Most people think a great looking dog collar is all about an owner's preference, but you may be surprised to find that there's more to the story! There is a bit of an art to coordinating dog collar color to coat color. A dog collar in a color that compliments your dogs coat will make your dog's fur color seem richer and more vivid, and the collar itself will accent or compliment the fur color.
Coordinating fur color to accessory color has been used in the horse show world for decades. When colors are chosen correctly, a judge sees a more overall visually pleasing horse and rider. The same is true for the casual dog owner or dog-event competitor. At conformation-based dog shows the right outfit coordinated to a dog's fur color can subtly impact the overall appearance of a dog and the condition and luster of their coat, theoretically resulting in higher placings.
For the casual dog owner, this color wheel can be used as a jumping off point for discovering a collar that pleases your taste and compliments your puppy's coloring.
The basic rule of thumb is that coats of brown, tan, and apricot should avoid collar colors with red tones. If your dog is dark you should avoid black and brown, and although light white or grey coats can pull off almost any color, they look best in reds, pinks, and purples. To get an idea of what colors will look good on your specific dog, try placing bandanas or wide ribbon around your dog's neck in colors you'd like to try and standing back. Photographing your dog in different colors is a great way to compare, side by side, and see how colors affect your dog's coat.
The color-neutral black fur of the dog in the picture above is boldly accented by a bright color, making the coat seem darker and the collar brighter.
In contrast, the brown collar on the dog below seems to bleed color from the coat. If you love leather collars on your black dog but don't want to go with colored leather, look for a light tan or honey colored collar with no obvious red tones.
The apricot dog with blue collar above has a fairly neutral coat with just a bit of red, so would probably look good in all colors other than reds, oranges, and pinks. In contrast, the tan dogs lose intensity of color with their light pink and lavender collars, and the pale reddish collars seem to get lost on their coats.
The georgeous brindle colored fur of this elderly rescue dog is accented and brought out by a bright pink collar. But a nearly identically dramatic coat coloring on this retired greyhound is sort of lost and blurred by a chocolate brown collar.
In the above picture, another similarly colored coat demonstrates how greens stand out on tri color dogs. If the fur color is right, a brown collar can bring out the richness of the fur. On a tri-color beagle a brown collar looks okay, but doesn't make a statement.
Black and yellow on cream colored dogs compliment and highlight the dog's coloring, bringing out red & yellow tones that would otherwise go unnoticed. The red collar on this pale black and tan airedale looks nice, but doesn't do anything particularly great for the dog's coat.