Collars (and why we don't make them)

collars (and why we don't make them)We had a wonderful time on Sunday at the Greyhound Rescue Wales Summer Fair. It stayed dry (mostly) and it was lovely to catch up with friends old and new. It was also very inspiring to see the changes in the Sanctuary since we were last there in October, and to see how much care is being taken to give hounds waiting for homes everything they need. We even came home with a rosette for Callie.

Like all the events we attend, it gave us a great opportunity to meet our customers – both canine and human. We love getting feedback and it’s also very interesting to see which fabrics people choose, and the colours they go for. One question we regularly get asked at shows is “Do you make collars?”    

The answer is No, we don’t and I just wanted to explain briefly why. Like most pointy owners, we do have a bit of a collar habit. Our four hounds have special collars (and matching leads) for Christmas, and most of the hounds have at least two each, one for everyday and one for special occasions. I’m quite sure we could easily indulge in a few more, especially given the beautiful fabrics that are now available. However, I’m very conscious that a collar is not simply a fashion accessory. No matter how good your hounds’ post-adoption training, when you are out on a walk, the collar and lead is also a safety feature. If one of our hounds saw a moving cat on the other side of the road when we are on our way to the park, I know that years of training and instinct will kick in, and they will try to chase. At this point, the collar and lead has to hold steady up to 37kg of eager muscle, anxious to get across the road. And if you’ve ever been in this situation, the split second reaction and sheer explosive power of a leaping greyhound is pretty impressive, even when they are veterans like our four.  

The two companies we use ourselves for our own hounds are 2 Hounds Designs and Meggie Moo. We have items from 2 Hounds that are now nearly eight years old and still looking like new, even though they are frequently washed. Meggie Moos’ collars and leads are a more recent discovery but I’ve been thrilled by the quality of the workmanship, the top notch hardware and the superb range of fabrics. Meggie Moo regularly sends her collar components for strength testing in an industrial laboratory – an excellent idea and one that confirms again her commitment to quality and safety. 

Since we first started looking at collars when we were newbie greyhound owners, the market has exploded and there are now many, many businesses involved in selling them. We’ve been tempted by a few (especially as we go to so many shows, and thus see lots and lots of stalls) but there have been some near misses with leads coming off poor D rings, and stitching that isn’t top quality. 

All this is getting to the main point – I believe that to make collars well, you should specialise in them and really understand your product. There are fantastic businesses out there who do that. 

We are very happy to be specialists in greyhound coats and bandanas. I think that if we tried to make collars we would not do a good job, and most importantly, hound safety is too important to mess about with.    

There’s a Facebook page here which is campaigning for a British standard for dog collars, harnesses and car harnesses, and there’s a petition here, which also includes some background to the campaign. I think a British or European standard is an excellent idea. 

I hope this explains our decision. (NB neither of the businesses I’ve mentioned know that I’m sending this email, and we have no financial connections to either of them, simply that of being very satisfied customers).

Published: 23rd July 2014