A collar is the dog equivalent of clothing: they shouldn’t be out without it when they leave the house.
If you’re a pug owner, there are special considerations that you need to know before you shop.
It’s so important to keep their windpipe and spine protected– and some collars out there are downright dangerous!
I want to help you keep your pug safe. So, Sid and I did a little exploring to find the best collars for pugs and when they should wear one.
The Best Pug Collars & Harness in My Checklist
I’ll sum up my picks of the best pug collars and the top feature of each one:
- Our favorite: PetSafe KeepSafe Break-Away Collar
- Best Lightweight: Kruz PET Breathable Mesh Dog Collar
- Best budget: Poohoo 2-Pack Adjustable Dog Collar
- Best for Nighttime: Illumiseen LED Dog Collar
- Most comfortable: MASBRILL Waterproof Dog Collar
Pug Collars & Harness: Key Takeaways
- Collars for pugs should either be quick-release or break-away flat styles. These types ensure you can get the collar off quickly, and there is no pressure on your pug’s sensitive neck.
- You should never use a collar with a leash because it can be detrimental to the health of your pug. Since they are brachycephalic dogs, they are prone to breathing issues and injury.
- Learn what collars to avoid entirely and why they are dangerous. Some of these are prong, flat buckle, and choke collars.
- Explore what different features and styles are available so you can get the appropriate match for your pooch.
- While your pug should only wear a harness for leash attachment reasons, collars are extremely important, too. They hold tags, which is vital if they are lost. Certain ones also have light up or reflective features to keep them safe during darker hours.
- The PetSafe KeepSafe Break-Away Collar is our favorite due to its patented “break-away” mechanism. It is simple, durable, and precisely what benefits brachycephalic breeds.
Should Pugs Wear a Harness or Collar?
The short answer is that pugs can wear either of these accessories, with one caveat: you should never attach a collar to a leash to walk your pug.
These snub-nosed dogs are classed as brachycephalic—which translates into short-headed. The distinct condensed snout of a pug means that they’re more prone to respiratory issues.
Bearing that in mind, pug owners must be aware of the dgerans of collars for pugs:
- Increase Breathing Difficulty
Your pug’s broad shoulders and barrel chest can handle a harness—but their necks aren’t as sturdy.
Guiding your pug with a collar on-leash can constrict their necks and make breathing a struggle.
- Severe Windpipe Injury
If your pug wears a collar long-term or suddenly jerks the collar hard, they could suffer from tracheal collapse.
As small breed dogs are already more at risk for this condition, you don’t want gamble with collars.
- Painful Slipped Discs
The shape of a pug’s body can also boost their risk of slipped discs.
Since a collar puts additional stress around the neck (and spine), it isn’t an appropriate way to walk these dogs—especially if your pup is a puller.
When Should I Buy a Collar or a Harness for My Pug?
Harnesses are the only safe way to walk a pug, regardless of the dog’s age.
Still, that doesn’t mean that the best collars for pugs are off-limits to you.
Certain situations that merit a pug wearing a collar, such as:
- Keep Your Pug Chic
If my Charlie is wearing a collar, it’s usually to spruce him up for an outing.
These dogs can be delightfully proud of themselves, and he seems to appreciate the flair of a snazzy collar.
- Hang Essential Tags
In some states, dog tags are a legal necessity if your pug is outside with you.
You’ll want to ensure your companion has their ID and medical tags (e.g., rabies vaccine) visible. A collar is usually easier than a harness to hang a tag from, too.
- Extra Security Out and About
If your pug is out in the yard, you may want to give your companion more freedom of movement.
As long as they’re wearing a collar, you can ID them from afar and so can anyone else if they get lost.
What Are Safe Collars for Pugs?
The best collars for pugs must be safe—that should be your priority before aesthetics, material, or any other feature.
Safety translates into swift removal when needed: you don’t want to be struggling with a buckle if your pug is gasping for air.
- Quick-Release Flat Collars
These flat collars have a clasping mechanism that allows for fast release.
In the event you need to uncollar your pug immediately, you shouldn’t have to fiddle with it: just pop and release.
- Break-Away Flat Collar
Break-away collars take safety a step further. If an excess amount of pressure is applied to the collar, then it will automatically open.
If your pug’s collar gets caught on something (a branch, for example) your dog won’t get stuck and potentially strangle.
What Are Dangerous Collars for Pugs?
There are certain styles of collars you should steer clear of that aren’t compatible with these sensitive dogs. Your companion should never wear any of the following:
- Flat Buckle Collars
Remember that seconds are precious if your pug is in respiratory distress. Buckles can be notoriously fiddly which won’t work if you need the collar off instantly.
- Choke Collars
You should never use choke collars for your pug. These metal-ringed collars tighten around the dog’s neck to literally choke them, which is exceedingly dangerous for brachycephalic dogs.
- Prong Collars
This style of collar has small prongs that push into the dog’s neck when they pull.
Not only are prong collars inhumane in general, but they apply stress to your pug’s delicate neck and spine.
The 5 Best Collars/Harness for Pugs
1. PetSafe KeepSafe Break-Away Collar—Our Favorite
First, the design is extremely simple, so it’s a breeze to get off and on.
With the break-away feature, the collar will unsnap if there’s too much pressure on the neck.
It has a traditional buckle as well if you prefer using that.
The collar is very durable and completely adjustable. There are no fancy bells and whistles to fiddle with or features you won’t use.
It’s a straightforward fit, but be sure to test the break-away feature before you allow your pug to wear it out and about.
It is such a smart collar for pug owners because of the safety mechanism.
PetSafe also has a very open customer service base with open communication.
You can replace your parts if anything goes wrong. Be mindful of the sizing chart to avoid returns.
2. Kruz PET Breathable Mesh Dog Collar—Best Lightweight Pug Collar
The entire collar is made of dual-layered, high-density mesh, making it incredibly lightweight and easy on the neck.
It’s effortless to adjust with its tri-glide custom-fit feature and has a heavy-duty plastic quick release buckle.
It is indeed ultra-breathable, keeping your pug properly ventilated and happy.
The only downfall I can see is that if you have a heavy chewer, it will come apart with ease.
As long as you have the collar put up when not in use, you should be golden.
3. Poohoo 2-Pack Adjustable Dog Collar—Best Value
It has the quick-release buckle, so you can get your dog’s collar off in a flash.
While you should only use the D-ring attachment for tags, it will hold up without bending or breaking.
The material is nylon webbing, which isn’t too thick or heavy. It also has reflective stitching for those not-so-well-lit walks.
While it has a small neoprene padded layer, it’s minimal. So if you’re looking for an extra cushion, this won’t suffice.
But that’s the only downfall I could see. It’s affordable, well-constructed, and you get two for the price of one!
4. Illumiseen LED Dog Collar—Best for Nighttime
If you let them out at night or take them on dusk walks, this will help anyone spot your little one.
The LED light can switch off and on and has both a steady or flashing setting.
Dogs can have 5 hours of illumination given by 1 hour charge each time, so it can even work for multiple walks in between.
The collar is comprised of sturdy nylon webbing and a quick-release buckle.
While the collar is water-resistant, it isn’t waterproof and won’t withstand harsh elements.
It does, however, have a lifetime hassle-free guarantee.
5. MASBRILL Waterproof Dog Collar—Most Comfortable Collar
The lining has thick neoprene padding to cradle the neck without irritating it.
It’s also waterproof and fast-drying, so your pug can play in the water or walk in the rain.
No one likes wet dog smell, so it also has an odor-free promise. The buckle is thick, durable plastic with a quick-release.
Within the nylon, it also has vivid reflective stitching for dim-lit walks.
While this collar is very well-constructed, it has a bit of a limited range with adjustment.
So, be sure to measure appropriately to avoid returns or exchanges.
If you’re still not sure which is the best pug collar for you, let’s delve into some of the frequently asked questions.
1.What Is the Best Material for Pug Collars/Harness?
You have three choices when you’re shopping for the best collar for pugs: polyester, leather, and nylon. Each one has advantages and disadvantages.
Polyester is a low-cost fabric made from synthetic fibers. Although the pricing may be attractive, the quality is not.
For one, polyester tends to retain odors—stinky collar-neck isn’t ideal when you own a pug who loves to cuddle.
Next, this material has a short lifespan. It can wear out and fray quickly, which is both unsightly and frustrating.
Leather collars are usually top-of-the-line, although they’re not particularly resistant against the elements. Plus, even premium leather can stretch out over time.
Nylon is a great choice for the best collars for pugs. It’s durable, washable, doesn’t pick up nasty smells, and weather-resistant.
2.What is the Correct Collar Size for a Dog?
Sizing your dog’s collar seems straightforward, but it’s all too easy to go too tight or too loose.
As a rule, you should be capable of slipping two fingers between your pug’s neck and the collar.
That way, the collar will be comfortable but won’t allow for opportunistic escape attempts either.
As for measurements, take sizing guides with a grain of salt.
Although pugs are technically a small breed, they have thick necks.
The best collars for pugs might be sized for a larger breed due to this characteristic build.
3.How Many Harness Should Your Pug Have?
I would opt for at least two to have in rotation, so that when one needs a trip through the washing machine you have another option.
My boy has a substantial collection of collars at this point, only because I think he looks good in everything.
4.When Should You Remove Your Pug’s Collar/Harness?
Your pug’s collar should be off when they’re unsupervised, such as when you leave them in their crate or home alone.
You should also take the collar off before playtime with other dogs. An excited pal might accidentally snag a collar in their teeth and pull.
The best collars & harnesses for pugs are ones that take into account the attributes of the breed. Collars should be non-constricting and simple to remove in the event of an emergency.
Harnesses are the only safe way to walk a pug, regardless of the dog’s age.
Sid happily wears his harness on walkies, but his leash has never touched it and he’s always 100 percent accessory-free indoors.
While my favorite is the PetSafe KeepSafe Break-Away harness, all of them have something unique to offer that could fit your needs. Hopefully, you’ve found the one that fits the lifestyle of your pug.