Skip to content
The Ultimate Dog Collar Buying Guide For Big Dogs

The Ultimate Dog Collar Buying Guide For Big Dogs

Although a rocking collar can turn heads, collars are more than just fashion statements for furry friends. They are the primary tools for keeping your big pup safe and secure. But dogs are different. Some are heavy pullers, others are chewers, and others are well-trained, calm companions. As a result, there is no one-fit-all collar solution.

The best option depends on your dog's size and behavior. With all the different types and sizes out there, choosing the right collar for your big dog can feel overwhelming. Luckily, this dog collar buying guide for big dogs explores the features to look out for depending on your dog's personality, dives into comfy and durable materials, and offers sizing tips.

The Ultimate Dog Collar Buying Guide For Big Dogs

Owning a big dog is a joy! They bring laughter, cuddles, and adventures galore. But with great size comes great responsibility, especially when it comes to their comfort and safety. The dog's safety, security, and comfort start with the choice of the collar.

A low-quality dog collar means a lost dog, a frantic owner, and a whole lot of stress. Even pedestrians feel unsafe when they see giant dogs, the ones who leave paw prints the size of dinner plates, trotting down the streets with low-quality collars that can snap at any time. So, here are things that will help you choose the right collar for your big dog.   


Collars definitely keep your furry friends under control during walks, but they work their magic in different ways. Some are designed for heavy pullers, others to send a clear training communication message, and others for normal use. Here are the common collar types and when you need them.


Standard dog collars are pretty much the go-to for most pups. They are like the t-shirts of the dog collar world - basic, but they work for most situations. These collars are usually made of nylon or leather and have a buckle closure to adjust the fit.

They'll have a D-ring for attaching your leash and a space for an ID tag with your phone number in case your furry friend ever bolts after a rogue squirrel. However, some Houdini-like pups, especially sighthounds with their narrow heads, can easily wiggle right out of standard collars.


A martingale collar is like the standard collar but with two loops. The bigger loop slips over your dog's neck, just like a normal collar. But there's a smaller loop attached to it, made of fabric or even a thin chain. This smaller loop is where you clip the leash.

If your dog lunges or pulls on the leash, the tension gets transferred to that smaller loop. This tightens the bigger loop around your dog's neck a little, just enough to prevent them from slipping out. It's like a gentle reminder to keep things chill on the walk.

Don't confuse martingale collars with choke collars. Choke chains are pretty harsh and tighten uncomfortably around your dog's neck if they pull. The pressure makes it hard for your dog to breathe. Over time, the pressure causes trachea injuries. These collars even damage the trust between you and your pup.

That's why we don't recommend any choke collars here! Martingale collars are quite different. They only tighten a specific amount. This prevents choking and injuries to your dog's throat.

So, if your dog is a heavy puller and leisurely strolls feel like you're being towed by a furry tractor, martingale collars are your secret weapon. The gentle feedback helps your dog understand what you expect – a walk by your side, not a game of tug-of-war. At the same time, there are no safety risks, pain, or injuries.

Halter Collars

Halter collars are like normal collars, but instead of just looping around the neck, they have a strap that goes around your dog's snout. They look like tiny horse bridles. Halter collars work by gently steering your dog's head when they pull.

If they yank on the leash, the halter nudges their nose down or to the side, making it physically harder for them to keep going full steam ahead. It's like having a built-in gentle reminder to keep things chill on walks.

However, they don't work great for all dogs. Since they hold the snout area, they are uncomfortable for dogs with flat faces, such as French Bulldogs and Pugs. Also, halter collars somehow rub the dog's face.


The name itself has a military vibe. It conjures up images of soldiers in camo, fully geared up for anything. And that's what a tactical collar is for your dog – a super-strong, all-terrain companion for your adventures.

Tactical collars are constructed with heavy-duty nylon webbing, which can withstand even the most enthusiastic pulling or playful tug-of-war. They also come with a built-in handle on the top.

It's like a sturdy grab bar for you to maintain control if your dog gets spooked by a loud noise or decides to chase a squirrel. A perfect example is tactical collars, which are made of 1050D nylon and can last the entire dog's lifetime. 


The security and safety of the dog start right from the collar material. When choosing the collar material, think of things like breakaways for adventurous pups, breathable material for hot days, and soft padding for sensitive skin. Here are some of the materials to consider. 


Leather collars come in two main flavors: the real deal and the faux leather option. The real leather collars are made from animal hide, typically cowhide. They are super strong and can last for years with proper care. Real leather collars soften and get more worn over time, which you might love for the classic look. However, these collars are quite expensive.

If you want to avoid products that involve harming animals, vegan leather offers a cruelty-free alternative. This leather is made from polyurethane, recycled plastic, or cactus leaves. As you can tell, these collars are cheaper compared to real leather collars.

The problem with leather collars is that leather is not a fan of getting wet. A leather collar might get soggy and smelly if your dog loves to splash around, such as Newfoundlands and Portuguese Water dogs.

Also, leather's natural texture and smell feels more satisfying to chew on than a boring nylon collar. As a result, the leather wears out over time, and can be a choking hazard. So, leather collars aren't the safest option for heavy chewers. It's better to choose a different material, like a tough nylon. 


As the name suggests, chain collars are made of stainless steel, which is super strong and won't snap easily. Remember, the chain is metal, which makes chain collars quite heavy compared to other collar materials. They aren't your everyday kind of collar.

Chains are a heavy-duty option for giants who need a little extra control. Think of them like the heavy, rugged boots you wear for hiking, not the comfy slippers you wear all the time at home. Chains can also be a bit rough on a dog's fur, especially if it has long hair. They're not exactly a cuddle-friendly material like nylon padded with neoprene.


Nylon reigns supreme in the dog collar kingdom. It's like the jeans of the dog collar world - versatile, affordable, and goes with everything. Nylon is a synthetic material created by linking together long chains of petroleum molecules and then spinning them into fibers.

Unlike leather, which can get stiff and uncomfortable when wet, nylon dries quickly. This makes it perfect for water-loving pups who enjoy splashing in puddles. No worries, even if your dog loves to roll in the dirt. Nylon collars are easy to clean with soap and water, or you can even toss them in the washing machine.

However, not all nylon fabrics are the same. The strength of nylon is measured in fiber thickness, denoted by D. The higher the D, the thicker and sturdier the nylon fabric. For instance, nylon collars are made of 1050D nylon.

This nylon is the same used to make mountain climbing gear, and as you know, stakes are high when it comes to mountain climbing gear. A single point of failure, like a snapped rope or a broken harness, can have life-or-death consequences.

In fact, the minimum breaking strength of mountain climbing gear is as high as 50000 pounds. That tells you a collar made of 1050D nylon is virtually unbreakable. It can handle everyday wear and tear, playful tugs, and even some serious pulling from dogs like the Huskies.

Sizing and Fit

Dogs come in varying sizes, so the collars. The collar that fits a Beagle might not fit a Newfoundland. So, before hitting that buy button, use the following steps to take your dog's measurements.

  • Grab a soft tape measure and gently wrap it around your dog's neck right at the base.
  • Leave a little wiggle room, enough to comfortably slip two fingers between the collar and your dog's fur.
  • Confirm the measurements with the manufacturer's sizing chart. If the measurements fall between two sizes, go for the larger option.
  • Since the dog can lose or gain weight, it's advisable to go for collars with adjustable buckles.

Special Features

Dog collars have come a long way from the simple leather bands of the past. Today's collars offer a variety of special features that can enhance your dog's safety, style, and even your walks together. Here are some of the special features to consider.

  • Reflective Straps: Go for collars with reflective material that shines when hit by car headlights. During evening walks or nighttime adventures, these reflective straps make your furry friend much more visible to motorists.
  • GPS trackers: GPS trackers offer peace of mind for owners of adventurous pups. A small, lightweight GPS device attached to the collar lets you track your dog's location in real-time through a smartphone app. However, GPS tracking requires a subscription fee.


The best collar depends on your pup. Go for martingale collars for pulling pups, standard collars for everyday wear, and tactical collars for the ultimate adventurer. It's advisable to go for 1050D nylon collars for durability, reliability, comfort and ease of maintaining. Ensure the collar has a snug but comfortable fit.