Hello and welcome to The Black Dog Company!
From our name, it will probably come a no surprise to learn that I own a Black Dog, a very happy and loveable black Labrador called Dougal. My name is Louise and I established The Black Dog Company in the Spring of 2014, here's a little bit of our story.
I've always enjoyed being creative and making things, especially sewing. One day at a local Summer Fair we were watching the fun dog show and there was a Fancy Dress class with owner's & dogs dressed up in costumes - I jokingly said to my husband I could make Dougal a costume, to which he replied, "He's a labrador, he doesn't do dressing up, he just wears a collar"; without thinking I said, "Okay, I'll make him a collar then" that sparked an idea and that evening I began to research.
Secretly I had looked for what you might call 'Fancy' or 'Sunday Best' collars for him before - being a Labrador, he loves nothing more than getting wet & muddy, so his collars had always been basic washable webbing types that stand up to mud, but I always thought they were a bit plain for a special day out or a visit to the pub. I still wanted something with a strong clip and that was washable, but also distinctive & stylish; I had never managed to find anything that quite fitted the bill - so I set about making my own.
I researched styles, clasp & buckle types, designs, materials and sizes and within a few days had purchased some material from a fabric shop and had taken delivery of a box of collar clips; later that evening Dougal was proudly trotting around the house showing off not one, but two new collars!
Shortly afterwards a dog-owning friend asked me if I could make one for her dog and from there it just took off - a stall at a local fair was a great success as were seasonal Christmas dog collar designs, the size of the range grew as I sought out more fabrics and designs and the number of sizes & styles grew as well as adding matching leads as an option with many designs.
I still make all of our collars and leads by hand, myself. They are all made from reinforced fabric and treated with Scotchgard to help make them water & dirt resistant. They are all machine-washable at 30 degrees - we recommend tying the collar inside a thick sock to protect your machine, then towel-dry the fastenings & D-ring, before laying flat to dry naturally.
Collars feature a choice of fittings in featuring either a strong metal clip made from diecast zinc or heavy-duty black plastic clips; we recommend plastic clips for extra-small collars due to the weight of the metal clips. Due to their handmade nature, each collar and lead is unique which means variation in the positioning of a pattern on the finished product is possible.
Please note, that whilst we use strong, hard-wearing clips, fittings and buckles, our collars and leads are made from fabric and are intended as fashion items - they may not be suitable for dogs who wear their lead on their collar and pull excessively on the lead. As with any collar, lead &/or harness combination all dog owners should always ensure they use equipment which is suited to their dog's strength and ability to walk comfortably to heel on the lead. Unfortunately we cannot take responsibility for any incidents that occur whilst any dog is wearing/using one of our collars or leads; if you feel they may not be suitable for your dog please consult with a dog trainer or behaviour professional before purchasing or using.
I hope you like our collars and leads as much as we do; if you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to get in touch and if you can't see what you are looking, again please ask - we are more than happy to take bespoke orders or discuss making you a collar from your own fabric such as sports team, school or university colours.
Louise & Dougal
Founders, The Black Dog Company