Levrieri e martingale: quale opzione è la migliore?

Greyhounds and martingales: which option is best?

Adelchi Rainone

The martingale is a type of collar that causes pain and injury to greyhounds and other dogs and, more often than not, there are safer alternatives.

It is one of the most mistreated breeds par excellence. There are many animal protection associations specializing in this breed. Greyhounds are easy to distinguish dogs due to their body shape, which is very stylized, thin and apparently fragile. 

Many specimens belonging to this breed have been mistreated and abandoned. This is why it is rare to find one who is not afraid. We are used to seeing greyhounds with very large collars, normally made of colored fabric: this is the martingale. Today we ask ourselves whether this type of collar is the most appropriate.


What is a martingale?

A martingale is the typical graceful collar that greyhounds wear: very often it is made of leather or fabric. It is made up of two parts, one of which is fixed and ends in two rings to which a removable part attaches. If the dog pulls, the moving part tightens the neck. This way, if the dog wanted to escape, he wouldn't be able to. 

Martingales for greyhounds are particularly easy to find. Many craftsmen make them to measure and they are available in various patterns and colors. Unfortunately, many animal protection organizations also produce and sell them to raise funds.

Why are martingales used in greyhounds?

There are two reasons why martingales are used in greyhounds. The first is the unique head-to-neck proportion of this breed and the second is the fear that many of these dogs feel.

With a normal collar, a dog of any other breed would not be able to escape if, in a moment of fear, it tried. This is because the neck is much narrower than the head and the collar could not come out of his ears.

However, in the case that interests us - that of greyhounds - we must consider that the neck is wider than the skull. This means that with any other collar, if they wanted to escape, they could do so without difficulty. Since the martingale tightens the neck, the dog wearing it would not be able to escape even if he wanted to.

Why is the martingale inconvenient?

What many greyhound owners don't take into account is that martingales are bad for you. We have already talked about the negative health consequences of pulling on the leash, all resulting from putting pressure on the neck for long periods of time.

This type of collar causes health problems that almost always appear in dogs who wear punishment or training collars. We are talking about collars that constantly tighten the neck, exactly like a martingale. Instead of applying pressure with metal nails, in this case it is done with a strip of fabric, but the pressure is still exerted.


Although greyhound martingales are designed not to exert more than a certain pressure and despite being made of a soft fabric, they continue to tighten excessively in the neck area which, as with any dog, is particularly sensitive.

Furthermore, some greyhound owners do not consider the so-called muscle memory. Let's talk about the sensation or memories that remain associated with touch. If in the past the greyhound has suffered mistreatment and was held by the neck with something that exerted pressure on it, he will have a constant feeling of fear and will feel defenseless every time something oppresses his throat.

Since the martingale tightens right in this area, he would not be able to forget this memory. His recovery following the mistreatment would therefore be impossible or in any case much slower and more difficult.

Alternatives to the Martingale for Greyhounds

Normal collars do not guarantee the safety of a fearful greyhound because, as mentioned, they would allow him to escape. Harnesses don't seem ideal either due to the very broad chest of this type of dog

However, the so-called three-point or anti-escape harnesses are becoming increasingly popular. They are normal harnesses that clip around the dog's chest and ribs, but which have an additional grip point in the lower part of the belly: the narrowest area of ​​the body.

Thanks to this third point, being the shortest stripe of the three, the dog cannot escape. In the event that it is capable of freeing itself from the other strips, this third would ensure an unmissable hold.

Like other harnesses, if the dog tugs, pressure is placed on the chest and ribs. That is, bones and not soft and sensitive parts like the neck. Furthermore, the dog is better insured than a normal collar.

If the greyhound feels pain, he will not be able to overcome the trauma of mistreatment and will live scared and sad for his entire life. We want to underline once again that martingales tighten the neck and cause pain, therefore the best choice for a dog of this type is a harness with three attachment points. They are absolutely safe both for your health and to avoid sudden escapes.