Italian Greyhound: Collar or harness?

italian greyhound collar and harness blog article
Collar or harness? Which is better for my Italian Greyhound? I wonder if there are any iggy owners who haven’t had this dilemma at least once.
Will be straight-forward here: there is no one answer to that question. It very much depends on your iggy, its personality, personal traits & how much dedication you have to train it to walk nicely (yep, that’s important too!).
In this blog post you will find the comparison of different types of collars. Oh yes, it’s not only the choice between a collar or a harness for Italian Greyhounds. There are so many different collars available: materials, width, fastening… Oh dog!
What’s more, we’ll run the overview of some of the harnesses and cover the most important points about how to choose those correctly
But let me begin with our own story. If you’re following our lives here or on social media, you already know that we live with two Italian Greyhounds. Harvey is 5 and Oliver is 3 years old. Both our dogs had graduated (as funny as it sounds) basic training courses, yet we still have quite some challenges while taking a walk. Oliver is simply crazy about sniffing. I know, I know, many dogs are excited about new smells but with him… It’s a totally different story. He is literally crazy about it. Imagine a 60 minute walk when every single second your Italian Greyhound is pulling. Left, right. More to the right. Aaaand suddenly left again. And this is going on & on & on & on. Kill. Me. Now. 
italian greyhound couple dressed
As I lost trust in my own judgment, I’ve reached out for help. During the session with a professional trainer we played games and did some exercise. By the end of the meeting I had the conclusion. Oliver was a really extraordinary Italian Greyhound with an exceptional desire for sniffing. I needed to immediately start working on it, teaching to obey and not to pull on cue. I needed to somehow make myself more important than those incredible smells.

What to choose for my Italian Greyhound: harness or collar?

Why am I telling this whole story? Well, the decision of whether to go for a collar or a harness is always important. But it's even more important, if you need to solve some walking challenges or train a puppy to walk on a leash. Harnesses by default are convenient to pull. There is no trouble or discomfort to keep pulling the owner all the time. While it’s a totally different story when it comes to collars. Depending on its type, it mildly chokes a dog when pulled. That is why the puppy trainers usually advise to start on leash training with a collar instead of harness. It’s inconvenient while the dog pulls & gets loose when the dog stops pulling. Once an iggy learns to pull, it’s extremely hard to retrain it. And the problem with iggies, same as with other small breed dogs is that at first humans don’t see pulling as an issue. I mean - it’s a small, lovely, cute dog. What if it pulls a bit? The problem grows together with a dog. Do you really want to be always pulled during every single walk? I don’t. Anymore. 
 italian greyhound couple

What collar is the best for an Italian Greyhound?

Collar is the most popular dog accessory in the world! That’s why there are endless options to choose from when looking for a new one. Hand-made, customizable… You name it! Just look at these amazing collars – pieces of art! How not to get lost in the oceans of different types? Let’s dive into some of the most popular materials & types.
 choosing a collar for italian greyhound tips

Overview of collar types:

  1. Flat collar: A flat collar is the most basic type of collar. It consists of a simple strip of material that fastens around your dog's neck with a buckle or snap. It is commonly used for everyday wear and can hold identification tags. For an Italian Greyhound? Not a perfect choice but Yes.
  2. Martingale collar: A martingale collar is a type of flat collar that has an additional loop that tightens when your dog pulls on the leash. It provides more control over your dog's movements without causing choking or injury. This can often be seen on fabulous necks of greyhound breeds. To put it on you need to pull it over the head which is quick and… as it doesn’t have a fastening mechanism, it will never fail or break. It’s a great choice for iggy owners but be always cautious - when your iggy is running free, they may lose it. For an Italian Greyhound? Yes yes yes!
  3. Lurcher collars: These are the most popular collars within the greyhound family! As the name itself explains, lurrrrchers are where it originated from. The wide collar style protects dogs’ neck and throat from forceful pulling. It's important when they suddenly see a fast moving object or are keen on pulling in general. Italian Greyhounds need pretty specific cuts because of their fragile necks and desire to pull. That's why this one is just perfect!  The collar can be equally wide or narrow at the point of fastening, making it elegant. There are many fastening mechanisms of these collars. For example, they could have metal or plastic snaps or be martingale type collars. We simply love the latter! Lurcher collars are perfect for iggies as they tend to be softer to the sensitive and gentle necks. For an Italian Greyhound? Yes, yes yes!
  4. Breakaway collar: The collar is typically made with a quick-release mechanism. It could be a plastic clip or a buckle that is designed to come apart if the collar becomes caught on something. This allows the dog to escape and avoid injury or strangulation. It could be a good idea to have such a collar if your Italian Greyhound spends a lot of time outdoors and is at risk of getting snagged on fences or branches. But who are we kidding, most of the iggies prefer a blanket over a branch :) For an Italian Greyhound? Not the first choice but if needed, yes.
  5. Choke chain collar: A choke chain collar is a type of chain collar that tightens around your dog's neck when you pull on the leash. Though it is not recommended for most dogs. It can cause injury and should only be used under the guidance of a professional dog trainer. No dogs should be forced to wear it. Hrrr, imagine an Italian Greyhound wearing one! Im-po-ssi-ble. SKIP! For an Italian Greyhound? OMG, NO NO NO.
  6. Prong collar: also known as a pinch collar, is a type of collar that has metal prongs that pinch your dog's neck when you pull on the leash. Like the choke chain collar, it should only be used under the guidance of a professional dog trainer. But to be honest, I am a strong advocate of banning it in general. No dog should be forced to wear. When talking about Italian Greyhounds (and any other greyhound!), there’s not even a question - SKIP, RUN AWAYFor an Italian Greyhound? OMG, NO NO NO.
  7. Electronic collar: also known as an e-collar or shock collar, is a type of collar that uses a remote control to deliver an electric shock to your dog. It is extremely controversial and in our opinion, they should be banned and made illegal to use on any dog. Not even mentioning Italian Greyhounds. For an Italian Greyhound? NO DOGS SHOULD BE FORCED WEARING IT.
All in all, the perfect choices for Italian Greyhound collars are martingale or a lurcher. Flat and break away collars can be a good option too as an alternative, yet they are not so soft and comfy for gentle necks of iggys.

Overview of materials & fabrics for iggy collars

Materials of which iggy collars are made are no less important than the type of collar itself. Here’s a quick overview on the most durable, soft and popular options:
  1. Leather: Leather collars are durable, stylish, and comfortable for dogs to wear. They are available in a range of colors and styles. Though it’s very important to choose soft leather which is gentle to the neck. If the edges are rough and the leather itself is stiff, it’ll not be comfy for your iggy. Choose a soft leather martingale or lurcher - it’s a perfect choice. It’s important to mention that genuine leather collars tend to get softer when worn a number of times. It’s like a good wine & cheese - gets better with age. Haha 🙂 One of the lovely examples of genuine leather hand-made collar brands for Italian Greyhounds could be Pawsh Collar
  2. Vegan leather: Oh, this is a great option though, unfortunately, still quite some underestimated. It is believed that real leather is more durable and soft but, oh boy! What a mistake to think so. Vegan or faux leather collars quite often are of the same durability and comfort as genuine leather. A great example of this could be Collars of Sweden vegan leather collars. Our iggies wear & are super excited about black vegan leather martingale x lurcher collars.italian greyhound vegan collar martingale
    Collars of Sweden collar & Harvoola Candy Pop shirt

  3. Nylon & Neoprene: Super popular options of collars are nylon. These are lightweight, affordable, and easy to clean. They are available in a wide variety of colors and designs. If you’re up for one for your Italian Greyhound, make sure they are wider and have a soft inner side. Quite often simple nylon collars have stiff edges which does not compliment gently iggy necks. Baltas Vėjas collars offer colorful wide nylon collars softened with neoprene. Perfect for every Italian Greyhound. italian greyhound colorful soft martingale collar
    Baltas Vėjas collar & Harvoola Sky rainproof overall
  4. Hemp: Alright, this material is not among the most popular for dog collars. However, they are a bit underestimated. Hemp collars are eco-friendly and hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for dogs with sensitive skin. Italian Greyhounds tend to have sensitive skin, don’t they? Depending on the collar type that are made from hemp fabric, it could be a very valid & stylish choice for you dog. Check out these fabulous collars from Pet Impact. 
  5. Biothane: To be perfectly honest, this is hands down my favorite one. Biothane collars are made from a synthetic material that is similar to leather, but is waterproof, odor-resistant, and easy to clean. It may look like a blend of leather and rubber. Another important thing - the durability and strength of collars (as well as leashes!) made from Biothane. They are able to withstand strong pulling. Biothane also does not stretch, which means that it maintains its shape and size over time. Sounds almost too good to be true. Our favorite brand that makes collars & leashes of Biothane is HoundSquadbiothane collar and leash for italian greyhounds
    HoundSquad collar & leash set and Harvoola Snow White onesie
    They offer a big range of accessories for all dog breeds, including Italian Greyhounds. As we’re talking about iggies, fabulousness is the key. Don’t miss a chance to check our stylish collab with this brandThe only downside we see with Biothane is that for really small iggies it could be not soft enough. However, if your iggy is not a fan of pulling, that is not an issue at all! 
  6. LED: the last but not the least in line are the LED collars for dogs. This is  a type of collar that is equipped with LED lights that can be turned on and off, making them visible in low-light conditions. They provide an extra level of safety and visibility for both the dog and the owner. It’s especially important for Italian Greyhounds as they are small and it could be trickier to follow them walking off-leash when it’s dark.  Many LED collars are made from soft, flexible materials that do not rub or irritate your dog's skin. They are also adjustable, so you can ensure a snug fit that is neither too loose nor too tight.

How to choose a harness for an Italian Greyhound?

If you decide to go with a harness for your iggy, don’t miss a chance to take into consideration some key factors.
 harness pros and cons for italian greyhounds
Italian Greyhounds are small, thin & elegant dogs, so it is important to choose a harness that fits their body size and shape. Look for a harness that is specifically designed for Italian Greyhounds (for example The Trendy Whipped offers a wide range of colors!). Size adjustment on harnesses is very important when talking about iggies. If you put on clothes, it shouldn’t be too tight. Otherwise, it’ll hurt your iggy’s underarms. It’s definitely what you want to avoid at all costs!
Figure out how & when you’ll use the harness. Is it for walking, running, hiking, or training? Different harnesses are designed for different activities, so choose one that suits your iggy’s needs. For example, a front-clip harness may be more appropriate for a dog that pulls on the leash. A back-clip harness may be better for an iggy who is calm and obedient while taking a walk.
A crucial moment here is the comfort. Choose material carefully. It’s best if the harness is made from a soft, lightweight material that does not rub or irritate your iggy’s skin. A harness with a padded chest plate or adjustable straps can provide extra comfort and support. Check a fabulous yet softened harness made by Linecru. It is specifically for Italian Greyhounds. Amazing, isn’t it?
italian greyhound harness and clothes
Linecru harness and Harvoola Peanut onesie combo
To summarize, it’s up to you what collar or harness you choose. Most likely, you will need at least a couple of those, so why not to get different options for different purposes? Just make sure your iggy feels comfortable and is safe. For the latter, always test the harness and collar at home. You’ll see if it doesn’t scratch too much and if your iggy doesn’t slip off. 
Please consider the points covered in this blog post as a personal advice and general overview only. Choose wisely and always keep your iggy safe. Safety first! 

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