Turn your pooch into a Hollywood hound this Christmas with a deluxe diamante dog collar
GEORGIA, MY Springer Spaniel, has seen The Last Days of Disco and knows that sparkles are hip. To keep her ahead of the fashion pack, the word in the park suggests I invest in a diamante dog collar by Alison Craig at pounds 82.95 - a seasonal gift, high on festive twinkle, low on practicality. After all, collar is for Christmas, not just for control. In fact it's not even about control according to the training manuals. Collar and lead are a means of connection with the well trained dog, always ready to obey your commands.

Georgia and I, however, live in an alternate universe, one where squirrels are there for chasing. As such, the only practical investment for her is a strong webbing collar and lead. I had a suspicion that a couple of chi-chi spangles were just not going to connect me to my dog for very long. However, while the Craig collar may be pure Hollywood for hounds, it's also surprisingly substantial. Made of webbing and covered by satin on one side and sheet diamantes on the other, it boasts a reassuringly thick leather strap. There is also a chrome buckle and ring to attach a lead and identification tag to, and all features are reinforced with double stitched leather. A large range of available sizes ensures accurate fit and maximum canine comfort.

But is this investment really about the dog or the owner? "Owners can and do express their own fashion consciousness through the choice of their pet collars," says Brian Leonard of The Kennel Club, citing studded collars on Staffordshire Bull Terriers in South London, and leopard skin pencil leads on Poodles in Kensington. Horrors! I would never be able to hold my head up on Alexandra Palace again, if collar couture indicated a penchant for glitz in my own wardrobe.

An alternative choice could be the minimalist collar from Philip Castang Ltd. A modest pounds 3.95, it's understated chic in black leather with a plain silver buckle, leaving dog and owner with dignity intact. The dogs' little black dress to the Craig's cocktail frou-frou. But hey, glamour's not always tasteful, and sometimes you've got to let your pooch shine. After all, diamantes are a dog's best friend.

Anna Melville-James