Leather Vs. Nylon Dog Collars

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Have you ever wondered what collar is best for your dog? There is an amazing array of collars to choose from if you shop at a pet store, pet boutique or online. For everyday use, the two most common types of collars are made from nylon or leather, but which one is better for you and your dog?


Based on individual purchase price, nylon collars are generally less expensive than quality leather collars. Over time, however, you may end up spending more money to replace nylon collars that have become frayed or broken. Leather can outlast the life of your dog if taken care of properly, unless, of course, you have a dog that thinks a leather collar is good to eat. Only invest in leather if you are willing to spend extra time keeping it conditioned and you have a dog who does not think it's a chew toy.



Leather-work is an art, and design possibilities are limitless. Whether you choose an intricately carved design or a simple flat collar enhanced with silver brads, leather collars exude class and style. The texture of leather enhances your dog's natural beauty, and leather ages well as long as it's not neglected. While nylon collars cannot match leather's design versatility or endurance, they can be found in much more vibrant colors and can also be embellished in a variety of ways. Nylon collars can be dressed up with rhinestones, beads or decorative stitching. Because they are less expensive, you can buy several to keep from getting bored with using the same collar all the time.


Care and Durability

Hands-down, nylon collars are the easiest to take care of. They are wash and go; a little soap and water once a week will keep them clean and smelling fresh. Leather, on the other hand, needs special conditioners to keep it supple and in good shape. Dogs who love water should be given nylon collars because they will ruin a leather one in short order.
Both nylon and leather collars are only as strong and durable as their weakest link, the fastener. Plastic fasteners do not hold up as well as metal, especially for larger dogs, so invest in collars that have metal fasteners, whether they are buckles are quick-release clasps.


Comfort and Fit

Nylon collars are flat, and their edges can be stiff and abrasive to your dog's neck. They are easier to adjust to the fit for your dog, however. Leather collars can be flat or have rolled edges which are excellent for long-haired dogs because it reduces matting of the fur, and leather conforms to your dog's neck over time. Both leather and nylon collars can be found in the martingale design, also known as the limited-slip collar. This design works well for dogs who have narrow heads, such as whippets and greyhounds, because it prevents the dog from backing out of the collar. One word of caution, flat buckle collars can cause a condition called collapsing trachea in small dogs who pull too hard against them for prolonged periods of time. For these fragile dogs, it is best to use a harness for walks rather than any kind of collar.


By Jenny Newberry


The Humane Society of the United States: Dog Collars -- Which Type is Best for Your Dog
Purdue University: Choosing the Right Type of Collar for Your Dog

About the Author
Jenny Newberry, a former teacher with 25 years of experience, is a professional writer and photographer and holds a B.S. and a M.Ed. in elementary and special education from the University of South Alabama. She is also a history buff, praise and worship pianist, pet enthusiast, avid crafter and hobby gardener.