Fire Service Rank Insignia – Collar Dogs

Welcome to 2012, now let’s get you looking sharp!

Today we’re going to have a quick look at fire service rank insignia.

First, let us mention the various names they are known by. We at Fisher’s Regalia most often refer to them as Collar Dogs however we get requests or orders placed with the following names as well: Pips, Collar Rank Insignia, Lapel Pins, Lapel Insignia, Collar Trumpets or Horns and even “the little gold things for my collar.”

However they are referred to for the fire service dress uniform, there are two places where a Collar Dog might be worn. First is on the military style dress shirt collar and the second is on the dress uniform tunic lapel.

The purpose for Collar Dogs is in line will all uniform regalia in that they let others know the rank of the individual wearing them. Almost all officers for instance will wear gold rank insignia starting with the Lieutenant in a gold single trumpet rank insignia all the way up to the chief who would be sporting a gold 5 trumpet collar pin. Let’s look at each rank and style in more detail, starting with the firefighter rank and then up the ladder to the man with all the bling.

For images and more detailed descriptions of our collar dogs, please visit our Rank Insignia page on our main website.

Firefighter Collar Dogs:

Here’s an image of the small shirt rank insignia for the firefighter. It is roughly the size of a dime and is the exact design of the larger version which is worn on the tunic lapels. The larger pin is roughly the size of a quarter.


  • Affectionately referred to as the “firefighter scramble” or the “hook and ladder” pin, this collar dog is meant for all volunteer and career firefighters. Most commonly they are worn in a silver finish, however some departments prefer to have even their firefighters wear gold regalia. The Fisher’s Regalia store has them available in both finishes.
  • Starting out, most firefighters don’t have a full dress uniform which makes complete sense as many of them are volunteers or they don’t have too much occasion to wear them anyway. Station wear is more commonly worn however, and many stations require their firefighters to wear cargo pants and a military dress shirt complete with the appropriate regalia. The Collar Dogs that are available for firefighters for the dress shirts come in only the one style. It is a small round pin with the firefighter scramble pattern on it and as mentioned it is available in either the gold or silver.


Lieutenant Collar Dogs:

Here’s a look at the shirt rank insignia for the lieutenant. The small version is roughly the size of a dime and is the exact design of the larger version which is worn on the tunic lapels and is roughly the size of a quarter. For a look at the cut-out style, visit it on the rank and long service insignia here.

  • The lieutenant pins reintroduce another terminology discussion. Lieutenants are typically represented by one trumpet… or horn…. or bugle. We’ve heard it all, and don’t worry we know what you mean.
  • Most commonly, lieutenant collar dogs are worn in a gold finish, however some departments are so large that junior lieutenants will wear them in silver and more senior lieutenants will wear them in gold. Some departments will even require that a single trumpet rank insignia be worn by their captains.
  • They come in three different styles. Two are for the dress shirt which are a small disk with a single vertical trumpet and the other is a larger cut-out trumpet. The third style is a larger disk with a single vertical trumpet which is worn on the uniform lapel.


Captain Collar Dogs:

Here’s a look at the two-crossed trumpet rank insignia for the Captain in gold. It is by far the most popular style we distribute across Canada.


  • The captain collar rank insignia are most commonly worn with the two-crossed trumpet style, however some departments use a two-straight vertical trumpet version. They are most often worn in gold, however as mentioned before, some larger departments reserve the gold for more senior captains or they use the silver option for acting captains.
  • They are found in the same three sizes as the lieutenant pins. In both two-straight and two-crossed, they come in a small round disk, a cut-out as well as a larger disk.


District Chief or Platoon Chief Collar Dogs:

This image displayed here is the tunic version of the three trumpet rank insignia for the platoon or district chief. Actually, it is sometimes worn by an acting deputy chief.


  • Here is where we really start getting flashy. These collar dogs have three trumpets and they are only available in gold. They still come in the three versions. The small pin, the cut-out and the larger tunic pin.


Deputy Chief Collar Dogs:

This image of the four-crossed trumpet collar dog is worn on the dress shirt. It’s getting hard to think of anything new to say about rank insignia, so I’ll just stick with the obvious. The deputy chief collar dog starts to make it difficult to tell just how many trumpets there are.

  • This rank of insignia is available only in gold, however it comes in all three styles. The small and large pins as well as the cut-out you see pictured above.


Fire Chief Collar Dogs:

The chief who is in many more media appearances and meetings has much more need for a full dress uniform and ranking insignia that lets the public and other emergency service personnel know that’s he or she is the person in charge of the situation.

  • Again, this pin is available only in gold and in the three styles as mentioned in the deputy chief description.
  • Here’s a tip on wearing this pin. As there are so many trumpets, it might be hard to tell which way is up. You’ll notice in the image that there is a trumpet that sits above the others. This is the trumpet you’d use to align the rank insignia on the uniform tunic or dress shirt. Align the narrow end of the trumpet facing up and so that the trumpet is vertical as pictured above.


No that we’ve given you all of the pertinent information necessary on rank insignia, here’s ne last tip for its application.

  • Use an awl, or other more sturdy pin to make your initial hole in the collar. Some people find that the plastic insert which prevents the collars from curling makes it hard to push the pins through. To avoid the pins from breaking when you’re installing them to the shirt, the pre-poke with an awl or other pin should help.


Thanks for reading and we’ll check in with other related info soon.



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