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This $20 Leather Dog Collar, Along with 14 Other Tried-and-True Favorites, Makes Dogs Appear "Fancy" and "Expensive"


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People / Kristin Kempa

It’s easy to get caught up in how adorable a dog collar will look on your pup. But what we often forget is the life that collar will live alongside your best friend — enduring every adventure, appearing in every photo and memory, and being worn most hours of the day. So, it’s important to buy a dog collar that’s worthy of the job.

“Ultimately, the choice of a dog collar should be based on your dog's specific needs, comfort, and safety,” Bond Vet Director of Primary Care Dr. Gabrielle Fadl tells PEOPLE. “Consider their individual characteristics and consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer if you have any concerns or questions.” We consulted one of each to get you started.

Our team tested 34 top-rated dog collars from brands like Orvis and PetSafe to find standouts that will pass the test of time. After looking at fit, design, functionality, and durability (and consulting Murphy, Beckett, and 28 other dogs), 15 of those dog collars have earned a PEOPLE Tested recommendation.

Read on for the best dog collars PEOPLE approved for our actual dogs.

Things to Consider When Buying Dog Collars

Material

“Look for materials that are durable, non-irritating, and safe for your dog's skin,” says Dr. Fadl.  She recommends a few options featured in the dog collars on our list.

  • Nylon: It’s “lightweight, easy to clean, and durable — a good choice for everyday collars.”
  • Leather: Genuine leather can be “comfortable, stylish, and last a long time with proper care.” She advises that leather collars may require more maintenance than fabric collars.
  • Biothane: This is a “synthetic material that is waterproof, durable, and easy to clean.”
  • Neoprene: You’ll usually see this material in the padding of collars. “Neoprene-padded collars are comfortable and suitable for dogs with sensitive skin.”

Fastener

“Choose a latch or fastener that is secure but not harmful to your dog,” advises Dr. Fadl. She recommends buckle closures, quick-release buckles, and Martingale-style closures — all of which are featured in our list for their ease of use and safety aspects. 

  • Buckle Closure: The same concept as a belt buckle, this fastener uses a prong and a series of holes to fasten the sides together.
  • Quick-Release Buckle: This is a fastener you can pinch from both sides to release the latch in seconds. “Quick-release buckles are convenient for easy removal in emergencies,” says Dr. Fadl.
  • Martingale-Style: This is basically a slip-on collar, without fasteners, that tightens when your dog pulls hard on the leash (to avoid them accidentally slipping out of it) and loosens as soon as the tension is gone (when they stop pulling). “Martingale collars are best for dogs whose heads are smaller or the same size as their neck,” Dharma Dog NYC professional dog trainer Alison Buehler tells PEOPLE.

Adjustability

One of the most important aspects of a dog collar is how it fits, and the ability to adjust it can make a huge difference in your pup’s comfort and safety. “A good collar should be adjustable to ensure a snug but not tight fit,” says Dr. Fadl. “Most collars have multiple holes for adjustment, and you should be able to fit two fingers comfortably between the collar and your dog's neck.” Buehler adds that you should “check and readjust puppy collars frequently since they grow so fast.”

Durability

If you’re investing in a collar, you want it to last. Dr. Fadl suggests you make sure “the collar is sturdy and able to withstand your dog's activities and pulling on the leash.” She adds that clear indicators of a well-made collar are “reinforced stitching and quality hardware.” She also recommends periodically checking the collar and replacing it if it becomes damaged or your dog is outgrowing it.

Safety Features

Several of the considerations we’ve discussed contribute to safety, but there are also features like reflective strips or stitching and light-up technology that can help protect your dog, especially at night or in other low-light conditions. Dr. Fadl also strongly discourages any use of collars that include hazardous elements “such as sharp or protruding parts, choking hazards, or materials that could cause allergic reactions.”

ORVIS Personalized Reflective Collar

ORVIS 

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The Orvis collar is lightweight yet highly durable.

  • It has a reflective coating for good visibility of your dog at night.

  • You can forgo ID tags (which often make noise and can easily fall off) thanks to the personalization element.

  • Our tester’s dog seemed completely content wearing it, so it was comfortable for him.

Cons

  • The personalization font is a little large and takes up most of the collar space.

  • It’s our third most expensive collar, but it’s not overpriced given the quality.

A lovable 75-pound mutt named Murphy got to experience all that the Orvis Reflective Dog Collar has to offer. He wore the collar 24/7 during our testing period, including on walks, for playdates, and many other activities, and didn’t show any signs of discomfort. His owner appreciated the lightweight design of the collar and how easy the quick-release buckle was to fasten. Slight adjustments were made, but once the collar was fitted properly, it stayed secure the whole time.

The design is one of the best aspects of this particular collar because it offers comfort, style, and security. It’s highly reflective which allows for good visibility of your dog at night, and you can forgo (if you choose to) ID tags because each collar is personalized with your dog’s name and your phone number. Our tester said the font was a little large for their taste, but it’s not a dealbreaker, especially because it means no tags jingling if your dog likes to walk around at night like Murphy.

His owner could tell the quality of the collar by its heavy-duty nylon material which remained durable throughout wear. There weren’t washing instructions, so our tester opted to hand wash the collar with soap and water and set it out in the sun to dry. The Orvis collar continued looking brand new even after its wash.

Considering the personalization element, the reflective safety feature, and the sturdy materials, the Orvis dog collar is accurately priced, and Murphy’s owner said they would have paid even more for such a high-quality collar.

Price at time of publish: $39.95

Material: Heavy-duty nylon | Sizes: S–XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 8 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: Yes | Safety Features: Reflective material, tapered edges for comfort, steel D-ring for secure leash attachment

Chewy PetSafe Martingale Collar

Chewy

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The Martingale style was highly effective for walking a large dog who likes to chase critters on walks.

  • The adjustments are easy to make, and the fastener is quick to attach.

  • The nylon fabric survived rainy walks and washes with soap and water just fine.

  • It’s one of the lowest-priced collars we found.

Cons

  • The design was disjointed with different materials for the D-ring vs. the buckle.

  • The Martingale design concerned our tester in regards to indoor use and Riggs potentially getting stuck on furniture, so they only used it outdoors.

When you’re walking a 95-pound Mastiff mix that likes to chase small critters on walks, you want a strong and secure collar, and that’s what Riggs’ owner found in the PetSafe Martingale Collar. Not only is it budget-friendly as one of the lowest-priced options we found, but it’s highly effective for walking strong dogs due to the Martingale design (explained above). Riggs wore the collar on walks and while running around the backyard, but the owner didn’t feel comfortable with him wearing it unsupervised in the house in case it got stuck on a piece of furniture.

Riggs’ owner said the buckle was easy to fasten, the collar fit well, and it continuously felt secure on the dog but not restrictive. The hardware and nylon fabric lasted against many types of weather and were easy to clean with soap and water. If there was one thing to change, our tester would have preferred the metal buckle be the same material as the D-ring, so it looked more cohesive. Other than that, Riggs’ owner was excited by the quality and effectiveness of the collar on walks and plans to use it as Riggs’ primary collar going forward.

Price at time of publish: $7.46+

Material: Nylon | Sizes: S, M, L, Petite | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 5 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle and Martingale style | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Martingale design to prevent dogs from slipping out of the collar

Soft Touch Collars Leather Padded Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    4.5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The collar made Charlie look “fancy” and “expensive."

  • Genuine leather is durable, quick-drying, and ages well.

  • The collar is comfortable, padded, and easy to clean.

Cons

  • It was hard to adjust at first since leather is stiff until broken in, but it became easier with time.

It’s hard not to compliment Charlie on being adorable, but this leather dog collar also earned him the praise of looking “fancy” and “expensive” by family members. The 90-pound Springer Spaniel Collie mix wore the collar at home, on walks and hikes, in the car, and even for swims in the lake. His owner did take it off at night but said Charlie didn’t seem to mind the leather at all.

When first adjusting the collar, Charlie’s owner admitted the buckle was a little challenging to manipulate since the leather hadn’t softened yet, but said the process became much easier as the leather was broken in with use. It feels lightweight when you hold it but is substantial and secure when worn by the dog. 

Even after Charlie went swimming, the leather dried almost immediately and didn’t see much wear and tear at all, despite extensive use. Our tester added that if it does get distressed over time, it would still look stylish (no need to pay for distressed leather when your dog can do it for free). It’s easily wiped down to clean, has some padding for comfort, and the price is really good, considering it’s genuine leather. Our tester also appreciated the gold hardware and said they wouldn’t change a thing.

Price at time of publish: $19.95+

Material: Leather | Sizes: S–XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 6 | Fastener: Buckle closure | Personalization: No | Safety Features: No chemicals or dyes, natural leather, padded interior, brass D-ring and hardware, lifetime warranty

GoTags Personalized Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    4.5/5

Pros

  • It has a personalization option for easy, tag-free identification of your dog.

  • Given the tester’s dog is 22 pounds, they appreciated how lightweight the collar is.

  • It never got dirty during testing and still looked brand new when washed.

Cons

  • There is no reflective element, which our tester said could be resolved by adding a reflective thread option for personalization.

  • A few more color options for the collar itself would also improve the selection.

Similar to our best overall pick, the GoTags Nylon Collar can also be personalized, which eliminates the need for tags, and adds an extra layer of security right on the collar itself. Our tester’s dog wore the collar at home and on walks throughout the testing period. At 22 pounds, the dog is on the smaller side, and our tester liked how lightweight the collar was so it didn’t put pressure on the dog’s neck.

Our tester also appreciated that it was so easy to adjust and fasten (even with one hand). They said once in place, the collar never came off unless taken off, and felt really secure. It never really got dirty, per se, but for testing’s sake, our tester cleaned the collar with soap and water and it remained looking brand new. They loved the personalization and noted that the stitching was really well done, with no loose threads or fraying. If anything could improve, it would be adding some reflective thread as an option to aid on night walks. But overall, our team appreciated the price and quality of the collar.

Price at time of publish: $18.95

Material: Nylon | Sizes: XS–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 5 | Thread Colors: 14 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: Yes | Safety Features: Stainless steel D-ring

Tuff Pupper Classic Heavy Duty Leather Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • It’s made with a strong, durable, and waterproof material that held up well when worn by an active 90-pound dog.

  • Despite durability, the material is soft like leather and seemed comfortable to the dog.

  • It’s easy to buckle and attach to a leash and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

Cons

  • It’s leather-like but not actual leather, so if that’s a dealbreaker for you, check out our genuine leather pick.

If you have a Labrador or Lab mix like our tester’s dog, Ronny, you know it’s impossible to keep them out of the water. That said, any dog could benefit from a waterproof collar like the Tuff Pupper collar. Ronny wore this collar every day for two weeks, on walks, while sleeping, and for every adventure in between. The TPU-coated webbing material held up beautifully against all water as well as other dirt and debris. Ronny’s owner said you can tell it’s a tough and well-made material, and throughout wear, it showed little to no signs of damage. Yet despite its durability, the material is soft like leather, and Ronny seemed comfortable wearing it. 

When securing the collar on the dog, our tester found the buckle easy to fasten (like a belt), and the collar simple to attach to a leash. The collar has a good weight to it but isn’t bulky, and the design kept it from loosening over time. It proved to be waterproof and was easily cleaned with a damp paper towel any time it encountered dirt spots. The smallest size starts at $10, making this a budget-friendly pick as well.

Price at time of publish: $9.96+

Material: TPU-coated webbing | Sizes: XS–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 12 | Fastener: Buckle closure | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Secure buckle and stronger material than nylon or leather

Blueberry Pet Soft & Safe 3M Reflective Neoprene Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    4.5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The lightweight design is perfect for small dogs like our tester’s 15-pound dog, Mac.

  • All of the materials are soft and easy to clean yet durable, showing no wear and tear throughout testing.

  • There’s a reflective component that makes dogs easier to see at night.

Cons

  • If anything, the reflective component could be brighter, but that’s just a bonus quality of this collar.

At 15 pounds, Mac the Shihpoo (Shihtzu Poodle) was the perfect tester for the Blueberry dog collar. While it comes in a range of sizes, this collar is lightweight and has a ¾-inch width for the smallest size so it’s not too bulky around a dog’s neck. Mac wore the collar at all times throughout testing. With a quick-release buckle design, the collar was simple to fasten and adjust. 

The polyester webbing proved easy to clean (our tester threw it in the washing machine) and the neoprene padding provided a solid level of comfort. The fabric is also soft to the touch, which is a bonus if your dog sleeps with their collar. Mac has black fur, so the reflective stitching was helpful when he ran around the yard at night. The reflective component could stand to be a little brighter; it doesn’t need charging like a light-up collar so the pros and cons of that even out.

Price at time of publish: $15.19+

Material: Polyester webbing, neoprene padding | Sizes: S–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 12 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Reflective

Black Rhino The Comfort Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The collar is built with durable and comfortable materials like nylon and neoprene.

  • It remained secure over time despite heavy usage and lots of high-energy activity.

  • It showed no wear and tear but proved easy to clean when needed.

Cons

  • There were no cons indicated during testing, but since this collar is great for active dogs, having a personalization option would be nice so the dog could go tagless.

Beckett, a 58-pound chocolate Labrador Retriever, is the quintessential big-dog test subject — she loves running, playing, hiking in the wilderness, and swimming in the lake, and this collar went along for the ride. Beckett’s owner found the collar almost ready to go out of the packaging, with very few adjustments needed. It buckled in seconds and didn’t loosen over time despite all the activity it experienced. In fact, after a month of heavy usage, it showed no signs of any wear and tear; the color was still bright and the hardware hadn’t been scratched.

Neoprene is not only a waterproof material, it’s really soft, and the balance of nylon fabric with neoprene padding makes this collar durable and comfortable. It dried quickly after swims, and while Beckett is known for scratching at previous collars, she never did that with this one, indicating a higher level of comfort. Her owner used a brush to clean any dirt off the collar and a wet sponge for any caked-on debris, and the collar has retained its original quality. It’s a high-performance dog collar at a reasonable price and works especially well for big dogs.

Price at time of publish: $21.99

Material: Nylon, neoprene | Sizes: S–XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 12 | Fastener: Buckle closure | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Padding for comfort, heavy-duty hardware

Blazin Light Up Dog Collars

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The light-up component is a great safety feature that helped our tester see their Corgi when he disappeared under bushes at night.

  • It’s well-fitted and easy to adjust, buckle, and attach to a leash.

  • Even after a few muddy encounters, the collar proved easy to wash.

Cons

  • It has a blinking/strobe light mode which should be avoided, per experts.

Mochi, a 30-pound Corgi who will absolutely steal your heart, is the perfect model for the Blazin LED Light-Up Collar. He used it every day for two weeks, for both daytime activities and night walks. Mochi has a lot of fur, so while in photos the collar might appear tight, our tester said it actually fit really well and just sits atop all the fur — not so loose that it could slip off, but not so tight that it was uncomfortable for Mochi. It proved easy to adjust and buckle and didn’t feel like it would come undone easily.

The light-up component is obviously a highlight, allowing for good visibility when your dog is running around at night. Our tester charged the collar at the beginning of the testing period and it didn’t need to be recharged even after two weeks. There are three light modes, but Buehler says you should avoid blinking or strobe light effects since they can disorient your dog. Our tester enjoyed this aspect of the collar because Mochi is so low to the ground and likes to disappear under bushes in their yard, so the lit collar helped his owner keep track of him. It saw some wear on a few muddy days, but our tester found the collar easy to clean. Overall, it’s a good value with a really helpful safety feature in the lights.

Price at time of publish: $18.99

Material: Nylon | Sizes: XS–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 10 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: No | Safety Features: 3 light-up modes for night visibility, chargeable with a USB

Joytale Reflective Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The reflective coating provides visibility at night and has proven to be waterproof.

  • This collar offers the best deal on our list, with the smallest size starting at just $8.

  • Nylon and neoprene materials team up in this collar to provide immense durability and comfort to your dog.

Cons

  • There isn’t a personalization option with this collar.

Beckett also tested the Joytale Reflective Dog Collar for us (she definitely deserves an annual treat raise). She wore the collar during the day and at night to test the reflective elements and it functioned as promised. Beckett’s owner was actually surprised at how well the collar held up over time because the reflective coating didn’t lose its luster even after lake swims and lots of playing in the dirt and grass.

The quick-release buckle is highly user-friendly, and the nylon and neoprene materials add to the overall durability and comfort of this collar. It took a few adjustments to find the perfect fit, but it stayed on securely from that moment onwards. It really doesn’t show dirt and still looked new after the month was up. Our tester didn’t even think it needed cleaning based on its stellar appearance. Considering the quality and low price, which offers the best deal on our list — the XS size starts at $8 — this is an awesome dog collar with the safety benefit of also being reflective.

Price at time of publish: $7.99+

Material: Nylon, neoprene, plastic | Sizes: XS-XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 12 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Reflective for visibility at night, quick-release buckle

Illumiseen LED Dog Collar

Chewy

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • It’s available in the most versatile size range of any dog collar we found.

  • The light-up feature is a great safety measure and can be recharged for long-term use.

  • Every feature was user-friendy and quick to adjust.

  • The materials showed no damage at all after extensive use.

Cons

  • It has a flashing light mode, which is to be avoided, per experts.

The Illumiseen LED Dog Collar is the second light-up option on our list, but we actually want to praise it for the size range, which is the most versatile of any we found. Ranging from xx-small to x-large, the collar works well for truly small and large dogs alike. It just also happens to be light-up, which was a huge benefit to our tester, who lives in a rural wooded area and whose dog is a 50-pound brown and black Boxer who tends to blend in with her surroundings. The light feature has been a game changer, especially for nighttime zoomies (the dog owners who get it, get it).

Our tester thought the collar’s features were highly functional with a simple buckle, lightweight feel, and smooth adjustment capabilities. Plus, after one charge, the light feature worked for two weeks without needing a recharge. The nylon material is a proven favorite for durability and this collar adds to that evidence — it showed no signs of damage or even light wear after weeks of a large, active dog wearing it. This collar also has a flashing light mode which we would caution you against using.

Price at time of publish: $15.99

Material: Nylon | Sizes: XXS–XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 6 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Highly reflective for visibility at night, USB rechargeable

Lambwolf Collective New Jupiter Paracord Collar

Lambwolf Collective

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • This is a stylish, durable, and well-designed collar that’s easy to adjust and wear.

  • It’s comfortable and lightweight.

  • In a pinch, it also doubles as a long paracord which can be lifesaving in certain emergency situations.

Cons

  • It seemed a bit wide for really small dogs.

  • The collar is limited in sizes, but they have larger sizes in the Fossil Wide collection.

One of our testers recently brought home a Goldendoodle puppy named Nala, and she tested the Lambwolf Collective paracord collar. At two months, Nala is still learning about her environment, so it was really interesting to see how she interacted with this collar. She wore it every day, first at home and then on walks once she reached the age at which she could interact with other dogs. The buckle was easy to adjust, which will come in handy as she grows bigger and needs more space in the collar.

Despite being sturdy, the collar has a lot of give for comfort and isn’t heavy at all. It held up against lots of playtime and some interactions with water and never slipped off. Our tester felt it might be too wide for really small dogs, but given Nala is going to get much bigger, they loved it for her (she’s 23 pounds right now, for reference). The standard Lambwolf Collective collar only comes in sizes small and medium, but they have large and x-large collars in the Fossil Wide collection

As an added safety bonus, the collar is made with one continuous paracord, which is useful in emergencies if you take your dog on outdoor excursions and ever have an injury that needs a tourniquet. It’s not a feature you’ll use apart from extreme circumstances, but it is certainly worth the investment to have, just in case.

Price at time of publish: $42

Material: Hand-woven paracord | Sizes: S, M | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 4 | Fastener: Buckle closure | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Rust-resistant rings, made with one continuous paracord that can be used in emergencies

Atlas Pet Company Lifetime Lite Collar

Atlas Pet Company

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    4.5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The collar worked effectively for two different but equally active dogs.

  • Nylon webbing proved highly durable and easy to wash (either by hand or machine).

  • The collar proved easy to adjust for both dogs (though the buckle reviews were split).

Cons

  • The dog tag loop could be bigger and is placed in an odd spot next to the D-ring.

  • It’s the most expensive collar on our list (but per our testers, is worth it).

  • The hardware saw some tarnishes after extensive use.

The Atlas Pet Company Lifetime Lite collar was actually tested by two of our dogs — a 52-pound Pitbull mix named Jet and an 80-pound Airedale Terrier named Fisher. Jet wore the collar at least twice daily for three weeks (involving walks, hikes, car rides, and naps), while Fisher wore it consistently for two weeks (for walks, hikes, swims, and to sleep). The nylon webbing held up against mud and rain, and though the buckle seemed to have a few tarnishes, the collar maintained an excellent condition.

Both dog owners appreciated the magnetic buckle for different reasons. One found it to be easy to fasten, while the other thought it was more challenging but appreciated that it stayed in place when their dog was active. Either way, it was easy to adjust. Both dogs are fairly large, so the owners didn’t think the collar looked bulky on them, and didn’t impede any of their activity. That said, the larger of the two dogs comfortably wore a medium, so you should consider sizing down (but there are neck measurements online to help you decide the best fit). 

Our testers noticed that the dog tag loop was placed in an odd spot right next to the D-ring and felt that it could be a little bigger. After testing, the collars were hand-washed and machine-washed, respectively, and looked “good as new” after drying. Both testers agreed that while expensive, the collar isn’t overpriced given the quality.

Price at time of publish: $50

Material: Nylon webbing | Sizes: S–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 5 | Fastener: Quick-release magnetic buckle | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Rust-free hardware, quick-release buckle

Country Brook Design Martingale Heavy Duty Dog Collar

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The collar held up well despite lots of play over several weeks.

  • It could be cleaned well and was mostly restored to its original condition despite some dirt and discoloration from use.

  • The Martingale design was effective on walks.

  • There’s no shortage of colors to choose from.

Cons

  • It’s heavier than it looks, even for a big dog.

If you appreciate the luxury of choice, the Country Brook collar has 22 colors to choose from, with bright options like mango, royal blue, and hot pink, to name a few. Our tester’s dog, a 65-pound Lab mix named Tito, wore this collar throughout the testing period, only taking it off for baths and for a few hours at night. There’s no buckle, as it is a Martingale-style collar, but it was easy for Tito to wear, and his owner kept it on a looser setting than normal in light of the Martingale security measure. 

Our tester said the collar is heavier than it looks, but didn’t seem to bother Tito in the slightest, and the style of collar really aided their walks when he pulled on the leash. His owner noticed some dirt and discoloration after several weeks of activity but was able to clean it with a wet cloth. They felt it could have been more lightweight, but other than that, the price, quality, and value were stellar.

Price at time of publish: $12.97

Material: Nylon, plastic, steel | Sizes: XS–XL | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 22 | Fastener: Slip-on (no fastener) | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Martingale design

If It Barks 1.5-Inch Martingale Collar for Dogs

Amazon

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    4.5/5

Pros

  • It has both a quick-release buckle and a Martingale-style design.

  • The collar has heavy-duty materials like polyester and nylon that hold up to lots of water, wear, and other impacts.

  • It remained securely on the dog despite lots of energetic play.

Cons

  • It has a basic appearance, and the price seems high compared to other similar styles.

From a heavy-duty buckle to polyester and nylon materials, the If It Barks collar is quite durable. A 50-pound Australian Shepherd wore it daily for two weeks. Our tester found the collar easy to buckle and secure but lightweight. It adjusted with ease and stayed on well despite lots of energetic activity on the dog’s part. 

After the testing period, there was some grime from outdoor playtime, but the collar really didn’t show much wear or tear, and our tester cleaned it with soap and water, hanging it to dry. The collar has a basic appearance, so the price was a little surprising to our tester. That said, its durability makes this collar a long-lasting purchase, and the dual design offers the Martingale-style of adjustment as well as a buckle for more versatility.

Price at time of publish: $32

Material: Polyester, nylon | Sizes: S,M,L, or you can customize and enter your dog’s neck size | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 10 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle or Martingale design with no fastener | Personalization: No | Safety Features: Martingale design to prevent slipping out

The Foggy Dog Nylon Dog Collar

The Foggy Dog

Our Ratings

  • Ease of Use

    5/5

  • Design

    5/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Ease of Cleaning

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • The collar has a really simple but chic design that holds up well to extended use.

  • The blend of cotton and nylon creates durability, comfort, and style.

  • Despite being worn by an x-large dog and being rolled on in the grass, the collar showed no signs of wear after testing.

Cons

  • The loop is really tricky to open to get an ID tag on it (but you can get the buckle engraved to avoid this issue).

As one of the largest dogs who assisted us with this test, 110-pound Winnie, a Great Pyrenees mix, dazzled in The Foggy Dog Collar. She wore the collar throughout testing, taking it for walks, hanging around the house, and along for several car rides. Her owner thought it was easy to fasten and unfasten (though an editor on our team has the same collar and said it took the efforts of several people to get the ID tags on for her dog).

The collar seemed a little heavy, but Winnie was unbothered, and once the right adjustments were made, it fit really well. The fabric is a blend of cotton and nylon, so it has a soft feel but is durable against elements like rain and rough play. The metal loop and gold hardware didn’t have any scuffing and the collar didn’t appear dirty — though it would be easy to spot clean if it had. Winnie rolls in grass several times a day, so the lack of grass stains was impressive. Overall, the collar has a very elevated design, and for added style you can even get the buckle engraved (to forgo an ID tag).

Price at time of publish: $35

Material: Cotton, nylon | Sizes: XS–L | Adjustable: Yes | Colors: 12 | Fastener: Quick-release buckle | Personalization: Yes | Safety Features: Not listed

How We Tested Dog Collars

Our team tested 34 top-rated dog collars, looking at qualities like fit and adjustability, security and durability, functionality and ease of cleaning, comfort, and design. To test each dog collar, we recruited 30 dogs (mostly belonging to staff) to wear each collar for a period of two to four weeks.

  • Fit: Each collar was adjusted to the dog’s neck size, ensuring a secure but comfortable fit. Our dog trainer expert said to use three fingers in between the dog’s neck and the collar to ensure enough space (our veterinarian expert said two fingers, but either way provides a good test for fitting the collar properly).
  • Design: Our team looked at the design in terms of materials — the look and feel of each. We considered the weight (especially for bulky collars and small dogs). We also considered the type of fastener, how secure it was for walks, but also how easily it could be removed if needed. All of the collars that made it on our list have quick-release buckles or classic buckles, or they don’t have a fastener but have a slip-on Martingale design. We also tested how easily the collars could be attached to a leash.
  • Functionality: During the testing period, most of the dogs wore the collars throughout the day to test how functional they were in different settings. Were they comfortable to nap in? Secure enough when walking, running, or hiking? Were they waterproof? Did they dry quickly after lake swims or rainy walks?
  • Durability: After conducting these tests, we looked at the condition of each dog collar. We found many to show little to no signs of wear and tear, but for the ones that had a little dirt or grime post-play, we washed them either using damp cloths, soap and water, or in some cases, throwing them in the washing machine and letting them air dry in the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you know if a dog collar fits properly?

    As mentioned, our experts slightly disagreed on the number of fingers, but generally being able to place two to three fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck, “ensures that that collar is snug enough to stay on but not so tight that it causes discomfort or restricts breathing,” says Dr. Fadl. She suggests measuring your dog’s neck before purchasing a collar, as most brands have a size guide online with measurements to help make the best fit recommendation.

  • Is it okay to leave a dog’s collar on all day?

    That’s up to each individual pet owner. In terms of safety and security, you could argue this point both ways. As Buehler says, “The primary purpose of a collar is to have identification on your dog,” so if your dog gets out of your home, having a collar on them at all times could lead to a quicker return. Plus, many dogs get used to wearing their collars which is why they might act funny when you take them off (say, on bath day). It becomes almost a security blanket for them. 

    That said, many dog owners take collars off their pets at night to allow for more comfortable sleep, and some prefer to keep the collar off their dogs in the house when unsupervised out of caution. On that point, most experts do recommend taking off your dog’s collar if they are in a crate unsupervised, either at night while you’re asleep or if you’re not home because the collar can get stuck on the crate and cause a serious problem.

  • Does a dog’s breed affect the collar they should get?

    Dr. Fadl says a dog’s breed and behavior can play a role in what makes the best collar for your pet. “Different dog breeds and temperaments may require different types of collars,” she says. “For example, if your dog is a heavy puller, a no-pull harness might be a better choice than a traditional collar.”

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Madison Yauger is a senior shopping writer with extensive experience writing about pet care and dog supplies of all kinds (frequently assisted by her golden retriever). For this story, she relied on testing insights from different staff and 30 dogs who tried these dog collars for several weeks. She also used insights from an interview with Dharma Dog NYC dog trainer Alison Buehler (conducted by PEOPLE research strategist Elise Wojczyk Wang) and insights from Bond Vet Director of Primary Care Dr. Gabrielle Fadl. Using all of this data, plus specifications from each brand on the individual products themselves, she crafted this list of the best vetted dog collars that anyone on our team would feel confident letting their dogs wear.

Meet Our Experts

  • Dr. Gabrielle Fadl is the director of primary care at Bond Vet, located in Brooklyn, New York. Dr. Fadl is also a doctor of veterinary medicine and has been working in veterinary medicine for almost a decade.
  • Alison Buehler is a certified professional dog trainer at Dharma Dog NYC, a dog training company also based in Brooklyn. Buehler also has a certification in separation anxiety training that provides expertise working with more anxious pups.

What Is PEOPLE Tested?

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.

But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.

In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase. 

Sources


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