Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Question Of Greyhound Fashion

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!
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow, Bunny! You just taught me a thing or two. Excellent photos too. You and your housemates always wear the loveliest of collars, I must say. :)

  3. Hi Bunny, we had no idea of the history of the Martingale collar - some of those early ones look quite scary!
    We bassets also have a thinner head than neck and can shrug a collar off in minutes.
    We recently bought a Martingale collar for Martha who is our Houdini basset.
    It takes her longer to get off than a regular collar but we videod her the other day and will post soon to let you see.
    It is a better collar for her but still if she sees a squirrel or a deer it is very hard to hang onto her. She does appear to be a bit more confident around traffic with it though.
    We must say you have some very stylish collars indeed!
    Martha and Bailey xxx

  4. This sure is a very well written post which went through a lot of research :) thank you for sharing with us the information about the martingale collar.

    I wanted to get one for Dom but i am not sure it is right for him. He is very good at sliding off his collar if he sees something interesting on walks. That really spooked us the first few days he was with us. We finally got him into a body harness for safety :D

  5. Nice to know about your collars! They sure are something special!

  6. What a great post!! We've often wondered about Martingale collars.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  7. Thanks for that informative post. I love learning new stuff and especially if it's connected with Greys:)

    The museum is in Leeds Castle, which isn't anywhere near Leeds, but in the county of Kent. I have visited the castle, but don't remember seeing the collection:(

  8. Gosh Bunny I never knew all ovs that, it wos most edukayshunal and we lives not far from Leeds Castle ( it be in Maidstone O so Ma is finking she shoold go as she migte learn somefing at long last....Bol.
    Fank yu fer sharing this
    xx xx

  9. My neck hurts just looking at some of those torture devices, I mean collars.

    Your pal, Pip

  10. I never knew there was so much history in dog collars, thanks for passing that along! Some of those look downright awful!

  11. I love learning more about each breed and how certain things have evolved over the years.

    What a beautiful photo of you, Bunny. The sunrise/sunset matches your collar - woof!

  12. We didn't know there was that much history behind dog collars. Thanks for sharing with us, we always like learning new things :)

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Yoda & Brutus

  13. Very interesting photos and information on collars. I had no idea!


  14. WHOA! I do NOT want to meet the doggie that wore the 3rd and 4th collars.

    Wiggles & Licks,

  15. What a great post! i have seen the martingale collars before and even bought one for Sherman to use in the show ring, but it did not work very well for him.
    I had no idea about the collars that use to be used on dogs, they are amazing!

  16. I love those early collars with spikes, etc. I had a brief moment of thinking that maybe my dogs need spiky collars to protect them against lions!

    You have awesome collars, Bunny. You're inspiring me to get K more collars, ones to fit each mood!

  17. Okays, I'll repeat what everybuddy just said...I had no idea da significance of da spikes. I thinks dat is purty darn cool. I now need a spiked collar to protect me while I am doin' my huntin'. I may not be goin in a hole fur a badger anymores BUT, some of them squirrels can be quite vicious!
    I thinks dat collar museum had you in mind when they decided to do it in a castle.


  18. This was a great post! Mom has a martingale collar for me too, usually I wear a harness, but she likes to switch around from harness to collar bc my fur rubs off rather easily (I don't have much to begin with!)

  19. Wow, look at all those collars! Some looks like the marilyn manson of dog collars! Ouch!

    I has a martingale too! I went through a "backing out" phase and mom got me one. She likes it so much she got me more and even Duncan one!

  20. Bunny Huny your posts are always GRRRREAT, Butt this one is especially super. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. Gotta learn something NEW every day!!!!

  21. what's you favorite Martingale source?

  22. Oh that was Most Interesting! My mom would LUV to go to that dog collar museum. Some of those collars were just SO beautiful! I always wondered why some collars had spikes on them and now I know. (But, well, I'm glad I don't have to wear a big ol' metal collar.)

    Wiggles & Wags,

  23. Fascinating! You do have a very nice collection of collars Bunny. I think that Greyhounds can really show off a collar with their graceful long necks and short hair. You have to dig to find mine!

  24. I read about the old fashioned collars before and never knew the spikes were to keep bears and so forth from attacking the dogs neck! Grat photos of all the old school collars!

  25. Thanks for all that information we didn't know about collars. We always admire the beautiful ones you wear and how awesome they look on you. Mom loves nice collars for us too, but our coats are so thick that our collars are almost invisible. And we also need to add that pink is definitely your color:)

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  26. Fabulous informative post Bunny!!

    We'll have to look up that dog collar museum. Ashamed we didn't know about it when we are IN England.

    You found some wonderful (if scarey) pictures there.

    Any chance you could tell us where you get you lovely collars from? I LOVED the Hallowe'en one you wore last week.

    Love Winnie xxx

  27. That was very interesting!!

  28. Really interesting post! Thanks for sharing!

    Kodi x

  29. Thanks for that great explanation! I admit to being curious myself but that makes complete sense.

    Your dogs always have such pretty new colours. It makes me feel guilty as my Shiva only has one. But she has more than enough bones to make up for the loss!

  30. That woz furry interesting and I did not knows that about collahs being protekshun fur our necks in the olden days. Thank you fur sharing that.

  31. Wonderful post. We went to the Leeds Castle website and it was fabulous! I don't blame you for wanting to go :)

    Bunny looks beautiful in pink!

    Emma Rose

  32. I did not know about the collars - some of those look heavy!! Thanks for the lesson!

  33. We wear martingales too, but for a different reason - believe me, our heads are MORE than big enough to keep a collar from sliding off. Mom likes to use chain martingales because that way we can wear a wide collar, but still there isn't much bulk under our necks (what little neck we have, anyways!). Plus the martingale is easier on us, since it tightens slowly instead of jerking us to a stop if we should happen to hit the end of the leash quickly (not that we'd do such a thing, hehehe). We kind of have a collar fetish - must be about 20 of them between us! Humans have shoes, we have collars!!

    Loved your post - so cool to see the antique collars!

    Brutus & Carmen

  34. Bunny what a great post. So interesting. We would never be able to wear cool collars like you guys cause we have fat necks
    Benny & Lily

  35. What a pawesome post!

    Thanks fur the evolution of the khollar in a sense!

    Khyra and The Golden Khousins

  36. That was such a furry good bloggy post to read! Our momma is a history coo-coo so her eyes were glued to the 'puter screen reading and reading and reading!

  37. That was quite educational. I never real thought about it before, but I guess it would make sense you would need a different type of collar.

  38. Thanks for answering my question! I really liked learning more about your collars. I do think the fabric collars you wear are very striking on you.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  39. We've used martingales on our great danes too. The wider surface helps protect their throat if they pull. Thanks for sharing!


  40. Hey Bunny! Great post! Those collars with the spikes on them look quite scary. I've heard of the Martindale collars before but never knew what make them different. I don't quite understand how they tighten up if needed but I'm wondering if that would be a good collar for me. I tend to slip right outta my collars. Just a bit of a tug and I'm free ;o)

  41. Miss Bunny, you look simply marvelous in your pink martingale.

    Nice essay, bet you get an "A" in history. :o)))

  42. Thanks for sharing the very interesting history of your collars!
    The first ones sure were special!
    Kisses and hugs

  43. I have always admired your beautiful collars, Bunny, butt never knew da real reason fur them. Actually, I thought is was cuz you had 'delicate' necks and didn't want them to get hurts. Silly me, it never occured to me that your head is littler than your neck!
    Very interesting!

  44. I'd like to see you wearing a martingale made out of Kermit the Frogs or bacon, a la Lady Gaga!

  45. This is such a cool post! We're not crazy about collars but Mom & Dad seem to think we need them ;) Mom is oooing and ahhing over those silver collars - she's such a magpie! She would love to see that dog collar museum, too, but until there's a bridge to England . . .
    The Road Dogs

  46. This was a terrific post Carrie - who knew? Not me! :)

  47. Gosh! Some of those collars kind of scared me. I think that you must have a pin head to have to wear the martingale. That's not a bad thing, it just is. Actually my collar can almost slip over my head because if I wear it too snug it pinches my neck folds.

    I love your sense of style. Quite the fashion hound.




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