How to Prevent a Leather Dog Collar From Stretching

An energetic dog that sometimes (or always!) pulls on his leash can ruin a dog collar just by pulling so much that the leather stretches to the point that rivets pop off the collar or the collar becomes too large to fit the dog. If you are shopping for a new dog collar for a dog who has stretched leather collars in the past, here are a few hints to make sure next time your leather dog collar will last for years.

Causes of Collar Stretching:

Typical wear and tear over years will make almost every collar stretch, but if your collar is stretching noticeably something is wrong! You may blame your dog for pulling too hard (and obedience classes, a properly used martingale collar, and learning to heal should help) but that is only part of the cause. A leather dog collar is basically a small piece of horse harness- and harnesses bear the weight of a 1,000lb horse pulling up to a several ton load without noticeably stretching. The most common reasons leather dog collars stretch are low quality construction methods and low quality leather.  

Collar Features That Prevent Stretching:

American Made - we feel like we've seen enough collars come through the shop for repairs that we can say it with confidence- American Made dog collars are just better quality. It may be the leather tanning methods in North America, or the fact that because manufacturing in the US is more expensive, manufacturers willing to foot that cost have a greater concern for quality.   

Leather Grade - Learn the basic leather terms, and purchase a collar with the best leather you can afford:

  •    *Bridle Leather -  BEST - the cow hide retains most or all of its full thickness and is harness grade.
  •    *Latigo Leather -  GOOD - a good quality leather tanned in a way to be somewhat ridged but break in soft and supple.
  •    *Full Grain -  BEST - refers to a part of the hide that is the strongest and is usually close to original thickness.
  •    *2 Ply Leather -  OKAY - Sometimes hides are shaved so the yield from one hide can be doubled or tripled. 2 ply leather collars employ two sheets of low quality leather to create one stronger collar. (not to be confused with "backed" leather- where a collar manufacturer will add a thin, soft piece of leather to protect a neck from the backside of spikes or rivets)
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Wider Width Leather - All other factors equal, a 1.5 inch wide collar can tolerate more strain without stretching than a 3/4 inch collar. (The exception being rolled leather collars, which increase their strength in the manufacturing process and are very resistant to stretching)

Quality Stitching - Possibly the most effective solution is stitching along the length with thick, nylon or poly thread. NOT just decorative stitching which we see a lot on collars made in China, but good stitching that will not allow the leather to stretch. For a collar made to last, our Heirloom line is a great place to start- they are made in NY state using full grain bridle leather which is particularly resistant to stretching, with solid & functional stitching.

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