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 tested tons and came up with a list of superlatives. Our pet product review team considered several factors during the trial process, including price, ease of use, effectiveness, style, and durability.
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.
Top Picks for Dog Collars
Best Leash Training Dog Collar: PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar
- Vet recommended and trainer designed: This headcollar instinctively redirects your dog’s tendency to pull by placing gentle pressure on pain-free points and eliminating pressure on his throat
- Teaches better leash manners: Gently and safely helps you control unwanted leash behaviors like pulling, lunging and jumping for even the most determined pullers
- No more coughing and choking: A padded neoprene nose loop puts pressure on the back of the neck instead of your dog’s throat, which prevents choking and gagging
- Allows full range of motion: Take greater control during your neighborhood strolls while still allowing your dog to bark, eat, drink and play fetch
- Easy to fit: Use the adjustable nose loop and quick-snap neck strap to properly fit the headcollar on your furry friend in minutes
Designed by vets and dog trainers, the PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar is our pick for the best training collar for puppies and adult dogs alike. 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.
Click here to check out PetSafe's nest training dog collar at Amazon.com.
Best Nighttime Dog Collar: TDTOK Led Dog Collar Light Rechargeable
- 【High Visibility & Safety】: The LED dog stall is made of nylon webbing with light guide. The reflective tape and LED are very bright at night, which can improve the visibility and safety of the dog.
- 【Premium Material】: This dog collar uses very high-grade nylon woven material, which will feel very comfortable after being worn by the dog. The material is strong and can prevent the dog from biting it. Also the size can be adjusted with a buckle and the equipped with a metal D-ring, which can be used to fix the dog leash.
- 【Magnetic charging】 : The pet collar can be recharged with any USB device, and used 10 hours after charging for 2 hours. It will automatically disconnect after being fully charged. The most important thing is that magnetic charging allows the battery to be completely enclosed, which can ensure that the collar is more waterproof.
- 【3 Glow Modes】: Just press the button to set it to quick flash, slow flash or steady flash. Different modes can be changed in different night environments to protect the safety of dogs.
- 【Worry-free Purchase】: We will solve any of your problems within 12 hours and provide a 2-year warranty for our dog collars. We want your dogs to be safer at night, so we took a brilliant idea and made it better.
This waterproof nighttime dog collar gets high marks overall. It’s affordable, versatile, rechargeable — and downright cool looking with LED light inlays! Made with high-grade woven nylon, the TDTOK nighttime collar is comfortable for your fur baby and easily adjustable.
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 TDTOK product made our list of the best dog collars for a handful of reasons:
- It’s super bright, which is what you want in a nighttime collar.
- It’s comfortable to the touch.
- The charge lasts a long time!
- It turned our doggies into disco pups — which rocks.
- The TDTOK glow-in-the-dark dog collar is under $20 and fits nearly all budgets.
The icing on this pet product cake is that every collar comes with a two-year warranty!
Click here to check out TDTOK's best nighttime dog collar
Best Leather Dog Collar: Moonpet Soft Padded Real Genuine Leather Dog Collar
- ❤ METERIAL: Made out of stylish 100% genuine leather, it is very soft and flexible. The inside of collar is softly padded and protects your dogs neck from rubbing and irritation.Our dogs will be very comfortable in it. Great for training,running,walking.
- ❤ HARDWARE: Heavy duty large brass D ring on top of the dog collar for an easy leash attachment or ID Tags. The brass hardware will not rust like other cheap dog collars. Superior hand stitching using the strongest threads available.ANTIQUE BRASS HARDWARE ,NOT USED!
- ❤ COLOR: Beautiful two tone color, your dog will stand out from the pack. This is a one of a kind designed leather dog collar at a great price.
- ❤ SIZE: ▶►Small: 12.4-16.4'' dog neck girth & 1'' Wide◄◀, ▶► Medium: 16-20'' dog neck girth & 1.2'' Wide◄◀, ►▶Large: 17.2-22'' dog neck girth & 1.4'' Wide◄◀. Please take careful measurements prior to ordering.
- ❤ GUARANTEE: For whatever reason, if you don't absolutely love our padded leather collar, just return it, we'll refund .(Or replace it, if there is a problem).Matched leash ASIN:B01MRPGNCD
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!
Click here to check out Moonpet’s best leather dog collar
Best Personalized Dog Collar: ZTZ’s Custom Laser Engraved Collar
- 🦴Easy to Customize Your Order: Click "Customize Now" button to choose Collar Size, and input your pet name, address, phone number or any other text. 4 fonts are available (Arial, Verdana, Times New Roman, Georgia).
- 🦴Classic Dog Collar with Patterns Matching Leash (optional), Adjustable Size for dog's neck: XS (8-12 inch) S (12-16 inch) M (16-19 inch) L (19-22 inch) XL (22-24 inch), fits for small, medium, large dogs.
- 🦴Fashion Designed ID Collar: Fine laser engraving technology, could engrave unique text on metal buckle, last for years, best Anti-Lost dog collar.
- 🦴Durable Strong Metal Quick-Release Buckle: It's important. You would be able to quickly and conveniently remove your d 🦴Warranty: 1 year quality warranty guarantee, if you meet any problems, please feel free to contact us for support, thanksog’s collar in most emergency situations.
- 🦴Warranty: 1 year quality warranty guarantee, if you meet any problems, please feel free to contact us for support, thanks
Do you want to personalize a dog collar? Look no further than ZTZ’s personalized dog collars. They run about $25 but are strong and last a long time. Instead of using overlays that quickly wear off, ZTZ’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.
Keep in mind that the buckle is quick-release, which means it may snap off if your dog fights or gets tangled in something. We see this as a welcome safety measure, but it may not be for rambunctious pups. That said, our team member with a feisty puppy said ZTZ’s collar worked great and didn’t snap off.
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.
Click here to check out ZTZ’s best personalized dog collar
Best Dog Collar Set: EXPAWLORER Bow Tie Dog Collar
- Adjustable Size: The collar size is from 9 to 11 inch, width is 1/2 inch, the leash is 59 inch long, the measurement has an error of 0.5-1 inch. Please carefully measure the neck girth of the pet to ensure it can be worn.
- Complete Design: The set includes a bow tie collar, a bandana collar, and a new 59-inch leash, which is more complete and suitable for cats and puppies, do not worry about going out.
- High Quality: The collars and leash are made of PU leather material, comfortable and soft, will not hurt the pet's neck. Skin-friendly so that pets do not exclude wearing collars.
- Classic & Fashion: The classic beige plaid design is not out of date, very stylish. The bow tie collar makes people feel very gentle, and the irregular bandana collar is also very cute.
- Cute Little Parts: The D-ring of the collar has a cute little golden bell that will make a crisp sound when pet walk, and you can remove it if you don't like it.The 59-inch leash can better control your little naughty.
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.
Click here to check out EXPAWLORER’s best dog collar set
Best Small Dog Collar: Dogline Biothane Waterproof Dog Collar
- FREE YOUR DOG to romp in puddles and retrieve from lakes with the Dogline Biothane Waterproof Dog Collar. This water-repellent collar stays dry and odor-free, without shrinking or losing flexibility.
- STRONGER AND MORE DURABLE than leather or nylon, our polyester webbing substrate is bonded with a waterproof coating so it is unrivaled where environs demand strength, flexibility, and cleanliness.
- NON-REFLECTIVE HARDWARE features black electroplated coating for tactical styling. A sturdy D-ring makes it compatible with our Biothane Waterproof Leash and provides a place to attach an ID tag.
- WIPES CLEAN with a damp cloth for easy care. Available in 10 colors, our non-absorbent Biothane collars offer a stylish way to keep your dog looking and smelling their best, without missing out on the fun.
- ACCOMMODATES ALL BREEDS and dog sizes, with 5 lengths and 4 widths to select from. Widths from 0.5” to 1” and lengths from 9” up to 25” offer a collar to fit small, medium, large and giant dog breeds.
Dogline’s biothane dog collar is 100 percent waterproof, slick looking, and will last a very long time. 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.
Click here to check out Dogline’s best small dog collar at Amazon.com.
Best Large Dog Collar: Black Rhino Comfort Collar
- SIZING - Small 11" – 14.5" | Medium 14.5" - 19" | Large 19" - 23" | XL/XLarge 23" - 27" | Measure your dog's neck with a tape measure at the preferred resting place for the collar. Always allow for adequate breathing room.
- NEOPRENE PADDING - Give your dog the comfort he/she deserves. Each collar is lined with a soft neoprene padding that will protect your dog’s neck from irritation when being active. Don’t worry about odor or your dog playing in the water. Our neoprene easily dries and is odor resistant.
- HEAVY DUTY & LIGHTWEIGHT - Constructed for all breeds the Comfort Collar intentionally maintains a lightweight design but is built specifically with heavy duty hardware that is tough enough to resist forces from the most energetic dogs.
- REFLECTIVE STITCHING – Stay safe and be seen on your early morning and evening walks. runs, jogs, or hikes with your dog. Our collars have reflective stitching that reflects light and allows your pup to be seen more easily.
- QUALITY MATERIAL - The Comfort Collar is made from material that was specifically chosen for its toughness and durability. It is guaranteed to withstand the outdoor elements and will resist the forces of the most energetic, powerful, and playful dogs
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!
Click here to check out Black Rhino’s best large dog collar
Best Overall Dog Collar: Joytale Reflective Dog Collar
- SAFETY: Highly reflective threads keep high visibility at night for safety.And you can easy find your furry pet in the back yard at night
- MATERIALS: Dog collar is made of nylon with padded neoprene rubber material. This material is durable, fast dries, flexible and ultra soft
- CLASSIC: This nylon dog collar is a classic yet stylish collar that comes in 12 colors and 4 sizes so you can find just the right one for your dog. A separate loop on the collar makes it easy to add dog tags and leashs onto the collar
- CONVENIENT: Quick release premium ABS made buckles, easy to adjust length and put it on/off. The plastic buckle is curved for your dog’s comfort
- SIZE: X-Small Width 5/8", Neck Size 8"-12",Small Width 3/4", Neck Size 12"-16",Medium Width 1", Neck Size 14"-20", Large Width 1", Neck Size 16"-24"
Joytale’s dog collars are reflective, colorful, adjustable, and comfortable — and they cost less than $10! They have neoprene padding and are very breathable, which cuts down on stink.
Joytale’s collars come in 12 colors and four sizes, from XS to L. In short, they’re good, old-fashioned, solid, basic dog collars that fit every budget. They work well for puppies and adult dogs alike and sport a quick-release buckle for safety.
Click here to check out Joytale's dog collar, our pick for the best overall dog collar.
Last update on 2021-04-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The 8 Best Dog Collars: Reviewed for 2021 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.