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It’s a well-known fact that humankind domesticated dogs well before beginning to plant crops or domesticate other animals. Scientists believe that today’s dog originates from ancient wolves. As the relationship between humans and those early dogs became closer, pups started getting their very first accessories.
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The Very First Dog Collar
DNA research suggests that hunters had domesticated dogs over 32,000 years ago! It’s still not clear how the bond was formed, some researchers believe that humans tamed wolf puppies. The other theory is that wolves followed hunter-gatherers to feed on remains and eventually, they became tame.
As time passed, humans became more and more attached to their canine companions.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the Ancient Egyptians were the first to introduce the dog collar. The status of the dog’s owner determined just how ornate the collar was going to be.
Domesticated dog bones and early collar varieties have been discovered during archaeological excavations in Egypt. Archaeologists believe these early accessories date back to 5000 BC.
While the collar was first introduced in Egypt, researchers believe that Greeks were the ones to give this puppy accessory the purpose that it has today.
Ancient Greece and the Functionality of Dog Collars
Egyptians used dog collars primarily for decorative purposes. This changed in Ancient Greece and Rome. The first functional dog collars came into existence there.
There have been mosaics and images belonging to this period and depicting dogs on collars and leashes. The spiked dog collar was also created by the Ancient Greeks for the purpose of protecting the most vulnerable part of the dog’s body – the neck. The spikes prevented wolves and other dogs from biting into the neck and potentially ripping it out.
Such collars were predominantly used on farms. The farms were often attacked by wolves. The hungry animals killed livestock, as well as the dogs who acted as loyal guardians.
In the city, small dogs called Alopekis were seen as valuable companions to rich and reputable ladies. Since women were not allowed to participate in social life, the dogs played a key role in their lives. These companions were pampered and the decorative collar was used to enhance the beauty of the little pups.
Archaeologists have found multiple examples of collars from Ancient Greece. Some of these collars even feature inscriptions preserved till present. One collar shows an excellent example of the strong bond between dog and human. The so-called Pompeii Dog had an inscribed collar that described how the pup had protected its owner from a wolf attack.
The Evolution of Collars through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
As humankind approached the Middle Ages, the evolution of the dog collar continued.
This is the period during which a collar was used to identify the specific “job” that a dog was tasked with. Hunting dogs, for example, had simple collars made of leather. Noble ladies gave their puppies ornate collars that featured precious metals and jewels.
Shepherd dogs continued wearing spiked collars as a mean of protection throughout the period.
During the Renaissance period, dogs were no longer considered a luxury and many people had pups. Because more and more people started having dogs, collars began getting crafted out of affordable materials. The simplest collars were made out of leather and they featured a ring for the attachment of a leash.
Over the Renaissance, a collar with a padlock also emerged as a prominent canine fashion. The collar was made of a metal and only the owner had the key to the padlock. Such collars were used to prove ownership over a dog.
Collars during the Industrial Revolution and Modern Developments
By the time of the Industrial Revolution, collars started featuring more information on them. The name of the owner was often added on a tag and collars even started featuring quotes or witty sayings.
The growing love for dogs became more and more evident through the selection of the right accessories. At this time, the personality and the style of dog owners both started determining the specific choice of material and design.
Today, the collar is essential from the birth of a puppy.
Collars come in various colors, they can be crafted from an array of materials. The width and the decorations vary. Some of the most expensive collars feature Swarovski crystals and even gemstones to show the love and appreciation for the pup.
The functionality of collars has also increased. The market features anti-flea collars, shock collars for dogs that are difficult to train and even harnesses.
Dog lovers are very divided about some of these, especially shock and pinch collars. Using pain to train a pup is obviously not everyone’s cup of tea and groups of animal lovers in certain parts of the world have even worked to have such products banned.
The modern dog collar, however, offers one thing – diversity. You can find any color, style, and design that you’re looking for. If the market doesn’t feature the exact accessory you’re imagining for your pet, you can have the collar custom-made.
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