Monday, October 13, 2008

The Quest for Pit Bull-proof Gear

I am a leash and collar snob. No doubt about it. I turn my nose up at the pathetic excuses for dog gear at the local pet supermarkets. Plastic snaps, cheap feels-like-plastic leather, hardware that doesn't even deserve to be called such. Every so often I feel compelled to pick up one of these almost-comical contraptions and scoff in an indignant way, "Put this on my dog? For serious? Bah!"

In all fairness, I don't have your average dog, so your average collar just won't cut it. Pit Bulldogs require a little something "more". They need bigger, thicker, stronger, better collar and leash fare. This isn't just about snootiness and needing "special" gear, this is a utilitarian issue (ok, there might be a tad bit of bully-owner snootiness there). But finding bulldog-tough gear isn't always easy. Through the years I've often double-collared and -leashed (ugh, an-NOY-ing!), and although I've never actually had one of the sub-par items I've been forced to resort to now and again break on me (:knock on wood:), the threat is always looming overhead as imminent.

I've been driven to search far and low for items I feel comfortable using and recommending as bully-proof, and I've experimented with many styles and brands. I've spent more money on collars and leads than I will ever admit to, and sadly even some of the stuff labeled as heavy duty doesn't feel quite good enough. I felt fairly certain that an agitation leash - you know, an attack dog leash - would surely do the job. But when the leash actually arrived, the hardware frankly scared me. After only a couple months of use, the leather around the snap of the lead was starting to wear, as was my patience.

Once I purchased items labeled bulldog-proof. When I got the items, they were certainly bulldog-tough, but so tough in fact that comfort flew right out the window. I'm not a sissy, but I AM a girl and I don't want to have to wear gloves when I walk my dog to protect myself from 3rd degree leather burns and blisters. Ok, so these leashes were bulldog-proof, but only suitable for construction worker owners with sufficiently tough hands. Plus I thought my dog looked uncomfortable in a two-inch wide stiff leather collar.

But seek and ye shall find. It's not all bad, and as time goes on, I discover true gems amidst the mega-tons of coal. Like, my recent discovery of Raw Dog Leather: . Coolest leather leashes I've come by, totally custom and offered with a lifetime warranty. I just got my first one yesterday and boy do I love it! This is the first truly comfortable, heavy-duty leash I've found. (They make collars, too! Oh boy!)

Collar-wise, there is the popular - and "blocky", they aren't kiddin'. I have a martingale style from this company. The craftsmanship is beautiful, although after a month of use, the collar is still pretty stiff. I'd recommend these for only the biggest, gnarliest dogs. But do I feel safe walking my dog in this collar? You bet. Feels good .

There is a really nice, basic leather leash from - this is the simple "obedience leash", and I LOVE mine. Although I don't feel entirely safe using this on a super strong dog, my leash has gotta be 3 or 4 years old by now and it's not a day worse for wear then when I first got it. Soft and comfy leash, too.

Lastly, there is the martingale collar from (it's hard to find on the site, so here is the direct URL: ) . It is a really nice, middle of the road collar for smaller bullies or more laid back dogs. Actually, I've had one of these on my nutcase 70-pounder for several years now and have had zero problems with it. Still, I like something a little heavier, just because I'm definitely a Murphey's Law kinda gal.

So right now, my boy is sporting the Blocky Dogs blue martingale with silver stripe, and the 6-ft Raw Dog leather leash with silver bull snap. Ruff, rugged and ready to go. This might be the first time in my life that I don't feel the need to double collar. Ahhhh, the freedom!

~Mary, RPB Founder/Director


Our Pack said...

Thanks for this blog! I'm gonna check out the Blocky dog martingales!

I hate that feeling that the "line is about to snap".

emilysilversage said...

I like Cetacea's chain martingale with a metal quick release. (you have to special order the metal buckle, but it only adds a $1 or so to the price)

Freedom Pup said...

You should check out for some awesome collars and leashes.

He makes them himself and does an awesome job. Also, the bulk prices CANNOT be beat! Any rescue, kennel or prepared person can buy 10 or more at a time and save a ton or money. We use these exclusively on our dogs and he donates a great deal of merchandise to for raffles.

Another great collar company is Also all hand made, but with a few more personalized touches for the consumer who wants to look slightly showier.

GREAT QUALITY ON BOTH and both are great advocates for the breed. Donating time and products to help spread the word about BSL.