How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?

In the US, a whopping 44% of homes own one dog (or more!).

It's no question that the saying "dogs are man's best friend" is completely true. But, are you hurting your furry friend by forcing them to wear a collar which is too tight or too loose?

A collar should sit with comfort around your dog's neck, flat against the skin. It can be easy to get this measurement wrong.

Don't get too caught up in the style of your dog's collar. Instead, you should predominantly be buying for comfort.

In this article, we'll answer the question of "how tight should a dog collar be" once and for all. Let's get started:

Why Does a Dog Need a Collar Anyway?

It's important that your dog has a collar that fits will. But, why should your dog even have a collar at all?

In many countries, it's illegal for your dog to not be wearing a collar in public. Also, a collar is an easy way for an owner to comfortably hold onto a dog without hurting it. Of course, it's also a place for a leash to attach to.

Most importantly, a collar can help with identification of the dog. If your dog went missing, a tag with a name and phone number could help quickly resolve the situation.

Think of your dog's collar as its own form of ID. Yet, never forget to also get your dog micro-chipped too.

Why It's Important That Your Dog's Collar Fits Properly

It's no exaggeration that getting the right size collar for your dog is a matter of safety for both you and your pet pal.

Problems with a Loose Collar:

A loose collar can very easily slip off. Why is this a concern?

  • A slipped collar means a lack of control.
  • Your dog could run into a road and hurt itself and others.
  • Slipping a collar while in your yard or on a walk could mean your dog runs away and gets lost.
  • A loose collar is a safety hazard. Your dog could get caught on furniture and branches and suffocate itself.

However, be careful if you're tightening your dog's collar to make sure it's not too tight either!

Problems with a Tight Collar:

A tight collar poses risks such as:

  • Restricting your dog's airways.
  • Making your dog feel very uncomfortable.
  • Causing your dog pain and chaffing.
  • A lack of blood flow to your dog's brain.
  • Fur and skin loss on your pet's neck resulting in painful infections.

Neither of these options is desirable. Therefore, getting the right tightness is extremely important. Now, let's take a look at how to measure a collar for the perfect fit.

How to Avoid These Problems? Measure Your Dog's Neck Well

There is a difference between having a snug collar and a tight one. However, these simple steps will help you get the sizing right, making ordering a new collar easy.

Step One:

Buy a flexible or soft measuring tape. This is the only measuring tape option which will provide an accurate result.

Step Two:

Wrap this around your dog's neck. Then, place two fingers under the measuring tape too. This will ensure the collar is snug, but not too tight.

Step Three:

Use this measurement to figure out your dog's exact requirements. Sizings run from small, medium, large, X-large or XX-large collar. If you're still unsure, get in contact with a professional.

What Not to Do When Measuring for the Perfect Collar

It's extremely important that you measure your dog's neck and not their current collar. All collars are different sizes. Therefore, this won't provide you with an accurate measurement.

Don't simply go with the first collar you find. The process should involve a little trial and error to make sure you're getting an option.

Which Collar is Right for Your Dog?

After measuring your dog's neck, start looking for the right style of collar. For example, if you have a large dog which pulls on a leash, then you should consider a wider, thicker dog collar. This will offer more control over your pet.

However, if you use a collar which is too wide for a small dog, such as a pug, it may rub and chaff its neck.

Once you've got the right shape and size, you can focus on the aesthetics of your pooch's neck-gear. Flat or rolled leather collars? What colour, style or look suits its personality? There are hundreds of different choices available.

Regularly Test If Your Dog's Collar Is Comfortable

Keep in mind that as your dog's weight changes, its collar will also need to change too. If your dog puts on weight, a perfectly fitting collar will become too tight.

Furthermore, you should regularly remove your dog's collar. This way, you can check if it has been chaffing the skin. If so, you may need to buy a new collar or change the notch you're using.

It's also important to pay attention to whether your dog appears comfortable. A telltale sign of discomfort is if your dog is regularly scratching. By testing whether the collar fits, you can be sure that your dog is content and comfortable.

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be? Not Too Tight and Not Too Loose!

The question "how tight should a dog collar be" can only be answered with: there is no one right answer.

Make sure you follow these tips closely. Check your dog's collar at least once a month. Then, if it appears not to fit anymore, buy a new one.

Check out our store for some beautiful collars. As well as being comfortable, your furry friend will also look stylish.

Still struggling with how to pick the right dog collar for your pet pooch? Check out this blog post for more answers.

Dog Collar and Leash Sizing Guide

A properly fitting dog collar should be snug - not tight. Measure your dog's neck using the simple steps below for a perfect fitting collar every time. If you are unsure of what size to purchase, please contact us with your measurements.

flexible measuring tape

Step 1

Find a flexible measuring tape or rope that you can use to wrap around your dog's neck.

dont measure old collar

Step 2

All collars are made differently, so do NOT measure the overall length of your existing dog collar.

wrap measuring tape around dogs neck

Step 3

With your dog in a sitting position, place the measuring tape snug against your dog's neck with 1 or 2 fingers placed between the measuring tape and their neck and record the measurement.

buy appropriate size on website

Step 4

Enter your dog's neck measurement in the field below to determine what size you need to purchase.

Enter Your Dog's Neck Size (In Inches)


Dog Collar Size Chart

Each collar comes with 5 holes, spaced 1 inch apart. The width of the collars vary from 5/8" to 2" wide depending on the size.

If Your Dog's Neck Measures... For Fully Grown Dogs, Select Collar Size... For Growing Dogs, Select Collar Size...
8" 8-12" 8-12"
9" 8-12" 8-12"
10" 8-12" 8-12"
11" 8-12" 10-14"
12" 8-12" 10-14"
13" 10-14" 12-16"
14" 10-14" 12-16"
15" 12-16" 14-18"
16" 12-16" 14-18"
17" 14-18" 16-20"
18" 14-18" 16-20"
19" 16-20" 18-22"
20" 16-20" 18-22"
21" 18-22" 20-24"
22" 18-22" 20-24"
23" 20-24" 22-26"
24" 20-24" 22-26"
25" 22-26" 24-28"
26" 22-26" 24-28"
27" 24-28" 24-28"
28" 24-28" 24-28"


Dog Leash Size Chart

Dog Leash Size Overall Length Width
2ft Leash 24" (61cm) 1" (2.5cm)
4ft Leash 40"-48" (100cm - 120cm) 1" (2.5cm)
6ft Leash 72" (183cm) 1" (2.5cm)
6ft Split Leash 72" (183cm) 1" (2.5cm)


Cat Collar Size Chart

Each cat collar comes with 5 holes, spaced 1 inch apart.

Cat Collar Size Neck Size / Hole Locations Width
One Size 8" - 12" (20.5cm - 30.5cm) 5/8" (1.6cm)