A martingale collar is a dog collar designed to be escape proof and prevent escape artists from slipping out or backing out of their collar.
How does a martingale collar work?
A martingale collar consists of two loops. The first (larger) loop goes over the head and it is linked to a smaller loop (the control loop) which has a lead attachment. When the dog pulls on lead, the control loop pulls the first loop which tightens and prevents the collar from slipping over your dog’s head – genius!
Why martingale collars are perfect for sighthounds
Sighthounds are quite canny when it comes to slipping out of traditional collars. Their narrow heads can make it difficult to find a collar that they aren’t able to back out of. On non-sighthound breeds, the head is usually larger than the neck which acts as a sort of barrier to prevent this, but sighthounds are often able to pop right out.
This is especially problematic with sighthound breeds as they are renowned for their prey drive, speed, and often a lack of recall, so the risks are higher if your sighthound does escape.
Not all sighthounds will have this tendency, but it’s worth being aware of. If you’re worried or if you’ve seen this behaviour in your sighthound before, then a martingale collar may be just what you’re looking for!
In fact, martingale collars are often called whippet collars or greyhound collars because of how well suited they are for sighthound breeds.
Are martingale collars cruel?
A lot of people ask this, and the answer is no, martingale collars are not cruel. This idea mostly comes from people wrongly associating martingale collars with choke chains so let’s tackle that notion head on.
These people are right in the sense that both these types of collars tighten as your dog pulls, but that is where the similarities stop. However, I cannot emphasise enough that martingale collars do not tighten in the same way that a choke collar does. Whilst a choke chain doesn’t have a limit to how much it can tighten, a martingale collar does. This prevents it getting too tight and there is no such risk of choking your dog. It is designed to be functional, not uncomfortable.
Martingale collars are also made from soft materials which your sighthound will appreciate and tend to have a wide design which helps spread the pressure if your dog does pull, which reduces the risk of injury to the neck or trachea.
They *can* actually be more gentle than a standard collar. If your dog has a habit of slipping their collar, you may have to make it uncomfortably tight to prevent any escape attempts. On the other hand, if you were using a martingale collar, it is worn loose until it is engaged, so it is comfortable for your dog and still functional in preventing any accidents.
Note – martingale collars are not suitable for use as a house collar. Whilst unlikely, you wouldn’t want the control loop to get caught on anything whilst you’re not there. You also cannot use the control loop as a handle, it is not designed for that and your sighthound will not appreciate it.
Of course if you still have concerns about using a martingale collar but are worried about your dog slipping their normal collar, you can also consider using an sighthound escape proof harness.
How to measure for a martingale collar
You will need a soft measuring tape for this, and you will need to take two measurements of your sighthound.
The first measurement you need to take is the largest part of the head including the ears, so that the collar is able to slip over.
Then you need to measure the middle of the neck, where the collar will sit. You need to pick a size that fits both of these measurements.
How to fit a martingale collar
You want your martingale to fit perfectly so that your sighthound will be comfortable and you can rest assured that you won’t have to chase them down mid-walk!
It’s as simple as slipping it on over your sighthound’s head and then adjusting it to the right size. Make sure that you can fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck to ensure it isn’t too tight.
Then just attach the lead to the ring on the control loop and you’re good to go!
If you're new to martingale collars, this could all sound confusing, but in my experience they're actually easier to use than normal collars as you just slip them over the head each time. It really is as simple as that!
Martingale collars are a fantastic type of collar, and are perfect for greyhounds, whippets, lurchers and all other sighthound breeds. They are comfortable, safe to use, and effective at stopping any escape attempts.
Feel free to check out our range of martingale collars here.