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7 best small dog collars of 2023, approved by vets

Updated November 22, 2022

Tested by us and approved by our pups, browse the seven best small dog collars available for purchase today.

Best small dog collars, reviewed

#1 Best overall: Joytale Reflective Dog Collar

Why we recommend this small dog collar

“The Joytale dog collar is a pretty color, soft on the inside, and it was easy to adjust on my dogs, Scout and Coker,” said our tester, Allison. “There’s really nothing to complain about. Substances that could make it dirty slipped right off the material. It stays clean easily.”

The great (and not great) things about the Joytale Reflective Collar

pros cons
✓ Prominent reflective stitching ✗ None!
✓ Bright teal color stands out
✓ Waterproof & durable
✓ Easy to put on & adjust
✓ Soft on the inside
Joytale Reflective Dog Collar product packaging

#2 Best budget collar: Coastal’s Small Dog Collar

Why we recommend this small dog collar

When we tried this nylon collar on Zoe, a 4-month-old Havanese, we discovered that it was easy to adjust, fit well, and is great for growing pups that need it to be adjusted larger as they grow.

The great (and not great) things about Coastal’s Nylon Small Dog Collar

pros cons
✓ Durable metal buckle ✗ No reflective features
✓ Soft and flexible fabric
✓ Multiple buckle holes to easily adjust size

#3 Most practical: Tuff Buckle Adjustable Dog Collar

Why we recommend this dog collar

When we tried this collar out with Zoe, we found that it was a durable collar with a small, removable tag and a metal ring that was big enough to attach a leash easily. We discovered that the snap buckle made putting it on and getting it off very easy as well.

The great (and not great) things about Coastal’s Tuff Buckle Small Dog Collar

pros cons
✓ Soft and comfortable ✗ No reflective features
✓ Easy to adjust
✓ Very durable
✓ Comes with an ID tag
✓ Easy to attach a leash
✓ Very easy to put on and take off
Coastal’s Tuff Buckle Small Dog Collar

#4 Best for recovery: Arlee Pet Products Comfurt Collar

Why we recommend this small dog collar

“For anyone on the fence, I would say it’s worth trying this collar even if you’re not sure about the fit or effectiveness, especially for dogs facing a long recovery”, said our tester, Allison. “It was a LONG two weeks with a plastic cone of shame that was difficult to get on and off, became dirty very quickly, and noisily scraped every piece of furniture my dog passed.”

Even though one of her dogs slipped out of the recovery collar during testing, Allison reported that it was likely due to ordering the wrong size. Measure your dog before surgery so you’ll have the best Elizabethan collar on hand when they come home from the hospital.

The great (and not great) things about the Arlee Comfurt Collar

pros cons
✓ Solid but also soft* ✗ Instructions are a bit complicated.
✓ Washable ✗ Elastic straps broke in our tests
✓ Made with walks in mind ✗ May be easy for some dogs to escape

* While this collar may look like an inflatable collar, it’s actually a solid piece of foam.

Arlee Comfurt Collar

#5 Best for adventures: Youly Dog Collar

Why we recommend this small dog collar

“I thought it was really easy to adjust,” said our tester. “Once I had the right size, I took it off to adjust the excess so that it fit Scooter properly. Really happy with how this collar fits!”

The great (and not great) things about the Youly Small Dog Collar

pros cons
✓ Easy to adjust ✗ No reflective features
✓ Pretty design
✓ Durable material
Youly Small Dog Collar

#6 Best design: Covoroza Breakaway Collar with Bow Tie

Why we recommend a cat collar for small dogs

Small dogs and cats need lightweight collars due to their petite size, and many of our small dog owners have stated that they like to use cat collars! So, one of the best and cutest small dog collars we can recommend is actually a cat collar.

The great (and not great) things about the Covoroza Breakaway Cat Collar

pros cons
✓ Easily adjustable ✗ Gets dirty easier than a darker collar
✓ Removable bowtie
Covoroza Breakaway Cat Collar in different styles

#7 Most fashionable: FLYSTAR Dog Collar

Why we recommend this leather dog collar

“I like how this fancy small dog collar fit Scooter and that it was easy to adjust on her,” wrote our tester. “The removable bowtie is super cute as well, although I’m not sure how long it’ll last. I don’t like that it’s not a breakaway collar the way cat collars are, however, I doubt Scout will be active enough to need one.”

The great (and not great) things about the FLYSTAR small dog collar

pros cons
✓ Affordable ✗ Not breakaway (less of an issue with dogs)
✓ Cute bow tie
✓ Color stands out against all coats
Vibrant Life small dog collar

Types of dog collars

When outfitting your pup with the best small dog collar, you’ll have to decide between various types. Here’s a quick overview.

Everyday collars

As the name suggests, everyday collars are the ones your pup wears day in, and day out, and the design possibilities are endless. From cute small dog collars fit for a princess to padded reflective collars that keep dogs safe for evening walks, the right choice is out there for every pup.

Smart dog collars

Along with automatic feeders or smart doggie doors, smart collars typically use some type of tracking technology. They’re ideal for multi-pet households or areas where your dog can go in and out of the backyard, but you don’t necessarily need the neighborhood wildlife to follow them in.

Martingale collars

Similar to some harnesses, these collars are ideal for preventing dogs from slipping out of their collar during walks. When pups pull too hard, this type of small dog collar for training will tighten enough to prevent excited pups from slipping out of their collars but not enough to cause discomfort or be dangerous. For dogs with wider necks and narrower heads, martingale collars are particularly useful.

Head collars

Head collars, also called halters, are used for training and act as a harness for a small dog’s head. This helps with training to discourage unwanted behaviors and help redirect their attention. It’s a popular choice for animal experts because it allows pet parents and trainers to use positive reinforcement.

Show collars for small dogs

Last but not least is show collars. These collars are made of finer materials and are slip collars — they slip over the head without a buckle or clasp — designed to be stylish and functional. They won’t get your pup ready for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but they’ll look the part!

Measuring for a small dog collar

You’ll need to know your dog’s neck measurements before selecting your next collar. Consider whether you plan to have the collar as the dog grows (if it’s still growing) and, if so, how much that collar will need to be let out over the next few months or even years.

Here are a few ways you can measure your dog’s neck before you ever hit the “shop now” button:

Use a cloth measuring tape — Measure snugly where the collar will sit on your dog’s neck, then loosen it enough for comfort and breathing, but not so much that slippage is likely to occur.

Use the string and ruler method — When a cloth measuring tape isn’t available, use a string in the same way you would a clothing measuring tape, then measure the piece of string against a yardstick.

Measure your current collar — Measure from where the material starts and stops, not the tip of the buckle or clasp.

Why trust betterpet?

The writers, editors, and staff of betterpet are pet parents, and we know the value of accurate, trustworthy information. The products we test are reviewed and approved by our vets. We tested these small dog collars so that when we say a small dog collar is best, it comes from firsthand experience.

How we chose the best small dog collar

The betterpet lab developed a set of criteria and then put them to the test in real-world situations. Those factors included:

  • Fit.  We matched manufacturer sizing charts to dogs and then judged whether the sizing ran too small, too large, or fit as advertised.
  • Features. We also looked at each dog collar’s particular features. Was it durable? Easy to adjust? Our testers evaluated how well these small dog collars performed with those features in mind.
  • Durability. We know pet parents expect gear that lasts. We determine how durable a small dog collar is so that you can make an informed decision.
  • Maintenance. Our testers also considered how easy it was to clean the dog collar. A simple matter of throwing it in the wash, or permanently discolored after an outdoor adventure? While our testers may not be able to say if a stain will fade years later, we can let you know if this is a fancy dog collar that your small dog can only wear for show.

Frequently asked questions

What is the safest collar for small dogs?

Many pet experts believe that the safest small dog collar is the martingale collar as it tightens when pups pull, preventing them from slipping out, but not so much that the dog will choke.

Are thick or thin collars better for dogs?

While larger and medium-sized breeds need thicker collars, thinner dog collars are ideal for small dogs. They don’t provide as much support as thicker collars, but small dogs need to wear lightweight collars, so thinner collars are the best choice.

Is it better to walk a dog on a collar or harness?

Collars are generally more comfortable for dog walks, but harnesses are usually recommended for walks because they offer more support. Consider both a small dog collar and harness for walks with your small dog to ensure they stay comfortable and safe.