Collars are vital for your dog’s safety, especially on walks and other outdoor activities. A tape measure makes it easy to find the perfect accessory for your Labrador. All you have to do is place a flexible piece of tape measure firmly around your dog’s neck and add 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) to the total measurement. Once you have the collar in your hand, secure it around your dog’s neck to make sure it fits well!
Determine the size of your dog’s neck
1. If you don’t want to use a tape measure, estimate the size of your dog’s collar. Review some basic information about your pet, such as its breed, height and weight. Next, compare your dog’s statistics with the general gauge for collar fitting.
Note that many retailers sell collars based on general weight categories. Tiny and ultra-small dogs weighing up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) require collars that are approximately 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) long. Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles all fall into this category. Puppies weighing 11 and 25 pounds (5.0 and 11.3 kg) require collars that are 10 to 14 inches (25 to 36 cm) long.
Miniature Schnauzers, Coggis, Shia Inus and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are eligible to enter this group. Medium-sized dogs weighing between 26 and 55 pounds (12 and 25 kg) require collars 14 to 20 inches (36 to 51 cm) long. Springer Spaniels, English Bulldogs and some Pit Bulls fall into this category. Larger dogs weighing between 56 and 75 pounds (25 to 34 kg) need a collar that is 16 to 26 inches (41 to 66 cm) long.
Most Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers fall into this category. Very large and oversized dogs weighing more than 76 pounds (34 kg) require a collar that is 24 to 30 inches (61 to 76 cm) long. St. Bernards, Great Danes and Bulldogs fit into this category.
2. Use a soft tape measure around the dog’s neck. Take a long, flexible tape measure and wrap it around the dog’s neck, just above the shoulder blades. If you’re unsure where to measure, place the tape measure 3 to 5 inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) below the dog’s jawline. The tape measure in many sewing kits works well for this. If you don’t have a soft tape measure, use a long piece of string or yarn instead.
3. Use tape to make a comfortable loop around the dog’s neck. Overlap one end of the tape measure with the rest of the ring to take more accurate measurements of your pet’s collar. Check that the ring is pulled tight and is not too tight; finally, your goal is to find and purchase a breathable, comfortable accessory for your dog. After creating a secure ring, check the tape to see your dog’s exact neck measurement.
If you are using a piece of string or yarn as a measuring tool, pinch or trim the total length of the loop as a reference. You can then place this string directly next to a ruler or steel tape measure to get an accurate measurement!
4. Add 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm) to the total measurement. Before purchasing a new collar, note the initial size of your dog’s neck. If you have a smaller toy-sized dog (e.g., Chihuahua, Pomeranian), add 1 inch (2.5 cm) to the total measurement. If your dog is medium-sized or larger, add 2 inches (5.1 cm) to the total inches for the initial collar measurement. These extra inches or centimeters allow the collar a little breathing room and prevent accessories from being too tight on your pet.
5. Measure the dog’s special collar around the base of the skull. Wrap the tape measure around the dog’s neck and place it just below the jaw line. Make a tight fitting loop with tape and note the final measurement. If you are buying a specialty brand of collar, such as harness or tag accessories, you may want to consider this measurement before you buy. These types of collars are specifically designed to fit the middle of your dog’s neck, not the base.
Measuring two sizes along your dog’s neck will help ensure the collar is comfortable. A variety of specialty collars Martingale collars have an extra loop in the front to provide extra support for dogs with thicker necks and smaller heads (such as greyhounds). The head collar surrounds the muzzle and is good for large, capricious dogs like Golden Retrievers who like to be on a leash.
Ask your colleagues at the pet supply store for help in getting accurate measurements for this type of collar. The pointed collar fits snugly in the middle of your dog’s neck to prevent your pet from pulling too much. If you are purchasing this collar, use the initial measurement of the dog’s neck and do not add an additional 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5.1 cm).
6. When purchasing a new collar, compare your measurements to retail guidelines. Visit a pet supply store or check online for reference guides that provide recommendations for different collar sizes. Browse this guide to see what size collar fits your dog so you can buy with more confidence. Always use the size chart for the business you are buying for.
Try on the collar
1. Place the collar around your dog’s neck. Tie the ornament under the dog’s jawline, leaving a small gap between the collar and the fur. If you are using a collar with plastic clips, adjust the elastic band until the accessory fits comfortably around the dog’s neck. If you are using a collar with a belt buckle, adjust the collar until there is a little wiggle room between the accessory and the dog’s fur. While you want the collar to be tight, you don’t want it to choke your pet when you take him for a walk.
2. Secure two fingers under the collar to make sure the collar is loose enough. Test your pet’s new collar by sliding your pointer and middle finger comfortably underneath the collar. Ensure that only 2 fingers can be accommodated; if you can fit 3 or more fingers under the accessory, the collar is too loose. However, if you can fit less than 1 finger under the collar, you need to loosen the item. Your pointer and middle finger will give the most accurate reading of the dog collar’s loose or tight.
3. If the device does not fit, choose a different tightness setting or collar. Adjust the elastic band or belt buckle until the accessory fits your dog better. If the collar seems too loose or too tight, try buying a different size collar. While some retailers only sell collars in universal sizes, others sell devices with more specific sizes. Keep this in mind if you’re looking to buy a new pet collar!