Chaz in his Filson collar (on shore of McKenzie River)
In my post on the Filson custom order program, I forgot to mention the collar I purchased for my dog, Chaz. Filson offers their vegetable tanned, bridle leather collars in 14, 19, 21 and 23 inch lengths. Unfortunately, this size range really only covers skinny spaniels or thick necked Labrador retrievers. Filson needs a mid-sized collar in the 16-17″ range which would work for field dogs like Weimaraners and German Shorthaired Pointers (breeds frequently featured in Filson catalog copy).
A Filson staffer once told me about a collar he had made for his bird dog from a Filson bridle leather belt blank (before Filson made dog collars). Inspired, I phoned Filson to see if I could customize a collar for Chaz. For the standard upcharge of 35% above retail, Filson agreed to make the collar (confirming that they had recently customized a 17″ collar for another customer).
Here are some use notes and photographs of the custom Filson collar:
Welded brass hardware
Made in Seattle
While I love how the Filson collar looks, I’d like to see Filson make a few upgrades to the design. For one, the collar comes with a welded rather than cast brass “O” ring. For a company that prides itself on making products from the “best” materials, I’m surprised by their selection of lower grade hardware for the optical center of the collar. I’m constantly rotating the weld so that it doesn’t show.
Also, after a wet winter’s exposure to rain, the leather is beginning to wrinkle and warp a little. While I regularly treat the leather with Pecard dressing, I’m concerned about how the collar is going to look after a few years.
If I were updating the collar, I’d swap out the brass ring, upgrade the leather and reinforce the pop rivets with double-stitching for extra durability (see the Leerburg collar as an example). While I’m critical of these details (I expect the best from Filson), I’d still recommend it for anyone looking for a quality collar. (Note that for swimming, I’d switch over to something a little more non-archival and water repellent.)
For reference, here are a few additional sources for archival quality leather pet leashes and collars.
Frances Kelley Bridles