How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be? The Perfect Fit

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Author: Jeanette Hampton

Dog collar is very important for do and their owners. It keeps them safe and under control. Not only that but it also provides safety to people around, especially when you are on a walk. In case you lost your dog, the tag on your dog collar will help other people to identify your dog and can safely return your dog to you.

Many dog parents sometimes see some cool dog collars online and order them. But you cannot measure the size online, so most of the time the cooler turns out to be too tight or too loose. Therefore, if you are going to buy a dog collar, take your dog to your nearest pet shop and ask the shopkeeper how should a dog harness fit, then try it and then buy it.

And mainly, In the UK you can get fined up to £5,000 if your dog fails to be microchipped and wear an ID tag. Hence, I have described the importance of dog collars and how tight should a dog collar be in this article.

Why Your Dog Needs a Collar?

Dog collar is compulsory in most areas of the UK. Anyone should be able to bring their dog back to you. The collar should have the necessary information so the person who finds your dog can identify your dog, using your name, address, and contact information on the dog collar.

If you are thinking that your dog has already been microchipped, then you should know that even if you microchipped your dog, it is compulsory by law to have a collar on your dog unless he is in his home.

Why Your Dog Needs a Collar
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According to The Control of Dogs Order 1992every dog while on a highway or in a place of the public resort shall wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it.”

If you are buying a collar for your dog, make sure you just do not just focus on the collar’s appearance, but you should concern about how it fits your dog. As while you are on a walk with your pooch and you bought a loose collar, there are chances of your dog slipping out of it and you do not want that.

How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be – HOW TO FIT

When you buy a dog collar, it is important for you to buy a collar that fits the best for your dog. Your dog should feel comfortable in it. You should buy a dog collar according to the size of your dog and the type of breed. You might be thinking that how to measure the size and how to decide which is the best fit for your dog. I have solved all of your queries in the upcoming paragraphs.

Measure Up

measuring the size is a crucial part of the process. Don’t just assume the size of his neck. You should follow the “two inches rule” or in other words “two-finger rule“. If you have cloth measuring tape at home then it’s fantastic or you can also use any belt of thread.

You need to place it around the neck where the collar will be, then measure the neck size with tape, and then add two inches to it, and you are good to buy your dog collar.

The reason behind adding two fingers extra gap is that your pooch should not feel choked or in case if you are holding tight to control him you might end up blocking his airway. Moreover, he should not feel like he is tied up instead, he should feel free.

Size it Right

To avoid choking and discomfort of your dog, you should keep a two-finger distance when you tie the collar. When you fastened the collar, it should not be too tight or too loose. Both are not preferable for your dog. If you have a small dog or puppy, you should keep a “One-finger gap“. If you have a very big dog, you should have a “Three finger gap.

“Making the right choice will ensure that your dog gets the support they need and will also help assist you while you train the newest member of your family” Stated in PetsWebMd.

How to measure dog collar size
Nehris – Shutterstock

Additionally, you should also take the type of breed into account. It also depends upon whether your dog has a thin or fat neck and a short hair neck or furry neck. Therefore, you should find the right size for your dog according to the type of dog you have.

Width of the Collar

The width of the collar also plays important role in the comfort of the dog. When you are buying collars for large and strong dogs like Tibetan mastiffs, it is better to buy a long-width dog collar as it is better for supporting their neck and also will not chock their neck. Also, It ensures the strongness of the collar.

In the same way, if you have a small breed dog then you should go for a thinner collar. If you are confused or you are unsure about it, then you can opt for a standard 1 ½ width thickness. Whenever this kind of confusion happens, you can contact your vet or ask the shopkeeper for advice.

Extra Measures

Checking your dog’s collar on a frequent basis is important for your dog. Make sure the collar is not broken. Also, some material gets expand or shrinks after getting in touch with water, so you must check the size by inserting your fingers in the collar.

Further, the weight of the dog can vary, Sometimes it happens like you bought a dog collar when your dog was fir and after a few months, the collar becomes small for your dog. Hence, it is better to check his collar frequently.

Also, you need to check when you have a puppy. Puppies will grow a little daily so you need to check the collar size more frequently. I would suggest you keep an adjustable collar when you have a puppy.

Types of Collars

There are several types of dog collars available in the market according to the need and preference of the owner. All the types are mentioned below.

Textile Collars

These kinds of dog collars are very popular and common because of their lightweight quality. Fabric collars are available in a number of colors and patterns. Textile collars are generally made of nylon or neoprene material. Also, it is considered the cheapest option among all types.

Textile dog Collars
Recless media – Shutterstock

The only thing you should consider before buying fabric collars is. they are likely to get broken more easily than the others.

Metal Collars

Metal collars are very attractive to see on our pooch neck and also provide safety. These types of collars are suitable for short-hair dogs. Most of the time metal collars are used for dogs who are under training.

Metal dog collars
Volodymyr TVERDOKHLIB – Shutterstock

There are some disadvantages of the metal collar. Metal collars are heavy because they are made from chains. There are chances that while pulling your dog’s neck gets cut when they are not properly polished.

Leather Collars

Leather collars are very popular for their long-lasting quality. They are made from a natural material. Therefore, they will sustain for many years.

Leather dog collars
PavelRodimov – Istock

In comparison to other collars, leather collars are quite expensive, but it is a one-time investment. You just need to take care of the water as they are not water friendly.

Flea & Tick Collars

These kinds of collars are for the extra safety of dogs. They are anti-parasitic collars. People who are living in the wild areas or police dogs who have to go into the wild will use flea and tick collars so they can save their dogs from pests and insects.

Flea & Tick Collars
alexei_tm – Shutterstock

Definitely, it will work for your dog only for a temporary period. Therefore, you should decide wisely whether it is worth it for you or not.

Electronic Dog Collars

These collars are for converting indiscipline dogs into well-behaved dogs. These collars use sound, vibration, or electrical impulses as punishment whenever he disobeys your instructions or behaves badly. Many dog trainers use electronic dog collars in order to train them.

Also, there are “Anti-barking collars” in the market that prevent your dog from barking unnecessarily by using electrical impulses and throwing gas.

Electronic Dog Collars
Moore-Moore – Shutterstock

But I will never suggest you use this kind of collar. As humans, it is not the right way to behave with dogs.

And there are other useful collars like GPS tracking collars and many other Luminous Collars, Led Collars, and Reflective Collars available in the market.


Should miniature Dachshunds wear a harness?

Naturally, all Dachshunds suffer from the disease IVDD which affects their spinal cord. Wearing a harness will decrease the load on spinal injuries and also lower the chances of damaging the neck and back.

What are the risks of a dog collar that is too tight?

A tight collar is very dangerous for dogs as it can cause choking because of too much tightness, skin irritation due to constant rubbing with skin, and even damage to the trachea or blood vessels in the neck.

What is the proper way to adjust a dog’s collar?

It is very easy to adjust the collar. You just need to remember two finger rule. First, place it on the neck of your dog and tighten it until you can easily insert two fingers between the collar and neck. This is the proper way to adjust your dog’s collar.

Are there any alternative types of collars that are safer or more effective than traditional collars?

yes, in some situations alternative of a collar is safer and more effective for dogs. You can use harnesses, head collars, and martingale collars. But before you go for any alternative, you should consult your vet or trainer.

Should a dog collar be tight enough that it doesn’t slip over the dog’s head?

No, the collar should not be too tight so that it doesn’t slip over the dog, as once you tighten it will be impossible to remove it or again wear it. It only ends up hurting your dog. Therefore, keep it that much loose so you can easily remove it.

Final Thoughts

Consider a dog’s collar as necessary jewelry. It not only helps you to control while walking outside but also keeps him safe. Your role is to select the right collar and adjust it on your dog’s neck perfectly. never keep the collar too tight or too loose. A tight collar can injury, chafing, cuts, bone deformation, and even choking due to shortness of breath.

Your duty doesn’t over when you adjust the collar by keeping two finger gap. You also need to keep checking the collar on regular basis. Especially if you have a puppy as they are constantly growing. As a responsible dog owner, you should know how tight should a dog collar be.


  1. Queen’s Printer of Acts of Parliament. (n.d.). The Control of Dogs Order 1992. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
  2. Staff, A. (2021, April 28). The Best Collars and Leashes for Puppies and Dogs. American Kennel Club. Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
  3. Prong Collars | RSPCA. (n.d.). Retrieved March 2, 2024, from
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Jeanette Hampton
Jeanette Hampton is a content writer at WWD and an expert on all things pets. She’s been writing pet blogs for over 5 years and knows everything there is to know about dogs. Jeanette enjoys writing about pet-related topics because she enjoys helping people learn more about their furry friends.

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