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: www.rawdogleather.com . 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 Blockydogs.com - 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 Bridgeportequipment.com - 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 Scaferkennel.com (it's hard to find on the site, so here is the direct URL: http://www.schaferkennel.com/D16.html ) . 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