Last updated: August 7, 2021

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Welcome to our big dog collar test 2021. Here we present all the dog collars we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best dog collar for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of when buying a dog collar.




Summary

  • Besides the classic leather collar, there are nowadays collars made of many different materials. Collars made of nylon or neoprene are particularly popular, as they are hard-wearing and durable.
  • The areas of application of the collar range from the classic everyday collar, to safety collars, to training collars. The materials also differ depending on the application.
  • It is especially important to find the right size for your dog to avoid damage to the trachea and cervical spine.

The Best Dog Collar: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a dog collar

What material is a dog collar made of?

Dog collars can be made of many different materials:

  • Natural leather
  • Imitation leather
  • Nylon
  • Neoprene
  • Stainless steel
  • Plastic
  • Felt

In the following sections, we would like to introduce you to the materials in more detail.

Natural leather
It is very robust and can actually withstand anything. Collars made of leather are usually made of smooth leather, as this is also forgiving when it gets wet. Leather does not cause irritation because it is a natural material. With good care, it will last a dog's lifetime.

Imitation leather
A cheaper alternative to natural leather. It is available in almost all colours, but is not as durable as the natural version.

Nylon
Nylon collars are extremely durable and available in many bright colours. They are absolutely waterproof and therefore super suitable for water rats. However, as they are made of a synthetic fibre, they are not breathable, so should not be chosen too wide. Nylon collars are usually very tightly woven and not stretchy.

Neoprene
Neoprene is also a hard-wearing synthetic material that is waterproof. Neoprene collars are flexible and stretchable to a certain extent, so they lie comfortably on the dog's skin.

Stainless steel
Stainless steel is found almost exclusively in chain collars and is more suitable for large dogs. Metal collars are very stable, but not recommended for permanent use, as they can cause damage if not handled properly.

Plastic
Collars made of plastic are usually intended for special situations, such as a flea collar or light-up collar. They are not meant to be worn as a single collar, but much more in addition to the actual collar, depending on the situation of use.

Felt
Collars made of felt are very comfortable for the dog to wear and fit snugly. They are surprisingly tear-resistant and absolutely waterproof. A disadvantage is often the sometimes strong smell of sheep when the collar is wet.

The choice of material depends mainly on the type of collar and its intended use.

How much do dog collars cost?

Dog collars come in a wide variety of price ranges. From a few euros for a simple nylon collar to several hundred euros for handmade designer pieces, everything is possible.

The most important thing is that you pay attention to the quality of the collar. After all, your pet should wear the collar for several years.

Decision: What types of dog collars are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between 8 types of dog collars:

  • classic collar
  • Chain collar
  • Education collar
  • Puppy collar
  • Safety collar
  • Designer collar
  • Martingale Collar
  • Harness

The differences lie mainly in the intended use and not all of them are suitable for daily wear. We would like to show you the differences in the following:

What is a classic collar and what is it used for?

The classic collar is usually made of leather, nylon, imitation leather or felt and is intended for daily wear. These collars are usually fastened with a buckle and are adjustable in length.

They fit snugly around the dog's neck and ideally do not restrict the dog's freedom of movement. Even though they are suitable for daily wear, they should always be taken off at night to avoid pressure points.

What is a chain collar and how is it used?

The chain collar is mostly used for large, strong dogs. It usually consists of a single or double row link chain and is slipped over the neck. It then lies loosely and tightens when pulled.

You must make sure that you buy a collar with a pull stop, otherwise you can cause serious damage to your animal!

According to §3, paragraph 5 of the Animal Welfare Act, it is forbidden to train or exercise an animal if this involves considerable pain, suffering or harm to the animal.

The Animal Welfare Act also sees it this way, but it should be self-evident for every animal lover.

What is a training collar and how is it used?

This type of collar, also known as a Halti, is designed to make the dog leash-handleable by imitating the mother's bite by pulling on a band over the bridge of the nose, thus gently correcting it.

This type of collar is intended for leash training only and should not be used carelessly.

What is a puppy collar and how is it used?

The puppy collar is made of particularly soft material so as not to damage the sensitive neck of the young dog.

They are adjustable in width by means of a buckle to "grow" with the dog.

What is a safety collar and how is it used?

Safety collars, as well as reflective collars, are primarily intended to protect the dog in the dark morning and evening hours.

They come in different varieties, from self-illuminating, or flashing, to reflective. They can be put on the dog in addition to the actual collar so that it can be seen in time by other road users.

Some collars for everyday wear already have reflectors, but they are only a limited substitute for a real safety collar.

What is a designer collar and how is it used?

A designer collar is basically a variation of the classic collar and fulfils the same purpose, only it looks fancier, is often studded, embroidered or has rhinestones.

There are no limits to the imagination here. Prices of 100 Euros and more for such a piece are not uncommon.

What is a Martingale collar and how is it used?

Martingale collars are particularly wide (at least 4cm), or bulbously cut, richly decorated collars.

They are mainly used as decorative collars for greyhounds and whippets and are not suitable for normal use.

What is a harness and how is it used?

Harnesses come in many varieties. They are mostly used as an alternative to a collar and offer more control over the dog.

At the same time, they distribute the pull of the leash over several parts of the body and are thus less uncomfortable for the dog and avoid possible damage to the cervical spine and trachea once the dog really gets into the leash.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate dog collars

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate dog collars. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular collar is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Material
  • Design
  • Basic equipment

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Material

Dog collars are made of many different materials. We have already presented the materials in the guide.

Since the material is one of the most important criteria for buying a dog collar, we would like to go into this topic in more detail. Below we have compiled a table with the various materials and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages.

Material Advantages Disadvantages
Natural leather Durable, robust, waterproof, does not cause irritation Expensive, no or only a few colour variations, weekly maintenance, no need for cleaning. few colour variations, weekly care required
Imitation leather inexpensive, colourful variations, easy to clean not as robust as natural leather, quickly becomes brittle
Nylon robust, colourful variations, waterproof, easy to clean not breathable, not stretchy, hard material
Neoprene hard-wearing, waterproof, stretchy, soft can sometimes be narrow
Stainless steel stable, does not rust, does not become dull/matt the cold material does not feel good on the skin, heavy, not suitable for everyday use
Plastic colourful variations, easy to clean, waterproof hardens quickly, not robust, not to be worn as a single collar
Felt comfortable for the dog, cuddly, tear-resistant strong smell of sheep, stretches out with heavy use

Design

Dog collars come in all the colours of the rainbow. Whether plain or with elaborate embroidery, studs or personalisation, there are no limits to your imagination. Provided you want to spend the money.

You should also bear in mind that the design should mainly be such that your dog likes to wear the collar. Keep in mind that it will be around your dog's neck all day and that it will be used to play, romp, run and sleep. So in the first step, don't necessarily go by what you like, but what is comfortable for your dog.

Size

In this context, size is especially important. Not only the length of the collar is important, but also the width. Larger, stronger dogs need a wider collar to better distribute the pulling force on the leash.

A very small dog, on the other hand, is restricted in its movement with a collar that is too wide.

To help you roughly determine the right collar or harness size, we give you some guidelines here in the table based on example breeds. The cm values for the collar refer to the neck circumference, for the harness the chest circumference, measured directly behind the front legs, is decisive:

Size Breed Collar Harness
XS Chihuahua, Yorkshire 20-30cm 30-40cm
S Dachshund, Jack Russel 25-35cm 35-50cm
M Beagle, Cocker 35-45cm 45-70cm
L Golden Retriever, Dalmatian 45-60cm 65-85cm
XL German Shepherd, Newfoundland 55-70cm 80-100cm

Keep in mind, however, that these are only general indications and do not always have to agree 100%. If you have any doubts about whether the given size really fits your dog, ask for advice at a specialist shop.

Basic equipment

No matter what type of collar you choose, it should have a few features.

A set that includes a dog leash and dog collar can be a good investment for you and your dog. (Image source: 123rf.com / damedeeso)

If you have neither a lead nor a collar, a set can be a good alternative to buying them separately.

Make sure that the collar has a secure fastener that cannot come loose during wild romps, and that the length of the collar is adjustable so that it can be readjusted later.

There should be at least one ring to which you can attach the leash and the dog tag, as well as any name or address tags. However, it is better to have two rings or, alternatively, one loop to which you can attach the dog tag separately.

In Germany, dogs are taxable, no matter how big or small. You will receive a dog tag with a number as proof from your local residents' registration office, which must be attached to the collar.

Photo source: 123rf.com / 40440734

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