How To Measure & Fit A Collar for a German Shepherd

Categorized as Appearance and Size
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Buying a collar for your German shepherd may seem like a simple task, but it’s one that often trips up even the most experienced dog owners. The reason is that most people don’t know how to measure a dog collar properly.

As a result, they either end up with a collar that’s too loose and runs the risk of falling off, or one that’s too tight and could cause discomfort or even choking.

Our guide teaches German shepherd owners how to measure their dog’s neck and select the right size collar, so they can avoid these common pitfalls. With our help, buying a collar for your furry friend will be a breeze.

A General Guideline for Fitting German Shepherd Collars

One of the most important things to keep in mind when fitting a dog collar is that it should not be too loose or too tight.

If the collar is too loose, it could slip over the dog’s head, which could be very dangerous. On the other hand, if the collar is too tight, it could restrict the dog’s breathing or cause him to cough.

If your German shepherd is still a puppy, it’s especially important to check the fit of his collar regularly. Puppies grow quickly, so their collars may need to be adjusted more frequently than adult shepherds.

While an adjustable collar allows you to loosen or tighten the fit as your puppy grows, but at some points, you will still need to buy a new collar altogether.

How To Measure a German Shepherd’s Neck

There are three ways to measure your German shepherd’s neck size. The first is to use a tape measure, the second is to use a string and ruler, and the third is to use your dog’s old collar.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to each method:

Tape Measure

  1. Place the tape measure around your German shepherd’s neck where you want the collar to sit.
  2. Pull the tape measure tight, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.
  3. Make a note of the measurement.

String and Ruler

  1. Cut a piece of string or ribbon that’s long enough to go around your German shepherd’s neck.
  2. Place the string around your dog’s neck where you want the collar to sit.
  3. Pull the string tight, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.
  4. Use a ruler or tape measure to determine the length of the string.
  5. Make a note of the measurement.

Old Collar

  1. Measure the old collar from the end of the buckle to the hole that’s currently being used.
  2. Add two inches to that measurement.
  3. Make a note of the new measurement.

Once you have your German shepherd’s neck measurement, add two inches to allow for some wiggle room. This is especially important if your dog is still growing.

Now that you know how to measure a German shepherd’s neck, it’s time to select the right size collar.

To do this, simply match up your dog’s neck size with the manufacturer’s sizing chart. This will ensure that you’re selecting the correct size collar for your dog.

For a quick reference, German shepherds weighing between 65 and 95 pounds typically need a collar that’s 18 to 24 inches in circumference.

Fitting an Adjustable Collar

When purchasing an adjustable collar, it is important to make sure that your dog’s measured neck size falls within the collar’s adjustable length range. This will ensure that the collar fits comfortably and correctly.

For example, if your dog’s neck measures 15 inches, you will need to purchase a collar that adjusts from 12-18 inches.

You can use any of the methods described above to measure your German shepherd’s neck.

Fitting Collars With a Metal Buckle

When purchasing an open-end collar, you need to round the measurement down to the nearest even-sized number. For example, if your dog’s neck measures 15 inches, you would purchase a size 14 or a size 16 collar.

What Collar is Best for a German Shepherd?

Now that you know how to measure and fit a collar for your German shepherd, it’s time to select the right type of collar.

The most common types of dog collars are flat collars, martingales, heavy-duty, and prong collars.

Flat collars are the most popular type of dog collar. They’re made from a single piece of fabric and fasten with a buckle or snap. Flat collars are available in a variety of materials, including leather, nylon, and cotton.

Martingales are similar to flat collars, but they have an additional loop of fabric or chain that tightens when the dog pulls on his leash. This helps to prevent your dog from slipping out of his collar.

Heavy-duty collars are made from thicker materials, such as leather, and are designed for dogs who are particularly strong or resistant to training.

Prong collars have metal spikes that press into the dog’s skin when he pulls on his leash. Prong collars are controversial and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified trainer.

We recommend that German Shepherds wear flat collars, martingales, and heavy-duty collars but we don’t recommend prong collars.

There are a number of reasons why we don’t recommend their use. First, prong collars can cause physical harm to dogs. The spikes on the collar can dig into the skin, causing pain and even injury.

Second, prong collars can worsen existing behavior problems. Dogs who wear prong collars are more likely to become aggressive, as they associate the pain with the presence of other dogs or people.

Finally, prong collars are simply unnecessary. With proper training and positive reinforcement, most dogs will learn to respond to their owner’s commands without the need for physical punishment.

For these reasons, we believe that prong collars should be avoided altogether.

Also read: Should My German Shepherd Wear a Collar All of the Time?


No matter which type of collar you select, make sure that it is comfortable for your dog to wear and that it is the correct size. Adjustable collars are a good option for dogs who are still growing or who gain weight frequently.

You should also take into account your dog’s activity level and temperament when selecting a collar. For example, if your dog is particularly active, you may want to choose a heavy-duty or martingale collar.

Finally, make sure that the collar you select is made from high-quality materials that will withstand your dog’s wear and tear.

If you need help choosing the right collar for your German shepherd, you may want to consult our best german shepherd collar reviews! We’ll help you find the right collar for your furry friend, whether you’re looking for something functional or fashionable.

Our reviews are full of useful information, like which collars are best for training and which ones are more stylish. And we’re always honest about the pros and cons of each option, so you can make the best decision for your dog.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.