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Updated Mar 20, 2023 10:55 AM
Choosing the right collar for your pooch goes well beyond size and color. It might seem like a simple purchase, but you must find one that fits you and your dog’s lifestyle. After all, your dog has to spend all day in his collar, and you want him to feel comfortable and relaxed. This dog product also needs to withstand everyday wear and tear, especially if your pup gets rambunctious at the dog park. The right dog collar helps keep our beloved pets safe—with their ID tags secure—in case of emergency. Whether you just brought home your new best friend or want to update your doggie wardrobe, we’ll help you find the best dog collar for your furry friend.
How we chose the best dog collars
We love dogs here at PopSci, and there’s no shortage of pooches on our staff. For these recommendations, we surveyed dozens of products across many brands to find options that work across various breeds and body types. Our evaluations come from a mix of hands-on experience, editorial review, user feedback, and spec comparison.
Most of the options on this list employ nylon construction, which is standard thanks to its durability, comfort, and lightweight. We also ensure our picks cover the tiniest teacup dogs up to the burliest Burmese mountain dogs. Lastly, we considered advice from prominent pet groups like the American Humane Society.
The best dog collars: Reviews & Recommendations
Every dog is unique, and the dog products you buy should cater to their specific routine. With that in mind, we’ve selected six leashes for every type of canine and scenario.
Best overall: Tractive GPS Pet Tracker with LED Light Up Dog Collar
Why it made the cut: A built-in GPS tracker keeps tabs on your pup’s movements, which is useful for everyday tracking but particularly handy when they try to escape. Plus, it’s cheaper than many other GPS collar options.
- Sizes: Small, medium, and large
- Material: Nylon
- Price at time of writing: $50
- Tracks a dog’s location and logs it so you can review movement later
- GPS module is small and waterproof, so it’ll last
- Cheaper than some other GPS options
- Requires a monthly subscription starting at $5.
This nylon collar houses a totally waterproof GPS unit that keeps constant tabs on your pup throughout the day. A companion app allows owners to track their pooch’s travels, activity, calories burned, and other useful stats that help keep track of the dog’s overall patterns and behaviors.
The location and activity tracking features require a monthly subscription that starts at $5 per month, but that’s standard fare for a product like this. Choose from three different sizes depending on the size of the pet. Each size is also adjustable to get a snug fit no matter how big or small the dog may be.
This collar does allow owners to create virtual boundaries within the app, but it won’t physically keep the dog within those bounds. It can, however, alert owners if their dog goes outside of a designated area, such as a park or a yard.
Best for large dogs: EzyDog Neo Classic Wide Dog Collar
Why it made the cut: If your dog is the size of a small cow, it can be tricky to find the right neckwear, but this collar’s largest size will accommodate a 32-inch neck.
- Sizes: LARGE fits dogs with 18″ to 21″ necks, X-LARGE fits 21″ to 24″ necks, 2X-LARGE fits 24.5” to 28.5” necks, and 3X-LARGE fits 28.5” to 32” necks.
- Material: Polyester and neoprene rubber
- Price at time of writing: $32
- Available in sizes up to 3XL for even the biggest dogs
- Tough polyster and rubber construction will last
- 1.5-inch width won’t cut into the dog’s neck
- Sturdy D-ring makes for a safe connection to leashes
- Reflective piping on all colors
- Only suited for big dogs
This wide dog collar from EzyDog is a durable accessory that keeps your king-size companion under control. This collar measures 1.75 inches wide and is made with soft polyester and Neoprene rubber, which is waterproof and odor-repellent. The EzyDog comes equipped with a non-rusting stainless-steel D-ring, a separate clip to keep those precious ID tags securely attached, and reflective piping for safety at night. EzyDog offers four options for neck sizing that range from 18 to 32 inches.
Best for small dogs: Ruffwear Reflective Dog Collar
Why it made the cut: Even though this collar is small, it’s built tough and includes ample features.
- Sizes: S, M, and L ranging from 11 inches up to 26 inches
- Material: Nylon
- Price at time of writing: $29
- Metal buckles and D-rings
- Available in a wide variety of sizes
- Attractive colorways
- Easy to adjust
- Reflective webbing
- Still may be too big for some exceptionally tiny dogs
This classic collar from Ruffwear is a must-have for small- and medium-sized dogs. This collar is made with Ruffwear-designed Tubelok Webbing, which has a locked edge that keeps the webbing from unraveling. It features an easy-to-use side-release buckle, a separate ID tag with a tag silencer, and a sturdy aluminum leash ring. Ruffwear also offers 12 gorgeous nature-inspired patterns, including a bright magenta design, Alpenglow Burst.
Best tactical: Yunlep Adjustable Tactical Dog Collar
Why it made the cut: This military-styled strap gives a tactical look without an over-the-top camo design. It’s also built tough and adds a control handle.
- Sizes: M, L, and XL
- Material: Nylon
- Price at time of writing: $12
- Velcro areas for attaching patches
- Control handle for training or quick corrections
- Not the easiest to adjust
The adjustable tactical dog collar from Yunlep is a hardy addition to your outdoor dog’s gear. Featuring high-quality nylon and a heavy-duty metal buckle, the Yuplen tactical collar is built for any weather condition or wilderness excursion. This collar has a D-ring for leash attachments and a handle for safe and accessible restraint. The tactical collar also includes patches for velcro accessories. The built-in handle also offers extra control during training or quick maneuvers.
Best leather: Soft Touch Collars Padded Leather Dog Collar
Why it made the cut: Sometimes, a simple leather collar fits your dog’s style and vibe. Plus, it will look even better as it ages.
- Sizes: S, M, L, and XL, ranging from 11 inches to 25 inches
- Material: Leather
- Price at time of writing: $30
- Leather is soft and durable
- Fits a wide range of dog sizes
- Several natural leather colors
- Solid brass hardware
- May not hold up to lots of exposure to weather
The Soft Touch leather collar is a chic and hand-stitched doggie accessory. This luxurious collar is made from genuine full-grain leather and lined with padded sheepskin leather. Designed with longevity and convenience in mind, the collar features a solid brass D-ring and buckle opposite a mini brass ring for ID tags. This product is offered in four sizes, with wider bands to accommodate larger dogs. The best part? Soft Touch offers five color combinations, including adorable tan leather with a pastel blue lining.
Best budget: Coastal Pet Products New Earth Soy Adjustable Collar
Why it made the cut: Sometimes you just need a basic collar as a spare or backup, and this one costs less than $10.
- Sizes: S, M, and L covering dogs from 8 inches to 26 inches
- Material: Soy fiber
- Price at time of writing: $9
- Lots of colors
- Lots of sizes
- Plastic buckles
This eco-friendly and custom dog collar is an inexpensive option for dogs of all sizes. This sustainable pet product is made from soft soy fibers that repel bacteria and won’t irritate your dog’s neck. The collar features an adjustable band, a loop for tags and leash clips, and a quick-release buckle. This is best used as a backup for leaving with the vet during boarding or other places you don’t want to take an expensive collar.
We know you don’t want to grab the first collar you see. We also know that the perfect design will depend on your dog’s size, temperament, and daily activities. The key features to remember when shopping for your new collar are durability and material. It’s important to select a hypoallergenic collar material that won’t irritate your puppy after a long day of outdoor expeditions. Both nylon and leather are popular choices, but If your dog has a proclivity for puddles, you will probably want to opt for the more water-friendly nylon. If you go on many midnight jogs with your dog, the best dog collars for you will feature reflective elements that keep your pet visible at night.
Many dog owners prefer to use a harness while out and about. If you prefer to walk with just a collar and dog leash (retractable or standard tether) dog leash, you will want to ensure that the collar you select is sturdy and prevents unwanted getaways. Collars with plastic fasteners are fine when paired with a harness, but if you’re working with a leash and collar combo, a metal fastener can be a more secure choice.
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What dog collars work for large breeds?
Is your dog on the larger side? Bigger breeds need a collar designed to handle their size and strength. The best large dog collars are heavy-duty and resilient but don’t weigh your pup down. Designed with maximum comfort in mind, many large collars have a wider band than a standard design. Thin collars, although appropriate for the little guys, can dig into a larger breed’s neck. Wide dog collars are a gentler alternative that distribute pressure more evenly around a dog’s throat—especially if they have a penchant for pulling. Ample fabric also protects this sensitive part of your dog from accidental nips at the dog park.
What about small dogs?
There are a host of options for small- and medium-sized dogs. The best small dog collars are made of soft, flexible material that can stand the test of time. Smaller dogs don’t usually require a wide collar—the extra width can be too bulky on tinier frames. The best small dog designs are lightweight and equipped with an adjustable strap for that perfect fit. Ideally, your dog should not even notice it’s there. Check out our selection for the best small collar below.
Do I need a tactical dog collar?
Does your dog join you on every weekend hike? Does he also enjoy romping through every creek, snowbank, and mud puddle he encounters? You might consider a tactical dog collar, which is built to resist more extreme wear and tear. Tactical collars are designed with military and working dogs in mind and often come with handles to reign in energetic breeds. If you’re looking for a product that can handle your adventurous canine, a tactical collar might be the perfect fit. Tactical models are also well-suited for dogs with a chewing habit. Check out our pick for free-spirited pups below.
What about leather collars for the elegant hound in your life?
Does your dog have a dapper streak? Leather dog collars are a stylish choice and, if taken care of properly, can last for years. If you’re shopping for a leather collar, you will want to remember the difference in buckle styles. Many leather collars come with a traditional buckle with notches like a belt. This is the most secure style of buckle, but it does not unfasten in a pinch as the standard quick-release buckles do. Leather collars with traditional buckles are best suited for pets who wear their collars throughout the day.
Best on a budget: What you can get for under $15
We know you want the best for your dog, but hunting down everything your pet requires can be expensive. Luckily, collars will be one of the cheaper pet products you shop for. If you’re shopping for a collar that’s simple and affordable, you should focus on finding a design with comfortable fabric and sturdy design. The best dog collars on a budget might not be made from premium leather, but we guarantee your pup will love you just the same. Here’s our favorite affordable model.
Q: Should dogs wear collars 24/7?
Wearing a dog collar 24/7 can cause problems down the road, and it is a good idea to remove your dog’s collar frequently and let them go “naked” to reduce the chance of skin irritation. However, your pup should always wear a collar outside of the house, even if it is in your backyard. Some owners let their dogs roam the house collar-free, while others might take it off at bedtime.
Q: What is the most comfortable material for a dog collar?
Most dog collars are made from nylon or leather—both comfortable materials. However, if your pup is super-sensitive to fabrics, they will likely prefer a soft nylon collar over a firmer leather design.
Q: What color looks best on a brown dog?
Even if your dog can’t see all the colors, you want them to look their best. It is always stylish to choose a collar that contrasts with your dog’s coat. For brown dogs, especially those with darker coats, bright blues and pinks look fantastic.
Q: How do I measure a dog for a collar?
When you see a measurement in a listing for a collar, it’s typically referring to the circumference of the dog’s neck. You’ll want to measure the area where the collar will sit with a flexible tape measure. That should give you a solid idea of what size you need, as most collars are adjustable and cover a range of measurements.
Final thoughts on the best dog collars
You love your dog, and they should love their collar. There’s a perfect collar for every pup, whether braving the wilderness in tactical gear or sauntering down the sidewalk in sophisticated leather. Above all else, the best dog collars should keep your most important family member safe, secure, and happy.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.