Bunny here at the keyboard to answer a question our friend Oskar asked us last week.
He said that he'd noticed that we wear special collars and wanted to know more about them. Greyhounds wear martingale collars, or sometimes they're called limited slip collars. Over the years our collars have taken quite a turn from what we used to wear.
Early collars worn by dogs served an important purpose. They were made of leather or metal and had metal spikes attached to them. This was not for fluffy poodles who wanted to look tough walking down the street. It was to protect the dogs' most vulnerable area from wolves, bears and boars, which they often helped to hunt. The collars weren't just a fashion statement, they were necessary for a dog's survival.
Later, dogs began to wear collars that were particularly unique. Many are considered valuable works of collectible art and antiquity now. They show that we canines were loved and cared for as much back then as we are now. Many of these collars had jewels or metalwork on them. They weren't serving dogs for protection quite as much as before, but they did still let everyone know that the dog was a treasured companion of someone.
Today, we Greyhounds wear martingale collars made of leather or webbing and fabric. You see the leather collars more on dogs who live in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. In the United States, we tend to wear more of the fabric collars, sometimes with fancier adornments. Our collars still serve a valuable purpose, though. Our noses and heads are much narrower than our necks. So, if we wear a regular collar, it slides right off our heads and ends up on the ground or attached to a leash hanging from a human's hand. Our collars are made to tighten up behind our ears when we pull or put our heads down while on a leash. It doesn't tighten up enough to hurt us, just enough to keep it from coming off.
There's a museum dedicated to dog collars in Leeds Castle in England which I would love to visit, but that seems unlikely since I live so far away from it. It's even in a castle, which I think is fitting. As far as I know, it's the only museum dedicated to the history of dog collars.
So, now you know perhaps more than you wanted to about collars. Hopefully I answered Oskar's questions in a way that makes sense and entertained you all. Greyhounds aren't the only ones who wear martingales -- often other sighthound breeds, Dobermans and Shetland Sheepdogs wear them, too. We Greyhounds do love our extravagant collars!
I'm a girl living in the midwest with my husband and three greyhounds. Sometimes I share writing privileges with Bunny, the youngest of the hounds, as we write about the adventures, or misadventures, of our daily life.