Martingale Collars

The limited-cinch martingale collars function is popular among dogs who have a knack for backing out of traditional collars.

It’s an unsettling moment when you’re left holding a lead attached to a collar and no dog.It might be a dog putting on the brakes and pulling in the opposite direction, a dog that has mastered the art of backing out, or even a dog with a build that makes it easy for collars to slip off (think smaller heads than necks like sighthounds and greyhounds). Harnesses are one path to take for those dogs who seem to magically escape their collars (or “houdini” dogs). However, martingales can be a great alternative for people wanting to stick with a collar.

Frequently Asked Questions

Martingale collars look similar to a traditional flat collar, but a short section of the collar is actually a smaller loop of either webbing or a chain with a lead attachment point. When clipped into a lead, it uses a limited amount of cinching to keep a dog from backing out of their collar. You’ll sometimes hear them called no-slip collars, limited-slip collars, and even greyhound collars. “Greyhound collars” comes from the early inspiration for the design. Dogs whose heads are more narrow than their necks – like greyhounds and whippets – have a harder time slipping out of a martingale collar than they would a traditional flat collar. They've grown in popularity among more than just slim-headed dog breeds. Any dog who has a knack for backing out of a regular collar can benefit from a martingale.

When a dog either stops, backs up, or tries to slip its head out of the collar by putting tension on the lead, the collar cinches a limited amount, preventing the dog from slipping out when fit properly.

Martingales are a safer alternative to a choke collar. The tightening action makes it easy to confuse martingale collars with choke collars, which tighten an infinite amount. By design, martingale collars only tighten a small amount and then stop (see image below). That built-in limit works in tandem with a proper fit to tighten just enough to keep your dog from slipping their collar while minimizing the potential for harm from the collar tightening or squeezing.

A martingale should be adjusted to fit so that when the collar’s cinch is fully tightened, the collar fits snug around your dog’s neck. That way, it's loose when there's no tension on the lead or collar, but then tightens just enough to prevent your dog from backing out of their collar when they pull on the lead.

If your dog slips out of or backs out of their collar, you may consider getting a martingale collar. Sometimes, being on a lead is a matter of safety for your dog (on a busy trail, near a busy road), so slipping out of a collar could be problematic. Martingales are a great option for keeping you and your pup connected when on-lead.