Smart collars are designed to give dog owners who like to let their pups roam a sense of security. By creating invisible fences and monitoring their location remotely, you can make sure that your favorite canine never gets lost. Additionally, you can monitor their fitness and behavior to make sure they are staying healthy, and even set up an exercise regimen for them.
GPS-powered collars are also great for owners who travel with their dogs, allowing them to easily set up digital fences anywhere in the world they may be, and save a large collection of them.
Our favorite smart collar is Fi’s Series 3 dog collar. This smart dog fence boasts a slew of different functions outside of superior location tracking, including training, fitness, and overall health monitoring. It also provides a variety of subscription options to allow owners to test out whether it works well for their dog.
Fi Series 3 Smart Dog Collar
Extensive tracking, training, and fitness-monitoring capabilities
Monitors sleep-wake patterns
Lost Dog Mode mode
Durable and waterproof
LED lighting for visibility
Paying a month-to-month subscription costs more than most streaming services, so savings require a longer commitment
The Fi smart collar includes exemplary tracking, training, and fitness-related features. It combines a GPS tracker and an activity monitor. Whether you’re attempting to locate your dog or making sure they are burning sufficient calories, the Fi’s attendant smartphone app has plenty of functionality and customizability to give you detailed and up-to-date information.
When it comes to exercise, the Fi allows you to see how your pup’s activity level stacks up against similar dogs. This allows you to gather the information you need to set their step and calorie-burning goals and figure out the requisite amount of overall exercise they need. There is even functionality to track competitions and races with other animals. The app also tracks your dog’s sleep patterns.
The Fi Collar Series 3 offers non-corrective ways to monitor your dog, allowing you to find solutions other than invisible fences and negative reinforcement training collars. In accordance with guidance from organizations like the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, The Spruce Pets does not recommend collars that use shock or stimulation as a form of punishment. You can read here for more on this policy.
If your dog becomes lost or you are specifically concerned about its location during a given time, you can enter “Lost Dog Mode” on the collar’s app, which will refresh every minute (depending on your service). Outside of the smartphone functionality, the collar itself remotely controlled LED light that activates at nighttime.
The collar is also highly resilient, able to handle 300 pounds of pull resistance; it is also largely waterproof. One charge of the collar lasts approximately three months. It comes in numerous sizes (between 11.5 and 34.5 inches), colors, and styles, with martingale, leather, and biothane bands. To access all of the features of the FI, owners must purchase at least a 1-year subscription, which may be off-putting for some buyers. However, it does come with a 30-day free to get yourself acclimated before making the full investment.
Price at time of publish: one-time activation fee of $20 + subscription
Weight: 12.7 ounces | Sizes: Small to X-Large | Colors: Yellow, Gray, Blue, Pink (with or without pattern) | Subscription: $4.40/week (month-to-month), $3.90/week (6 months), $3.70/week (1 year), $3.20/week (2 years) | Battery: Up to 3 months battery life with one charge
Best for Location Tracking
Halo 2+ Dog Collar
Durable but lightweight
Training designed by Cesar Millan
Advanced activity tracking
Good subscription options
Collar too thick for a small dog
Designed by famed trainer Cesar Millan, the Halo is durable, lightweight, and comfortable on dogs’ necks, plus it serves as a smart GPS fence, allowing owners to set up to 20 geofences in disparate locations using the app or by recording the perimeter of the fence as their dog walks it. The app then keeps owners apprised of their dog’s status within each of the fenced-in areas, using GPS/GNSS technology that is constantly updated on the app.
The Millan-designed training regimens on the app include custom verbal commands that can be played through the collar for your pop. Their activity can be monitored in-depth on the app to see if they are getting the balance of exercise and rest that they need.
The Halo collar also offers three subscription plans so that dog owners in different price brackets can get exemplary coverage. The first two tiers do not incorporate the full slate of app features but feature all of the basic location and health-tracking capabilities most owners are looking for.
Price at time of publish: $699 + subscription
Weight: Not listed | Sizes: Small, medium, large | Colors: Graphite, ivory | Subscription: Basic: $4.49/month; Silver: $9.99/month; Gold: $29.99/month | Battery: 21 hours
Best for Health/Fitness
Whistle Health + GPS + Fitness Dog Collar
Created by vets and data scientists
Very detailed health and fitness information
Behavioral updates can help prevent disease
App can put owners in touch with vets directly
Multiple LED light modes
Shorter battery life than some other options
The Whistle Health + GPS+ collar offers detailed information about your dog’s living habits and location. Its component aspects—the GPS, Health and Fitness capabilities—are also marketed separately as trackers that can be attached to your canine’s collar. With the full package, you have a treasure trove of information at your fingertips. But perhaps most impressively, you can monitor everything you need to know about body language that might indicate health problems, such as scratching and licking, as well as tracing their feeding habits.
Owners can also monitor their dog’s fitness and customize workout and calorie-burning goals to match their age, breed and weight . Keeping an eye on changes to their eating and drinking routine helps prevent diabetes, periodontal disease, and more. All these elements—baked into the collar’s attendant app—indicate why Whistle is a leader in the smart collar market when it comes to health and exercise. The app even allows owners to connect with veterinarians and experts via chat, call, or video.
Price at time of publish: $160 + subscription
Weight: Not specified | Sizes: XS/S through M/L | Colors: Black, yellow | Subscription: Yes, $8.25 per month, paid annually | Battery: 2 interchangeable Lithium Ion batteries; battery life not specified
The Fi Series 3 Smart Collar offers the best combination of app functionality, durability, and subscription options of any smart collar we found. In addition to providing top-notch invisible fencing and location tracking, it monitors numerous health-and-fitness-related areas, including step goals and sleeping and eating habits. It also has a prodigious battery life and fares well in extreme weather conditions. The Halo is also a consumer favorite, and we recommend it based on its training capabilities, superior location technology, and its relative affordability for a collar of its caliber—thanks to multiple subscription plan options.
What to Look for in Smart Dog Collars
Payment for many collars is handled through subscriptions. In the best case, this allows consumers to try out the service before committing to a year-long or permanent investment. In other cases—as with our top pick—you’ll need to commit to a longer period of time than month-to-month to get full functionality out of your collar. But the Fi, as with others, allows for a 30-day free trial period. Owners should check out all available options before making their decision.
At the base level, smart dog collars should provide GPS tracking that can easily monitored on an app, with a reasonable refresh rate. The quality of the GPS technology often informs the collar’s price tag. Most collars also transmit information about fitness, making sure pups are getting the requisite about of exercise and rest. More premium collars will give more detailed health information and include sleep-wake monitoring.
Owners will want to make sure that their smart collar doesn’t sacrifice comfort for technological prowess. Reference whatever sizing guide or recommendations the manufacturers include in the product listing, and make sure you take accurate measurements of your dog’s neck circumference. As with other collars, you want to find a size that allows you to put two fingers between the collar and your pup’s next.
Since smart collars are more likely to be used by dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, it is extra important that your virtual dog fence of choice can withstand the elements. All of the collars on our list are waterproof to some degree, and the manufacturers provide information about their rating and the amount of water the collar can withstand. More premium options are generally more heavy-duty.
What is a smart collar?
Smart collars are devices that allow owners to track their dog using GPS and cellular signals. They also allow owners to create invisible fences or identify desired radiuses for their pup to stay within. The collars interface with an app where owners can stay up to date with their pup’s slightest movements. The collars also usually include health and fitness tracking, though some apps offer significantly more detailed information than others. Advanced features include sleep monitoring, and keeping track of scratching, licking, and other indicators of potential health issues.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
Regular Spruce Pets writer and tester Winston Cook-Wilson scoured the market for the most popular and renowned smart collar options on the market, considering items both with superior GPS and fencing capabilities and devices with a wider array of smart functionality. He cross-referenced testimonials from both veterinarians, dog experts, and consumers to determine the items included on this short list. Though the Spruce Pets maintains a focus on safety and practical utility for dog owners, Cook-Wilson also made sure to note the financial advantages of the payment plan for each of these smart collar solutions.