I was not disappointed. I really like this collar—which I did not exactly expect. My preference for all of my dogs, most of whom are working border collies, is leather. I like the feel of leather, and I like the way it ages. Leather collars are durable and just look natural on my dogs. But the problem I have found with leather collars is that the one thing they don't hold up very well to is repeated water saturation. The dogs' leather collars do fine with the occasional rainstorm, of course, but my dogs spend a lot of time in water. They swim in streams in the summer, and the working dogs immerse themselves in stock tanks filled with refreshing water after running hard to move sheep. Whether we are training or trialing, they work nearly every day, and they jump in the tanks at least once (usually two or three times) during our work sessions. Getting waterlogged this often cracks their leather collars and makes them brittle.
So I've been curious about alternatives. The Toughhound collar is very sturdy but the material is surprisingly soft. It doesn't feel like plastic or rubber, really. It is just slightly textured and ribbed, and it feels much more like leather than other collars I've seen. I chose a brown collar, and it looks pretty natural. The square metal buckle is silver, as is the large D-ring. I am much more of a fan of silver than brass, and the hardware looks nice while being easy to fumble with. I prefer collars that have a center ring, partly because it is easier to clip a leash to a ring in the back of the collar, but also because I think it hangs nicely on the dogs' necks. This collar does not have a center ring, but unlike collars with nameplates riveted to the collars, this nameplate attaches two straps together the same way a center ring does—so the collar hangs the same way as a collar with a center ring. It looks good on the dogs and the ID is easy to spot.
The nameplate itself is a stainless steel square with four lines of upper- and lowercase text (the brown text matches the color of the collar—not sure if this is coincidence or not, but it looks great!). I had a choice of thirteen fonts and, of course, I could have any text I chose. I went with my name, phone number, Loose = Lost (not sure if people will understand what that means but there are a lot of wandering dogs in my neighborhood who are not missing—their owners just let them out to roam—and if my dogs ever get loose I want any people who find them to understand that these dogs are lost and missed), and finally REWARD! Also, I ordered a collar that turned out to be way too big for my dog. So I trimmed it with a pair of scissors, and it hasn't frayed or come apart at all.
Next, I put it on one of my dogs for a few weeks to see how it performed. And it was great! It held up like new to repeated dunking in water and immersion in lots of heavy snow. I didn't take my dogs swimming, but based on its performance in the stock tank, I am fairly confident it will do fine. It also held up well to the everyday playing, fetching through brush, and tumbling my dog put it through. It's not even scuffed. I'm pretty pleased with the collar. All in all, I am happy with how the collar looks and and is designed, and after several weeks of tough wear, it is holding up very well.
You can order one of these good collars at http://www.dogbarkcollar.com/toughhound.