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Dog collars are more than a style choice, serving a variety of purposes, beginning with keeping your pet safe and close by your side. There are collars that glow in the dark, coordinate with specific leashes, or are personalized to identify your dog—you might find that different situations call for different collars.
“I have different collars for my dogs for various activities to cue them about what to expect next,” Melissa “MJ” Viera, founder of MJ’s Pet Training Academy in Acushnet, Massachusetts, told The Spruce Pets. “When we are out on the trails or just going for runs or walks, I like to have a GPS tracker collar on my dogs. When practicing obedience, my dogs wear a flat or martingale collar with no tags. Dog show practice requires yet another type of collar. I choose the collar based on function.”
In addition to Viera, a licensed groomer and trainer, we spoke with dog fosters and rescue workers about what they look for in a dog collar. We tested several of their recommendations in real-world conditions and sought feedback from other dog owners. Our favorite collar, the Lupine Original Designs Dog Collar, combines exceptional fitting options and an indestructible design, backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Here are the best dog collars, for a variety of scenarios.
Best Overall: Lupine Original Designs Dog Collar
So many color and pattern choices
“Even if chewed” guarantee
A wide variety of fitting options
Can’t find anything
These collars are durable, soft, and are available in an astonishing variety of colors and patterns. The woven nylon material used in the Lupine Original Designs Dog Collar is flexible enough that it won't rub or chafe your dog's neck. It's also virtually indestructible, with a custom designed quick-release YKK buckle and a rust-proof steel D-ring for ID tags and leash attachment.
In addition to more than 80 different colors and patterns—including reflective collars, holiday patterns, solid colors, and limited "MicroBatch" designs—Lupine Original Designs collars also have a highly customizable fit. The collars are available in three widths (the larger your dog, the wider the ideal collar) and nine different adjustable sizes.
In addition to a standard collar design, there's also a line of eco-collars made from recycled plastic bottles, plus martingale collars designed to slip tighter for leash training. Lupine Pet also offers matching leashes and harnesses.
All Lupine products come with a lifetime guarantee, yes, even if your pup chews right through it.
Best for Puppies: Max and Neo The NEO Dog Collar
Sturdy, yet flexible
Many colors and sizes
Separate ID tag loop
Can’t find anything
These bright and durable collars are very sturdy, but the nylon webbing is also flexible and soft enough for puppies. Available in four sizes—fitting necks from 8.5 to 25 inches around—the NEO Dog Collar's extra small size is perfect for pups, with a smaller, half-inch width and thinner nylon thickness for plenty of flexibility.
The NEO Dog Collar has several clever features that set it apart. In addition to the metal D-ring for a leash, there's also a separate "easy loop" specifically for ID tags. The clasp also has a sliding tab "lock" so that you don't accidentally unbuckle it when holding your dog by the collar (this extra lock claps is not included on the extra small size collar).
The collars range from 1/2 to 1 inch wide, depending on size, and all have reflective stitching for nighttime visibility. The NEO Dog Collar is also available in a martingale version, which incorporates a second loop that tightens the collar when your dog tugs against the leash.
In addition to the four sizing choices, the NEO Dog Collar comes in seven different colors. Plus, for every product you buy, manufacturer Max and Neo donates another product to an animal rescue.
Best for Large Dogs: Black Rhino The Comfort Collar
The standard buckle is less convenient than snap buckle alternatives
These bright nylon collars have thick neoprene padding to protect your big dog’s neck and keep them comfortable. The extra-large version of Black Rhino Comfort Collar fits big dogs with 23- to 27-inch necks, with three other sizes also available. Although the collar is lightweight, it has heavy-duty hardware to keep up with strong, rowdy pets.
The neoprene padding in the Comfort Collar is the same stuff used in wetsuits, so it's quick-drying and odor-resistant, and shouldn’t get smelly even if your dog spends a lot of time in the water. Reflective stitching helps keep your dog visible in low light.
The Black Rhino Comfort Collar is available in five colors.
Best for Small Dogs: Blueberry Pet Spring Scent Floral Dog Collars
So many designs and colors
Matching leashes and harnesses available
Robust personalizing options
Major retailers have trouble keeping some sizes in stock
These festive collars come in lively designs and pretty colors, with bright floral patterns (non-floral versions are also available). The high-density polyester webbing and chromed steel d-ring is durable enough for years of use, and the collar comes on and off using a convenient snap buckle, also available in bright colors. You can also customize the Spring Scent Dog Collar with stitching that adds your dog's name and an optional phone number.
The collars are lightweight and comfortable, which is great for small pets, and Blueberry Pet offers matching leashes, harnesses, and other accessories. The Blueberry Pet Spring Scent Floral Dog Collar is available in four different sizes.
Best Leather: Coastal Pet Circle T Latigo Leather Round Dog Collar
Sturdy but stylish
Eight sizes, four colors
Not recommended for wet weather
Rolled leather collars can be more comfortable than flat leather, especially for long-haired breeds because their fur won’t get caught on easily. These rolled collars are sturdy, but look stylish. They have a buckle and D-ring made of nickel and are made of latigo leather, which is tanned using two different methods to provide durable flexibility (it's a go-to leather for saddle straps, for example).
The Coastal Pet Circle T Latigo Leathe Round Dog Collar come in several classic colors and eight sizes, which should fit dogs with neck sizes ranging from 8 to 22 inches. They are handmade in the United States and durable enough to last a lifetime.
Best Personalized: Orvis Personalized Side-Release Buckle Collar
Lots of color and size choices
Welded seams instead of stitching
On the expensive side
Whether you don’t like the jangling noise of dog tags or you’re afraid a tag will get caught on something, personalized collars are a safe, comfortable alternative for your dog. These soft, adjustable collars from Orvis let you put your pet’s name and a phone number right on the collar.
Like many of our other recommended leashes, the Orvis collar is made from nylon webbing, though its seams are sonic-welded—a process that melts together nylon segments at the attachment point—rather than stitched. This method creates a durable bond, but isn't as visually pleasing as stitching in our experience.
There are more than a dozen colors and patterns to choose from. The Orvis Personalized Side-Release Buckle Collar also has a steel D-ring, should you want to attach an ID tag or leash.
Best Tracking/GPS: Whistle Go Explore Dog GPS Tracker
Battery lasts up to 20 days
Fits on most collars
Tracks activity and location
If you’re worried that your dog will head out on an adventure some day without you, a tracking device can offer some peace of mind. The GPS helps you spot where your dog is, whether he escaped your yard or went out with the dog walker. It attaches to a collar (not included) and provides real-time tracking powered by the AT&T network and Google maps, up to 3,000 miles away. Tracking can sometimes be glitchy and the battery lasts up to 20 days, so it’s no guarantee, but it gives you a good chance.
It also works as an activity tracker so you can see how many calories your pup burns, minutes they are active, distance traveled, and more. It also monitors health functions, including how much they lick, scratch, and sleep.
Best for Nighttime: Illumiseen LED Dog Collar
Six colors and six sizes
Battery lasts five hours
Matching LED leash
Not long-lasting if dog is rough on collar
A light-up collar makes your pup—and you—more visible on walks at night or on early mornings when it’s still dark out. You can set the rechargeable light to steady, rapid flashing, or slow flashing with one click; it lasts for up to five hours with one hour of charging. There’s an off switch, too, so you can save battery life during the daytime.
The collars are adjustable even with the LED lights; simply pull the fibers through the adjustment buckle. It comes in six colors and six sizes and matching light-up leashes are also available.
Best Set: Wild One Collar Walk Kit
So many colors and sizes
More expensive than most
The stylish pet (and their person) will love this set that comes with a matching collar, leash, and poop bag carrier in nearly a dozen chic colors. The flex poly-coated nylon strap is easy to spot clean (it can be hand-washed for a deeper clean) and pups shouldn’t be able to chew through the material. It has a sturdy zinc alloy buckle and coated carbon steel D-ring where you attach the leash.
The leash is made of the same durable, waterproof material with two coated carbon steel D-rings so you can change the length of the lead. And the matching poop bag holder has an elastic attachment to hook it to your leash, so you’ll never forget your bags when you and your pet are heading out on an adventure.
A great overall choice is the Lupine Original Designs Dog Collar. Made from comfortable material that won't rub your dog's neck, it's available in dozens of patterns and color combinations. Another great choice is the NEO dog collar from Max and Neo. These bright and durable collars are strong enough for any size dog, but their combination of flexibility and softness is perfect for puppies.
What to Look for in a Dog Collar
The most important feature of a dog collar is a good fit—one that doesn’t slip off but isn’t uncomfortably tight or too heavy. When shopping, pay attention to the collar's material—if it stretches, for example—as well as if it's adjustable and by how much. A common test uses your fingers.
Dog collars are designed with different purposes in mind, so it's helpful to know what you need before you start shopping. You may want a basic collar that can hold dog tags and attach to a leash, or you may want one that can help keep your eager dog from slipping away or provide a bit more support if your dog is particularly active.
Collars come in a variety of materials, colors, and patterns and because it’s the one accessory your pet is likely to wear every day, you might put a lot of effort into choosing the one that looks and feels just right. You might want something that glows in the dark for nighttime use or something with a matching leash if fashion is really important.
What is the best material for dog collars?
You can find collars made from all sorts of materials ranging from nylon to leather to recycled plastic. There’s no perfect material for every dog in every situation.
“The material depends on the activity,” Viera told The Spruce Pets. “It's always a good idea to look for a well-made collar, no matter the material. The collar should feel supportive, and the buckles and clips solid. Any collar can break, but it's less likely to happen with a good quality collar.”
How do I measure my dog for dog collar fit?
Use a flexible measuring tape if you have one to measure snugly around your dog’s neck. If you don’t have a tape, use a piece of string or ribbon, then measure that with a ruler. Check to see if the collar has specific instructions about sizing up or down if you’re between sizes.
“Measuring might be slightly different between brands and styles, but it's essential to have a properly fitted collar on your dog,” says Viera. “Test that your dog cannot slip out of the collar. Most collars should be snug with enough room to easily put your finger through the collar. Ask your trainer to fit your dog's collar for you.”
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
We have a team of pet-loving writers, editors, and experts who suggest and test products for Spruce Pets. Our team relies on many years of expertise in training, fostering, veterinary, and pet ownership and considers safety, usefulness, and durability when selecting great pet items.
The proud mom of a rescue dog, Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than three dozen dogs and puppies. She has tried many different collars to keep them safe and out of mischief. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place.