Your dog’s signature accessory

Does your dog have an accessory that you totally identify with them? For some, it’s a color (like a Yorkie I know who only wears purple) or a pattern (Bosco, my Dachshund, doesn’t look like himself without his navy and white gingham collar).

Bosco wearing a navy blue and white gingham collar
Bosco is a 16-lb Dachshund and he’s wearing a Medium collar

The collar is that signature thing — a part of their identity and look — that they always have on. Which is why collars are so much fun to design and make!

It’s not just a place to clip a leash

For small dogs, I recommend a harness over a collar for hooking your leash, to protect delicate necks. (I’m actually working on a harness design right now — sign up below for updates) But even if you don’t hook a leash to your dog’s collar, it’s still a basic necessity. At the very least it’s a good place to hang an ID tag in case your pup gets lost. But the collar also lives at that intersection of your personal style and the personality of your dog. It reminds me of the way parents express their style with outfits for their little kids: it’s a blend of their own style and what they see in their child.

My quest for special and personal

When we first adopted our dog, Pipsqueak, she came with a paper collar.

Pipsqueak on the day I adopted her from HALO animal shelter

I showed up at the shelter without any sort of collar, leash…anything — a totally unprepared new dog mom! The next day, we bought a standard nylon webbing collar, just to feel the need. It was so dull and impersonal. Plus, even though it fit her properly, it was too narrow for my taste. It had one of those side-release plastic buckles that always made me nervous to use — it was so easy to pinch her fur or skin in it.

A chance to express your style

After I created Oxford Dogma, I had many dog parents ask if I make collars. I never wanted to make them just to make them. I wanted to find a way to put my own spin on them. And so I designed a collar that I was excited about and I just love how it looks on dogs!

Pipsqueak in her new black and white gingham collar-2
It’s hard to believe this is the same little girl I adopted two years ago! Her new handcrafted collar is so much nicer than the original nylon webbing one we bought — and the paper one from the shelter ;) Pipsqueak is a 10-lb Chihuahua/Jack Russell/Mini Poodle mix and she’s wearing a size Small collar

I use familiar materials like cotton and silk + classic colors like navy blue, camel, red, pink, yellow + timeless patterns like plaid, gingham, stripes, and corduroy. It’s just so cute to see pups in these sophisticated and refined styles — the juxtaposition is a delight.

The materials are upcycled from garments that I hand-select. I get especially excited when I find something from Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, or other iconic preppy designers. Using these materials feels good because the final products are more unique than if I sourced my materials from the same place as other makers, and I also like reducing the resource impact on the plant. Re-using over buying new is my preference.

I designed them so they’re wide enough in proportion to the dog for a nice, strong band of color and pattern around their neck. They’re strong and sturdy, getting thicker as the size goes up for larger dogs. But they’re soft and flexible, to be comfortable to wear and touch.

Originally there were three sizes (small, medium, and large) but recently I added an extra small size for the littlest dogs.

gingham and plaid collection-9
This stack of collars shows how the four sizes (XS through L) compare to each other

One of my favorite elements of this preppy-looking collar is the metal buckle. I don’t have to apologize to my dog for accidentally pinching her in a plastic buckle anymore! ( I still find myself apologizing to Bosco almost daily when my feet bump into him under the table during dinner. But that’s another story…)

And while I love a refined and classy look, I also love things that are easy to take care of. So I made sure this collar stands up to being washed in the machine. If it gets a little grungy, just pop it in the washing machine, on a gentler cycle. Bosco tends to get a little messier than his sister, so I hit his with a stain remover (Zout is my absolute favorite) before washing and it comes out all clean and bright. I do recommend laying flat to dry instead of putting it in the dryer — that helps make it last longer so you are able to use it for a good long time.

We’re entering the time for holiday portraits! Have you considered getting your dog a new signature accessory for your family photo?

Choosing the right collar for your dog

You may be wondering how to choose the right size collar to order for your fur baby. Here are some tips to help you measure:

  • If you have a printer, you can use my collar sizing tool (just make sure it’s printing at actual size, and not shrinking or enlarging)
  • If you don’t have a printer, you can use something long and flexible, like a strip of paper or a shoelace, to wrap around your dog’s neck. Note where the end meets, and lay it flat on a ruler for length.
  • Or if you don’t have a ruler, measure the strip against something standard like a regular business card (which is 3 ½ x 2), or a sheet of 8 ½ x 11 paper.

Once you have their neck circumference, you’ll know which size collar to zero in on:

  • for neck measurement of about 6 to 8 inches, choose an Extra Small collar
  • for 8 to 10 inches, choose Small
  • for 10 to 13 inches, choose Medium
  • and for 14-17 inches, go with Large

To pick out a new collar for your dog, visit my shop. You can view by size, or browse the entire collection. If you see something you like but it’s not available in the right size, just contact me about a custom order.