Welcoming a new lab into the family? Read on for how to size a collar properly for you new lab puppy.
Labrador Dog Collars and the Law
In many parts of the world, dogs must legally wear a collar when out in public. For your dog collar to meet legal requirements, you’ll probably need to have an identity tag. This is usually a disk attached to the collar, with your phone number and name on it.
Collars can display IDs in a number of different ways. Some collars come with a brass or stainless steel plate attached to the surface, others have a metal ring for you to attach a tag onto. Others will embroider the ID into fabric or tool it into leather. These last two methods are most often used for adding the dog’s name, whereas a metal plaque or disk is usually a better way to display a telephone number and your own name.
Some pet parents really like the idea of having their dog’s name written clearly on the surface of the collar. But others feel that this is a dangerous thing to do. The concern in the past has been that knowing a dog’s name might make him an easy target for thieves. But most dogs are always supervised when outdoors, and many dogs are also microchipped so proof of ownership is more easily accomplished.
Unless your dog is very friendly and spends time outdoors on his own, having his name on his collar is unlikely to put him at risk.
A collar is the traditional way of attaching a restraint to a dog, for the purposes of keeping him safe. Before harnesses were invented this was an essential feature of life in a modern world, where cars and other hazards are everywhere. But in many homes and families, a collar has become something of a fashion statement too. A whole industry has arisen to meet the demand for different fabrics and styles.
Instead of going out to buy a collar that looks like everyone else’s, you can now choose something charming or exciting. One that suits your dog’s personality as well as your own. But before we look at the choice available, and discuss how to get the right size collar for your dog, let’s just quickly mention training collars.
Many people look on a collar, as an aid to training their dog how to walk on a leash. A way to get their dog to tread along nicely next to them, without dragging or pulling them along. They want to choose a collar that will best help them in this goal. And quickly discover that putting pressure on a standard collar doesn’t stop their dog from ignoring their pleas to ‘walk nicely’.
Several different types of collar have been invented in order to enable dog owners to ‘correct’ their dogs when they pull. Prong collars and pinch collars have been designed that are uncomfortable and even painful when a dog leans into them. The problem of course, is that pulling is often very rewarding for a dog (he gets nearer to the destination he likes). So collars usually have to be quite painful if they are to successfully stop the pulling.
Collars that can be used to pinch and choke dogs, are becoming less popular, as more and more dog owners want to train without using unpleasant aversives. And fortunately there are now excellent ways of teaching a dog to walk nicely without using collars at all.
And in the meantime you might find it helpful to have a strong pulling dog fitted with a body harness that will give you more control without damaging his neck. Before you set off on a Labrador collar shopping expedition, you will need to think about sizes. And to know your Labrador neck size.
Not all collars are made in sizes large enough for an adult Lab. And one adult Lab will not have the same neck size as another. So you do need to whip out your tape measure in order to avoid disappointment
Both my Labs have an 18 inch neck. They are medium build slim Labradors. A classic stocky English Lab is likely to have a bigger neck so I’d say allow for 20 inches. But it really is best to measure. If your dog is a wriggler, just get someone to dip their fingers in some butter and let the dog lick it off while you take his measurements!
Collars for adult Labs are usually about an inch wide – this allows enough space for a small ID plaque if desired.
What size collar should a Labrador puppy wear?
Labrador puppies grow quite a bit in their first year of life, which means that you’ll need to replace their puppy collar.
However, it’s important to start with a puppy collar or a collar designed for small dogs, instead of a collar designed for full-grown dogs, for a few reasons.
Puppy collars aren’t usually as wide as collars designed for medium or large adult dogs.
They’re also often designed with lighter buckles or materials.
Together, these things make for a collar that’s less cumbersome and more comfortable for a puppy.
Puppy collars come in smaller sizes than adult collars, but there are still several sizes to choose from.
Some people use weight as a way to estimate what size collar to get.
Puppies, or dogs of any age, that weigh less than 10 pounds generally need a collar that’s 12 inches or less in length. Dogs that weigh between 11 and 25 pounds usually need collars between 11 and 15 inches long. Dogs that weigh between 26 and 55 pounds may need a slightly longer collar, usually between 13 and 18 inches. Collars that measure between 16 and 24 inches are best for dogs that weigh between 56 and 80 pounds.
Lab puppies gain about 2 pounds for every week of life until they reach their adult size, which is somewhere between 55 and 79 pounds, depending on the dog‘s gender.
This means that a puppy that’s eight weeks old will weigh about 16 pounds, and it will probably need a collar that’s about 11 or 12 inches long.
This is usually considered to be a small dog collar.
It’s a good idea to get a collar that’s a couple of inches longer than you think you’ll need, as this allows for growth.
Also, you can always buckle a collar so that it’s shorter, but you can’t make a collar longer.
|Labrador weight||Collar size|
|Less than 10 pounds||12 inches or less|
|11 to 25 pounds||11 to 15 inches|
|26 to 55 pounds||13 to 18 inches|
|56 to 80 pounds||16 to 24 inches|
How to Measure Your Puppy’s Collar Size
Buy a collar to fit your Labrador puppy’s size now, not the size they will be when fully grown. If your puppy is young, you’ll likely need to buy multiple collars as they grow.
The collar size your Labrador puppy needs depends on their age and size. Some puppies grow faster than others, so it’s best to measure their necks before buying a collar.
Adjustable collars that size up are best, as they’ll need to be replaced less often than collars that only fit at the biggest size.
Here’s how to measure your Labrador puppy’s collar size:
A properly fitting collar is snug, but never tight. You should be able to tuck two fingers under their collar when it’s on.
For young puppies in particular, always ensure the collar is loose to allow for growth. A collar that’s too tight may choke your puppy or injure their neck.
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What size collar would a lab need?