This extremely rare 12th century dog collar was found by archaeologists in Waterford city. It is made of copper alloy and would have had leather backing, attached to the metal through six small holes.
It was probably for a racing or hunting dog such as a greyhound.
The Waterford dog collar is very similar to the collars worn by dogs on the famous Bayeux Tapestry in Normandy in France.
The discovery of a late Viking-Age dog collar dating from the early 12th century in Peter Street during archaeological excavations prior to the building of City Square Shopping Centre reminds us that since its foundation the inhabitants of Waterford included many of the four-legged variety.
Although only the decorative metal part of the collar survived when it was found, it is very clear from the series of small punched holes on the rim of the collar that it was lined with either leather or some rich fabric. The buckle or clasp that kept it secure around the dog’s neck was also missing when found.
The collar is a very rare find. Very few late Viking Age or medieval dog collars survive so this was a wonderful discovery. The collar was probably worn by a hunting dog and such a high quality object suggests that the dog’s owner was a person of some substance.