Does my dog need a collar? New pup parents ask the question a lot, and the answer is simple: yes! Every dog should have a collar. Not only are they necessary to attach leashes, licenses, IDs, and vaccination tags, but they can also be helpful when training.
However, not all dog collars are created equal — and some are downright inhumane. Moreover, different types of collars are suited for various purposes, dog sizes, and life stages.
So which collar is best for your pup? We did the research on the top collars people are using and came up with a list of superlatives. Our pet product review team considered several factors during this process, including price, material, straightforwardness, effectiveness, style, and durability.
In addition to our top collars updated for 2022, we have added the Fuzzy Friends Hemp Collar into our rankings as the best natural dog collar of the year. Not only is the collar environmentally friendly and created by a veterinarian, it is safe for pets with skin irritation or allergies!
-Hemp shell lined with cotton
-Durable and comfortable
-Chemical free, hypoallergenic
-Renewably sourced material
-Small business run by US Navy veteran and a veterinarian
•Variety of colors & sizes
•Reflective, adjustable, comfortable
•Stylish, longlasting leather collar
•Various colors and sizes
•2 collar styles and a leash
•Stylish plaid fabric
•Comfortable and affordable
•Waterproof material, odor-proof
•Quick release buckle
•Variety of colors
Dog Collar Materials
Collars come in a variety of materials, each with drawbacks and benefits.
Dog Collar Materials: Neoprene
Best known as “wetsuit material,” neoprene is a soft rubber material reinforced with nylon. It’s strong, highly durable, and stretches well. Water-loving dog breeds — like American water spaniels, barbets, Irish water spaniels, Portuguese water dogs, Newfoundlands, and Labrador retrievers — do best with neoprene dog collars. They’re also great for puppies and dogs with skin allergies.
Unfortunately, not many companies make neoprene dog collars, so the selection is limited. Plus, they can be a bit bulkier than pure nylon options and a little less budget-friendly.
Dog Collar Materials: Nylon
Nylon collars are the most common and come in a wealth of styles and colors. The material is great for everyday wear — both outside and around the house.
Dogs with skin irritation issues may have problems with nylon collars. In such cases, a neoprene one may work better. Also, they may stink to high heaven after a while and are difficult to clean. But they’re usually on the less expensive side, so replacing them isn’t a huge investment.
Dog Collar Materials: Biothane
Biothane is another collar material that’s good for water-friendly canines. The non-toxic substance is made by coating a polyester base with either polyvinyl or polyurethane. A great alternative to other options, biothane is flexible, softer than many other dog collar materials, and less expensive!
Moreover, biothane is tough as snot and lasts a long time, making it a good choice for rough and aggressive dogs who chew on their collars. Budget-wise they’re a good choice since you won’t have to buy as many as often.
The only downside to biothane collars is that they can be difficult to find.
Dog Collar Materials: Leather
Leather is the Bentley of collar materials: it’s high-quality, lasts for years, and looks good! But leather is also the most expensive option. However, for people with a budget, they’re durable, classy, and easy to wipe. Moreover, since they’re made of a natural material, they’re better for dogs with certain skin allergies.
Leather collars come in two types: flat and rolled. Use the latter for canines with thick hair that mats easily. If durability is a concern, make sure the collar is long-grain leather and not bonded leather. The latter disintegrates at a much quicker rate than the former.
Like nylon, leather can start to reek after a while — which may be a consideration for people with sensitive olfactory systems.
Dog Collar Materials: Chain
Chain collars should only be used by professionals in controlled environments. Moreover, they should never be left on an unattended canine because the risk of self-strangulation is high, especially in colder months when the metal is less pliable.
Chain collars are not an everyday option. Not only are they impractical since they don’t work properly with most leashes, but they’re also dangerous in most circumstances.
Ultimately choosing a dog collar depends on the dog itself – the breed, size, fur, temperament, etc. However, it also depends on the owner and the owner’s understanding and preference for materials, size, structure, function, and durability. Some owners are searching for a highly durable collar to use for their active, outdoor lifestyle on a highly excitable dog with tons of energy. Other owners are looking for a dainty collar to fit their lap dog whose big adventures are out the back door. Either way, finding the perfect fit should be fun and not a challenge. Many of our team use breathable nylon collars covered in fun colors while others choose a sleek, leather look to blend into their dog’s fur. Another option is harnesses for dogs with super thick coats or who endanger themselves by pulling too hard on collars. In the end, pup and human taste come together in the decision for which collar is the best for your dog.
Top Picks for Dog Collars
Best Overall Dog Collar: Joytale Reflective Dog Collar
The Joytale Reflective Dog Collar was rightfully chosen by our team as our top overall choice because of its reflectiveness, colors, adjustability, comfort, and low cost of less than $10! These collars have neoprene padding and are highly breathable, cutting down on odor.
Joytale’s collars come in 12 colors and four sizes, ranging from XS to L. They’re good, old-fashioned dog collars that fit every budget, work well for puppies and adult dogs alike, and sport a quick-release buckle for safety.
Best Leash Training Dog Collar: PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar
Designed by vets and dog trainers, the PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar is our pick for the best training collar for both puppies and adult dogs. It’s made of nylon and neoprene and placed around the head and muzzle instead of the neck. When properly used, its unique shape applies light pressure to pain-free points on the back of the neck instead of the throat.
PetSafe’s collar is an excellent choice for leash training, and the design discourages pups from pulling. Plus, it can be used as a reinforcement tool when teaching tricks and manners.
Our pet review team liked that it allows for a full range of motion, which can be important when unexpected tussles arise at the dog park — or the fur baby gets frisky and annoyed during training time. Our pet review team liked that it allows for a full range of motion, which can be important when unexpected tussles arise at the dog park — or the fur baby gets frisky and annoyed during training time.
It comes in five sizes, from petite to extra-large, and a variety of colors. Plus, at around $15, it’s an affordable option.
Best Nighttime Dog Collar: Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar
The Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar gets high marks overall, especially for its fashion-forward nighttime apparatus and cool LED light inlays! Made with high-grade woven nylon, the nighttime collar is rechargeable, comfortable for your fur baby and easily adjustable, while also not taking a hit to your budget.
A great option for people who take their dogs on evening runs and hikes, this nighttime collar is leagues more noticeable than reflectors. It has three different light modes — fast flash, steady flash, and constant light — which can help in different situations. If you don’t want to use the lights during the day, no problem! Simply press them off.
This Blazin’ Safety product made our list of the best dog collars for a handful of reasons:
- It’s bright, which is what you want in a nighttime collar.
- It’s comfortable to wear.
- The charge lasts a long time!
- It turned our doggies into disco pups — which rocks.
- The TDTOK glow-in-the-dark dog collar is affordable
Best Leather Dog Collar (Verified Review): Moonpet’s Genuine Leather Dog Collar
Moonpet’s genuine leather dog collar tops our list for the best leather dog collar. They’re stylish, long-lasting, and feature durable hardware for leash and tag attachment. They come in three sizes — small, medium, and large — and various colors ranging from maroon to light brown.
This leather dog collar prioritizes your pup’s comfort and features a padded underside.
On the downside, some people report that Moonpet’s leather dog collar exudes an unpleasant chemical smell. However, we didn’t have the same experience. Additionally, some people with large dogs report sizing problems. So before ordering, make sure to measure accurately and double-check that the large size will work for your hound.
Budget-wise, these leather dog collars look expensive but are reasonably priced at about $23. That’s not bad for a full-grain leather product!
Best Personalized Dog Collar: GoTags Personalized Dog Collar
Do you want to personalize a dog collar? Look no further than GoTag’s personalized dog collars. They run less than $20 and are durable and long-lasting. Instead of using overlays that quickly wear off, GoTag’s collars have laser engraved buckles.
Fashion is the word that immediately came to mind when we first saw these collars for people who like to personalize. They come in a variety of prints, and the shiny, silver buckle makes them a tasteful standout. They’re the kind of collars that will garner compliments from strangers.
To personalize, you have the choice of inscribing a name, address, and telephone number. We suggest, however, you only use the name and number sections because revealing your address isn’t the safest move.
The ZTZ Custom Laser Engraved Collar comes in five sizes — from XS to XL.
Best Martingale Dog Collar: Country Brook Petz Heavy Duty Martingale Collar
The Country Brook Petz Heavy Duty Martingale Collar is the best rated in Amazon. But that’s not why it’s our number one pick. That’s just an added bonus and what initially caught our attention. We considered this the best overall martingale collar because it checks all of our requirements – durability, comfort, style, size, and cost.
This martingale collar is made of high tensile strength nylon with box stitching located at pressure points to increase durability. This heavy-duty material is soft and comfortable; it isn’t going to snap easily even if your pup is a strong puller. More importantly, nylon is able to handle moisture and humidity well. Getting it wet, either by cleaning it or because of your dog’s antics, isn’t going to affect its sturdiness.
This best-rated collar also features welded nickel-plated steel rings which won’t break or corrode. There’s no risk of the metal rubbing against your fur baby’s neck and causing discomfort or, worse, chafing and/or sores. Whether your dog’s hairy, hairless, or hypoallergenic, they’re not going to notice this collar until you’re pulling the leash.
Aside from being well-made and sturdy, we loved the fact that Country Brook offers a wide selection for dog owners. From sizes that fit Chihuahuas to German Shepherds and colors ranging from mango to royal blue, you won’t have a hard time finding a martingale collar that suits your energetic doggo. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the collar only costs around $10. Your wallet won’t feel the pinch.
Obviously, there are numerous benefits to getting this heavy-duty martingale collar from Country Brook. Based on our doggos’ experience, your pets shouldn’t have any problems wearing it. In fact, out of all that we tested, this collar performed best whether dry or wet. But we did find a few customers who weren’t so happy. A few mentioned that the color leached onto their pup’s furs which can be an issue unless you wanted a hot pink dog (or something similar). And if you have an enthusiastic dog on your hands, you might find it difficult to slip on the collar and adjust the fit properly.
Find more tested and reviewed martingale collars here.
•Comfortable material with added durability
•Heavy duty rings for tags, leashes, etc.
Best Overall Flea Collar: Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs
When it comes to the prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks, the flea collar that is recommended by most vets is Seresto. Its two main ingredients are imidacloprid and flumethrin which, as this study shows, is incredibly effective in taking out fleas and ticks. Of course, we couldn’t just take their word for it. We had to do some testing on our own.
Based on our experience, this flea collar had no odor at all which makes it ideal for sensitive noses (and we’re not just talking about dogs here). Plus, it comes with a non-greasy formula. More importantly, our happy volunteer (one of the doggos of our staff) didn’t catch any fleas or ticks after we left him romping around outdoors.
Of course, flea prevention is not the only thing this collar is good for. According to Bayer, it should be able to kill fleas – both adults and eggs – within 24-48 hours after application. Using a different dog, we did find that it does reduce the number of fleas we could find on his fur within their promised time frame. And none of our volunteers had allergic reactions to the collar while wearing it for several days. So, fast-acting and effective? Check!
Some other things that you need to know about the Seresto collar. It features reflector chips for visibility at night. It comes with a quick safety release mechanism in case the collar gets caught on something. Plus, the collar can also treat sarcoptic mange.
As much as we loved this product, we do have to be honest about some of the drawbacks of using the Seresto collar. First is the cost. Compared to other collars in the market, this one is priced at over $50. It definitely does not come cheap (though well worth the price). The second disadvantage is that this flea collar is only water-resistant, not waterproof. Unless you only let your dog bathe or get wet once a month, the effectiveness of this collar against fleas goes down from 8 months to 5.
Overall, the Seresto collar receives a huge thumbs up from us. Just keep in mind that Bayer offers two types of Seresto collars. One is for large dogs weighing 18 lbs and over. The other is for small dogs weighing less than 18 lbs. Make sure to read the label before buying.
Best Dog Collar Set: EXPAWLORER’s Plaid Collar Set
We love EXPAWLORER’s plaid collar set. It comes with a bow-tie collar, bandana collar, and 59-inch leash. The collars have adjustable holes and fit necks between nine and 11 inches. The beige plaid pattern is reminiscent of a grandad’s cardigan — making it the perfect aesthetic accent for pets with “old souls.”
Some people don’t love the small gold bell that comes attached to the D-ring, but it’s removable. It also has two small buttons on the bandana, which a rowdy pup may gnaw off. Otherwise, there are few other drawbacks worth mentioning.
EXPAWLORER’s plaid collars also fit cats.
Best Small Dog Collar: Dogline Biothane Waterproof Dog Collar
Dogline’s biothane dog collar is 100 percent waterproof, slick looking, and will last a very long time, which is why we chose it as our favorite collar for smaller companions. The solid colors coupled with a durable black D-ring is a style change from the usual gold or silver metal and looks great. Dogline’s product comes in a variety of sizes of differing lengths and widths. Hues range from neon green to jet black.
These are great for small and medium dogs who like to romp in water or live in a rainy locale. Due to the biothane material, Dogline’s waterproof collars don’t get stinky, and they’re easy to maintain. Just a quick wipe down once a week will keep it spiffy.
Dogline’s small dog collar made of biothane is made in the USA and retails for about $13.
Best Large Dog Collar: Black Rhino’s Neoprene Padded Dog Collar
Heavy-duty but lightweight, Black Rhino’s neoprene padded dog collar is our pick for large pups. It comes in four sizes — small to extra-large — and every collar is adjustable with reflective strips. Buyers can choose between nine color combinations, and it retails for about $19.
Black Rhino’s neoprene padded large dog collar is sturdy and proved to be a hit with our team members with large fur babies at home. Think of it as the pick-up truck of collars. It’s not for the dainty!
Best Natural Dog Collar: Fuzzy Friends Hemp Dog Collar
If you are in search of a dog collar that is made of natural materials and nonirritating for your dog, we highly suggest the Fuzzy Friends Rose Hemp Dog Collar. The collar is made primarily from hemp, a soft but durable plant fiber that is a great renewable source and also does not require pesticides or added fertilizers to grow. Hemp is ecologically friendly to grow as well as economically efficient. The plant fibers are also gentle on skin and perfect for dogs with skin allergies or whose skin becomes irritated easily. Cotton padding lines the inside of the collar, allowing the skin to breathe while surrounded by comfortable fabric.
The collar comes in an assortment of colors ranging from rose to blue to khaki and several colors are available as a leash-collar set. There are three sizes of the collar: small, medium, and large. Along with being affordable, environmentally friendly, and perfect for dogs with sensitive skin, the business producing the collars, Fuzzy Friends, is a small business run by a US Navy veteran and a veterinarian out of a small town in North Carolina. Supporting small businesses and placing your trust in a veterinarian-built collar is a great way to start off a new year!
Top Dog Collars Summary
|RankProduct#1 Best OverallJoytale Reflective Dog CollarBest Leash Training Dog CollarPetSafe Gentle Leader Head CollarBest Night CollarBlazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar Best Leather CollarMoonpet Soft Padded Real Genuine Leather Dog CollarBest Personalized CollarGoTags Personalized Dog Collar Best Flea and Tick CollarSeresto Flea and Tick Collar for DogsBest Martingale CollarCountry Brook Petz Martingale Heavy Duty Nylon Dog CollarBest Collar SetEXPAWLORER Bow Tie Dog CollarBest Small Dog CollarDogline Biothane Waterproof Dog CollarBest Large Dog CollarBlack Rhino Comfort Dog CollarBest Natural CollarFuzzy Friends Hemp Dog Collar|
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- These are the no pull dog harnesses we recommend – Make walks even easier
- The top interactive toys for smart dogs – Keep your pet engaged!
- The Top Drinking FountainFor Pets – Still water can make your dog sick – make sure you get a running fountain to keep them safe!
Here are the 9 Best Dog Collars: We Checked for 2022 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What Is the Best Type of Collar for a Dog?
It depends. Collar choice depends on several factors, including size, breed, skin sensitivity, and water exposure. Scroll up to see our picks for best dog collars in multiple categories.
What Are the Safest Dog Collars?
Generally speaking, breakaway collars are the safest. They prevent strangulation in the event your pup gets caught in either shrubbery or the jaw of another animal.
Should Dogs Wear Collars 24/7?
Dogs should wear collars every time they leave the house. Not only are collars needed for a leash, but they’re also ID facilitators. And pets with ID tags are much more likely to find their way back to their humans.
However, if your pet is safely inside and there’s no chance of escaping, it’s fine to remove collars and let the area’s skin breathe.
What Are the Best Dog Training Collars?
Our pick for the best training collar is PetSafe's nest training dog collar, a simple option for everyday training.
Who Makes the Best Leather Collars?
Coach, Gucci, and Burberry — the venerated luxury brands — all make haute couture leather dog collars. But they’re costly. Our pick for the category is Moonpet’s padded full-grain leather collar.
Are Prong Collars Safe?
Prong collars are outfitted with fang-shaped links — called “prongs” — that cut into dogs’ necks when pulled. They’re similar to choke chains, they’re inhumane, and they should not be used. No, prong collars aren’t safe.
Are Shock Collars Safe?
This is a tricky question. On the one hand, the vibration administered by shock collars is, technically, safe and has not been shown to cause damage. Used liberally among hunters, they do work well when training pups for the hunt.
However, there’s an argument to be made that shock collars are inherently inhumane because they can cause fear, anxiety, and aggression in some dogs.
Moreover, some malfunctioning shock collars have caused electric burns.
Generally speaking, shock collars are an extreme tool that should only be used sparingly by trained professionals in highly controlled environments.
Should I Harness My Dog?
To harness or not to harness? It’s a question that a lot of dog owners have been asking as of late. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple. Whether or not to use one, in large part, depends on the dog. Some love them because they loathe things around their neck. Others find harnesses too cumbersome.
Ultimately, the only way to determine if your pup should use a harness is to get one and see if they take to it.
How Do I Choose the Right Size for My Dog?
Sizing is essential when choosing a collar. To get an accurate measure of your hound’s neck:
- Use a flexible measuring ribbon. If you don’t have one, use a shoelace or piece of string.
- Wrap it around your pet’s neck and mark where the two ends meet.
- Get a ruler, stretch the string parallel to it, and note the measurement that corresponds with the mark.
How Do Collars Work?
Collars work in a variety of ways. Basic ones simply attach around the animal’s neck. These types usually contain D-rings, onto which leashes are attached and identification is hung. On the other hand, technologically enhanced training collars may emit pulses, light signals, and vibrations.