11 Best Dog Collars: Your Buyer’s Guide (2018)

When you get your first dog, there are many things you have to consider buying, as we outlined in our new puppy checklist post. I’m speaking form experience when I say that it’s very easy to get carried away. Pretty soon, you’re picking out a stocking for them for Christmas.

Even if you manage to resist the urge to spoil your pup, there is one thing that virtually every dog, in just about every circumstance, will have to wear: a collar. The collar performs a few key roles that can’t easily be accomplished by other means. It holds the ID tags that allow them to make their way back to you if they get lost, as well as their license and rabies vaccine tags that ensure the city doesn’t impound them.

If you haven’t gone the harness route, the collar is the anchor that keeps your dog at the end of the leash. If nothing else, the collar provides an all-important handle for controlling your dog in everyday situations.

When it comes to choosing the dog collar, you have a few choices to make. There are the spartan, utilitarian options. The frilly, yet somewhat ineffective options. The fashionable choices and the rugged ones. What you choose depends in part on the activities on which you embark with your dog, their general behavior and demeanor, and, of course, your desired price point. Most dog collars will serve you well for years before needing to be replaced, so choosing wisely the first time will mean you’re set for awhile.

What’s my approach? Well, I have three pit mixes, all between 55 and 75 pounds. One is a shar pei cross, one is a husky mix, and the newest addition is predominantly blue nose pittie. When my wife and I walk all three of them, they look like quite the gang of bruisers. They’re very sweet and generally well-trained, but I would not hazard to be a squirrel within 25 feet of them, nor any kind of aggressive being, human or animal.

To that end, my wife and I are fond of finding the cutest, most delightful collars for them to wear. Our blue nose wears one with skunks and flowers, while the shar pei has a very tasteful but more understated flower design himself. The husky mix is the only one of the three that goes to daycare, so we chose something more visible so we could locate him easily on the daycare’s webcams. The husky and the blue nose wear RC Pet collars (number two below), while the shar pei wears a Kurgo Muck collar (number seven below).

Whether you go our route and choose something that humorously contrasts with your dog’s outward appearance or buy something a bit more staid, all that matters is that you choose a quality collar that can do the job. If you’re not quite sure where to start, the basic nylon collar will do and is usually pretty inexpensive. For me, I like the option to show a little personality on the only piece of “clothing” my dogs wear regularly.

It’s important to choose the best dog collar for your pup. Here are ten great options to consider.


1. Lupine Adjustable Nylon Dog Collar

Image of lupine nylon dog collar

LupinePet

Lupine dog collars are a great choice for a reliable adjustable collar; this is the absolute standard for performing the job. These are certainly no-frills, but if you don’t want to mess around with picking out a design or fretting over performance, it’s hard to go wrong with these.

Though they can deal with a good amount of abuse, Lupine offers a lifetime replacement that is in effect even if your dog chews it up. They come in three different sizes but are broadly adjustable to fit a just about any dog. The only choice you need to make is to choose from the available solid colors: red, purple, pink, green, blue, orange, or black.

Price: $7.99 and up

Buy the Lupine Adjustable Nylon Dog Collar here.


2. RC Pet Products Adjustable Dog Clip Collar

Image of rc pet adjustable dog collar

RC Pet

These are a step up from the Lupine collars, building up from a similar nylon framework and overlaid with patterned soft webbing. The stitching on these Canadian-made collars is excellent and endures the abuse of my two younger dogs without breaking a sweat. The patterned surface does get somewhat pilled in time, but the pattern is still clearly visible and the collar itself shows no sign of giving up the fight. I like that these are somewhat stiff and largely remain in place.

As an added bonus, the RC Pets logo is reflective for a little additional visibility at night. Choose from five sizes in over 44 patterns. Want your dog to look as dapper as mine? Go for the Preppy pattern, which is the one we use on our husky. It matches his eyes and contrasts with his russet brown coloring nicely.

If you prefer, RC Pet also offers solid color Technika Utility collars made of climbing grade webbing.

Price: $11 to $14, depending on size and color

Buy the RC Pet Products Adjustable Dog Clip Collar here.


3. If It Barks Martingale Collar

Image of if it barks martingale collar

If It Barks

You may find that you need a bit more control than the standard collar can provide. In that case, consider a Martingale collar. Also called limited slip, these collars gently cinch around your dog’s neck, applying even pressure all the way around. This allows for more direct control of your dog’s head, while ensuring that they don’t back out of it when you’re trying to corral them. These particular collars are made in the U.S.A. of military-grade webbing so they can take a beating.

These are available in buckle and non-buckle variants in three sizes, but you can also order a custom-sized version, as well. They’re available in ten different three-tone patterns that straddle the line between fashionable and understated.

Price: $32

Buy the If It Barks Martingale Collar here.


4. The Good Dog Company Hemp Corduroy Collar

Image of the good dog company hemp collar

The Good Dog Company

Hemp is not only green and Earth friendly, but it is also a strong and durable fiber that is perfect for long-lasting dog collars. The Good Dog Company has created some beautiful collars, in numerous colors, textures and designs, but the simple corduroy offering is among their best.

This is a straightforward but effective collar, available in five sizes and the following colors: Avocado, Black, Blue, Bronze, Marigold, Pink, Plum, Ruby Red, and Rust. This is one way to make a slightly unique collar choice without straying too far from the basic utilitarian approach.

Price: $17.18 and up

Buy the Good Dog Company Hemp Corduroy Collar here.


5. Ruffwear Knot-a-Collar

Image of ruffwear knot-a-collar

Ruffwear

Their name really does say it all: Ruffwear dog collars are made for the outdoor types who like to abuse their gear. They are a great option for those that take their dogs out for hikes and mountain climbing. The Knot-a line is particularly popular as the unorthodox design allows for greater strength while also being light.

The matching leash was one of our best selling pet products in 2017, so buying the set will ensure that you’re well outfitted for walks of all kinds.

Price: $22.95 and up

Buy the Ruffwear Knot-a-Collar here.


6. BronzeDog Classic Handmade Genuine Leather Dog Collar

Image of bronze dog leather dog collar

BronzeDog

For the trade off of being somewhat less flexible than nylon options, a leather dog collar combines superior durability with solid fashion sense. These are handmade of full grain cowhide and feature solid brass hardware. The real joy of a leather collar is that it will wear in and soften in time, producing that well-loved leather look.

Available in six sizes, you can choose from the following colors to best represent your dog: Light Brown, Black, Dark Brown, Green, Pink, Purple, or Red. Also available in a padded version.

Price: $9.49 to $17.99

Buy the BronzeDog Classic Handmade Genuine Leather Dog Collar here.


7. Kurgo Muck Waterproof Collar

Image of kurgo muck dog collar

Kurgo

This is my pick for best dog collar and the one my older boy wears, paired with a slide-on tag from The Copper Poppy which we briefly discussed in this post. These are normal nylon collars coated end-to-end in clear PVC. This makes them totally waterproof and resistant to stains and dirt. They’ll even put up with more wear from chewing, too.

The unique leash hook also serves as a bottle opener for those camping adventures. They’re on the stiff side because of the coating, so if you’re looking for maximum flexibility, you might consider others on this list, but these collars will be best for staying clean longer.

Price: $15

Buy the Kurgo Muck Waterproof Collar here.


8. Hamilton Double Thick Nylon Deluxe Dog Collar

Image of hamilton deluxe dog collar

Hamilton

It’s hard to overstate the effectiveness of the common nylon collar. While the Lupine option at the top of this list is certainly the most ubiquitous, this Hamilton version takes the concept a step further. It’s double thick, for one thing, offering somewhat more resistance than the average nylon collar. The nylon itself is high thread count for very soft feel, double stitched in complimentary thread.

In addition to expected D-ring, there’s a separate tag keeper so the leash attachment doesn’t have to do double duty. They’ve even made a wider variety of sizes available, from 18 to 32 inches. Finally, they offer a full complement of 18 solid colors and three other patterns.

Price: $9.11 and up

Buy the Hamilton Double Thick Nylon Deluxe Dog Collar here.


9. Blueberry Pet Padded Dog Collar

Image of blueberry pet padded dog collar

Blueberry Pet

Blueberry Pet collars are made of polyester webbing and have a neoprene bottom layer for maximum doggie comfort. The buckles are made of eco-friendly plastic, and each collar includes a loop on the logo for attaching tags or charms where other collars would have you attach it to the D-loop.

Like the other collars on this list, there’s a very wide variety of designs to choose from, so there’s something for every dog. Don’t worry, they also make their version of the standard nylon collar.

Price: $11.99 and up

Buy Blueberry Pet Padded Dog Collar here.


10. Perri’s Padded Leather Dog Collar

Image of perri's padded leather dog collar

Perri’s

Here’s another excellent leather option, this one handmade in the U.S.A. Though these won’t put up with the same degree of abuse that most of the others on this list will, the major advantage here isn’t durability but maximum comfort. Using super soft lambskin, these padded collars are meant to sit snugly on your dog’s neck and provide gentle guidance and support. These have a refined, understated look and come in 14 color combinations across five sizes.

Price: $25.59 to $27.95

Buy the Perri’s Padded Leather Dog Collar here.


11. Buckle Down Seatbelt Buckle Dog Collar

Image of buckle down seatbelt dog collar

Buckle Down

Finally, here’s a fun option to end on. Utilizing the security of a car seatbelt buckle, these Buckle Down collars have a distinctive look and easy-to-operate mechanism. The clasp is definitely heavier than a lot of other options on the market, but for most dogs, this should be no problem at all. These are made in the U.S.A. of tough nylon and stainless steel and will set your dog apart from the rest of the pups at the dog park.

Choose from six sizes and 18 different colorways — and that’s just for this plaid style. Go here to shop the brand’s other designs.

Price: $19.99 and up

Buy the Buckle Down Seatbelt Buckle Dog Collar here.


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3 Comments

3 Comments

Trillium

I love the Blueberry designs but …Blueberry uses crappy Paypal to process their payments. I couldn’t believe it! Paypal has been fined twice in the past two years from the U.S. government for their sneaky practices and they aren’t that secure. They had to pay a whopping 26 million and then another 7 million it was that bad. It is a Hong Kong bank that processes Blueberry transactions. Paypal was processing payments from Iran which is totally illegal so no misunderstanding there. Their security is not all that either. I just caught them pulling more sneaky stuff and had to report them to the feds that most folks would not pick up on (ex commercial banker). When are folks and small retailers going to wise up on this? I love Blueberry’s designs but after seeing how foolish they are with important banking processing it makes me wonder about the quality of the products since probably made in China from the looks of it. I plan on buying American and supporting better retailers with better bank processing methods. I just wonder about the quality of the materials used on these collars and will it harm my dog. Not taking any chances with the billing or the collars.

MarieoP

i got a 3-pack from cutedogcollars.com … just ten bucks.. this is what you should write about..

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