Spotlight on Whippets
If you’re a proud whippet owner, you know these elegant sighthounds are a unique and special breed. Whippets are active, playful, and energetic, requiring a collar that can keep up with their fast-paced lifestyle. Choosing a suitable whippet collar is crucial for their safety and comfort. Still, with so many options available, finding the perfect style for your dog can be overwhelming.
In this ultimate guide to whippet collars, we will explore everything you need to know about whippet collars, from the different types available to the materials used and how to measure for the perfect fit. Whether you’re a new whippet owner or looking to upgrade your pup’s collar, this guide will help you make an informed decision and ensure your furry friend is happy and comfortable on all their adventures.
Do Whippets need a special collar?
Whippets have a unique body structure and temperament that require a collar specifically designed for their needs. They are a sighthound breed, which means they were initially bred for speed and agility in hunting small game by sight. Whippets have lean bodies with heads smaller than their long, slender necks and, as such, need a collar that can offer both security and protection.
Two main types of whippet collars are commonly used when walking.
Fishtail collars are wider in the middle part of the collar, which will sit around the throat, narrowing off to a narrower strap on either end. The shape of the collar looks a little like a fishtail, hence the name. But why does the collar need to be thicker in the middle? As previously mentioned, Whippets have long slender necks, so a narrow collar can cause severe damage to the windpipe, especially if they start pulling. By using a collar that covers a larger area of the neck, you’re providing your Whippet with more protection and comfort.
Martingale collars were designed for Whippets and other sighthounds (think Greyhounds, Salukis, Deerhounds, Lurchers, etc.) to provide gentle control over their behaviour without causing discomfort or harm. The collar consists of a length of material that forms a loop around the dog’s neck, with an o ring at each end. A second loop is secured around these o rings. It is attached to a lead which then acts as a limited-slip mechanism, which prevents the collar from tightening too much and causing injury or discomfort to the dog. When the dog pulls against the leash, the collar will tighten slightly, applying pressure to the dog’s neck and encouraging them to stop pulling. However, the limited-slip mechanism prevents the collar from becoming too tight.
What’s better? A Whippet collar or a harness?
Harnesses have become quite popular recently with some Whippet owners. As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to both.
Collars have an effortless design and are straightforward to measure for. They’re easy to take on and off as needed, have space for holding an ID tag, and often come with extra padding, making them very comfortable for your dog.
On the downside, though, your dog may be a total escape artist, and no matter what you try, it can back out of a collar in the blink of an eye. Some dogs may have a medical condition that affects their throats, making collars unsuitable, so it may be worth looking at a harness.
Harnesses cover a wider area of the Whippet’s body, distributing pressure and support more evenly across the upper body and torso of the dog. If the dog pulls while walking, this reduces strain or impact on the throat. As the harness covers more of the body, the Whippet won’t be able to move quite as freely and, in some instances, may then learn to stop pulling quite as much.
Whippet harnesses can be more challenging to size as there are generally more parts to measure. They often have several straps, which can cause irritation and damage to the skin and fur if fitted incorrectly.
It does come down to personal preference more than anything. What works for one person isn’t guaranteed to work for another, so try both to see what you and your Whippet prefer. If you use a harness, remember it is a legal requirement for dogs to wear identification in public spaces in the UK, so a lightweight house collar is a popular choice amongst harness-using sighthound owners.
What size collar for a Whippet?
Measuring your Whippet for a collar is easy. All that is needed is a soft tape measure or piece of string and a yummy treat to keep your furry friend in one place. Whippets typically have a neck size ranging from 10″ – 14″, though there may always be some differences from dog to dog.
- Wrap a soft tape measure around the narrowest part of the neck (usually just behind the ears and under the chin at the top of the neck), as shown in the image, and note the measurement. Make sure the tape measure is snug against the fur.
- Choose a collar with the tightest hole as close to the neck measurement as possible. For example, if the neck measurement is 11.5″, we recommend a size 11″-13″. That gives you room to tighten the collar if needed but plenty of room to slacken it off.
Why do Whippets wear a house collar?
As most Whippet collars are thicker than regular collar designs, they shouldn’t be worn when not out for walks, as they can lead to discomfort and irritation for your dog. That’s where house collars really come into their own. A house collar is a lightweight collar which is perfect for wearing when your dog is lounging around at home, allowing your Whippet to still wear an ID tag.
So which Whippet collar should you choose?
Whether you opt for a fishtail collar or a martingale collar, it must fit well, be made from high-quality materials, and be designed safely. Taking the time to measure your Whippet’s neck, adjust the collar for the best fit, and correctly use and care for the collar can help ensure your furry friend is happy and comfortable on all their adventures.
Investing in a quality whippet collar is essential not only for your dog’s safety but also for its overall well-being. By following the guidelines in this complete guide, you can choose the best collar for your Whippet and help them enjoy all the fun and excitement life offers.