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- Our leather
- Leather & saltwater
- Our leather linings
- Choosing the right width
- Jewels, gems & rhinestones
Topic: our leather
Posted: January 2016
We often get asked ‘why leather?’ For us, it’s simple. Leather is a natural material for your dog to wear, it is biodegradable and the chemicals, dyes and oils used in the tanning process are a lot more environmentally friendly than the ones used to produce plastics and nylon. Leather is also resistant to dust mites (think of a leather sofa versus a fabric couch) and don’t even get us started on equestrian tack. All in all, we think that leather is pretty great, although it’s worth bearing in mind that nothing in this world is perfect, and even leather has its limitations.
Being a natural material is what allows leather to absorb all those wonderful conditioning balms and balsams. But, on the flip side, it’s also what lets it absorb bacteria (eg: from pond and lake water). Take a look at our blog topic ‘leather & saltwater’ for some additional tips and advice about caring for your leather collar with regards to water contact. After all, no pooch wants to be wearing a pongy collar.
It’s also worth noting that ALL coloured leathers are dyed. Black, brown and tan might be ‘natural’ colours, but before being dyed at the tannery, ALL leather is a pale Caucasian skin colour. In turn, it’s fair to say that all dyed leathers, to some degree, will bleed when wet (especially red leather). If you have a white dog and let it swim in a red leather collar, you can expect to see a faintly coloured ring around the neck area – but don’t panic, it will wash out. And you can rest assured that all our leather is dyed right here in the UK at long-established tanneries.
And lastly, we just wanted to let you know what happens to all our scrap leather. Well, we’re proud to say that we recycle everything, giving it to local art groups, schools and charity craft workshops. And the same goes for anything that’s been hanging around in our workshop for too long – cones of unused thread, the odd batch of discontinued buckles and any ornament oddments. We also donate any collars which are slight seconds (still perfectly functional, but with the odd flaw) to our local rescue group – Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk. And whenever we drop a bag of donations off we take the opportunity to take a rescue dog (or two) out for a walk. It reminds us that not every dog is as lucky as the ones who usually get to wear our collars.
Topic: leather & saltwater
Posted: June 2013
We all love a day out at the beach, but if your pooch is partial to a dip in the sea, then be warned that saltwater can do nasty things to leather. Being a natural material, leather is very absorbent... great when it comes to conditioners and balsams, but salt's a whole different ball game. Saltwater can damage leather - discolouration and staining are just two evils - but, more importantly, it can cause the leather to dry out, harden and crack. The bottom line is that saltwater causes leather to perish and unsightly salt stains can build up and cause a 'crust' on the leather. Even if you remove some of the salt deposits, because leather soaks up water like a sponge, it's going to be pretty impossible to leech out all the salt.
And we're sorry to say that it's not just saltwater that isn't all that great for leather. As leather is a porous material, general water exposure can lead to bacteria and odour build-up, aka: 'pongy collar syndrome'. Constant water exposure also causes leather to age more quickly. Whist the English bridle leather we use for our collars is tough stuff, our garment-grade lambskin linings are not so durable. Of course they will stand up to occasional light water exposure, but if your dog is constantly in and out of water, then the much more delicate lambskin linings will not last.
So, the bottom line is that we don't recommend you buy a beautiful BOO! collar and then take it to the beach. Instead, take a leaf out of Boo's book and let your dog wear a non-leather collar when it comes to lazy days by the shore. Boo has a little nylon number especially for her trips to the sea, which is easy to wash and dry. And, as you can see, even though she's not in her favourite leather collar, it certainly doesn't dampen her spirits...
Topic: our leather linings
Posted: June 2013
Although it's not a secret... few people know that the founders of BOO! started out in the dressmaking and tailoring trade (well, not so much Boo... even though she can pretty much turn her nimble paws to anything). It was this background in pattern-cutting and garment construction that led to us wanting to add something to the collar-making world that was a little bit out of the ordinary.
After lots of research and endless prototypes, makes and mock-ups, we decided to construct our collars with stitched-in lamb nappa linings. Now, although this makes our collars a little less 'hardy' than un-lined styles (our lining leather is garment-grade, after all), we firmly believe that dogs love a little bit of luxury (just like us humans). Great for sensitive skins and kind to fur, our buttery soft linings are double-layered with rolled edges. Stitched in place with strong, rot-proof thread, they give a luxurious edge to our collars and a softness against your dog's neck that can only be a good thing... Oh, and did we mention that we carry a stock of 14 gorgeous colours? Most collars come with matching black / brown / tan / red lining as standard, but if your pooch fancies a splash of colour, then check out our Super Luxe range of collars, plus our Elephant Print and Beau Belle designs.
Topic: choosing the right width
Posted: June 2013
We understand that collar width can be confusing, which is why we've split our collars up into categories, to help make choosing the right width for your dog as easy as possible. As a general rule: the smaller the dog, the narrower the collar. And although our black, brown, tan and red leather is all English bridle leather, we have chosen a lighter-weight grade for our small collars which basically isn't as thick, stiff and sturdy as the heavy-weight grade we use for our larger collars.
All our collars for small breeds are 0.75 inches wide
Our collars for medium and large breeds come in a choice of 1 inch and 1.25 inches wide
Our collars for large and giant breeds are generally 1.5 inches wide (with some designs available in a 1.25 inch width)
Obviously there's a bit of overlap there... which is why it's important for you to take your dog's breed and general size into account, together with the width of collar that he/she is used to wearing and of course your preference for a slightly narrower or wider collar. Although we can advise on collar widths for different breeds, ultimately, it's up to you. We've made 1 inch collars for small labs, 1.25 inch collars for standard labs and even 1.5 inch wide collars for big labs. Boo's got a couple of Dobermann pals who are very happy in their 1 inch wide collars, but generally, Boo prefers a 1.5 inch width, which she carries off just fine. Remember that because the English bridle leather we use for our 1 inch, 1.25 inch and 1.5 inch wide collars is a heavy-weight grade, our collars are thicker and heavier than those usually found in pet shops.
And although we'd love to release a range of super-skinny 0.5 inch wide collars for toy breeds (eg: Chihuahuas, Chinese Crested, Papillons, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians etc) our current materials are just too heavy and sturdy for the little ones, and we have no immediate plans to work on a toy collection. So, if you measure your dog's current collar from buckle to working hole and the measurement is less than about 26cm, then even our small 0.75 inch wide collars are probably going to be a bit on the hefty side.
Topic: jewels, gems & rhinestones
Posted: December 2013
There are many terms out there for coloured jewels – gemstones, rhinestones, crystals and precious and semi-precious stones to name but a few. The jewels we use for our collars might look like the real thing (Boo certainly wouldn’t complain about wearing a genuine diamond studded collar), but they are in fact machine-cut acrylic rhinestones. Each jewel has a multi-faceted surface to bring out the brilliance of the gem – light enters the rhinestone and is reflected off the multiple facets. They also boast a flat, silver-foiled back to enhance their shine and sparkle. Our sapphire, emerald, rose, peridot, palest blue, lavender, opal, diamond, citrine, amber, amethyst, ruby and aquamarine gems all fall into this category.
The only two rhinestones not to feature silver-foil backing are our onyx and alabaster gems. These two jewels are actually opaque, which gives them a wonderful solid depth of colour, and sets them apart from the others. One of our favourite rhinestones, which deserves a special mention, is our opal gem. Its multi-coloured 'flashes of fire' encompass a rainbow of hues which sparkle and glisten when each facet catches the light.
Once you’ve chosen which jewel/s you’d like us to adorn your collar with, we begin the painstaking process of setting each individual gem into its bezel. Our rim settings are available in both brass and nickel-plate, to match your chosen hardware, and we set each and every one by hand using a ring spot setter and a pair of jewellery pliers.
We know that choosing from such a tempting array of jewels is a tricky task, so to make things easier we’ve created a detailed, descriptive list of all our available gems in our ‘Gear Guide’ for you to peruse...