As more dog owners choose to bring their dogs wherever they go, either on hunts or outdoor activities, the chances of losing the dog increase. This explains the huge market growth and popularity of the best dog GPS collars and GPS trackers for dogs.
Even though many dogs are lost every year, one of the most recent studies conducted by ASPCA found that a surprisingly low number of pets are reported as lost. The study also found that dogs with GPS chips and collars were more likely to be located when lost.
Dr. Emily Weiss, ASPCA’s animal behaviorist advised owners that the best chance they have to locate lost dogs is when pets are wearing identification tags or dog GPS collars, or are microchipped.
In this detailed article, I will take an extensive look at what dog GPS collars and trackers really are, what types of dog GPS trackers exist, which ones are designed for what purpose, what does science say in terms of how effective most best GPS collars for dogs are, and we’ll review some of the top rated best dog GPS collars and trackers on the market today, as well as compare their features and pricing, including these top five ones:
|Dog GPS Tracker||Price||Quality||Rating|
|Garmin Alpha 100 TT 15 GPS Bundle||$$$$$||A++|
|MARCOPOLO Advanced Pet Monitoring||$$$$||A-|
|Whistle GPS Pet Tracker||$$$||B+|
|Tractive GPS Pet Tracker 2.0||$$$||B-|
|Dynotag Web/GPS QR Smart Mini Tags||$||C+|
* Click on the best GPS dog tracker for more information, reviews and prices. Alternatively, scroll down below for our review.
What are dog GPS collars and trackers?
Collar-mounted Global Positioning Systems (GPS) trackers and loggers have gone through a big change over the last decade, and now professionals, scientist and casual dog owners alike are often using them.
There are two types of GPS trackers for dogs:
- Subscription-based GPS trackers that can be attached to a dog’s collar
- Specially designed dog GPS collars with a receiver with no subscription plans
There are also two ways how a dog GPS tracker may function: GSM-based (cellular) GPS trackers and Radio-based trackers. Both of these options are very popular, but they’re normally used for different reasons. Cellular GPS trackers for dogs are often used with subscription-based technology, and radio GPS trackers for dogs are most common for independent GPS collars for dogs that function on their own.
Cellular dog GPS trackers are the new technology that will usually work by communicating the receiver’s (your dog’s) location to your phone. They are most often used for “casual” tracking of dogs. These devices have many cute features (useful to some) but have a low range for tracking and are less reliable. They are cheaper to buy from the get go, but you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription (from $39/mo to $150/mo).
Radio dog GPS collars are a more serious tracking devices that have been originally designed for hunting with dogs or tracking wild animals. They have the highest range, some going for miles and miles like certain walkie-talkies, and are the most reliable way for tracking dogs. These GPS trackers do not require any subscriptions, but they are expensive to purchase (anywhere from $200 to upwards of $1,000 per device).
All in all, cellular dog GPS trackers may be more applicable for dog owners in the city where there are no issues with cellular connections. If you’re planning to go to a farm, to a forest, hiking, camping, hunting or whatnot, it’s best to stick to radio dog GPS collars since they do not require any cellular connection.
How effective dog GPS trackers really are?
The popularity growth of GPS trackers for dogs made professionals and scientists take a closer look at this technology, and study them extensively. Tons of research papers and studies (this, this, this, this and this) were performed on how these GPS trackers work with dogs as well as other animals and wildlife.
In short, most good quality, rated best dog GPS collars and trackers are extremely effective. Further research (this, this, this, this and this) into animal GPS systems, including dog GPS collars, has shown immense promise for how effective these devices can be for both professionals and casual dog owners.
Radio GPS collars for dogs in particular have gained a great reputation among hunters, scientists and animal behaviorists. Several well-known brands (e.g. Garmin, SportDOG, Marco Polo) who are also known for manufacturing best electronic dog training collars, have perfected the technology and signal accuracy.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some cheap dog GPS collars and trackers, as well as the top of the line best dog GPS trackers that are most often used by avid hunters or professionals working with animals.
What are the Best Dog GPS Collars for Dogs?
2017’s five top of the line options for tracking dogs
5 Web/GPS enabled QR Smart Mini Fashion Tags
We’re starting off the list of best dog GPS collars with something that hasn’t been designed primarily for GPS tracking, yet it does have this feature (or a part of it, I should say). Dynotag has been around for a while and has garnered some mixed reviews, but most of them seem to be positive, especially from dog owners who purchase it from online retailers such as Amazon.
- Dog GPS collar reviews: Read here what other pet owners are saying
Dynotag is far from being the best dog GPS collar, but it’s definitely the cheapest and most user-friendly option you can get for monitoring your pet and occasionally being able to find out where he or she is located.
This is how it works: After you activate the tag for your account/phone, it becomes uniquely yours. Then, when any electronics, whether a smartphone or computer, are viewing the tag, they will send a signal to Dynotag’s cloud service and store the information about the location of your dog. Yes, you guessed it – it’s not live, and it’s not constant.
You will only be able to find out where your pet is after someone scans their Dynotag. But for the price this dog product is going for, it’s not a super bad choice. A subscription plan is required and is a lifetime subscription is included with the purchase of Dynotag GPS pet tracker on Amazon, which is not the case with most other cheaper dog GPS tags that are used on smartphones.
This is a completely different way of tracking dogs to either GSM based pet trackers or GPS dog collars. The pro is that it’s cheap and may be convenient to some pet owners. However, only a true GPS dog tracker will provide you with a foolproof GPS tracking service with utmost accuracy.
All in all, it’s a decent item, but if you really want to constantly track your dog’s location, I would go lower down the list of best dog GPS collars and see what else is out there.
Noteworthy review (read the full review on Amazon): “Love the idea behind these tags, especially the GPS. However, all of the information implied that the tags themselves have GPS capabilities, but after registering the tag, the website stipulated that only when the tag is scanned by a smartphone will the “GPS” information be sent out. I tried…”
4 Tractive GPS Pet Tracker
Tractive’s smartphone-based dog GPS collar/tracker is a great option to start, but may not be best GPS dog tracker for some pet owners looking to keep a close eye on location of their dogs, mostly considering price for value and their competition – Tagg. It will depend on what features you really need and how much are you willing to pay in subscription fees. You can see more about this device in our written and video Tractive Pet Tracker Review.
- Dog GPS collar reviews: Read here what other pet owners are saying
Nonetheless, the company has recently lowered their price after releasing their Camo Tractive Pet Tracker (mentioned below). This dog GPS collar provides an option of LIVE tracking of your dog and will work on both iOS and Android devices, which is very convenient and plain old fun to play around with.
GPS dog collars from Tractive will send all the information directly to your smartphone, and do not have any separate handheld device for proper GPS tracking. Just as the two devices mentioned above – Whistle and Dynotag – this is an activity monitoring device with an addition of a GPS rather than anything else.
It’s a great technology for city folks who don’t use GPS tracking heavily and want to have all the information at hand on their smartphone without the need to carry more dog tech with them. Tractive GPS dog collar itself is waterproof and has a great feature of virtual fence with alerts for the owner. Its biggest problem is short battery life.
Noteworthy review (read the full review on Amazon): “Short battery life, even on power saving mode. I have to charge it after about a day and half…”
3 Tagg GPS Pet Tracker (now Whistle)
by Whistle (formerly Tagg)
GPS Technology: GSM
Subscription: Yes (starts at $9/mo)
Range: Unlimited as long as there’s cellular connection
Battery: Approx. 8 days of moderate to low use
How many dogs can it track: 3 dogs
Tagg’s best dog GPS collar is currently the most famous on the market alongside the Link AKC (mentioned below) and the Tractive which I mentioned above. In fact, the company has grown so big so fast that Whistle has bought them out and renamed the tracker.
- Dog GPS collar reviews: Read what other pet owners are saying
Tagg’s dog GPS collars (or Whistle’s) is another affordable solution for pet owners looking to monitor their canines. This award-winning dog technology will send all kinds of email and smartphone based alerts about your dog’s activity and ventures.
Tagg GPS pet tracker allows dog owners to view their pet’s daily exercise routines, how active their dogs were, be notified whenever the dog leaves the house and so forth, and it even has an interactive map. It’s still not as accurate as real GPS tracking devices, but it does a decent job anyway.
Another con is that this device is dependable on a paid service by Tagg to keep their apps live and active, and you do need to always be subscribed for the device to work (with Amazon, you get 2 months of free service included).
Noteworthy review (read the full review on Amazon): “I like the actual tracking of the Garmin much better, however. When I want to know precisely where my pet is and the history of its tracks, I can see all the location updates on the map and it is really interesting to see where the pet has roamed the neighborhood when it escapes.”
2 Marco Polo Pet Tracking System
by Eureka Technology
Marco Polo’s best dog GPS collar is a bridge between smartphone-based pet GPS tracking devices and true, premium, high-quality professional pet GPS systems for dogs or other animals, like the one below.
- Dog GPS collar reviews: Read here what other pet owners are saying
This device is more expensive than mobile ones, but it also comes with its own self-contained tracking technology rather than send updates to the phone. Depending on what you’re looking for, this can be seen either as a pro or a con. On one hand, it’s more accurate and works as a true GPS tracker.
On the other hand, it’s less convenient, makes you carry more stuff and doesn’t have some of those cool iOS/Android app-based features while also not being the best GPS dog collar on here.
Marco Polo’s dog GPS collar is designed to actually find pets rather than monitor their activity. It’s simple to set up – you only need one push of a button to start looking for your dog – and will usually be reliable in terms of its data. What’s even better is that you can simultaneously look for 3 or 4 pets at a time, and keep track of their locations all at once.
This is a self-contained device that does not require any external GPS support and will work anywhere, thus being a great companion device whenever you go into the woods or other areas where it’s easy to lose your dogs. It also isn’t dependent on any subscription services and will save you money in the long-run by a large margin.
Noteworthy review (read the full review on Amazon + photos): “Besides tracking, you can also monitor your pet. You can set several different circular zones and if the pet leaves the zone the handheld unit will beep to let you know. You can do this in your house or while traveling or camping, or even just hiking with your dog loose…”
1 Alpha 100 TT 15 Animal GPS Bundle
Finally, the very best dog GPS collar is the professional equipment from Garmin – Alpha 100 TT tracking device for pets. Prepare to fall in love with this GPS dog collar, and the company itself.
- Dog GPS collar reviews: Read here what other pet owners are saying
This very expensive yet very powerful tracking device will usually be useful for pet owners with many dogs who love to go out often, or for someone who’s running a dog business with multiple canines on the facility. Alpha 100 TT is not subscription based; it’s an independent dog technology with its own GPS tracker and will work perfectly no matter where you are.
Garmin Alpha 100 TT is the best GPS dog collar by miles (literally, and figuratively). Out of all dog GPS collars, this one can track the most dogs, has the largest range, is the only one with GLONASS tracking system to accompany GPS, has dog training collar features, as well as tons of others. It’s also made by the most popular, well-known and reliable GPS manufacturer on the planet, Garmin.
When purchasing Garmin Alpha 100 TT on Amazon, you also get 1-year free BirdsEye subscription service. This is an amazing tracking service that are often used by hunters and other professionals. It’s not essential for this GPS dog collar to work; it simply further enhances your experience outdoors.
One of the coolest features is the vibration motor for silent alerts if you set it up to notify you whenever one or more dogs leave the safe zone. You also get a 2.6″ 65,000 color TFT display where you can track up to 20 dogs at once, and with a worldwide basemap with shaded relief you can do that anywhere, anytime with extreme ease.
Alpha 100 TT dog GPS collar is by far the most expensive on the list, mostly due to its electronic dog training collar features. It’s designed for any type of dog owners: those who love to spend time outdoors, traveling and otherwise find ways to hang out with dogs, and for those with working dogs (possibly more than one) or with dog businesses. If you can afford this investment, you will hardly be disappointed in the functionality and reliability of this dog GPS collar.
Noteworthy review (read the full review on Amazon): “I use the collars every day, whenever we go out trail running or hiking. Great investment. Not only do I know where my dogs are at all times, but it is fun to see how far each dog travels…”
Alternative – Activity Monitor: Whistle Activity Monitor for Dogs
First things first. Many dog owners confuse dog activity monitors with dog GPS trackers or smart dog collars. While many of the best dog GPS trackers have activity monitors integrated into the technology, no dog activity monitor has the GPS capability.
Whistle is a popular brand, but it is NOT a GPS tracker for dogs. It’s an activity monitor for dogs, and I thought it deserves a quick mention in here due to its popularity, so that dog owners know exactly what they’re looking for.
Dog activity monitor from the famous company Whistle is designed the same way as Tractive and Tagg dog GPS trackers mentioned below in our list of best dog GPS collars. It’s a smartphone-based pet tracking device that will send different data to your phone about your dog’s daily behavior, long-term health trends and activity levels. Similarly to the GPS dog tracker from Tractive, Whistle’s dog tech device is mostly about monitoring activity than tracking your pet.
Whistle activity monitor for dogs has a bunch of useful features, including automatic updates and reports about how active your dog was on that day, and what kept your pooch busy. The device works with both Android and iOS operating systems, is very simple to set up using a mobile app and Internet or Bluetooth and allows to create a full profile of your dog. You can even use this thing as a communication hub in the family to connect with anybody who’s caring for your pet and is also using to track your dog’s activity.
With Whistle dog activity monitor out of the way, I hope you understand the difference between the two technologies, so let’s take a look at the best dog GPS collars and trackers.
10 More Best Dog GPS Trackers and Collars as Alternatives
In the above list of five best dog GPS collars, I’ve looked at five different companies and their best options.
It goes without saying that if you’re looking for the best GSM-based dog GPS tracker, then either Tractive or Whistle/Tagg are your options. If you want radio-based dog GPS collar, then Garmin products are your best bet. Overall, Garmin dog GPS collars blow every other option out of the water.
That said, because I didn’t want this list of best dog GPS collars for dogs look biased, I made sure to review all possible options from different brands, and continuing this tradition, I’ve researched ten more good alternatives to the above five dog GPS trackers and smart dog collars. See if these may fit you better:
6. Garmin Astro 320 T5 Dog GPS Bundle (radio-based) – a similar dog GPS collar to our number one best GPS collar for dogs from Garmin, this one has most of its features but tracks less dogs and has no features of dog training collars, such as stimulation levels.
7. LINK AKC Smart Dog Collar (GSM-based) – this dog GPS tracker is a good alternative to Whistle pet GPS tracker listed above. It works in a similar way, has a much newer technology, and has even won some tech awards. It’s slightly superior, but almost twice as expensive.
8. Dynotag Web/GPS Enabled Pet Tag – a good alternative to my number five listed GPS dog tag, this one is also made by Dynotag and it’s their newer version. There are very few differences in how this functions from the above mentioned, but this one has a better looking design.
9. Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar (radio-based) – another, much cheaper, alternative to the above best dog GPS collar from Garmin, this one functions the same, but has lower range, can track less dogs, has no dog training collar features and the battery drains quicker. But it’s less expensive.
10. Tractive Camouflage GPS Pet Tracker (GSM-based) – an alternative to the above mentioned Tractive pet GPS tracker, this one is almost the same except the design has been slightly improved and it’s more stylish. The main drawback is that this new option is almost twice as expensive.
11. Pod 2 Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor (GSM-based + Wi-Fi) – this is a somewhat different dog GPS tracker in that it has many features in one, in particular that it can use GSM network, GPS and Wi-Fi at once. It also has activity monitor in it. All of the features are average, though.
12. Find My Pet Nano GPS Dog Tracker (GSM-based + Wi-Fi + Bluetooth) – another new dog GPS tracker with same features as the above mentioned, plus Bluetooth and minus activity monitor. It’s also conveniently small, but the device is yet to prove itself as best in all these areas.
13. Spy Tec STIGL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker – something a little different, this isn’t dog-specific GPS tracker but rather portable tracker that can be mounted onto your dog’s collar or harness. It’s a great device, but isn’t best for pets and subscription fees are high ($25/mo).
14. Tile Mate Key Finder – another non-dog specific yet interesting alternative to the above best dog GPS collars for dogs, this one is the “everything finder” that you can also attach to your dog’s harness or collar. It doesn’t have any of the dog-related features, but can work as a simple locator.
15. Premium Worldwide GPS Pet Tracker – an alternative to an alternative, this one is cheaper than the above “Find My Pet” dog GPS tracker, but it also doesn’t have the Bluetooth capability and is much bigger. All of the features are somewhat average as well.
The above ten best GPS dog collars, smart collars and GPS pet trackers vary in their technology, features, subscription fees, and build quality. There are many factors that will impact your decision, so to know exactly which is the best GPS collar for your dog, make sure to read other pet owners’ reviews and analyze the product’s page for further details.
Why purchase best dog GPS collar for your pet?
With this in mind, the first pet GPS tracking device was invented, and then a bunch more of them followed. In our list of dog GPS collar review below, we’ve research and found five best dog GPS collars that you should consider. But first, why should you even think of buying a dog GPS collar?
There are many different reasons why a dog owner might want to purchase a dog GPS collar. Maybe you have hunting dogs, any kind of other working dogs and need to keep a close eye on them. Or maybe you simply like hiking and spending time outdoors with your canine.
Either way, these GPS tracking devices serve as a harmless containment fence for your pets, and by setting boundaries along the territory you’re in, you can manage and control where your dogs go and how they behave. Some of these devices you can even use for training your canines, and you can get even more out of them if you have more than one dog.
Today’s GPS tracking devices can locate your pooch almost anywhere, whether he’s in the other room or on the other side of town. Investing in a best dog GPS collar can save you a lot of headache, problems, questions when your Fido goes missing, and possibly even safe your dog’s life one day. Unfortunately, the better pet GPS system is, the more expensive it will cost; and these prices can go really high, up to $700-800 per unit.
But are expensive dog GPS collars worth all that money? Are they that much better than inexpensive pet GPS tracking devices that start at $100? The answer to this is: it depends. One on one, a premium device such as Astro 320 cannot be even compared to something you can buy for $100-200 in terms of its features, reliability and functionality. But the question is, do you really need a device that expensive?
Another question you must ask yourself is whether you want to invest more now or over the long term?
For example, dog GPS collars that are cheaper and smartphone based will usually come with subscription services for which you pay a monthly fee. So if you based your calculations on a long run, professional dog GPS collar will be cheaper than a subscription service-based device, and it will also be more reliable and accurate at what it does. But the initial investment required usually scares off most dog owners from purchasing a good quality item at first.
Now, finding the best dog GPS collar might prove to be a challenge. There’s a huge bunch of options available today, especially on Amazon. We’ve done our in-depth research on all available pet items and scanned literally though everything available. Below is the result of this hard work and thorough research of finding best dog GPS collar: a list of Amazon items for your convenience, because we know how much dog owners of today love and trust this merchant. Enjoy.
What to look for in the best dog GPS collar?
A dog GPS collar is relatively new technology, and proclaiming a 100% definite winner among best dog GPS collars is pretty difficult because the technology itself is changing as this review is being written.
While there’s no clear winner because every technology has its limitations, there are a few devices which we were able to pick out of the bunch that appear to be more technologically advanced and resonate more positively among other dog owners who tried this technology.
When choosing best dog GPS collar, you need to pay attention to a set of features which interest you the most.
For example, maybe you don’t need all the crazy features of the most expensive item on this review list, or you don’t care about the GPS tracker being dependent on your phone’s GPS ability.
If that’s the case, then there’s no reason for you to purchase a more expensive item (although cost of subscription service should definitely be taken into account). Here’s a list of check-boxes that should be the most important when choosing GPS collars for dogs.
Main features. One of the most important features of a dog GPS tracker is how often its data is being updated, or whether it’s LIVE or not. Feed update in GPS trackers is the time interval it takes to send information about the location of your pet to your handheld device. That is how you ensure the location of your pet is accurate at that point in time.
Accuracy is obviously another important part of a best dog GPS collar. You need to be certain that your dog will be exactly where the tracking device is pointing you to. And even though these days most GPS tracking devices are accurate enough, some will still be more precise than others.
Subscription fees. When it comes to dog GPS collars, these can be broken down into two big categories – smartphone-based and independent trackers. Smartphone-based dog GPS trackers will send feed data directly to your phone and will obviously be completely dependent on your phone and some of its features.
These devices also come with a monthly subscription fee to ensure that your device continues to work properly and accurately. Independent GPS trackers do not require any monthly subscription fees and you only pay once for those (usually a much higher price).
Our video of best GPS collars for dogs