Updated June 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best leather dog collars

There are a few essentials that every dog owner needs in order to raise a happy and healthy pup, and one is the right collar. A properly fitting collar offers you control over your dog to aid in training and keeping your pet safe. A collar is also used to hold your dog’s ID and vaccination tags. Dog collars are made of a few different materials, including leather. 

Leather dog collars are durable and stylish. A leather collar might be the main one your dog wears or used for certain occasions. Some are basic while others are more ornate, but the primary considerations when choosing a leather collar are your dog’s comfort and well-being.

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Be sure to buy leather collars from a reputable brand. Cheap, inferior leather can break down more quickly and contain chemicals that could potentially harm your dog.

Key considerations

Leather basics

Quality: Leather dog collars appeal to consumers because of their durability and appearance. However, like any other product made of leather, quality determines a collar’s longevity. Cheap leather can crack and break, which could prove life threatening if your dog escapes in traffic. Look for a genuine leather collar for your furry pal. 

Leather vs. other materials: Leather collars are heavier than those made of other materials, which could be a factor depending on the size of your dog. Leather collars have a metal buckle, like a belt, rather than the plastic fastener that’s commonly found on other dog collars. Though the plastic fastener is secure, owners of large dogs may have greater peace of mind using a collar with a metal buckle. Leather collars do take longer to put on and take off, and the metal buckle may not be as easy to undo in an emergency as a quick-release plastic fastener.

Nylon and polyester collars are the two most popular alternatives and are similar in many ways. Both are relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to clean. Some dogs may be sensitive to these materials, however. Also, these materials can fray and retain odors.

Maintenance: While a quality leather collar can last a long time, the leather needs to be properly cared for. It shouldn’t be exposed to extreme cold or submerged in water. Treated leather can stand up to rain, but it may still deteriorate over time. Depending on the activity level of your dog, you might need to clean the collar often because leather can retain odors.

Price: Leather dog collars cost more than collars made of nylon or polyester.

Your dog

Size: Leather collars aren’t suitable for all dogs. Because they’re heavier than other collars, most leather collars should be used on medium-size or large dogs. Smaller pups could feel pressure or strain on the neck, which can cause problems over time.

Age: Leather collars may not be ideal for puppies or young dogs. 

Temperament: Leather collars are suitable for well-trained dogs. Young or nervous dogs who are still adjusting to their environment might do better in a martingale collar, which gently and safely tightens as the dog pulls or tries to back away. 

Activity level: Leather collars aren’t the best choice for adventurous outings like lengthy hikes, playing in the water, or running around in hot weather. They don’t stand up well to prolonged exposure to water and can also be hotter than nylon or polyester collars. 

Size

A dog collar should fit snugly and comfortably without being too tight or too loose. Check the sizing guide and recommendations on how to find the best fit for your dog. The collar should fit comfortably as your dog moves around, sits up, and lies down.

Generally, it’s advised that you measure the circumference of your dog’s neck just under the ears. You can do this with a flexible tape measure or a piece of string, yarn, or rope that you then measure with a ruler. Be sure to measure twice. The ideal size collar is one that allows you to slide two fingers between the collar and the dog’s neck. 

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Did You Know?
A new leather collar can be stiff and take time to break in, which means it may not be completely comfortable at first. Over time, the collar will become more pliable and comfortable.
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Features

Color

Most leather dog collars are black, brown or tan, but there are some options available in more exciting colors like pink, blue, or green. Keep in mind that some colors may fade over time, especially in the sun, or bleed into your dog’s fur when exposed to water.

Personalization

Some leather dog collars can be personalized with numbers, words, or decorations. You might want to add a name and contact number to the collar in case the ID tags are lost. If so, be sure the words and numbers stand out from the collar’s background color and are easily readable. Or you might want a collar adorned with cute or funny words or phrases, crystals, or other decorations. Just be aware that personalization can increase the price and even the weight of the collar.

Rolled leather

While most leather dog collars are flat, some are rolled. One of these is ideal for a dog with a thick coat that tends to mat. Some owners also prefer the look of rolled collars. However, rolled collars don’t spread the pressure as well as flat collars, which means they aren’t suitable for use on dogs that tend to pull.

Bark collars, shock collars, choke chains, and prong collars cause pain to dogs and are not viable alternatives to leather collars. 

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Accessories

Dog harness: Puppia Soft Dog Harness
A harness provides increased control and safety when walking or traveling with your dog. This option by Puppia is light and comfortable, and it comes in a variety of colors and designs at a low price. 

Dog ID tags: GoTags Personalized Pet ID Tags
Every dog should wear a tag with your contact information. These durable stainless steel tags by GoTags come in different shapes and can be engraved with up to eight lines of text on the front and back.

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For Your Safety
For nighttime walks, consider using an LED collar or a reflective leash or harness so your dog is more visible.
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Pricing

Inexpensive: For around $10, you can find basic small, thin leather dog collars.

Mid-range: Most leather dog collars cost between $10 and $20, including some options in color and accessories. 

Expensive: The largest and most elaborate leather dog collars, including personalized and colorful options, cost over $20 and may even exceed $30.

Tips

  • Monitor your dog for any reactions. A new material against your dog’s skin can potentially cause an adverse reaction if your pet has any sensitivities. Monitor the skin and fur around the neck for a few weeks after putting the collar on your dog.
  • Get a backup collar. Leather isn’t ideal for all situations, so you might want to have a basic nylon collar as a backup. These inexpensive collars come in handy for car rides or outdoor adventures.
  • Double-check the fit of the collar. Metal buckles don’t allow the same degree of adjustability as plastic fasteners. Be sure to regularly check the fit because leather can stretch and shrink over time.
  • Inspect the D ring. The D-ring is where you connect the leash to the collar. Most collars have a sturdy, stainless steel D-ring. Make sure the one on the collar you choose is durable and won’t break or separate if your dog pulls or reacts.
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Faux leather collars are an eco-friendly alternative to leather collars. While they tend to be gentle and comfortable, they aren’t as durable as real leather collars.

FAQ

Q. How do I maintain a leather dog collar?

A. A leather collar should be regularly inspected and cleaned as needed. Dirt and debris can be removed with a soft, damp cloth. If you use a mild soap, rinse it carefully and don’t submerge the collar in water. Buff the leather with a soft, dry cloth. You can also finish with a leather balm, oil, or conditioner to help it last a long time looking like new.

Q. Should I walk my dog with the leather collar?

A. It’s advised that you use a harness when walking your dog unless you have a well-behaved, calm dog. Attaching a leash to a collar on a reactive dog puts pressure on the neck and throat when it pulls, which can harm the dog.

A dog harness is a useful investment. It better disperses the pressure across the chest of the dog rather than just the neck. What’s more, it’s useful for training your dog to walk properly because it offers you more control over your pet. Dogs that are prone to escaping are far less likely to slip out of a harness than a collar. Harnesses are also useful for car rides. You should not use a collar to strap your dog in a vehicle.

Q. How safe are leather collars?

A. As with any collar, there are risks if the collar doesn’t fit well or if a dog isn’t fully trained to properly wear it. Dogs should always be supervised when wearing a collar. Some dogs, particularly puppies or new adoptees, might try to chew or tear the collar. This can cause it to break at an inopportune time, as well as damage your dog’s teeth or lead to digestive issues if pieces are ingested. 

Collars can also potentially cause strangulation. A collar can get caught on something at home, like the inside of a crate, or even outdoors if a leash is attached. It’s strongly recommended that you remove the collar when leaving your dog alone in the home or in a crate. Many owners remove the collar when they’re at home with their dog.

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