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Collars, leads and harnesses
30th July 2013

by Sandra Pearce

A monthly snapshot and analysis of a different sector within the UK pet industry



Market research company AMA estimates the collars, leads and harnesses category to be worth about RSP £20 million. The market is largely fragmented, with a number of distributors and manufacturers in play.


Although these products are predominantly for dogs and puppies, some have been released for cats and small animals such as ferrets, guinea pigs and rabbits.

The category is a strong seller for Rosewood Pet Products, which has a large range including the Wag N Walk fashion and designer ranges, nylon Puppy Fashion, soft weave collars and leads, rope twist and slip leads and shock resistant leads.


Rosewood has added more colours options to its soft weave puppy and small dog collar & lead range, and two new designs to its puppy fashion nylon range


Rosewood’s Eleanor Tompkins says they have seen growing sales for puppy and small dog collars and leads. “We have therefore added more lines to our luxury soft weave and nylon puppy fashion range to increase retailer and consumer choice,” she said.

A collar is usually the first thing an owner buys for a puppy, says Collarways’ Gabriela Lerner, and owners usually buy two to three collars during the growing phase of a dog. She said: “Collars also have a lot of wear and tear so it’s definitely something that owners will replace several times during the lifespan of the dog. For many, the collar and lead they buy for their dog is very much an expression of their own taste and the individuality they want their dog to express. We have always focused on the higher quality, premium-priced products as we believe that owners value a collar or harness that looks good and lasts for many years.”


Left: New patterns and colours keep interest growing, says Collarways’ Gabriela, and right: Cycle Dog is made from bicycle inner tubes


Collarways’ Lupine range has a “unique ‘even-if-chewed’ guarantee”, and regular launches of new patterns generates renewed interest.

Ancol also keeps an eye on fashions, and director Simon Lane notes that polka is still a favourite. He said: “When you look at some of the large high street designs and the shabby chic collections, vintage designs fare very well with the UK buying public. Our vintage leather and vintage polka patterns did very well last year, and we think the designs still have headroom to grow sales.”


Left: Orange Mirage is a new pattern to the Spiffy Dog Air Collar range. Right: flex’s new NEON retractable dog lead


Xtra Dog has introduced four new patterns to its Spiffy Dog Air Collar range: Grey Cosmo, Fade to Pink, Orange Mirage and Blue Sunset feature highly embroidered New England-style patterns. The Air Collar is made from a soft, lightweight and quick-drying fabric called Aerospacer – the same material as running shoes, making the collars comfortable.

Many companies are sourcing new materials to tempt customers. Collarways, for instance, has launched a new concept – Cycle Dog is made from recycled bicycle inner tubes. The naturally water repellent and mould-and-mildew-resistant collars should ‘easily withstand the rough treatment of outdoor activities’.

At Ancol, attention this year will focus on its webbing collar and lead range. “Ancol has improved the appearance of the nylon webbing with the introduction of satin hardware. This new surface finish adds an air of sophistication and exclusivity to a core range. The new metal fittings do cost more, but we feel the product is much more attractive and should encourage new sales,” said Simon.


Left: Bergan harnesses have been safety tested in the US. Right: Canny Colossus is made for giant breeds


Size-specific collars and leads are also popular, and The Canny Company has launched the Canny Colossus, aimed at giant breeds. The launch is the company’s first for several years, and marks the beginning of the ‘expansion of the Canny range’, says MD Sean McElherron. This training collar can prevent pulling, and is made specifically for giant breeds such as Newfoundlands, Neapolitan Mastiffs and St Bernards. He explained: “We’ve taken the original concept of the Canny Collar with its unique ‘behind-the-head’ design and beefed up all the components to include an industrial-sized buckle and wider, padded collar for added comfort. We wanted a product designed to withstand the extra workload of the larger breeds, but providing the same simplicity of use as the Canny Collar.”


EasyWalk Head Collar from PetSafe, and the EasyWalk Cat Harness and Lead


PetSafe also has its solution to pulling with its Easy Walk training system. The Easy Walk Harness with its front-chest lead attachment helps the owner take control and redirect the dog’s attention if necessary, while the Easy Walk Head noseband design helps steer the dog by the nose, causing the body to follow. PetSafe also has the Easy Walk Cat Harness & Lead for cats, providing greater safety, comfort and humane control.

Xtra Dog has launched the Bergan and Pet Friendly range of car harnesses, and its director Alex Wilson has called for more regulation. He explained: “The special seats in cars for children have to be tested and carry a necessary kitemark, yet dogs can be transported in un-tested car harnesses. It frightens me that most car harnesses in the UK have had no safety testing... even equipment sold by big name companies and products endorsed by motoring organisations have not had proper crash testing or even safety testing.”

In the USA, a standard has been developed, which the Bergan harnesses have been met.

Safety issues are also being addressed with collars, and one such example is flexi’s new reflective Neon lead range – flexi is world renowned for its range of retractable dog leads. Its new Neon tape and Neon cord ‘guarantee permanent reflection and brightness all year long’, while the Giant L Neon, with 8m tape leash and soft grip, is meant for the more agile or larger dog up to 50kg. A spokesman said: “We believe that functionality is an important factor. flexi combines elaborate designs with high quality standards and functionality, which is why we have our own design and development department here in Bargteheide, Germany.”