Along with there being many reasons dogs wear muzzles, there are also many different kinds of muzzles available, each of which come with their own pros and cons, making them more suitable to some situations over others. Your dog’s breed and physical shape may influence which type of muzzle you choose also as some types lend themselves more to the contours of some dogs over others. For example, hard basket muzzles tend to be best suited to long, narrow snouted breeds, like sighthound types. The best muzzle for your dog will also depend on which behaviours you want to work on with your dog.

Wire basket

With their bulky look and metal work, these muzzles may make your dog look intimidating to some and cause people and other dog owners to give you a wide birth. This may not be an issue for you if your dog is reactive to dogs or strangers. Wire muzzles do come in a variety of different shapes and sizes so can fit a variety of dog breeds well, they usually have padding on the snout too for comfort. While the wire is strong, the bite protection is reduced when the spaces between the wire is larger as teeth may still be able to make contact through the wire.

Pros

Able to pant (If sized correctly)

Able to drink

Able to take rewards

Nose padding for comfort

Good range of sizes and shapes

May encourage people to give you space

Give good bite protection as long as gaps are not too large

Cons

Can be heavier than alternatives

Metal can get very cold or hot depending on climate

Can obstruct view

 

Soft basket Baskerville

These kinds of muzzle are widely available and quite cheap so can be a good option for initial muzzle training. This rubbery material can be boiled to slightly alter the shape of the muzzle but the general sizes of this muzzle may not suit longer snouted breeds. 

Pros

Able to pant (If sized correctly)

Able to drink

Able to take rewards

Flexible fit for added comfort

Cheap

Easily Available

Can be boiled to reshape slightly

Some bite protection

Additional straps to add security

Cons

Not scavenge proof

No padding so can rub

Large gaps can reduce bite protection

Hard basket

Again, this style of muzzle is very widely available and cheap to access but as they are more rigid, they come in a more limited fit. They often are better suited to longer snouted, slender headed dogs, like sighthounds, as the plastic comes back across the cheeks.

Pros

Able to pant (If sized correctly)

Able to drink

Able to take rewards

Good bite protection

Can be anti-scavenge

Lightweight

Cheap

Easily Available

Cons

Can rub

Can impair vision

Not very flexible so limited range of fit

Vinyl

These muzzles are a little more difficult to source and more expensive but can be made for a variety of face shapes. They can be great as anti-scavenge muzzles while still allowing your dog to drink, sniff and pant. However, if there is an opening added for taking rewards, they will no long be anti-scavenge. Clear vinyl muzzles allow you to easily monitor your dog's panting and facial expression. This kind of muzzle has reduced air flow compared to basket muzzles and so can trap moisture from your dog's panting, which then makes their panting less effective. This means these muzzles might not be ideal for prolonged wear in hot weather or while exercising.

Pros

Able to pant (If sized correctly)

Able to drink

Able to take rewards

Can be anti-scavenge muzzle

Lightweight

Some allow rewards to be taken (not anti-scavenge)

Good bite protection

Cons

Bulky

Edges can rub

Less available

Reduced airflow

 

Mesh

These are mainly useful as anti-scavenge muzzles as they are not rigid enough to provide much bite protection.

Pros

Able to pant (If sized correctly)

Able to drink

Good as anti-scavenge muzzle

Lightweight

Flexible with fabric edge so unlikely to rub

Low profile

Cons

Cannot take rewards

Little to no bite protection

Whichever muzzle you choose, the right fit is key! A poorly fitting muzzle can cause stress and discomfort for your dog. Click here to find out more about what you should consider to get the perfect fit.