Some people think that a collar is a collar, but you and I know better. The best dog collars serve more than the simple purpose of showing that your dog has an owner, which is what we’re going to delve into in this guide. We’ve chosen fifteen cool dog collars that serve function and comfort while making your life a little bit easier (and adding some style points, because every dog needs a little flair). Whether you’re after personalized dog collars or puppy collars for the runt of the litter, there’s something here for every breed and size.
The Best Dog Collar
We all have that short pang of fear run through us when we think about, “What if Fido goes missing?” GoTags has the solution. Embedded metallic medallions work sometimes, but if your pup is lost and afraid, they’re far more likely to act erratically and pop it off. This way, everything stays in full open sight on the collar (which they won’t be able to get off on their own), giving you the highest chance of them returning safely.
There’s a ton of customization options available and multiple colors to choose from. Everything is made from nylon to not only be easy to clean, but also reduce irritation for your pup, especially in hotter weather. Four available adjustable sizes, and another reason that you’ll be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing there’s a contingency in place. For quality and customization, this is our top collar.
Allows you to add phone number/address if your pooch gets lost
Comes in four adjustable sizes
Made from soft and comfortable nylon to prevent irritation for your pup
Five collar colors + fifteen embroidery color options
Now we’re talking. For those of you with a male pup who wants to showcase his masculinity, you can never go wrong with leather and metal. This collar fits a decent range of pup’s neck sizes, and comes with a great layer of padding along the inside to keep it nice and comfortable for your pooch. Leather dog collars are an excellent option if you’re the type of lady or gent who wants to slap the collar back on your pup’s neck right after a dip in the bath: you just need to wipe it down, give it a minute to dry off, and it’s good to go back on. No fuss, just a simple time cleaning it. Last but not least, that metal buckle is easy to take off (if you have thumbs) and sturdy enough to hold up against tugs on the leash and rough play.
Fits pups from 9.4” neck size up to 14.1”
Soft interior padding prevents itching and irritation
Leather is extremely easy to clean
Sturdy metal buckle clasp along the front of the collar
- Weight2.4 ounces
Nylon is a great choice for a dog collar, especially when you pair it with a durable ABS buckle system along the front. The good folks at Weaver took the time to listen to the most common grievances that dog owners like us put out. They made this extremely adjustable for a variety of dog’s neck sizes, yet still kept it comfortable enough that they won’t be whimpering to get you to take it off. Choose between ten different colors, and use that simple ABS buckle clasp to pop it off when it’s time to hit the bath or to give them some free roam time in the backyard.
Simple snapping clasp along the front
Adjustable to fit a multitude of different dog neck sizes
Comes in ten different colors
Durable nylon stays nice and comfortable for your pup
Looking for girl dog collars? Blueberry Pet makes cute dog collars that accentuate your dog’s femininity, while still staying sturdy and durable above all else. If you’d like, there are customization options available to really personalize this collar. Choose from one of six sizes (your small pup will fit beautifully in the x-small size) and between nine floral patterns. Blueberry Pet went the extra mile to ensure that none of their D-rings contain a hint of nickel, keeping your pup as safe as possible when it’s on the leash.
You can customize this collar if you’d like
Comes in six different sizes
Dense polyester construction
D-ring is free of nickel
- BrandBlueberry Pet
This super simple leather dog collar keeps it real, and adds a little bit of customization into the mix. There’s a brass tag along the front, which you’ve able to customize and add your name, the city, state and your phone number, just so you can be doubly certain that if someone finds your lost pup, there’s no misconception as to where to return them to. Leather is simple to clean and fits wonderfully on your pooch, anywhere from a 15” to a 25” neck (when you select one of the five available sizes). Last but not least, they included a sturdy D-ring and buckle to provide maximum protection and minimal resistance if your dog jumps around a bit.
Customized plaquette along the front of the band (opposite the buckle)
Comes in five different sizes (from 15” to 25” necks)
Sturdy D-ring and buckle won’t budge if your pup thrashes around
- BrandWarner Manufacturing
It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s going to make your pitbull look like an absolute movie star. W&W went with some classic pitbull flair, adding gold-colored accents into this durable stainless steel dog collar. There’s zero nickel used in production, nothing but 316L steel, which is rust resistant and refuses to irritate your pup’s neck. Speaking of necks, you have an amazingly wide range of neck sizes you can get this in, from 10” up to 32”. This is the best dog collar for your pitbull or rugged canine companion, and it’s super simple to put on
Comes in a dozen sizes from a 10” to a 32” neck
316L stainless steel metal: no nickel, nothing but durable, rust-resistant steel
Connection ring is thinner than the chain, making it easy to put on your pup
Lightweight construction despite use of steel
- BrandW&W Lifetime
- Weight10.2 ounces
Is your pup tough as nails? Does he look like a total boss? This military-inspired dog collar from OneTigris is going to reinforce that fact. If you’re ever worried about them breaking through their collar, this is your solution: nylon construction, and a dual buckle closure to keep it nice and secure, without being too tight. Nylon is easy to clean with a little bit of TLC, and is a go-to material for dog collars due to how comfortable they feel on your dog’s neck. Simple sizing, adjustments made with an equally durable D-ring, and a fantastic, subtle look. Your pooch will barely know it’s there.
Simple sizing solutions
Five adjustment points w/ metal D-ring
Primary nylon construction for comfort and durability
Available in five colors
It doesn’t need to be the Fourth of July just to show a little American pride. Your America pup deserves a collar that’s been made in the USA by a family-owned and operated company. Made of a thick nylon, this dog collar comes in five sizes, fitting a teacup poodle all the way up to a great dane. If the collar’s look is a bit too clean for you, you can always opt for the excellent weathered finish on the outside. You get a simple buckle closure made of high-density ABS, and a thick metal D-ring that’s not going to buckle from a few quick tugs. Lastly, we just want to gloat about the price: it’s American-made, and designed to fit an American’s budget.
Highly durable ABS plastic buckle closure
American flag printed belt
Comes in five sizes
Highly resistant metal D-ring (made of zinc)
- BrandDog Karma
- Weight2.4 ounces
Is Lassie a bit too tough on the leash from time to time? Nothing lasts better than a leather dog collar, and gives you far better resistance. This collar is designed to hold up to 200 lbs of raw muscular power from your pup trying to go in the opposite direction, due to the full grain leather construction and alloy D-ring for added stability. The two work in tandem, keeping the control in your hands, even when you feel like it’s slipping away. Zero nickel has been used in construction, and if you’re not certain why that’s such a big deal, continue reading our guide to find out. Comfortable, affordable, and built to last.
Full grain leather construction
Alloy D-ring is free of nickel and sturdy as can be
Comes in three sizes (from 18” to 29” necks)
Designed to hold the pressure of a 200lb dog
- Weight6.4 ounces
Training your pup is no easy task, and often requires the best dog collars to help train them throughout each and every walk. Coastal Pets wanted to make it a little easier on you, which is why they’ve developed this fantastic metal dog collar to give you a helping hand. Argon construction and a chrome coating keep this dazzling at all time, rust resistant, and durable enough to help quell your pup’s little tirades when he or she tries to run off after squirrels halfway down your street. The one major concern with chain-style collars is pinching, but Coastal had that in mind as well. Thanks to the smooth, curved construction of the links, these won’t bunch up and pinch your pup; nothing but smooth sailing from here on out.
Argon construction with chrome plating; no rust
Perfect for those of you training your dog during a walk
Close-knit chain links don’t jam up with one another
Durable metal rings provide stability just when you think you’re going to lose it
- BrandCoastal Pet
- Weight6.1 ounces
Nylon adds comfort for your pup and doesn’t stretch out over time, making it one of the best dog dollar materials. Blueberry Pet didn’t just stop there; they include a leash and harness with this extremely inexpensive purchase, You get all the power and stability you need from the metal D-ring, coated in chrome to reduce tarnish and prevent rust. They kept the design simple, but gave you a few styles to switch out if the basic blue isn’t your pup’s color. Lastly, the solid ABS buckle closure makes it simple to slip this on and off without any hassle, yet stays strong when your dog is tugging in one direction when you’re trying to go in another.
Comes in multiple sizes and styles
Includes a matching leash and harness
Chrome-coated metal D-ring
Primary nylon construction
- BrandBlueberry Pet
It looks like a weightlifting belt, but it’s actually a super padded and durable collar for your dog. Starting from the buckle working in, you get an ultra durable metal buckle closure, as well as metal ring eyelets for size variation. You’ll love the durability, while your pup is going to enjoy the neoprene padding along the interior. Not only dog it help to maintain breathability, but it’s also just cushiony goodness that they won’t be scratching at. If you’re a morning runner and you happen to take Fido along, you’ll be relieved to know that Black Rhino added reflective stitching to give a heads-up to passing motorists.
Solid metal buckle loops for size adjustments
Neoprene padding adds an excellent layer of comfort for your dog
Reflective stitching for visibility on an early morning run
- BrandBlack Rhino
- Weight3.84 ounces
If you had your heart set on a spiked dog collar, don’t worry: we don’t aim to disappoint. Keep in mind, this isn’t just for aesthetic appeal; the rivets on this collar are actually sharp, and intended to be used if your pup gets out, so they can defend themselves against other dogs. While it’s not something your pooch should wear when playing with the kids, it is an ultra durable collar made of genuine leather, and equipped with a chrome D-ring for lead attachment. Simple closure, multiple sizes to choose from, and a look that shows neighborhood dogs that your pup shouldn’t be messed with for any reason.
Genuine leather construction
Available in four sizes from 15” to 24” necks
Chrome D-ring is rust resistant
Rivets are actually sharp
- BrandBerry Pet
I’m just going to say it, this is absolutely adorable and we’re both well aware of that fact. They may not be eating Fancy Feast, but your pup can look as dapper as they come. This simple collar is made of high quality cotton, meaning you can toss it in the wash when it gets dingy. Just because it’s cute doesn’t mean they skimped on the fixings: you get a stainless steel D-ring for some serious staying power, as well as an easily adjustable center section to help alleviate your pup’s discomfort if it get s a bit too tight. Even if you’re not feeling the bowtie, you can just undo the elastic strap and let them rock this blue-and-white polka dot collar like an adorable champion.
Available in five sizes and five color options
Complete cotton design for maximum comfort
Stainless steel D-ring
Very easy to adjust
- BrandLionet Paws
- Weight0.64 ounces
Last on our list is this simplistic collar to add some butch style to your canine companion. First and foremost, you get a solid genuine leather construction, made with a weathered look to add some rustic style. Speaking of rustic, that’s what they were aiming for on the buckle design: solid brass, slightly tarnished-looking, and rust resistant as they come. This only comes in one size, but fits most small to medium-sized dogs, and stays comfortable and ventilated throughout use. If you’re still not certain what collar to grab your pup, take a gander below at the buying guide, circle back, and snag your favorite.
Classic weather leather look, genuine leather build
Brass hardware, no nickel is ever used in Hide & Drink dog collar construction
One size, fits 10” to 19” necks
- BrandHide & Drink
- Weight3.2 ounces
Best Dog Collar Buying Guide and FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying a Dog Collar
- Materials: You’re going to run into leather and nylon for the primary construction. Occasionally you’ll see polyester and a few other synthetic materials used. Part of it comes down to your preference, but ultimately, it’s up to your dog to decide which they prefer.
- D-Ring Durability: You have to connect that leash somewhere. The collar may be tough as nails, but if the D-ring is weak, then it’s a completely fruitless endeavor to ever attach your leash. You’ll have to look out for maximum weight capacity, as well as the material the D-ring is made out of. Stainless steel is the best possible.
- Metal Types: Metal matters a lot because you’re not supposed to use nickel at all (more on this in the guide below). You’ll see stainless steel, argon, chrome and things of the sort for D-ring and buckle closures, and those are all excellent choices. Be conscious of the metal types used in your dog’s collar construction.
- Weight Capacity: This plays into the strength of the D-ring, but also the construction of the collar. Oftentimes, leather is more durable than nylon when put to a hard test. This is about pressure, not how much your dog weighs (though that will impact the pressure they output).
- Comfort: If it’s not comfortable, your dog’s not going to be happy. Look for neoprene padding, rounded edges and user reviews to determine the best possible chance of getting a comfy collar for your dog.
Types of Dog Collars
There are plenty of various dog collar types, but here we’re going to talk about the main three that a pet-positive owner would use. We’ve kept prong collars and things of the sort off of this list.
- Head Halters: These look like muzzles on your pup’s head, and while they provide greater control, they can cause damages if you tug on them too hard. Head halters are a better option if you have an aggressive dog and want full control during a walk, but can be uncomfortable for your pooch.
- Neck Collars: The collars on this list. Traditional, simple neck collars with a D-ring and attachment to a leash. These still remain amongst the most common and most used for dog owners, because you’re not constricting your pup’s movements like a harness or head halter would.
- Harnesses: These cover your dog around their torso, and run around the sockets of their legs to provide more stable support. You have better control over your dog, distribute pressure when you pull on the leash evenly across their body and help you keep a tighter control over your dog. They’re commonly less comfortable for your pup, which is why most owners choose to go with a traditional neck collar.
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Do’s and Don’ts of Collar Ownership
- Do Be Careful: Just because you think it’s a good fit doesn’t mean that your pooch agrees. Fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. If it’s not causing them any pain or putting pressure on their neck, then it’s a good fit. Your fingers act like the 1-2” buffer zone for collar sizes.
- Don’t Tug Too Hard: Tugging on the leash too hard can cause thyroid problems and possible nerve damage. We talk about this more in the rest of the guide; just be a conscious pet owner and only give a hard tug on the leash if they’re putting themselves or someone else/someone else’s pet in danger.
- Do Ensure Their Comfort: If it’s not comfortable, you’ll know by restricted movements. Dog collars are supposed to move with your dog as they maneuver throughout the world, not hold them back. The goal is to keep them safe, keep them under the leash law, but not cause them discomfort by doing so.
- Don’t Ignore Scratching: We know how finicky our pups can get, but even if they’re a bit on the pampered side, do not ignore them if they scratch at their collar. This is the one way that they know how to tell you that something isn’t right. Whether it’s too tight, irritating, or there are any other problems with it.
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Best Dog Collar FAQ:
Q: Why is nickel so bad for dog collars?
A: Nickel is bad, period, whether you’re a dog or a human. Studies have conducted that show nickel, when constantly in contact with exposed skin, can poison you. We absorb through our pores, and nickel is the last thing you want on your skin. For dogs, it can be fatal (in not-so-rare circumstances), which is why you’ll see a lot of companies talking about how they never use nickel in their dog collar construction.
D-rings, buckles, and eyelets all come into direct contact with your dog and need to be made out of something sturdier. Argon, aluminum, chrome, stainless steel, and brass are all excellent options to keep the threat of toxicity off the table. It’s not always easy to detect, especially if you don’t know what to look for, so skip the nickel and keep those possibilities at bay.
Q: Do collars hurt a dog’s neck?
A: They can be part of the reason why, which is why harnesses have become so popular in recent years. It’s not the fault of the leash, nor the fault of the collar, it’s the way that dogs don’t understand when their collar receives a gentle tug or that they should stop moving in the direction they’re headed.
When you see an owner pulling on a dog’s leash without any regards for their safety, they’re causing thyroid and nerve damage. Harnesses distribute force when you have to pull on your dog’s leash to prevent them from running in the street or getting in a tussle with another dog. To clarify, tugging on a collar isn’t going to cause immediate harm to your dog, it does help train them and get them back in line, we’re just referring to those owners (everyone knows them) who tug on the leash like it’s a lifeline.
Q: How do I know what size to buy for my dog?
A: Before you measure your dog’s neck, keep one thing in mind: they move around a lot, they’re very active, and you don’t want a snug-fitting collar. You’ll see a lot of collar sales pages with a fairly wide range, and when you click on sizes, you’ll notice that they offer a few inches of wiggle room for every adjustment.
Use a tailor’s measuring tape and gently place it around your dog’s neck where the collar will rest. You’ll want to add one inch to whatever number you get for small dogs (usually under 30 lbs), and two inches for large dogs (over 30 lbs). This gives enough movement room so that they won’t be jerked around from a quick move of the head, and don’t impose on circulation or airflow when they’re being active.
Q: What’s the best sort of collar for an active dog who often gets wet and muddy?
A: Nylon doesn’t absorb liquid easily. One main problem is that cotton collars or any material that harbors water will also begin to cater to bacterial growth. Your dog’s collar isn’t ending up in their mouth, but you still don’t want a high concentrate of harmful bacteria just sitting on their collar.
Nylon collars would be our top choice. It takes a lot to get any sort of water retention on these, and even when that happens, they dry in little to no time at all. Nylon is simply to clean as well, so you can either hose it down while the mud is still wet, or brush it with a bristle brush when it dries, and just vacuum it up. For cleanliness and a lack of bacteria growth, nylon is the best option.
Q: Does metal hardware make these collars hot in the summer?
A: You’ll notice that a lot of these collars come with chrome-coated D-rings. They push the rust resistance ratings and general ease of use, but they also help to reflect concentrated sunlight instead of absorbing it. Metal gets hot when sunlight touches it, and that’s a fact, but chrome-coated D-rings and hardware aren’t going to get hot enough to burn or scorch your pup.
Brass is a common D-ring/hardware material, and this does get considerably hotter than chrome-coated argon or stainless steel. If you’re heading to the dog park for an hour or two, brass will be fine, just try to avoid it during days where it peaks over ninety degrees outside. If you have no option, just reduce the walk time (trust us, your dog’s not going to be super happy going on a long walk in that kind of weather anyway).
Q: Should I buy a leather collar for my puppy?
A: Leather collars have their advantages and disadvantages when you compare them to the other main component you’ll see, being nylon. They’re often more durable, but depending on the type of leather used (we avoided garbage leather collars for this list), it can actually be uncomfortable for your pup.
The right leather dog collar can be extremely comfortable for your pet, and you’ll often see them provide a greater weight resistance (larger dogs) to help during training. Both materials are fairly even when you take a close look at the pros and cons. Sometimes it’s up to the dog to decide if they can’t handle one material or the others (even if you had your hearts set on one type).
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Our Top Pick
Unless you just got your first pup yesterday, then you know the fear and reality of them getting out. It’s a common occurrence, and while your dog is likely to stick around areas that he or she knows, you don’t want to run any additional risks. That’s why we went with GoTags as our top pick.
Put a phone number or possibly an address on the collar, strap it on, and you’re good to go. Even if they end up getting out, you’ll have a better chance of someone finding them and bringing them home. GoTags didn’t just look at the practicality; they also wanted it to feel comfortable on your dog.
It’s made of nylon, super easy to clean, and doesn’t get itchy even in those summer months when they’re salivating like crazy when they’re out for a walk. Better for you, better for your pooch.