Best Collars for Large Dogs

Updated September 2021
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

38 Models Considered
12 Hours Researched
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Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best collars for large dogs

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and they all deserve a happy and healthy life. One essential for every dog is a proper collar: it serves as a means of control and enables identification and other important information to be easily accessible. Large dogs like greyhounds, akitas, mastiffs, Great Danes, and Saint Bernards require a strong and durable collar. 

Whether your dog is young and active or old and gentle, the right collar should match its temperament, needs, and lifestyle. For large dogs, there are a few different styles of collars that are made of various materials and offered in a range of colors and designs. 

As an important and essential accessory for every dog, there is plenty for dog owners to consider before buying a collar for a large dog. With so many options available, it’s best to be prepared, and our buying guide and recommendations can help you as you shop.

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Large dogs tend to have shorter lifespans and are more prone to mobility, joint, and other health problems than smaller dogs. Keep your large dog active and feed it a nutritious diet to help it live a long and healthy life.

Key considerations

Type

You can choose from a few main types of collars for your large dog.

Flat collars are straightforward, with a simple buckle and are best for large dogs that are calm and experienced at walking on a leash. These can have a plastic clip or a metal buckle like on a belt. These are not suitable for dogs that are prone to escaping or are very active or aggressive on a leash.

Martingale collars are designed to keep the dog from escaping. This collar tightens when the dog pulls but loosens when the tension is lessened. The tightening discourages the dog from pulling, but it also limits the ability of the dog to back out of the collar. The owner can adjust how much the collar restricts so that the dog isn’t hurt in any way. Shelters often require this type of collar when a new pet is adopted because the dog might be particularly nervous or scared.

Head halters have a strap that gently wraps around the dog’s snout below the eyes. While these take more work to put on and get used to, they’re useful when walking your dog. It gives you more control and lessens the risk of your dog injuring itself if it pulls.

Fit

Measure your dog’s neck to determine the best fit. If you don’t have a tape measure, you can use a piece of string and measure that with a ruler. Most collars, whether in the store or online, include a size chart so you can find the collar that best fits your dog. 

When the collar is placed around your dog’s neck, it should fit comfortably and snugly. It should be able to move slightly up and down, but not so much that it falls toward the ears when the dog’s head is down. A general rule of thumb is that you should be able to fit two fingers under the collar.

Materials

Dog collars are made of a few different materials, including nylon, neoprene, leather, and faux leather.

Nylon is lightweight and suitable for all types of weather and all seasons. These collars typically fasten with a plastic clip. Nylon is moderately durable and breathable, which is helpful during hotter months or for those dogs with thicker fur. Nylon is harder to clean, however, and may retain odors over time.

Neoprene lasts longer than nylon and is better suited to dogs that are often around water. It costs more and is usually bulkier than nylon, but that isn’t typically an issue for larger dogs.

Leather is a common option, though it requires more care than nylon or neoprene. Leather is heavier and stiffer than nylon and neoprene, which could be an issue with a senior dog, and these collars usually have a metal buckle. Most larger dogs have a strong neck, so the weight of the collar isn’t as much of an issue as it is with smaller dogs. Leather isn’t the best option in rain or snow and isn’t breathable in hotter temperatures. If well cared for, a leather collar will last a long time. However, note that some dogs are attracted to leather and may chew on the collar.

Faux leather is another option. These collars look like leather but are made of plant-based or synthetic materials. They are usually cheaper than leather collars, but they aren’t as durable.

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Did You Know?
Dog collars have at least one metal D ring where you can attach a leash. Some might have an additional D or O ring where you can affix dog tags.
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Features

Safety

If you walk your large dog before sunrise, at dusk, or at night, you’ll want to invest in a collar with reflective properties. This helps drivers and cyclists see your dog when you're crossing the street or on the sidewalk. A reflective collar is helpful, but there are other products to help improve your dog’s visibility at night, including reflective vests, harnesses, and leashes, as well as collars with LED lights.

Activity

Some collars are designed with very active dogs in mind. These are made of materials like neoprene that are designed to withstand wear and tear, water, and snow. Some are designed specifically for dogs that like to swim. There are also collars that resist odors.

Design

Once you’ve picked the collar type and material, you’ll find plenty of options when it comes to colors, patterns, and other fun designs. 

Colors: Some owners like to match the collar’s color to their own outfits, their dog’s eyes or coat color, or whatever apparel the dog wears during inclement weather. 

Patterns: Some collars have camouflage, floral, striped, or pop culture designs. And there is no shortage of collars with canine-themed patterns like bones.

Decorations: Some collars are decorated with sequins, studs, fabric flowers, or other accessories to add some personality. For safety reasons, and to prevent choking hazards, these collars should be removed when the dog is alone.

You might want to remove the collar when your dog is at home and you feel confident that it’s obedient and won’t try to escape.

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Accessories

Dog harness: Ruffwear Dog Harness
For walks and trips in the car, it’s recommended that your dog wear a comfortable and secure harness. This breathable, padded option by Ruffwear is suitable for active large dogs.

Dog leash: Frisco Patterned Leash
You need a quality leash if you want to walk your dog. This polyester option by one of the leading dog accessory brands is simple and reliable and comes in a choice of two fun designs.

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Did You Know?
Bright-colored collars, particularly those made of nylon, can start to fade over time. Also, watch out for the color bleeding into your dog’s skin and fur.
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Pricing

Inexpensive: You can find simple and effective collars, typically flat collars, in a variety of colors for around $15.

Mid-range: Most collars of any style for large dogs cost between $15 and $30. These come in various colors and materials.

Expensive: Collars that cost over $30 are among the most durable and largest and come in more patterns and colors.

Tips

  • Invest in two collars. It’s a good idea to have a backup collar on hand in case the first one breaks or needs cleaning. Some owners choose a fancy or fun collar for special occasions to supplement the more functional option.
  • Attach the dog’s tags to the collar. Dog tags with the dog’s name and your phone number should be affixed to the ring on the collar. You might also have tags for vaccinations and a microchip number.
  • Check your dog for allergic reactions. Some dogs are allergic or sensitive to certain materials used in collars. When putting a new collar on your dog, check for any rashes or hair loss over the ensuing days or weeks.
  • Donate old collars. If your dog grows out of its collar, you can donate the collar to a pup in need. Shelters welcome used dog accessories as well as toys, blankets, and crates.
Collars for large dogs
Many large dogs have a lot of fur, which can hide the actual circumference of the neck. When measuring for a collar, be sure you’re measuring the neck and not all the fur.

FAQ

Q. Should I walk my large dog using a collar or harness?

A. While well-trained, calm dogs can be walked safely and comfortably on a leash attached to the collar, there are many advantages to walking a dog with a harness. A harness offers you more control over the dog. Your dog can more easily be directed and maneuvered wearing a harness. And if the harness has a front clip, it can help you train your dog to walk without pulling.

Harnesses are also safer for dogs, particularly if they’re prone to reacting to such things as other animals or loud noises. A dog that pulls while wearing a collar can choke or damage its throat. A harness does a better job of distributing the pressure over the dog’s body. A harness is also recommended for car trips and can aid in lifting a dog as well.

Q. Are prong, shock, chain, and bark collars safe for training dogs?

A. All of these collars, known as aversive collars, are dangerous for dogs and can do more long-term harm than good. According to the Humane Society of the United States, these collars are not humane and should be avoided. 

Prong collars have metal points that dig into the neck when the dog pulls. Chain, or choke, collars tighten around a dog’s neck when it pulls. They’re purported to be effective for training dogs to walk on a leash, claiming the dog will resist pulling because of the discomfort, but the potential for harm is great. Shock collars and barking collars cause similar discomfort when a dog exhibits unwanted behavior. Dogs use their bark for defense and protection, so inhibiting a dog’s bark could cause long-term mental trauma.

Dogs are best trained through positive association and reinforcement. They should be rewarded for good behavior instead of punished for negative behavior. Aversive collars can cause dogs to associate going for walks with something unpleasant. What’s more, if your dog pulls because it sees another dog and the collar causes pain, it can cause the dog to be fearful or aggressive around other dogs. Even dogs that seem to tolerate an aversive collar may still be suppressing urges and ignoring pain, leading to long-term negative consequences. Patience and practice are the best training tools. 

Q. Can a large dog slip out of a collar?

A. Depending on the size, proportions, and demeanor of your dog, it might be able to escape if it’s scared or aggressive. Be careful if your dog stops and tries to back away from you. As you pull on the collar, your dog can dip its head and break free. If your dog backs away, don’t try to pull it toward you. Instead, give it some slack and calm your dog down. If your dog is scared, don’t force it into the situation. Instead, encourage it to investigate and experience the situation in its own time. A martingale collar is recommended as a safe option for preventing a dog from escaping.
 

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