This guide is designed to help you find the best collar for your German Shepherd adult or puppy.
We’ve outlined some of the better nylon, reflective and leather collars on the market that are designed for larger dog breeds such as the German Shepherd, who on average have an 18-24 inch neck size.
It’s important when buying a dog collar that you measure your individual dog’s neck (around their neck) and make sure the collar strap is going to be long enough to fit that neck size.
The collars we’ve identified fit dogs with neck sizes anywhere between 12 inches all the way up to 31 inches, which should be suitable for a GSD.
Let’s check them out!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Best Collar For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies: What Size To Get, & Type
Our top picks for the best collars for German Shepherds are:
Blueberry Pet Dog Collar (on Amazon) – nylon collar for dogs with neck sizes 18 to 26 inches
LupinePet Dog Collar (on Amazon) – nylon collar with sizes for dogs with neck sizes from 12 inches op to 21 inches
Rogz Utility Large Dog Collar (on Amazon) – reflective collar for dogs with neck sizes 13-22 inches
Rogz Utility Extra Large Dog Collar (on Amazon) – reflective collar for dogs with neck sizes 17-27 inches
Best Collar For German Shepherd Dogs and Puppies: Buyer’s Guide
Purpose of A Collar For A German Shepherd
The 2 main purposes of the best dog collars are:
- To attach your German Shepherd’s tag and other important details to
- To control your German Shepherd during walking and training – although harnesses are much easier and safer for you and your GSD.
Collars can be multi-functional and used for many recreational and training activities – walking, heeling, tracking, patrolling, show events and more.
Criteria & Features For Picking the Best Collar For A German Shepherd
The Best Collar for German Shepherds will meet 3 main criteria:
- Be durable/strong, reliable and safe (for your German Shepherd, you and the public). You dont want it being harsh enough to irritate the skin, or create allergies.
- Be water, rust (if it contains any metal) and snap/pull resistant
- Be suitable (and comfortable) for the main purposes you require it for (recreation or training)
Remember, although German Shepherds are a large and strong dog breed, you should give your GSD on leash training as a puppy to minimise pulling during walking and other unwanted behaviors – particularly if you insist on using a collar instead of a harness for controlling you GSD.
This is particularly true for the elderly, smaller statured people and those with arm and shoulder injuries.
Parts of a Dog Collar
The common collar has 4 main parts to it:
- The Strap – A strap needs to be comfortable for your GSD, durable and resistant for longevity, and strong enough to stay in one piece. It’s hard to beat a medium to thick flat nylon collar in this regard.
- The Clip or Buckle Adjustor – Clips are usually hardened plastic. They are strong enough to survive everyday wear and tear, and for the clip to stay tight and not loosen over time. The other common type of collar has a metal buckle like that of a human belt to tighten/fasten the collar.
- The Metal Size Adjustor – on the clip fastened collars, these metal adjustors adjust the size of the collar on your GSD’s neck.
- The Tag – Given to you by your local council or government with registration details, and sometimes contact details are added by you.
What Size Collar For German Shepherd: Measuring a Collar On Your German Shepherd
The collar manufacturer should tell you how to measure your dog for their collar and how to fit it.
For example the collar might fit dogs with 18 to 26 inch neck and be adjustable.
But, check the collar size when you buy.
What you might do is:
- Get a soft measuring tape and measure around your dog’s neck
- Find a collar that is adjustable and gives you some extra inches over and above what you need
- Fit the collar to your dog and make sure they have enough room to breathe, but the collar is secure enough it can’t be chewed on and so it’s secure
GSDs on average might have an 18 to 24 inch neck size.
Where To Put The Collar On Your German Shepherd’s Neck
The very top of the neck is where the nerves from head and the spine are very sensitive, and the bottom of the neck can be too wide, causing slipping in the collar.
You want to sit your collar somewhere in between on the middle neck – adjustable collars help with finding the perfect fit.
Materials and Fabrics of Collars For German Shepherds
Dog collars are made of different materials and fabrics, each of which have their own strengths and weaknesses:
Nylon is the most popular material for both leashes and collars. It’s inexpensive, strong, durable, water resistant and if made with good quality nylon, relatively fray resistant.
They are also available in a range of colors and patterns. If you get a nylon collar with a lifetime warranty, you are set.
Most are adjustable in size which is great for the transition from puppy to adult.
Treated leather collars are soft enough not to irritate your GSD’s skin, but very durable and strong for big dogs that like to pull, and for many training activities.
We much prefer them over metal collars.
These are generally the more expensive option of all collars because of their mix of superior longevity and strength. Good quality leather collars also look nice.
It’s important to read the material and treatment of the leather collar carefully…
You do not want either a chemically treated/tanned leather, or faux/fake leather collar. Both can cause itch and irritations on your GSD’s neck, and even break down over time.
Pay careful attention to where the collar is made (which country), and what it is made of.
Stainless steel metal and chain collars are obviously very strong and not cheap. They are recommended for very large, strong dogs, or dogs with severe chewing and behavioural issues.
Many metal collars offer versatility with easy to use clips, closures, releases and slip on designs. Some people swear by metal collars and see no issue with them.
We are of the opinion that metal collars should only ever be used by professional trainers because of their potential to hurt your German Shepherd.
But, that decision lies with you as the owner.
Cheap and not very durable. More so for smaller dog breeds. Not recommended for large dog breeds like German Shepherds.
Types of Collars For German Shepherds
Standard Flat Collar
If your dog doesn’t have any issues with breathing, hyperactivity or disobedience, this is the collar we like the most.
These collars are usually nylon or leather.
If your dog does have some of these issues, you might like to look into harnesses as an option.
Similar to standard collars, but with reflective material that illuminates/reflects in the dark – usually the nylon or stitching lights up so people and people in vehicles can see your dog.
Choker Chains and Collars
A choker chain is designed to constrict and close in on the neck of the dog as they pull.
Whilst a choker chain might have its specialty uses, they should only be recommended or used by professional trainers in certain circumstances.
E Collars & Shock Collars
Shock collars is the old term used to describe electronic collars.
These days they are often referred to as E collars, and their design has evolved to include a wider range of stimulus (electric current), in addition to including vibrate and sound/beep modes.
Your dog wears the receiver collar, and you as the owner (or a professional dog trainer) control the collar function with your hand held remote device.
They are used to train dogs against undesirable behaviors.
The decision to use an e collar needs some thought on your behalf, and should be done in conjunction with your vet and/or animal behavioural expert or professional trainer.
You might like to check out this guide on e collars and shock collars for German Shepherds.
Anti Bark Collars
Anti bark collars are usually the citronella bark collars, or the electronic bark collars.
The citronella collars are usually highly ineffective and experience problems like leaking that make them not worth alot of consideration.
Bark collars, in comparison to e collars, are automatically operated i.e. the collar technology in theory is supposed to pick up the dog’s bark or movement in their vocal cords and administer a sound, vibration or electric stimulation.
The same thing applies for anti bark collars as e collars in that you should think what is best for your dog and you, and consult a vet and/or trainer.
You can read more on anti bark collars for German Shepherds in this guide.
Invisible Fence Collars
Collars that work in conjunction with the transmitter and in ground fence wire on the invisible fence system.
They are used to train your dog to stay within certain boundaries on your property.
Because they use electric stimulation like an e collar and anti bark collar, you should seek third party qualified advice before using one.
Here is a guide on invisible fence systems and collars for German Shepherds.
Spiked Collars are usually made from metal and have tiny prongs/spikes on the inside of the collar.
When your German Shepherd pulls, the prongs dig into their skin – which is suppose to discourage pulling.
Our view is that only professional trainers should use these collars.
Tactical collars and designed and made specifically for K9, protection, military and service type work.
A good tactical collar with have high tensile strength/breaking load, have good handling and buckling capabilities, be able to be used for a range of tasks, and generally will have the specs for a flexible and strong tactical collar.
When we say range of tasks – think dog training, patrol,hiking, walking, hunting, camping, working, running, jumping, traveling, camping…just to name a few.
Tactical collars also happen to make a German Shepherd look pretty badass – but that’s just our opinion.
Training Collars For German Shepherds
In general, a nylon or leather collar, a leash and a harness should be enough for training most German Shepherds.
But, there may be instances where more is required.
Read this guide on training collars for German Shepherds for more information on this matter.
A standard nylon or leather collar should be more than adequate for most German Shepherd dog and puppy owners.
Getting a harness in addition to a collar and leash/lead for your German Shepherd is essential for any owner.
Not only is a harness easier on the joints and neck, but it makes walking and some training ALOT easier for both you and your dog – especially for bigger dogs where you can obtain more control from a harness.
Harnesses are also great for dog’s that want to pull.
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