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A dog collar should fit snuggly around the neck when it is on, but should still allow room for two fingers to slip between the collar and the dog’s neck - any less space than that might risk injury if your dog pulls strongly against its collar while out walking
The answer to the question "How Tight Should a Dog Collar Be?" can be complicated:
The right fit for a dog collar depends on the breed of the dog and its neck size. In addition to what activities the dog will be participating in while wearing the collar.
Some dogs have thicker necks than others, so you need to take this into consideration when measuring their neck. You can measure by using a soft measuring tape or string and then compare that measurement with the size of your dog's neck in inches. If you know your dog’s exact measurements, use those instead of estimating them from what you see around town - but if you're not sure about how tight to make it, err on the side of looser rather than tighter: A loose fitting collar will still be protective while one that is too tight might restrict breathing or cause injury by constricting the skin or surrounding tissue.
A dog's neck should be measured for a collar when it is standing, so make sure to get the measurement from just behind the ears and around the thickest part of its neck. Some dogs have very broad heads which make accurately measuring their necks complicated, so if you are unsure of how to measure your dog, go to your vet clinic and they will be able to help you.
The collar should fit snuggly around the neck when it is on, but should still allow room for two fingers to slip between the collar and the dog’s neck - any less space than that might risk injury if your dog pulls strongly against its collar while out walking.
This is called the two finger rule and is the best way to quickly gauge if your dog's collar is appropriately tight. Dog owners should be aware of the two finger rule when fitting dog collars. The two finger rule can be applied to any type of dog collar including a martingale dog collar, chain collar, normal dog collar, shock collars, and training collars.
Nauticollar adjustable dog collars are specially designed to be fitted by following the two finger rule. The Nauticollar Collar is a popular, highly rated collar that allows you to achieve the perfect fit for your dog's collar, regardless of your pup's neck size.
The width of the collar should depend on how wide your dog's head is and what kind of look you want - if you're going for a sturdy, industrial-looking collar then go with 5/8 inch or even an inch; if you want it to look more elegant and dainty then go with 3/4 inch (or 7/8 for extra large dogs). It is possible to find collars that are half of an inch and grooved so you can add a name plate to it - these look very modern.
For the average sized dog, I would suggest a 5/8 inch wide collar; for small dogs, 3/4 inch is the best option.
For very large dogs, a 1-inch wide collar will most likely be needed; for mega sized dogs such as Great Danes and St. Bernards you can go up to an inch and 1/2 and still have it look good on your pet - but once you get past 1 and 1/2 inches it's more of a fashion statement than a useful dog collar.