England is a nation of collectors and there’s nothing we appreciate more than a fine and unusual collection of items. Stamps, coins, china tea sets, vintage toys – and even, it would seem, dog collars!
The Dog Collar Museum at Leeds Castle in Kent is home to a fascinating collection of canine neckwear which spans five centuries. There are over 150 rare and valuable collars, with the earliest dating back to the 15th century: a Spanish iron herd mastiff’s collar that offered protection against wolves and bears roaming Europe at the time.
Other collars range from 16th-century German iron collars with fearsome spikes and ornate gilt collars of the Baroque period, through to fine 19thcentury silver collars and 20th-century examples fashioned from tyres, beads and plastic.
In 1977 Mrs Gertrude Hunt presented the collection of dog collars to the Leeds Castle Foundation in memory of her husband, the historian John Hunt.
Mr and Mrs Hunt were both avid collectors and amassed a large collection of art and antiquities, but the dog collars were Mrs Hunt’s particular passion.
Her donation consisted of more than 60 collars from all corners of Europe, dating from the 16th to the 19th century.
Since that original gift, many more collars have been acquired by purchase and donation from members of the public and the collection continues to grow!
You’ll find over 150 rare and valuable dog collars at Leeds Castle in Kent.