What Is Martingale Dog Collar? A Complete Guide

martingale collar

They say finding the perfect gift for your valentine is the most challenging thing. I’d say it’s not even close to finding a perfect collar for your pup. At least, your girlfriend can speak English to hint about what she likes. On the other hand, when it comes to dog collars, you have to rely solely on your research.

Speaking of my preferences then I will go for a collar that looks good on my pooch but also feels smooth around his neck. But wait, I also don’t want it to choke my pup but at the same time, I want to use it for leash training.

Wondering whether such a perfect dog collar exists? Surely it does, in the form of martingale collars! If you have never heard about these dog collars, keep reading since today I’m going to discuss each and everything about them! Shall we begin?

What Is a Martingale Collar?

martingale collar for dogs

Martingale dog collar falls between regular collars and choke collars. Like regular collars, they are eye-pleasing and come with loops for hanging tags and leash. At the same time, they serve to attain better control, to prevent dogs from tugging the leash, and slipping out of the collars (that’s why sometimes called the slip-free or limited slip collars).

However, unlike a choke collar, martingale collars don’t hurt your dog’s neck by strangling him instead they get tighten around his neck slightly, whenever he pulls the leash. This, in turn, discourages him from both slipping out of the collar and yanking the leash.

Martingale dog collar consists of two loops; a bigger loop and a smaller loop. Sometimes, the second, smaller loop is made by folding about a third of the bigger loop, around a D-ring. However, some martingale collars also feature smaller loops made up of metal. Such collars are good for giant dogs with high leash intolerance. How do these two loops contribute to correcting your dog’s leash-pulling behavior, let’s find out!

How Do Martingale Collars Work?

martingale dog collar

Many dog owners think that the martingale collars and choke collars work in the same way but that’s not true. A martingale collar is a gentle and safe alternative to choke collars (that’s why often called humane choke collars), considering their mode of working.

As stated before, martingale dog collars consist of two loops. The larger loop lies around your dog’s neck and attaches to the smaller loop through a D ring. The leash is attached to the smaller loop that goes behind your dog’s ear.

Whenever your dog pulls the leash or tries to back out of the collar, doing so constricts the smaller loop which in turn tightens the larger loop. As soon as the dogs stop pulling, the small loop gets back to its original point, loosening the collar around their necks, to the original size.

In other words, the first loop is just like a regular collar, made up of nylon or other fabric & adjustable, and is used to attain the perfect fit. Whereas, the second loop is more like a chain choke collar and works to gain more control over your pup during walks.

What Breeds Should Use Martingale Collars?

martingale dog collars

Martingale collars are often referred to as whippet or greyhound collars since they were formerly used to train them and other slim-headed breeds. However, today, martingale collars are recommended for almost all breeds due to their unique design and safety profile.

If being more specific then martingale dog collars is a perfect option for dogs with narrow heads and wider necks. Some important dog breeds that lie in the class of sighthounds are as follows

  • Scottish deerhound
  • Italian greyhounds
  • Borzoi
  • Afghan hounds
  • Irish wolfhounds
  • Silken Windhound
  • Pharaoh hound
  • Saluki
  • Taigan
  • Kombai
  • Other crossbreed sighthounds including Lurcher, Longdog, Kangaroo hound

The main reason why martingale collars are the favorite of dog trainers, to be used on sighthounds is that these dogs are way too fast. As the name implies, the dogs hunt by utilizing their sense of sight than smell and that’s why they get easily distracted too.

In this case, the best martingale collars help the owners to control their dogs by redirecting their attention to training. This, in turn, not only make your pooch understand the lesson quickly and safely but also make your daily strolls more peaceful and enjoyable. Besides dogs with small heads, this collar also makes a great option for canines having silky furs.

martingale collars for dogs

How to Choose Martingale Collar for Your Dog?

Martingale collars are available in different sizes and designs which makes choosing the most suitable one quite overwhelming. However, to get the most out of your investment, here are some points you should keep in mind while shopping around;


From smallest to largest, all size options are available to purchase so there would be not any problem like being unable to find the right size. All you need to do is measure your dog’s neck and head to get the properly fitted collar.

In case your dog’s neck is bigger than his head, measure his neck size to get the right fit. On the other hand, if your dog’s head is bigger than his neck, measure his head. To measure for the dog collar, get a measuring tape and take measurements of the neck region where the collar will go.

Generally, the training collar is meant to lie high on the neck, and behind the ears so it won’t choke your dog’s windpipe. So, you better measure the size of this area and note the size using the two-fingers rule.

In other words, the collar should be loose enough so you can pass your two fingers through it when it’s on. This will ensure that the collar comfortably fits around his neck and is not choking him on normal movements.

Weight and Width

The width of the collar is also another important factor that determines the overall experience and comfort level. If your dog is large with a wide neck, you should go with the martingale collar having a width of around 1 inch or more.

best martingale collar

On the other hand, if you need a martingale collar for a smaller breed dog, like a chihuahua, you can choose a collar with sleeker designs and narrower bands of 3/4 or 3/8 inches. Remember that the width and weight are directly proportional to each other so choose accordingly.


Martingale collars are offered in a wide range of materials, from nylon to leather to Biotene. So, you can choose as per your needs and preferences. For example, if you prefer style and durability over the price factor, you should go with leather collars. These quality products are built to last and snap-proof – regardless of how aggressive your pooch is.

On the other hand, if you are more into your dog’s safety, comfort, and budget, nylon martingale collars will suit you best. Although they don’t are as durable as their leather counterparts, they are much more reliable at such an affordable price range.

martingale collars

How to Fit a Martingale Collar on a Dog?

Now after getting your perfect martingale collar, the next task is to fit it correctly around your dog’s neck. Wondering how to adjust the dog collar? Well, it’s easy since all you need to do is to follow the given steps

Extend to the Full Length and Slip down the Head

The nylon or the fabric part is adjustable – just as those of standard collars, so extend it to the full length so it can easily slip down your dog’s head. For narrow-headed dogs, you might don’t even need to open the collar to its full size.

Sit the Collar at the Right Point

The collar should sit somewhat higher around the dog’s neck and it’s usually the point behind his neck – the narrowest region of the neck. Once slide the collar to that point, make sure it’s not strangling him, bypassing your two fingers through it.

If not, it indicates the way too tight collar so you better loosen it. However, if you can easily twirl your fingers in the collar, it means it’s too loose and needs to be tightened.

Adjusting the Smaller Loop

After slipping the collar down your dog’s head, pull it behind his ear so the metal rectangles are facing the backside of the neck. By doing so, the D ring will end up facing the backside of his neck too so pull the collar up on the D ring.

If a small loop meets a large loop, it means the collar is still too loose. Tighten it so the smaller loop closes off on pulling the collar on by the D ring. Keep in mind that the martingale dog collars tend to outgrow over time therefore you should fit them every time before sliding them down on your dog.

How Are Martingale Collars Different from Choke Collars?

slip collar

By now, we’ve mentioned many times how martingale collars are different than choke chains but if you are still confused, here are some explicit points;


A choke collar consists of a metallic chain or a rigid band that not only chokes your dog but also feels harsh around his neck. On the other hand, martingale collars come in two different bands; fabric and metallic.

The metallic part barely touches your pooch’s skin as most of the pull response is delivered by the fabric part. This way, your pet won’t feel panicked or depressed for having something more serious-looking around his throat.


The dual loop, limited slip design of martingale collars allows them to tighten up only to a certain degree around your dog’s neck. This, in turn, keeps your pet protected from choking hazards. Whereas the only thing choke collars do is to choke endlessly, until your dog stops pulling the leash.

With choke collars, there’s no limit to how much strangling force should be applied to your dog’s fragile throat which makes this correction gadget as detrimental as prong dog collars.

Are Martingale Collars Good for Training?

You might be surprised to know that the martingale collars were made only to prevent narrow-headed dogs from slipping out of their collar. There was not any purpose like training the dog or correcting their behavior but dog owners realized how viable a training tool it is.

From training your dog for loose leash walking to suppressing his excessive barking, this collar can be used for everything. Many trainers recommend using a martingale collar to train dogs since they are nearly perfect in all aspects. They are safe, they are slip-proof, they are flexible, and most importantly, they suit almost all dog breeds.

Besides wearing martingale collars during training, your dog can also wear them as traditional collars, during other activities. Just make sure the leash is off so your dog can enjoy it fully.

what is a martingale collar

Final Thoughts

Martingale dog collar is undoubtedly an extremely useful tool to make your spoiled fiddle a good, obedient boy without risking his well-being. Even though these training collars suit many dogs, we’d still prefer you to go specifically for the best puppy collars to train your little fur ball.

Similarly, dogs that give sudden and hard pulls might damage their neck by having a martingale dog collar around their neck. Although it won’t choke them, they still get some dangerous-looking bruises or painful chaffing. Therefore, it’s better to use martingale only to teach leash walking to not too aggressive canines.

At the end of the day, it’s you who will be responsible for your dog’s safety so think thoroughly and choose nothing but only the best for your tyke.

Cody Mitchell
Cody Mitchell is a pet lover and a passionate pet writer. He has worked as a professional writer for over 6 years, with a focus on creating compelling content for pet-related brands. His work has been featured in major publications. When he's not writing, Cody can be found playing with his two dogs (a labradoodle and a cocker spaniel) or cuddling his cat.

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