When it comes to the Best GPS Dog Tracking System, it’s clear there are really two types of systems.
There’s the cheaper GPS dog tracking system for everyday pet owners around the house and streets.
And then there’s the more expensive GPS dog tracking system for professionals, hunters and those who want to take their dogs out into open large area in nature.
We’ve identified the best GPS dog tracking systems in both categories, linking you to in depth reviews of each, as well as outlining main features, pros, cons and other important info on each.
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)
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Best GPS Trackers & GPS Collars For Dogs
Our top picks for the Best GPS Dog Tracking Systems are:
Everyday Pet Owner GPS Systems
Professional, Hunter & Advanced Dog GPS Systems
- Garmin Alpha 100 with TT 15 Collar Bundle (on Chewy)
- Garmin Alpha 100 (with TT 15 collar) Dog GPS Bundle (on Amazon) – tracking and training device, when bought with the TT15 collar. Has a tracking handheld
- Dogtra Pathfinder TRX GPS Tracking Collar System (on Amazon) – tracking system. Works with a compatible smartphone
- SportDOG TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking Collar System (on Amazon) – tracking only, and tracking + training models available. Has a tracking handheld
Best GPS Dog Tracking System: Reviews
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor
Track your pet’s location in the home, in the yard or on the streets. You can see their location anywhere in the U.S. with continual address and location updates on a GPS map
Follow your pet’s location over the last 24 hours to see where they went and when. Whistle creates a trip each time your pet leaves and returns to one of their Places using Wi-Fi.
Set custom ‘safe places’ where you want your dog to be
Get text, email or app alerts if your dog moves out of their safe places
Track your pet’s activity levels – how much they rest and move
Set customised activity goals based on your pet’s age, weight and breed
Get text, email or app alerts notifications on the progress of your pet’s activity goals
As of march 2018, Whistle are offering a 90 day money back guarantee (you’ll need to confirm this at time of purchase, especially if going through a third party seller)
Dimensions of the device are Width – 1.45″, Height – 1.82″, Thickness – 0.61″
Weight of the device is 0.92 oz
The device is waterproof rated IPX7
Battery life of the device on average is anywhere between 2 to 7 days depending on how often the device is trying to connect to the cell network, the reception of the cell network in your area and how often you try to locate your pet.
The device is pretty quick to charge with a USB cable in about 2 hours
The device attachment can attach to collars or harnesses up to 1 inch wide
The device twists in and out of the attachment easily
The device is compatible with most of the latest Apple iOS and Android smartphones
You will need to subscribe to a monthly, yearly or 2 year AT&T cell plan to use the device
You will need to download the Whistle app to view device data – the app itself is free
You can invite family, friends, and other caretakers to view your pet’s location and activity. Visit your pet’s profile to send them an invitation to the free Whistle app.
You will need an active WiFi network to use the device
The GPS technology uses two satellite systems (GPS and GLONASS)
The GPS technology also leverages local Wi-Fi and cell tower data
For WiFi, the system can connect to multiple Wi-Fi networks (home, office, etc.)
For WiFi, the system uploads data via Wi-Fi when in range (extends battery life)
For WiFi, the system enables power save mode when in range of a Wi-Fi safe place
For WiFi, the system only supports 2.4 GHz networks
For Bluetooth, the system uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
Unlike Bluetooth-only trackers which have a range of 50 feet, Whistle 3 will locate your pet down the street or 3,000 miles away!
– Potential Drawbacks
If you have no AT&T service, or inconsistent AT&T service in your area, you may experience troubles tracking the location of your pet outside of WiFi range
The location tracking as of right now (March 2018) is not live tracking because the battery would drain too quickly
The app doesn’t update as quickly as some owners would like – it auto syncs every 3 to 6 minutes. But you can manually press the track button every minute
There is sometimes issues with the app displaying ‘having troubles tracking right now’ when some owners are trying to track their pet outside of WiFi range. If this happens to you, you’ll need to contact customer support to try to find a solution
Whistle’s customer service is usually good, but as of right now, they aren’t 24 hours support
You can only view your pet’s activity for the last 24 hours.
You can only choose one pet to assign the tracker to. You need an additional Whistle 3 tracker and subscription for each additional pet.
The AT&T subscription you get is for the Whistle 3 device, and not for your mobile phone. You mobile phone cell data plan is separate
You may experience a shorter battery life if the WiFi range in your area is poor
You may experience a shorter battery life if cell reception in your area is poor
You may experience a shorter battery life if you are continually using the app to draw data from the tracker device
Overall, the device itself is good, but the software could be more reliable, more responsive and more improved in a few areas.
– Who Might It Be For?
People who want to track their dog’s location in WiFi or AT&T data range
People who want to monitor their dog’s activity within the last 24 hours
People with a compatible smartphone
People with access to a WiFi network at home
People who are OK with paying the AT&T subscription fee for the device
People who want a location and activity tracker that can be monitored from their smartphone
People who want notifications on their pet’s location and activity
– Who Might It NOT Be For?
People who have no or inconsistent AT&T reception in their area
People who have poor WiFi network reception in their home
People who don’t want to pay the AT&T device subscription fee
People who have more than one pet and don’t want to pay for two devices
People with incompatible smartphones, or without smartphones
People who want live tracking data on their GPS tracking device
People who want comprehensive long term activity data logs
– TLDR – Is It Worth It?
For most owners who want to track their pet’s location within the US, or monitor their activity levels within the last 24 hours, yes, it is worth it.
Most of the feedback on the Whistle 3 is positive, and it’s very popular. Whistle also seem to provide good customer service and are responsive to questions or issues you may have with using the system.
So, overall the positives outweigh the negatives.
The biggest pain points that some customers seem to have are:
Paying for the compulsory AT&T plan for the device
Manual tracking not working consistently sometimes when a pet is outside of WiFi range. This could be an issue with AT&T reception in their area, or an issue with the software/app itself, but it not a common issue to all users
The battery not lasting as long as some owners would like (but on average you’ll get 2 to 7 days depending on use)
– What It Is
It is a GPS Tracking & Activity Monitor device that attaches to your dog’s collar or harness, and sends information to a compatible iOS or Android smartphone.
– What It’s Designed For
There’s two main things the Whistle 3 is designed and used for:
Track A Pet’s Location
Track your pet’s movements anywhere in the U.S. with continual address and location updates on a GPS map. This allows you to find them.
Track A Pet’s Activity Levels
Track your pet’s activity levels of how much they have been moving and resting. This let’s you know if your pet needs more exercise, based on personalised recommendations for their age, weight and breed.
It’s also designed for pets 8lbs and over.
– What’s In The Box
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor Device
Collar attachment (fits collars up to 1” wide)
USB charging cable
Quick start guide/instructions
– What Else You Need Other Than What’s In The Box
A collar or harness to attach the device to
A compatible iOS or Android Phone
A 3G service provided by AT&T – you will need to select a subscription plan when you activate the app. You can choose between a monthly, yearly or 2 year plan
A WiFi network
– How It Works
In general, the way the Whistle 3 Pet Tracker works is:
You receive your Whistle 3 box
You read the quick start guide
You make sure the Whistle 3 device is charged
You download the Whistle 3 app on your smartphone
You activate your account in the app and choose an AT&T service to subscribe to
You connect to a WiFi network
You set one or several ‘safe places’ for your pet
You put the attachment on your dog’s collar (the collar can be up to 1 inch wide)
You twist the Whistle 3 device onto the attachment
The device and your smartphone use local Wi-Fi when in range, and cell tower data when out of range to transfer data from the device to your phone. The device automatically tries to connect to the cell data network when your pet goes out of WiFi range
You can view your pet’s location, and activity levels on the app
You can monitor activity level goals, and see if your dog goes outside of their safe place/s
Garmin Alpha 100 Dog GPS System
The Alpha 100 is a a tracking + training system. It works best with the Garmin TT15 collars.
The Alpha 100 tracking features are:
It has the capability to track up to 20 dogs or other hunters – from up to 9 miles (TT 15) or 4 miles (TT 15 mini) away
It works by receiving signals from additional Alpha 100 handhelds, TT 15 and TT 15 mini dog devices (each sold separately).
It can also receive tracking only signals from a T5 collar device
The handheld comes preloaded with TOPO U.S. 100k maps
It can measure a dog’s speed and distance travelled
It can track the direction your dog is travelling
It can receive notifications when your dog is ‘Treed’ or ‘On Point’
It updates your dog’s location as often as every 2.5 seconds
You can use the handheld and tap the screen with gloves
When using a vehicle to find or follow your dogs, the Garmin DriveTrack™ 70 dog tracker and GPS navigator (sold separately) provides an easy-to-watch “big picture” solution. The 7-inch moving map display shows dog positions overlaid on TOPO contours or satellite image views – along with navigation cues that help point you to your dog’s current location.
BirdsEye Satellite Imagery (subscription required) is an add on that allows you to have a better-than-real-life view of terrain, including roads, water, woods and more.
You can also get the free software – Basecamp. It allows you to view and organize maps, waypoints, routes, and tracks. This free trip-planning software even allows you to create Garmin Adventures that you can share with friends, family or fellow explorers. BaseCamp displays topographic map data in 2-D or 3-D on your computer screen, including contour lines and elevation profiles. It also can transfer an unlimited amount of satellite images to your device when paired with a BirdsEye Satellite Imagery subscription.
You also have the option to use your computer as a tracking station. You can load your laptop with BaseStation software to turn it into a field control center for tracking multiple dogs and/or buddies (up to 20 Alpha units, TT 15 or T 5 dog devices). View real-time GPS information on the larger display of your computer, making it ideal for canine search and rescue teams. And because it’s GPS and GLONASS, you’ll get safe, secure and more effective tracking, even where Internet and cell phone service isn’t available.
Dogtra Pathfinder TRX GPS E Collar System
The Dogtra Pathfinder TRX is a tracking ONLY system. There’s also the Dogtra Pathfinder which is a tracking + training system.
The Pathfinder TRX features:
A system that functions with a collar receiver, a handheld remote, and your existing smartphone (has to be compatible)
It is a GPS tracking collar system intended for most working, hunting and competitive situations.
One of the best features is that it works with using cellular data in offline map mode (once you’ve downloaded the Pathfinder app), and you don’t need to purchase any additional programs
The Pathfinder app includes free maps and a compass
The range from your smart phone to the handheld remote/connector is 33 feet, via bluetooth
The range from the handheld remote/GPS connector to the collar receiver is 9 miles, via a MURS band
The app has a 2 second update rate, location sharing, a geo fence option and offline maps and compass
The system is fully waterproof (GPS connector and collar)
You get a belt clip included
The batteries are 3.5 hour rapid charge batteries
The system is approved for AKC and UKC events
You can expand the system to track up to 21 dogs as long as you purchase add on TRX collars separately
SportDOG TEK 2.0 GPS Tracking + Training Collar System
The SportDOG TEK 2.0 comes in both a tracking only, and a tracking + training model.
The tracking features include:
Can support up to 21 dogs on the system (with separate collar devices)
Range from the handheld to the collar device is 10 miles using HopTek™ technology
Handheld Device is waterproof and submersible up to 5 feet
GPS Collar is DryTek® waterproof and submersible to 25 feet
The collar is for dogs 8 pounds or larger with neck sizes 10.75″ – 23″
The system has rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
The batteries in the collar charge in 4 hours, and last about 24 hours per charge
The batteries in the handheld charge in 8 hours, and last about 12 hours per charge
There’s a low battery indicator to show you when batteries are running low
Has GPS + GLONASS
Has HOPTEK technology – Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) provides immunity to signal interference & allows for higher transmitter output power, resulting in superior range performance.
No monthly subscription fee
Alerts for pointing, treeing and barking
Customer service by SportDOG is usually pretty good
View dog location, the direction they are travelling, where they are travelling, distance travelled, average speed and other stats
There are home, map, compass and dog specific stat screens
Set tracking goals or co-ordinates, save stats and download data
Receive voice updates of your dog’s location via the bluetooth
Ability to set Geofences for your dog to travel within – you’ll be alerted when they travel outside it
You can set and select waypoints – up to 20 waypoints
Comes with preloaded 1:100,000 TOPO maps
Can also customise maps
Unlimited lifetime map updates
Comes with a desktop application for handheld & collar updates
Review guides of other tracking or GPS collars on the market include:
Best GPS Dog Tracking System: Buyer’s Guide
What Is A GPS Dog Tracking System?
A GPS/tracking system that usually comprises of a collar receiver or collar device, and a handheld GPS tracking remote, or a smartphone with a tracking app on it.
What Are GPS Dog Tracking Systems Used For?
They are usually used for two main things:
Tracking the location of your dog/s at any one time so you know where they are, and so you can find them
Tracking the activity of your dog so you know if they’ve been resting, walking, running etc.
Types of GPS Dog Tracking Systems?
There are two main types of Dog GPS Tracking Systems:
Dog GPS Tracking Systems for the everyday owner
These systems more so focus on tracking one pet at home and in the street. They are usually cheaper
Dog GPS Tracking Systems for the advanced owner, professional or hunter
These systems more so focus on tracking one or multiple dogs out in the open or in nature. They have expansive maps and advanced tracking metrics compared to the everyday systems. They are usually much more expensive
How Do GPS Dog Tracking Systems Actually Work?
It depends on the type of GPS system, but in general:
The collar receiver or device goes around the neck of your dog
You hold the remote handheld, or your compatible smartphone
The collar receiver or device sends data to the handheld remote or smartphone app. – usually relating to what your dog is doing or has been doing, or where they are
You are able to see the data in several different stats, modes, screen and viewing options on your handheld or smartphone app
The Dogtra Pathfinder TRX requires a compatible smartphone to work the system
Features To Look For In A GPS Dog Tracking System
The features really do vary depending on the type of system you get.
The best thing to do is to read through the reviews we’ve linked you to above to get an idea of the features each one has.
If you want a comparison of the advanced dog GPS tracking systems, you can read them here:
Other Dog GPS System Comparisons
When Might You Use A GPS Dog Tracking System?
Everyday Pet Owner
When you want to track a pet who has a habit of escaping your home or yard
When you want to track the activity of an overweight pet
Advanced, Professional and Hunters
When you want to track pets out in nature or at an event
When you want to know what your pet is doing – standing still, walking, running, what direction they are heading etc.
What GPS Dog Tracking System Do I Get For My Dog?
You want to make sure of three things:
The collar is going to fit your dog’s neck size, or the collar device is going to be able to attach to the collar on your dog
Your dog weighs enough to use the system – usually dogs will have to be at least 8lbs
The system has the features you need in order to track your dog as you require
Can Puppies Use A GPS Dog Tracking System?
It’s best to ask your dog’s vet.
The manufacturer should tell you the minimum age or weight for dogs using the system.
6 months old is an age given by some manufacturers.
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