage” is a common issue for many dogs wearing flat collars, and it is especially severe for Greyhounds, Whippets, and other breeds with narrow heads and necks. There are, however, also many benefits in terms of training and bitter experience with pulling: Martingale collars are notably effective in preventing dogs from pulling. When they do and the tension is applied, they are tightened around the dog’s neck, preventing escape, but they are tightened just enough to do so without causing pain. As a result, they are very successful at training a dog to not pull on the leash.

Safety Features

Due to the design of Martingale collars, they cannot be tightened beyond a safe point. Thus, even if the dog pulls on the leash, it will not be choked, merely tightened just bit, enough to discourage further pulling.

Proper Fitting

For a Martingale collar to work, it should be properly fitted. A well-adjusted Martingale collar can slide over a dog’s head but will not tighten unless the dog pulls on the leash. A good method to check that the collar is properly adjusted is to see if one can slip two fingers under the band when the dog is wearing it.


To fit the collar properly, it is also necessary to measure the dog’s neck correctly and adjust the collar accordingly. Specifically, one should measure the widest part of the head as well as the neck’s middle; the collar should be adjustable between these two lengths.

Additional Requirements

When using a Martingale collar, it is also recommended that the dog is properly and closely monitored as it gets familiar with the collar. When it is not in use, the dog should be expected to not wear it, as to prevent it from becoming twisted, lodged, etc. In choosing a Martingale collar, both its width – thicker is better, between 1 and 1.5 inches for a big dog and between 0.5 and 0.75 inches for a small one – and material should be considered. The most common material is nylon, but leather and a variety of specialized However, the important thing to consider is safety and durability of the material.

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The Necessity of Wider Collars for Greyhounds

Greyhounds have unique physiology and extremely thin skin, and therefore a narrow collar is not just not recommended, it is also dangerous. Wider collars are important for the breed for a couple of reasons, as they are safer and more comfortable when walking and at rest.

Why Narrow Collars Are Dangerous

Narrow dog collars are typically less than 1” W and present numerous risks to Greyhounds. Due to the breed’s thin and fat-free skin, which is attached tightly to the underlying muscles, the narrower the collar, the higher the pressure from it. This may make the collar wear into the skin, or in the very least, it would be highly uncomfortable. An additional problem of choking is the collar’s potential to cause tracheal injury, as it will be cutting into the throat since the force of the dog pulling on the leash is concentrated in a narrow area rather than spread out .

Fishtail vs. Martingale: Which One is Safer

Both types of collars mentioned above are wide. Martingale or a double-loop collar also tightens as the dog pulls, but when they stop, it relaxes, which means that there is always some pressure, but not too much. The second loop is used to prevent slipping. Fishtail collars are wide and tapered at the same time, resembling a fish tail. Regardless of how hard your dog pulls or lunges, the surface of the neck is still large and smooth, full of almost no pressure points.


The fact that your dog should have a wider collar to ensure their safety does not mean that you do not have to consider individual needs and styles. Many of us choose personalized dog accessories tailored to the dog’s needs or, perhaps, reflecting some aspect of their nature.

Materials and Styles

There are many options for materials, and no wide collar is specifically dangerous to either the owner or the dog. Wide dog collars are usually made of leather or pads of soft nylon and other soft materials. Many owners prefer to choose the material that is most practical for them and their dog. Moreover, wide collars are now available in a variety of designs that range from solid colors to fashionable patterns. You may also choose between narrow collars and bands, and of course, a metal plate with the dog’s name or reflective stickers.

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