The 12 Best Dog Collars of 2022—From a Pet Expert
Our pet expert found the top collars for dogs of all kinds to keep your pup safe and stylish.
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Buying a Dog Collar
Every dog needs a collar—not just for style, but for safety. After all, dogs don’t spend all their time in comfy dog beds. A collar declares to the world that your dog has a home, and identification tags attached to the collar allow you to reunite with a lost pet. Health information like rabies tags (often required by law) can save your dog’s life, should his fearfulness prompt him to lash out at a stranger. How to choose the right collar is one of the best tips a pet lover can learn.
What to Look for in a Dog Collar
Proper fit is the most important factor for any dog collar. Too loose and it can slip over the dog’s head when he pulls the wrong way on the leash. Too snug and it can constrict breathing. A collar fits properly when you can easily slip two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck.
While you can take well-behaved dogs to pet product stores, I don’t recommend you try on collars. Would you want to buy a collar another dog has already worn? Instead, measure your dog’s neck with a tape measure. A ribbon or shoestring also works. Be sure you include room for the two-finger test, and use that measurement as a guide for choosing the proper dog collar size.
Beyond fit, here are other key features to consider when choosing the best dog collar:
- Age of dog: Puppies grow and may need larger sizes as they mature. An older dog’s neck size may decrease with loss of muscle. Choose a collar that has at least one or two extra buckle holes to reduce or enlarge as needed.
- Washable or odor-resistance: Four-legged friends can get into the nastiest things, and making sure your dog’s collar is easy to clean is one of the many cleaning tips every pet parent should know. Our list has collars you can throw in the wash, clean at the sink or simply wipe down.
- Waterproof or water-resistance: Many dogs adore water games, retrieving toys from the pool or finding mud puddles to stomp and roll in. For retrievers who adore getting wet, choose a collar designed to hold up to outdoor fun and games.
- Width and weight: The bigger your dog’s breed, the wider the collar he’ll need. There are collars on our list over one inch wide for larger breeds. But thin rolled collars work best for dogs with thick manes like collies, because flat collars can break or rub off the fur.
- Smart collars: High-tech pet gadgets can simplify some dog care issues. Today, a variety of smart collars can track your dog’s location, to help keep your dog safe.
What collars do vets recommend?
Veterinarians recommend identification for your dog, and that can include collar tags. But even the best, safest collar can cause injury to your dog’s neck if he lunges and pulls. Breeds with short noses like Bulldogs already have trouble breathing, and can suffer collapsed trachea from pulling too hard against a collar that’s attached to a leash. Walking on a harness offers the safest choice. Dog trainers may recommend specially designed training collars like Martingale designs. Most veterinarians are not fans of aversive-type training collars like prong, “choke,” and static (shock) collars because of the potential for injury and negative behavioral fallout.
What is the safest type of dog collar?
Flat collars usually offer the most safety for the widest range of dogs, from small to big. They come in nylon, leather and polyester.
Should dogs always wear their collars?
Dogs don’t have to wear collars all the time. My dog gets a break from wearing his collar every night, when we all go to bed. Dogs left alone in the house during the day have a higher risk of getting the collar caught on furniture, or on their own or a dog-friend’s jaws while playing. You know your dogs best; if they’re door-dashers, make sure they wear collars before leaving the house, but otherwise, you can let them go naked when safely confined in the house or fenced yard.
Dog Collar Evaluation Criteria
- Pet expert personal experience and research
- User reviews
Best Dog Collar Overall
Didog Engraved Leather Collar
Nothing beats a quality leather collar that provides style, function, durability and secure identification. While tags get lost, I love the Didog Collar because the custom-designed, engraved nameplate attaches directly to the leather. It comes in three colors and six neck sizes, fitting tiny to big canines with 8-inch to 25-inch necks. You also can purchase it in a set with a matching leash.
- Engraved collar plate for pet’s name, your address and phone number
- Adjustable up to 4 inches
- Sturdy design
- Six sizes
- Three colors
- Large D-ring for leash
- Due to personalization element, orders take longer to arrive
Best Rolled Leather Collar
CollarDirect Rolled Leather Dog Collar
Dogs with long hair or delicate fur need special attention when it comes to collars, as the wrong collar can get matted or cause tangles. A rolled leather collar avoids these issues, and CollarDirect Rolled Leather Dog Collar comes in a variety of sizes and colors to fit your long-furred friend. The extra-soft leather is an added bonus you wouldn’t expect at this price point.
- Rolled design won’t tangle in fur
- Available in 13 colors and seven sizes
- Under $20
- Handmade from extra-soft leather
- Stretches with wear
Best Breakaway Dog Collar
PetSafe Keep Safe Nylon Dog Collar
Dog collars can get snagged on many things. In multi-pet households, dogs often play with each other by grabbing collars. The PetSafe Keep Safe Nylon Breakaway Dog Collar prevents strangulation accidents that can happen during dog-on-dog play times or by getting hung up in the backyard on fences or other objects. From a brand trusted by professional dog trainers, this collar comes in three simple colors and four sizes. It won’t release while leash-walking, either, so it offers peace of mind when you’re out with your pup.
- Breakaway design for safety
- Nylon for added durability
- Three colors and four sizes
- Adjustable fit
- Though it won’t release while leash-walking, the breakaway design is otherwise very sensitive
Best Dog Collar for Small Dogs
Joytale Reflective Dog Collar
It’s hard to properly fit a collar for small dogs with tiny necks while still following the two-thumb rule. I chose the Joytale reflective dog collar with an extra small option that’s 5/8-inches wide. It’s padded, lightweight and offers good safety features like reflective bands for night walks. It also has over 27,500 five-star reviews, similar to these other pet products with perfect reviews.
Note: The American Kennel Club recommends a dog harness for walking small and toy breeds. A collar is still necessary to hold ID, rabies and license tags.
- Extra small size is safe for even the tiniest breeds
- Padded for comfort
- Reflective bands for safe night walks
- Some reviewers complain that the collar has an odor straight out of the packaging
Best Smart Dog Collar
Fi Smart Collar
Technology improves every year, so why shouldn’t dog collars? Our pick for the best smart dog collar is the Fi Smart Collar for its price, battery life and water resistance.
The Fi Smart Collar monitors your pet’s movements so you know exactly where they are—indoors and out. Create an invisible fence around your home or yard to keep tabs on your pet, and track them if they do breach that virtual border.
- Allows you to track your pet’s whereabouts 24/7
- Monitors activity to improve dog health
- Buckle withstands 300 pounds of force
- Battery lasts for months between charges
- 30-day GPS trial
- Costs more than other options
- Requires an annual subscription
Best Padded Leather Dog Collar
Soft Touch Leather Collar
Leather dog collars are the gold standard for the best dog collars, as they last, improve with age and are a safe option for pups allergic to nylon. Soft Touch leather collars come in various sizes and shades of quality leather, and sheepskin padding on the inside surface of the collar keeps your dog’s neck safe.
- Made with real leather
- Comes in four sizes and six sophisticated colors
- Separate metal ring for tags
- D-ring might not be strong enough for large breeds
Best Faux Leather Dog Collar
Tuff Pupper Classic Heavy-Duty Collar
If you like the look of leather but not the cost (or using animal products), the Tuff Pupper heavy-duty collar is a smart choice. Though it resembles a high-quality leather collar, it’s made from a fray-proof ballistic polymer weave that’s waterproof and odor free. It comes in a dozen color options for outfitting different dogs.
- Extremely durable construction and materials
- Inexpensive price point
- Odor free
- 4 sizes (fits 10-inch to 23-inch neck)
- Strong breeds may chew through the material
Best Dog Collar Splurge
The Atlas Pet Company’s Lifetime Collar lives up to its name, because it’s guaranteed for life. The minimalist, fixed-length collar slips over your dog’s head for a comfortable fit. It comes in various modern shades and is meant to be paired with a harness. (Atlas makes Lifetime Harnesses, too.)
- Guaranteed for life
- High-end materials, like a rust-free O ring and repairable clamps
- Slips over the neck
- Not for use with a leash
- Higher cost than other non-smart collars
Best Budget Dog Collar
Qqpets Adjustable Soft Collar
At just $10, the Qqpets adjustable soft collar is the least expensive option on our list of best dog collars, but rest assured it’s still a quality choice. The washable collar comes in 23 fun patterns, making it an inexpensive way to swap your dog’s daily-use collar for one with seasonal style.
- Inexpensive price point
- Four sizes and 23 prints
- Metal D-ring and plastic buckle
- Not as durable as pricier options
Best Custom Embroidery Dog Collar
Orvis Flat Dog Collar
The Orvis flat dog collar comes in five sizes and 13 colors, so you get a perfect fit while still being stylish! It’s a workhorse for dogs of all ages. Another perk of this collar: personalization. Orvis will embroider your dog’s name and a phone number in a contrasting color. So if your dog goes missing, the person who finds it can easily give you a call.
- Embroider the collar with your phone number and pet’s name
- Adjustable buckle and sturdy design
- Releases easily when necessary
- Large D-ring for tags and dog leash
- Updated design uses thinner fabric
- Runs large
Best Collar for Dogs with Small Heads
Country Petz Martingale Collar
Some dogs, like Greyhounds and Whippets, have a head shape that’s smaller than the size of their neck. That makes it easy for them to slip a standard collar off when you’re walking. This Martingale-style collar addresses that problem.
A Martingale-style collar doesn’t have a buckle. Instead, it goes over the head and tightens on the neck when the dog pulls. The collar’s D-ring holds a leash on a separate, smaller loop that lays flat against your pet’s neck. The dog’s neck goes through the larger loop. These two loops allow the collar to tighten when the dog pulls to keep it from easily slipping off over the head.
While Martingale collars are used for training, use caution, since pressure on the neck always has risks. Wearing these collars unsupervised can lead to choking hazards when dogs grab each other’s collars during play. Dogs and pups with prominent eyes like Pekingese and Pugs should never wear these collars, as the neck pressure can cause breathing issues, or could “pop” their eyes out of the socket. Always choose products specific to your pet, and know about what products you shouldn’t have if you have a dog.
- Martingale no-slip design used for training purposes
- Welded rings add durability
- Heavy nylon is good for strong pullers
- Available in 21 colors and and seven sizes
- Reviewers note some pups get jaws caught in the collar
Best Budget Dog Collar for Large Breeds
Black Rhino Comfort Collar
Collars for large breeds require adequate size and comfort. The Black Rhino comfort collar has both—without the big price tag to match. A wide collar (one inch) helps withstand the tugs and pulls of a large dog while also feeling comfortable around their neck.
- Economical price
- Neoprene padding adds comfort
- 10 color options and four sizes
- D-ring and grommets can pull away
- Padding shreds with use
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