When buying a collar for your dog there are a number of things to keep in mind. How big is the dog? Is the dog male or female? Does the dog pull, lunge or are they otherwise highly energetic? Large breeds can be especially tricky to shop for, because not only is there wide variation among the various aesthetic styles of collar available to clothe them with, there are also a number of different systems and mechanisms to consider for means of restraint.
Dog collars can be swank, then can be tough, they can be butch or froo froo or uppity. Besides, as the Greek philosopher Plato would say, its inherent "dogness", the collar that you choose will be the most important factor in determining the persona of your animal and the impression that it gives other people. This is true of people as well as dogs; if you or someone you know has a large, intimidating appearance, or just has an aura of menace or broodiness about them, people will find them very difficult to approach. A simple mitigating factor, such as a goofy hat, can easily offset this subconscious association and open up the floodgates to friendship and positive relationships. The same is true for dogs. If you have a St. Bernard who's gentle as a lamb but frightens little kids because of their size, then consider getting a collar that will soften the appearance and make them more approachable.
It's also important to remember that your opinion of the collar isn't the only one that counts - and I'm not talking about what your parents or girlfriend will think. I'm talking about the opinion of the creature who will be wearing it, your dog his or herself. I had a silky terrier who absolutely loved to be dressed and seemed less confident when he wasn't. In his case it extended beyond simple collar selection to a matter of buying a full wardrobe of sweaters, shirts and coats for various seasons and occasions. This little dog couldn't wait to have his clothes put on and always bounced happily around the room afterwards. Likewise, I had a female cat who wore a nondescript collar for many months without complaint, however when she lost it and it was replaced with a bright neon pink collar complete with pink bell, her pleasure at this acknowledgment of her femininity was quite apparent.
In conclusion, I want to stress that collar selection is an extremely personal matter, for you as well as your pet. It's not something that should be taken lightly, rushed, and especially not taken for granted.
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