At the 2010 H.H. Backer show last month, we got the inside scoop on what makes quality leather, like that used in Diamond Dogs UK’s high end dog collars. Joanne, a collar expert at their UK facility, explains how she got into dog collaring from her love of horses and fashion. 35 years ago she began working on English bridle leather in shops in the UK and the Netherlands, and in 1993 she made the jump from horse tack to dog collars, and Diamond Dogs was born.
The bridle leather used in Diamond Dogs collars is tanned to be supple yet strong, gaining in softness over the years while maintaining its durability. Some dogs, Joanne tells us, need this softness as they have delicate skin. Today most dog collar leather is tanned using chromium, which decreases the longevity of the leather and causes it to crack and irritate the skin over time. Chromium can also be harmful to the environment as a by-product of the tanning process. Diamond Dogs UK only uses all natural vegetable oils, combined with centuries old tanning secrets passed down through the generations of leather artisans.
Because producing quality leather is such an art, it is usually a family business — no one person can start doing this on their own, as it requires years of combined experience. Joanne remembers growing up around the leather process. The company does not often hire out because it is not possible to train someone to do what they do. Not everyone’s background is in dog collars — some come from shoes or belts. But the experience in leather is what counts. Getting excited about dog collars is the easy part.
Joanne tells us more about the durability of this leather — it can take whatever abuse your dog can dish out, and even get wet without compromising its strength and texture. She recommends laying wet leather out to air dry. Any amount of freshwater play is okay, but avoid saltwater if you can. If your dog just has to have his day at the beach, no problem. Just rinse the collar thoroughly with fresh water, air dry, and apply leather conditioner. Joanne’s dogs swim in freshwater almost every day, and her oldest dog (15) even wears the same leather collar she had made for him when he was nine months old. All thirteen of her dogs proudly (and comfortably) wear Diamond Dogs UK leather.
Diamond Dogs UK’s leather tradition is as old as the foxhunt — but what’s new with Diamond Dogs UK? This year they’re debuting a new red and blue Swarovski pattern, a new turquoise stone, and retractable leads with Swarovski crystal, and available matching purses.
Check out Diamond Dogs UK‘s wide selection of haute couture dog collars at Dog Collar Boutique.