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History collared [17/08/2000]

In the bottom of our cupboards we nearly all have a mouldy selection of our dog's old collars - but nothing we have can compare with the collection at Leeds Castle. Their collection of antique dog collars span five centuries and is the finest and most comprehensive of its kind in the world. Nearly 100 collars and related exhibits in the Leeds Castle Dog Collar Museum trace the history of canine neckwear from medieval to Victorian times.

The collection was originally assembled by the Irish scholar John Hunt and his wife Gertrude, who presented the collars to Leeds Castle.

The most attractive exhibits are the exuberant German and Austrian baroque leather collars from the 17th and 18th centuries, often decorated with metalwork and velvet, which were intended mostly for decoration and identification.

Leeds Castle is four miles east of Maidstone, Kent and is open daily 10am-5pm between March and October and 10am-3pm during winter months.

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