If you are a dog owner, you probably take your canine’s collar for granted – almost as an extension of the dog himself. But have you ever stopped to think about the origins of collars and their journey through the years? We combed through the timeline of dog collars and picked out some of the most fascinating nuggets of information – so get stuck in:
# Leather dog collars were first used as a fashion statement in Ancient Egypt
Pharaohs and Queens from the pre-Dynastic era in Ancient Egypt are believed to be the first dog owners who used ornate leather dog collars as an accessory for their companion rather than a means to restrain them. The leather dog collars were decorated with precious metals, and became increasingly more elaborate as dog ownership grew in popularity.
# Dog collars were used for protection in Ancient Greece and Rome
In early Grecian and Roman societies where dogs were used to defend livestock as well as for companionship, leather dog collars featured studs or spikes as a way to protect canines from predators.
In small Greek farms here cattle, sheep and other domestic animals were often targeted by wolves, the dogs who herded them were also at risk. The metal spikes protruding from their leather collars were designed to protect dogs’ necks from wolf bites.
# Dog collars served as a sign of status during the Middle Ages
Dog owners used padlocked leather dog collars to establish their ownership of a pet during the Middle Ages. The canine’s owner will have the only key to the padlock of the dog collar, which will often be lavishly designed as a display of their upper class status, power and wealth. Leather dog collar designs of the time often featured precious metals (much like the Egyptian fashion), as well as priceless gems.
It was also around that time that middle class people started keeping dogs as pets. The collars they used for canines, however, were much simpler, often made from plain affordable leather and finished off with the padlock owners can use to prove ownership of the dog.
# The Industrial Revolution also revolutionised dog collar fashion
The Industrial Revolution was another key moment in the history of collars. Previously made manly from leather, dog collars of the time started commonly featuring other materials, such as brass, silver and gold as well. Owners would often engrave their names on the collar of their pet, alongside any witty sayings they found suited their companion.
These first steps in versatility really took off, leading to the contemporary proliferation of choices when it comes to dog collars. Today, you can find dog collar in any material and any style (from utilitarian to designer), complete with various gadgets or baubles.
# The Invisible Fence changed canine lives
Invented by a travelling salesman in 1973, the Invisible Fence provided an alternative way for dog owners restricted by the Home Owners Association rules on fences and dog pens to contain their pets and protect them from getting run over. The fence works by sending electrical signals to the dog collar, and has saved dozens of animal lives over the past four and a half decades.
# The essential accessory
Modern day dog collars have transcended their practical application to become a billion pound industry, which provides dog owners with the opportunity to make a fashion statements with their dog’s collars. Collars for different occasions, collars tailor made for your dog using precious metals – the sky is the limit!