Best Tactical Dog Collars – Reviews & Buying GuideFebruary 3, 2021 2021-03-21 4:08
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Tactical collars were initially created for military and police dogs, so are made from heavy-duty materials designed to cope with extreme conditions while giving the handler extra control over their canine companion.
My Australian Cattle Dog is over-friendly in the extreme and prone to jumping up at unsuspecting strangers. To give myself a bit more control over her enthusiastic greetings, I decided to invest in a tactical dog collar with a control handle.
I tested numerous products before opting for the adjustable collar from Yunlep. During my search, I tried out various collars, ranging from some seriously heavy-duty offerings, and one or two tactical martingale collars.
I also stumbled across a couple of budget options that, while not as hard-wearing or as long-lasting, would be ideal for a puppy who won’t necessarily need a tactical collar for the rest of its life.
Our Top Choice Tactical Dog Collar
This hard-wearing collar has a tough metal buckle, and easy-to-grab control handle. As Koala has an uncanny ability to undo her collars and subsequently lose them, I liked the fact that the buckle was difficult to undo, even though it meant taking the collar on and off took longer.
The 1.5-inch width looks good on a larger, long-haired dog like the Australian Cattle Dog and is less likely to cut into their skin as a narrower collar might. Koala seemed comfortable in the Yunlep collar from the outset, and it stood the test of time, surviving over six months of being dragged through thorny bushes and muddy puddles without any signs of wear or tear.
This robust collar is made of 1000 denier nylon so, is abrasion-resistant and hard-wearing. It features a heavy-duty buckle made of military-grade metal and a control handle. As a result, it’s suitable for all kinds of activity; from patrolling and hunting, to camping and traveling.
It is comfortable on the dog and easy to adjust. The buckle can be a little finicky, as can the initial fitting, but after that, the Yunlep collar is easy to slip on and off. It has a soft, padded lining that reduces the risk of allergic reactions and makes it suitable for all-day wear.
This tactical collar comes in three sizes, the smallest of which is ideal for medium-sized dogs like a Beagle or Standard Poodle. The large size fitted Koala, my ACD, perfectly and the extra-large goes up to 24.5” so can accommodate all but the largest breeds.
Not only is the Yunlep tactical collar comfortable enough for your dog to wear all day, but it’s also safe enough to leave on an unsupervised dog. The control handle means this collar works “almost as well as a harness,” while the magic sticker on the back means you can customize it with your dog’s name or ID.
Although the Yunlep is one of the cheaper makes of tactical collar, it’s durable and hard-wearing and copes well with being plunged into rivers and dragged through bushes. Koala’s collar is now over six months old and still looks as good as new.
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Looking for a specialized collar for your dog? Here are our choices for different categories of tactical collars.
Best Budget Option
Costing a few dollars less than any of the other products, this tactical collar is affordable yet robust, featuring a thick nylon strap with a soft, cushioned lining.
It comes with five adjustable points and a single D-ring that could be irritating for owners wanting to use it for both an ID tag and a leash. On the plus side, the absence of any extra handles, rings, or straps makes it more comfortable for your dog to wear for long periods. It also makes it safer as there’s nothing for the collar to catch onto.
This collar has a pleasantly chunky, almost vintage appearance with its 1.49” width and robust buckle. While it lacks the control handle that most tactical collars feature if you’re looking for a good, basic collar, this is the one!
It won’t provide the same level of control as the Yunlep or the Elite Excellence Spanker collars, nor will it work as effectively as a training aid, but it is hard-wearing and long-lasting.
While the OneTigris collar is a nice, budget option, I would recommend spending those few extra dollars on the Yunlep which is both more robust and more versatile.
Best Tactical Collar for Small & Medium Dogs
Excellent Elite Spanker’s products are designed to survive the toughest adventures and most challenging conditions. Like the Yunlep, this tactical collar is made of 1000D nylon, lined with soft padding. The heavy-duty metal buckle can be locked for extra security or left unlocked for a quick release.
The control handle provides extra security for your dog and better control for you while also making it easier to reattach a leash while out on an adventure. The D-ring that the leash attaches to is as hard-wearing as the rest of the collar so, won’t tear when your dog lunges forward after a squirrel (or, in Koala’s case, a monkey).
This tactical collar has a magic sticker ID panel and another magic sticker that you can use to hold the control handle in place when not in use. This makes it safer for the dog when wearing the collar unsupervised as it stops the handle from catching on branches and or another dog’s teeth!
Although recommended for medium to large dogs, the small collar adjusts to a minimum length of 13.5”, so should fit a larger Border Terrier or a small Whippet. This is smaller than most of the other products we found, the majority of which only accommodate 14” necks at their smallest settings.
A few dollars more than the Yunlep, this tactical collar from Excellent Elite Spanker is affordable and ideal for a wide range of dog sizes. According to existing customers, it’s even tough enough and big enough for a 70lb Newfiedoofdle service dog.
As well as providing a high-quality yet inexpensive product, Excellent Elite Spanker also offers a generous warranty and will replace any sub-standard product within 90 days.
Best Tactical Collar for Large Dogs
This tactical collar is the only one we found designed to fit dogs with a neck diameter of over 24”. Extending up to 29”, this collar is suitable for all but the very largest of dogs. You’ll struggle to get it around a Mastiff’s neck, but it will fit Rottweilers, Bull Mastiffs, and even a small St. Bernard.
Made with USA military webbing rather than nylon, the Miles tactical collar is ideal for dogs allergic to nylon while remaining robust and hard-wearing. The control handle is made of the same durable webbing while the V-shaped leash ring is stainless steel.
One of the best things about this collar is that it features a genuine AustriAlpin COBRA which is about as hard-wearing as they come. It also has a quick-release mechanism in case of emergency.
The larger sizes of the Miles tactical collar are 1.75” wide, while the smaller sizes, aimed at dogs that weigh less than 60 lbs, are 1.5”. This is wide enough to be comfortable but not so thick that it chafes behind the ears.
Professional dog trainers recommend this collar for its durability and design, saying it’s as effective on a leisurely walk as it is for training.
The corners of the magic sticker are quite sharp, however, and it’s advisable to trim them before fitting this collar on a short-haired dog, like a Pitbull.
The only downside of this collar is its price! At over double the price of the Yunlep collar, there’s no denying it’s expensive but, if you need a tactical collar for a large dog, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Best for Dogs With Allergies
Dogs with sensitive skin or an allergy to nylon and other synthetic materials are much more comfortable in a leather collar but finding a leather, tactical collar isn’t that easy.
After much searching, we came across this one from Pet Artist that features a convenient control handle and zinc-alloy buckles.
Although durable, the leather is soft and supple, so will be comfortable for your dog from the start. Neat stitches and rivets hold the collar together so you can be confident you’ll be the one in control, even in the most excitable of situations.
This leather collar comes in two sizes – medium and large. The medium-sized collar is 1.1” wide, so is a little narrower than some of the other collars we’ve looked at. As it’s leather, however, it’s still durable and strong. The large collar, designed more for German Shepherds and Pitbulls, is 1.5” wide and can be adjusted to a maximum of 23.6” in diameter.
Despite the good-quality leather and rust-resistant buckles, this collar is surprisingly affordable, hovering in the same price-range as both the Yunlep and the Excellent Elite Spanker collars. Pet Artist also offers a 90-day quality guarantee.
Best Tactical Martingale Collar
Some dogs have a knack for wriggling out of their collars, regardless of how robust they might be. This martingale-style tactical collar can tighten around the dog’s neck to prevent your escapologist from getting away from you, making it safer for your dog and those around you.
Although martingale collars should be used carefully and never left on an unsupervised dog, they are great for dogs whose heads are smaller than their necks, like Greyhounds, for example.
Made from a Tubelok webbing unique to Ruffwear’s products, this stylish collar consists of an interlocking, woven fabric that is both durable and weather-resistant.
What Are The Benefits of a Tactical Dog Collar?
Tactical dog collars look a lot like basic collars but are made from heavy-duty materials, and designed to withstand the most extreme of canine adventures. The control handles are ideal for obedience training, especially if you have a young or particularly reactive dog.
As they are more robust than most standard collars, they can cope with more rugged expeditions and bigger, stronger animals. They give you more control while keeping the dog comfortable and cool – something many tactical dog harnesses fail to do.
Although affordable, these collars are designed to last and, with their military-grade webbing or 1000D nylon, they’re almost guaranteed to do just that, regardless of how many bushes your dog drags it through.
Stainless steel or zinc alloy buckles can withstand hundreds of pounds of pull pressure. Even the feistiest of Rottweilers doesn’t pull that hard!
The lease attachment and control handle combined give you two points of control over your dog, making it easier for you to gain the upper hand and safer for him as he’s less likely to get away from you or get himself into trouble.
What Should I Look For in a Tactical Dog Collar?
Here are the most important few features to look out for when shopping for a tactical collar:
While you want something hard-wearing and durable, you don’t want it weighing your dog down, which is why so many tactical collars are made from high-quality nylon or military-grade webbing.
Although leather is more durable than nylon, it is prone to cracking and isn’t as lightweight as nylon. If you have a dog with sensitive skin or an allergy to synthetic materials, however, this is your best option.
Stainless steel and zinc alloy buckles are rust-resistant and hard-wearing, whereas plastic ones are prone to breakage, and aluminum will bend under pressure.
“With a working strength of over 2000 lbs,” COBRA buckles are among the best. Their quick-release mechanisms mean you can easily get your dog out of a tight corner while ensuring he can’t accidentally loosen his collar on his own.
Size and Fit
There’s nothing more annoying than ordering a collar, only to find that it doesn’t fit your dog. To avoid this, measure your dog carefully before buying. Using a tape measure, measure your dog’s neck just behind his ears and then again above his shoulders, where a collar usually sits.
Don’t pull the tape too tight – instead, make sure you can fit two fingers in between the tape and your dog’s neck. The second measurement will give you the right size collar for your dog, while the first indicates the size it needs to be if you want to slide it over his head.
For more information about getting the right size tactical collar for your dog, take a look at this useful video.
Is a Tactical Dog Collar Safe To Use?
As a tactical dog collar is much the same as a basic one, it carries roughly the same amount of risk.
On some tactical collars, the control handle presents an additional potential hazard, especially if you leave the collar on your dog when he’s alone in the yard. As with any collar attachment, the control handle could get caught on a branch or another dog, potentially causing injury.
If you’re planning to use a tactical collar as your dog’s everyday collar, consider getting one like the Excellent Elite Spanker that has a magic sticker to hold the control handle in place when not in use.
Martingale collars, like the one from Ruffwear, should never be left on an unsupervised dog as they could catch and tighten around the dog’s neck, causing him potential distress and injury.
Koala and I both like the Yunlep tactical collar. Me, because it gives me more control over her overly enthusiastic greetings and her because it’s comfortable and cooler than the harness she had before. It stands up well to rough use and is difficult for the dog to remove. On the downside, it’s sometimes difficult for the owner to remove as well!
The Excellent Elite Spanker collar is ideal for small to medium dogs and yet tough enough to withstand a Newfiedoodle’s efforts to escape. For larger dogs, I recommend the Miles tactical dog collar that can extend to 29”, making it suitable for all but the largest breeds.
If your dog is allergic to nylon, the military-grade webbing of the Miles collar might work but a leather alternative, like the one from Pet Artist, is a safer option. Neat yet robust, Pet Artist’s leather collar is made of strong yet supple leather and isn’t as expensive as it looks.
While a tactical dog collar can do many things, it can’t stop a dog from wriggling or backing out of it, which is where a martingale collar becomes steps in. Ruffwear’s martingale collar, if fitted correctly, can give you more control over your dog and make outdoor excursions safer for both of you.
For a simple, budget alternative to the best tactical collars, the adjustable, military-style one from OneTigris is a suitable option. It’s not quite as robust as our top choices and isn’t particularly useful for training as it lacks the standard control handle, but it is strong, sturdy, and looks the part.
Having Koala in a tactical collar means I no longer have to worry about her jumping up at people because I can just grab the control handle and hold her back. I’m grateful that my excursions with her are now less stressful and more enjoyable.