11 Best Dog Collars: Your Buyer’s Guide (2019)

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

  • Completely waterproof
  • Tough metal buckle
  • Rustproof hardware
Price: $14.00 Shop at Chewy Shop now Read our review
Image of ruffwear knot-a-collar Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extremely durable and lightweight
  • Includes silicone tag silencer
  • Rope style reduces fur matting
Price: $19.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Extremely durable
  • Wide variety
  • Will not stretch
Price: $14.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Soft Touch Collars best dog collar
  • Soft leather padding
  • Lacquered brass hardware prevents rust
  • Separate mini tag ring
Price: $25.00 Shop at Chewy Shop now Read our review
NiteIze light up dog collar best dog collar
  • Light up collar for outstanding visibility
  • Durable standard nylon collar
  • Reflective stripe adds to visibility
Price: $15.00 Shop at Chewy Shop now Read our review
Pawtitas padded collar best dog collar
  • Thick inner padding
  • Highly reflective strip
  • Good range of sizes and colors
Price: $15.00 Shop at Chewy Shop now Read our review
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  • Double thickness for added durability
  • Reasonably priced for the build
  • Wide variety of colors and sizes
Price: $9.11 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Martingale helps gently control your dog
  • Good for dogs with smaller heads
  • Thinner and lighter than other collars
Price: $32.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple to adjust and fasten
  • Guaranteed, even against chewing
Price: $6.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Image of buckle down seatbelt dog collar Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very durable
  • Easy-to-use car-style buckle
  • Wide variety of sizes and styles
Price: $24.47 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Neoprene covering for comfort
  • Durable plastic buckle
  • Separate clip for tags
Price: $17.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Kurgo Muck Waterproof Collar

    Price: $14.00
    Pros:
    • Completely waterproof
    • Tough metal buckle
    • Leash hook offers a small hole for tag ring and doubles as a bottle opener
    Cons:
    • On the long side, so the excess can stick out
    • Stiffness makes it more difficult to buckle
    • You'll want to use a separate harness for walks

    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.

  2. 2. Ruffwear Knot-a-Collar

    Pros:
    • Extremely durable and lightweight
    • Includes tag carabiner with a silicone silencer
    • Rope style reduces fur matting
    Cons:
    • No padding at all
    • Somewhat limited color options
    • Some find it tricky to put on and take off

    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.

    Ruffwear offers standard nylon collars, as well, if you prefer.

  3. 3. RC Pet Products Adjustable Dog Clip Collar

    Pros:
    • Extremely durable
    • Wide variety
    • Will not stretch
    Cons:
    • Patterns pill and get dirty easily
    • Somewhat pricey
    • Possibly too heavy for smaller dogs

    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.

  4. 4. Soft Touch Collars Leather Two-Tone Padded Dog Collar

    Price: $25.00
    Pros:
    • Soft leather padding
    • Lacquered brass hardware prevents rust
    • Separate mini tag ring
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Leather may be prone to scratching
    • Too bulky for some dogs

    If you prefer something in leather, consider this option from Soft Touch Collars. As the name suggests, this pairs a full grain leather outer layer with a soft sheepskin leather inside for maximum comfort. Each layer is a different color for a classic two-tone look. The layers are stitched together by hand, while the hardware is coated to prevent rust. A classy-looking collar with all the features you need for long use.

  5. 5. Nite Ize Nite Dawg LED Dog Collar

    Price: $15.00
    Pros:
    • Light up collar for outstanding visibility
    • Durable standard nylon collar
    • Reflective stripe adds to visibility
    Cons:
    • Polarizing style
    • Only two colors
    • Like most simple nylon collars, may be prone to fraying

    If you consistently walk your dog when the sun isn't out, you might want to opt for something specifically designed for dark environments. In addition to the bright color and highly reflective stripe, this collar has a super bright orange LED that is visible for up to 1,000 feet. There are two modes for the light; in glow mode, the battery lasts 75 hours, while in flash mode, it will last 100 hours. Otherwise, this is your standard double-stitched nylon collar with an easy-to-use plastic buckle. Color choices are this safety orange or red.

  6. 6. Pawtitas Soft Adjustable Reflective Padded Dog Collar

    Price: $15.00
    Pros:
    • Thick inner padding for maximum comfort
    • Highly reflective strip for night time use
    • Good range of sizes and colors
    Cons:
    • Can be difficult to resize
    • Some find the added material bulky
    • May possibly stretch after getting wet

    If you  just need a little visiblity and don't need the light on the Night Ize option on this list, Pawtitas has long made a popular basic reflective collar that many dog owners swear by. This is the upgraded version of that, which adds a neoprene padded lining to the inside for improved comfort. Unlike other basic nylon collars, this one uses a special technique to prevent fraying and tearing. Available in nine colors and five sizes, you can also get a leash to match.

  7. 7. Hamilton Double Thick Nylon Deluxe Dog Collar

    Pros:
    • Double thickness for added durability
    • Reasonably priced for the build
    • Wide variety of colors and sizes
    Cons:
    • Sizing appears to be confusing for most buyers
    • Some reports of eyelets coming loose
    • Colors may be different than shown

    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.

  8. 8. If It Barks Martingale Collar

    Pros:
    • Martingale helps gently control your dog
    • Good for dogs with smaller heads compared to the neck
    • Durable despite being thinner and lighter than other collars
    Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Martingale function may not be right for every dog
    • Some reports of broken buckles

    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.

  9. 9. Lupine Adjustable Nylon Dog Collar

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Simple to adjust and fasten
    • Guaranteed, even against chewing
    Cons:
    • No points for style
    • Not the most durable option
    • Some units bleed color when wet (consider washing before use)

    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.

  10. 10. Buckle Down Seatbelt Buckle Dog Collar

    Pros:
    • Very durable
    • Easy-to-use car-style buckle
    • Wide variety of sizes and styles
    Cons:
    • Heavy buckle makes it somewhat unbalanced
    • Somewhat pricey
    • Possibly too bulky for small dogs

    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.

     
  11. 11. Blueberry Pet Padded Dog Collar

    Pros:
    • Neoprene covering for comfort
    • Eco-friendly, durable plastic buckle
    • Separate clip for tags
    Cons:
    • Somewhat expensive
    • On the bulky side
    • Even the small sizes might not be the best choice for small dogs

    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.

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 three on this list), while the shar pei wears a Kurgo Muck collar (number one).

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.

See Also:

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