11 best dog collars

A dog’s collar isn’t just a fashion statement, it’s a legal requirement. Any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name, address and postcode of the owner engraved or written on it, or on a tag attached to it.

Dogs don’t need to wear a collar at home, but with so many dogs going missing from homes and gardens (more than 2,800 dogs over the past three years, according to the charity Dogs Trust), it might be best if your dog wears a collar all the time.

Your dog’s collar must be comfortable and hard-wearing. It should also easily fit to a lead and keep your dog under control when being walked. Picking one out isn’t as easy as it first sounds.

Size matters

The collar must, of course, be the correct fit. “When choosing the right collar for your dog, size rules over style,” says Dr Maeve Moorcroft, head of pets at Pets at Home. “The collar should be snug, with enough room to fit two fingers between your dog's neck and their collar to prevent restricted breathing, and for their safety the collar should not be loose enough to slip over your pet's head. A good tip is to measure your pet's neck and add on two to three inches.”

If you have a young puppy, you will need to check the collar once every couple of weeks to check they haven’t outgrown it. And older dogs can put on and lose weight too, so you may need to loosen or tighten their collars from time to time.

Dogs who regularly swim and roll around in dirt will wear out their collars more quickly than sedate canines. ”If the collar starts to get worn or dirty and can’t be easily cleaned, I would suggest changing it. A good leather collar should last for years,” adds Moorcroft.

If your dog is reluctant to wear the collar at first, present them with a treat when you try it on. “Positive reinforcement can help get your dog used to a collar, just put it on for a few minutes and distract them with their favourite treat while praising them,” explains Moorcroft. “Repeat this slowly many times, leaving it on a bit longer each time until they begin to associate it with positive rather than negative things.”

Pioneros Rainbow Dog Collar: Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large: £24.99, Farlows

This vibrant Argentinian-style polo collar is for the pooch who likes to stand out from the pack. It’s handmade from strong bridle leather that will mould to your dog’s neck. It’s easy to fasten and it has a strong ring to slip a lead on to. A matching lead is available; and, if you like the idea of coordinating your outfit with your dog’s, you can buy a matching belt. This is a stylish, hard-wearing leather collar at a great price.

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Knot-a-Collar: Medium and Large: £21.95, Ruffwear​​

Standard hole-punched collars are not ideal for dogs that straddle sizes. If your canine is on the last hole of the small collar, meaning that there is no room to grow, and the first hole of the large collar, leaving a long length of collar flapping around, this adjustable sliding knot collar is ideal. It’s a bit fiddly to adjust, but it will achieve the perfect fit. It’s also much slimmer and lighter than traditional leather collars. It’s quick and easy to fix a lead to and the silicone tag silencer stops that annoying jingle from where your dog’s ID tag hits the collar ring. Available in four colourways, it also has a reflective trim, giving your dog extra visibility as dusk falls. A matching lead is available, too.

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English Rose Dog Collar: Small £6.95, Medium £7.95 and Large £8.95, Rex London

We try not gender stereotype here at IndyBest, but if your little lady is often referred to as a he and you want to let people know otherwise, this pretty floral collar should put a stop to that. It’s well padded and light, so there is no chaffing, and it’s easy to attach a lead and ID tag. It is a light colour so it might get grubby, but you can hand wash it should doggy go for a mud bath. This is a great budget buy. There’s a matching lead available, too.

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Free Spirit Leather Dog Collar: Small £35, Medium £40, Large £45 and Extra Large £50, Fetch and Follow

If you like to dress your dog in super-fashionable haute couture, this two-tone black and grey vegetable tanned Belgium bridle leather collar with brass fixings embossed in gold with the words ‘Free Spirit’ is for you. It is expensive, but its sturdy ring is easy to fix a lead and ID tag too and it’s built to last. You just know that like an expensive leather sofa, this collar will age beautifully. To finish it off you will need to splash out on the matching lead too though.

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Reflective Padded Dog Collar In Blue: Small £5, Medium £6, Large £7, Pets at Home

This is a light, bright, well-padded collar with a reflective weave down the middle so that you can keep track of your dog in low light. As this collar adjusts on a sliding scale you can get it to fit your dog exactly. Its quick-release buckle also means it can be taken off and put on in a jiffy, ideal if your dog is a swimmer and you often need to remove the collar to allow it to dry. It’s easy to attach an ID tag to the solid D ring. A matching lead is also available. This is a good practical budget buy.

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Mutts & Hounds Slate Tweed Dog Collar: Tiny £49.50, Small £53.50, Small Wide £60, Medium and Large both £57, Pets Pyjamas

This classic country-look collar is made from sturdy Italian leather with a soft fabric tweed overlay. It looks expensive – and it is. It comes with a strong D ring for fixing lead and ID tag and it has two loops so that the end of the collar can’t flap around. This is for the dog owner who wants his or her pooch to emit a classy regal air. It’s designed to survive the elements, but if your dog is lucky enough to have a whole wardrobe of neckwear, this could be a collar to keep for ‘best’. It looks too lovely to get mud-splattered. Complete the look with a matching leather lead.

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Two-Tone Leather Collar: Extra small and small £40, Small Wide, Medium and Large all £45, Vackertass​

This pretty pastel pink and red Italian full-grain leather collar with fashionable brass hardware is designed to be a fashion classic. It is expensive, but it’s easy to secure and fix a lead and ID tag too, and, most interestingly, it changes with time. It has already softened and moulded to tester Domino dog’s neck and we’re told that the coloured leather will eventually become a light tan and develop a unique patina. A vintage in the making. A matching lead is also available.

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Black Dog Collar: Small and Medium: £8.99, Large and Extra Large £10.99, Mountain Paws

This isn’t an attractive fashion collar. It’s an extremely practical, softly padded, yet hardwearing collar at a great price point that’s designed with active mucky pups in mind. It’s the least fiddly collar to adjust and, because it doesn’t have a traditional buckle-hole fastening, it can be adjusted to fit your dog’s neck exactly. It easy to fix a lead and ID tag to and, best of all, it’s machine washable, ideal if your mutt likes to roll in all sorts of smelly things, as many do.

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Ancol USB Flashing Band Collar: £9.95, Millbry Hill

This isn’t a collar for a lead or ID tag. It’s a light-up supplementary collar designed for night-time use. If your dog has been known to wander off into the deepest darkest depths of your garden at night, or if you like taking him off lead to the park past sunset, this light-up collar, which can be cut to size and is available in yellow, orange and blue, is perfect for you. It has two modes, always on or flashing and should keep your pet illuminated from up to 500 metres away.

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Mishiko GPS Dog Tracker + Fitness Monitor: £130, Amazon

This GPS tracker and activity-monitor collar is pricey, but it could be incredibly useful. If your dog has been known to take off after a scent leaving you frantically wondering where she’s got to, this GPS tracker collar, which links to your smartphone, will show her whereabouts. It will also come in handy, if your dog has a dog walker and you want to keep track of where she’s being taken. And, it can also help to monitor your dog’s general activity too. This rechargeable, waterproof collar comes with a light as well. It is one-size-fits-all, but it’s likely to overwhelm a tiny dog and although it has a sturdy clasp for an ID tag and lead, it doesn't appear to be the comfiest collar for 24/7 wear.

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Chestnut and Beige Leather Dog Collar: Tiny, Small, Medium and Large all £49, Marlborough of England

This classic-style, two-tone leather collar, is also available in navy and light blue, black and red and chestnut and orange. It’s pricey, but top quality. It has a softer leather inner lining for added comfort and the solid brass fittings are chrome plated for extra durability. What makes this collar special, however, is the opportunity to emboss it with up to five letters. There is an additional charge of £3 per letter for this, but it makes a lovely personal touch and a particularly thoughtful gift.

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The Verdict: Best dog collars

Domino dog was comfortable wearing all of these collars, but the Pioneros Rainbow dog collar from Farlows stood out from the rest, because of its striking pattern, durable leather and despite all of this, it’s very reasonable price point. It might not have the looks, but the practical and durable Mountain Paws Black Dog Collar is our recommended budget buy.

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