Monday, March 10, 2014

Why I Love Lupine and You Should Too

If you haven't heard of the Lupine company yet, you are definitely missing out. This might be my favorite dog gear, for several reasons. Lupine collars, leashes, and harnesses come in three different widths, 1/2", 3/4", and 1", and multiple sizes to fit every dog. Why am I a Lupine fan?

1. The Lifetime Guarantee. Lupine will replace your gear, even if your dog gleefully destroys it. You really can't ask for more than that. You don't need a receipt, you don't need a sob story, all you need is a destroyed product. You can mail the sad remains of your collar/leash/harness directly to the company. Most stores that carry Lupine products will also accept the bits of your old leash and give you a new one of the same width and size, even if they don't have that exact pattern.

2. The patterns! Lupine gear comes in an ever-changing variety of patterns, mostly inspired by the outdoors and each featuring a name. Patterns are retired after a certain amount of time, depending on popularity. Brisbane's first Lupine gear was a 1" Turtle Reef collar for our trips to the beach. I bought it in 2006, and it's still in production. We now have a Roman harness and 6' leash to match.
Turtle Reef pattern plus chihuahua photobomb.
There was also 3/4" dolphin pattern that has come and gone. I liked the look of the 3/4" stuff better on Briz, so he has a step-in harness, martingale collar, and matching leash too. When my cats were little I got them a seahorse print Roman harness and leash, which they were never thrilled about wearing. Ru has since inherited the set, so I can deck all three dogs out in matching beach gear.

3. The variety! You're likely to find adjustable buckle collars and 4' and 6' leashes in an given Lupine display, and some stores also carry step-in and Roman-style harnesses. I also have several Lupine martingale, or limited-slip, collars for Briz because his head is smaller than his neck. Lupine calls these combo collars.

There are also cat collars with breakaway buckles, and H-harnesses, in 1/2" patterns. There are also slip leads, 15' and 30' training leashes, tiny tab leashes, and a new front-clip no-pull harness that appears to solve the problems posed by the more popular Premier Easy-Walk harness. They even have collars that work with various invisible fence systems.

4. The hunt! Lupine discontinues patterns all the time, but that doesn't mean they simply disappear. The long a store hangs onto their older stock, the more likely they are to still have a discontinued pattern around. The 1" cow pattern in the picture above was discontinued before Brisbane was born in 2005. I have found several collars and leashes in that print, mostly at grooming salons, humane society adopt-and-shop storefronts, and other locations where selling product isn't the main goal. Many Australian cattledog fans love these collars, and so we watch for them wherever we find older Lupine stuff. I like donating them to people who rescue cattledogs. We also now have a 3/4" retired cow pattern to watch for, too.

5. The future. I have helped friends get their chewed Lupine gear replaced, but I have never had the pleasure myself. None of my dogs are destructive chewers, and unlike many decorative collars these stand up to itchy dogs scratching at them. Some of my favorite beach gear is getting a bit faded, but everything remains structurally sound. The salt water is slowly taking its toll on the metal hardware, however. I dutifully rinse everything in fresh water after every trip, but I'm still expecting something to fail eventually. I'm hoping something fails in a completely epic fashion someday, like a completely corroded D-ring, just so I can send it to the folks at Lupine and make their day a little more interesting.

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