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Dog GPS trackers are advancing and evolving as our GPS technology improves. Whether you need a collar and tracking system for your hunting dog or want some peace of mind in case your pup escapes the yard, all of the picks below are excellent choices and will function well.
The differences between them are noticeable mainly in terms of application. For example, the same collar a companion dog uses will be vastly different from that of a hunting dog. Other variations may include the size of your dog, the range you need, and whether or not you hunt internationally. The features are quite similar on many GPS devices, so choosing the best dog GPS tracker for your pup comes down to your (and your dog’s) individual needs and how you plan to use the collar.
Best Overall: Garmin Alpha 200iBest Budget: Dogtra Pathfinder MiniBest for Long Range: SportDOG Tek Series 2.0Best for Small Hunting Dogs: Garmin T5 MiniBest for Companion Dogs: Tractive GPS TrackerBest Bundle: Garmin Astro 430/T5 Bundle
Best Overall: Garmin Alpha 200i
Range: 9 milesBattery Life: 15-20 hoursDog Limit: 20Waterproof: YesCell Service Needed: No
Track and train capabilities 2.5-second update rateDisplays public land boundaries on the mapLarge display Easy six-button design
PriceWorks best for larger dogs (50+ lbs)
While we are likely to recommend any Garmin device due to its reliability and general ease of use, if you are searching for the best dog GPS tracker for hunting, the Garmin Alpha 200i is hard to beat. It combines quality tracking and training collar capabilities to reduce the number of collars your hunting companion needs to wear and the number of remotes you need to carry. The large display screen and clever six-button design make navigating between display options and cueing the dogs a breeze.
You can add and track up to 20 dogs simultaneously with a 9-mile range. Even if you don’t bring all your dogs on a hunt, you can keep the inactive dogs programmed in the device and track the ones you have along on this hunt. Although it requires a satellite subscription, we think it is well worth it for its accuracy. The Alpha 200i uses inReach technology, so you can continue to track even when you have no cell service. The inReach technology will also make you feel safer in the backcountry with two-way messaging, SOS alerts, and location sharing.
Best Budget: Dogtra Pathfinder Mini
Range: 4 milesBattery Life: 8 hoursDog Limit: 21Waterproof: YesCell Service Needed: No
Small enough for 15-pound dogs Larger collar options are available Tracking and training collar capabilities 2-second update rate
Handheld does not provide a map display, you have to use your phone
As far as a cheap dog GPS tracker goes, this isn’t going to be the cheapest on the market, but it is one of the most affordable that you can use without cell reception if you want a budget option for a dog GPS tracker for hunting. (If you are looking for cheaper options, we recommend the Tractive device or others like it, but the areas where they can be used are limited.)
The Dogtra Pathfinder Mini is a remote training collar with GPS capabilities compatible with Google Maps. So although it has an accurate tracking system, it is slightly less convenient because the e-collar remote is separate from the map used to track the dogs. The Mini collar is ideal for smaller hunting dogs and can fit dogs as small as 15 pounds. The standard Pathfinder is a similar price and will fit larger dogs. It’s intuitive to set up and sync with the dog collar, but you need to re-sync it fairly often once you’ve closed the app completely on your phone, which can be annoying. Overall, for the price, this is an excellent option if you want to save a few hundred dollars.
Best for Long Range: SportDOG Tek Series 2.0
Range: 10 milesBattery Life: 24 hoursDog Limit: 21Waterproof: YesCell Service Needed: No
Longest range available Save up to 20 waypoints Tracking and training combined Submersible in up to 25 feet of waterIntuitive display screen
It doesn’t hold a battery charge as well as competitors
If you want all the capabilities of tracking and training collars with the longest range on the market, the SportDOG Tek Series 2.0 is your go-to option. It allows you to track and store information for up to 21 dogs. So, no matter the type of hunting you do, this device should do the trick. If you use an e-collar system to train your hunting dogs, you can reduce the number of collars needed as this device combines tracking and training into one. The e-collar system has several stimulation levels and a vibration and tone option.
The SportDOG Tek provides live data tracking using satellite GPS and Glonass to improve the overall accuracy of dog locations. The handheld device’s screen is easy to read and generally intuitive to navigate. If you’re not used to using handheld GPS devices, you should take some time to review the user manual and practice using it at home before heading into the field for the best results. While you are tracking, you can view yourself, up to 21 dogs, and any of the shared hunters or dogs on your map screen. It’s a reliable device that offers you that extra mile of range.
Best for Small Hunting Dogs: Garmin T5 Mini
Range: 4 miles Battery Life: 16-30 hoursDog Limit: varies according to device pairingWaterproof: YesCell Service Needed: No
Compatible with Garmin Alpha, Astro, and Pro 550 PlusHighly visible collar Water-resistant up to 10 metersLightweight (5.1 oz)
Tracking only deviceHandheld GPS unit sold separately
Many collars that come standard with devices like the Garmin Alpha 200i are too big for smaller hunting breeds. That’s where the Garmin T5 Mini comes into play. While this device is only sold as the collar, it’s compatible with several Garmin handheld dog GPS tracking devices, including the Alpha 200i, Astro 430, and the Pro 550 Plus. No matter the device pairing, this collar only has a 4-mile range, which is almost half what other collar options come standard so keep that in mind if you are tracking several dogs at a time.
Overall, this is a quality collar if you need a small, reliable, affordable collar for a medium-size dog. It’s waterproof and the range is generally good enough for several types of hunting. This device has no training capabilities as it is only designed for tracking.
Best for Companion Dogs: Tractive GPS Tracker
Range: UnlimitedBattery Life: 7 daysDog Limit: 1Waterproof: YesCell Service Needed: Yes
Small and lightweight Live GPS tracking capabilities All-day activity monitoring Worldwide location tracking (150 countries)
Tracking only works with cell serviceSubscription required
Although Tractive claims that you can use this device for hunting dogs, we find it a better fit for the standard companion animal. It’s an affordable and lightweight device that attaches to the dog’s existing collar. With a subscription, you can monitor your dog’s daily activity and location history or view their location in real time. The one downside to this device is that it only works with reliable cell phone service. Even if you have one bar of service, the connection is generally too weak, and you will not be able to connect to the device.
The upside to this device is that it is pretty accurate when you have service. If you’re hiking in an area with cell reception and your dog runs off, you can easily check to see where they went. It’s also a great fail-safe if you are in a city and your pup gets out of the yard. You can set up a virtual fence zone to get a phone notification when they leave the zone. The battery life claims to be seven days, but other factors like external temperature and how long you monitor in live mode can quickly drain the battery within a day or two.
If you have multiple dogs, you can add them all to the phone app if they have their own device and subscription plan. This would make it functional to track them all at one time in live mode, either within the app or on the website.
Best Bundle: Garmin Astro 430/T5 Bundle
Range: 9 milesBattery Life: 20 hoursDog Limit: 20Waterproof: YesCell Service Needed: No
2.5-second update ratePreloaded TOPO maps of the USA and Canada Share information wirelessly with compatible Garmin devicesNotifications for dog positioning (treed or on point)
Fewer features than the Alpha 200i
If you want most of the features of the Alpha 200i but at a slightly lower price, the Astro 430 bundle is a great option. The primary difference between the two is that the Astro lacks training collar capabilities. Otherwise, it’s comparable to the Alpha. It still has a range of 9 miles and can track up to 20 dogs at a time. You can also share data wirelessly between specific Garmin devices if you are hunting with others.
We like the hunting metrics and notifications that the Garmin devices have, including notifications when the dogs change positions. For example, it will track a dog’s movements, but it will also alert you to their location when they are “on point” or “treed.” The battery life is around 20 hours for this dog GPS tracker, but some variables can influence the battery life. The collar tends to have a shorter battery life than the handheld device.
The bundle is also available in a mini collar size so that you can get the right collar option for the size of your dog.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Dog GPS Tracker
As with most items we buy and rely on for sports like hunting, the best dog GPS tracker for you comes down to your budget, intended use, and personal preferences. You should also consider important aspects like battery life, reliability, and range.
Deciding how and where you plan to use your dog’s GPS tracker is the first step in narrowing down your options. A simple tracker that attaches to a collar and connects to your phone is usually enough for companion dogs. These run off of cell service, though, so if you’re often in the backcountry with your dog, these won’t help much.
Having a more reliable device like a Garmin tracking collar may be ideal for hunting dogs, working dogs, or even companions that you bring out of cell range often. These tend to have longer battery lives, you can add more dogs to one device, and the range is much better than options like Tractive or the Fi Collars.
If you plan to use the collar internationally, ensure the tracking device is compatible. Not all devices have downloadable maps for international places, but they disclose that information in their product descriptions. Other devices may require you to purchase an additional plan to use in other countries.
Once you know how and where you’ll use the GPS collar, you can look at the tracking technology. For the best range, we recommend a GPS that relies on telemetry. This is the type of satellite tracking technology that ecologists use to track animals in the field. It uses satellites that orbit the Earth to track an animal’s movement in real-time, allowing you to see exactly where your dog is located in the field.
The other consideration with tracking technology is the map display. Can you view multiple dogs at a time? Is it easy to see their location on the screen? While locating your dog, the tracking display should be easy to utilize to see the dog’s movements in real-time.
The range a tracker has is how far away from the device or collar you can be and still pick up a signal to see the dog’s location. Most trackers have a range of around 9 miles, but some go up to 10 miles. Tractive GPS trackers have an unlimited range because they utilize cell towers. The issue with this is that you can only track when you have reliable cell phone service.
Because these devices are likely to be used out in the field, they need to be durable. Dogs run through brush, tall grass, wooded areas, and sometimes water. Most dog GPS trackers are water-resistant or waterproof, but the specifics of how waterproof they are depends on the individual company.
Check the battery life of the collar and handheld device. Many devices last 20+ hours, while others will last several days. How long the battery lasts may also depend on the mode it is in during your tracking session. Some devices have passive tracking that allows the collar device to last up to a week without charging, but once it is put into live tracking mode, the battery depletes much faster.
Q: What device can I use to track my dog?
There are a variety of devices you can use to track your dog. You can invest in a more accurate collar like one of the Garmin devices and collars listed above, primarily if you hunt. If you want a more affordable device for a companion dog, then a smaller GPS device that attaches to their collar works just fine. AirTags, Tiles, and other generalized trackers can work but are less accurate than specifically designed dog GPS trackers.
Q: How far can a dog tracker track?
A dog tracker’s range depends on whether it relies on Bluetooth or GPS services. Some tracking collars require cell service while others use satellite, improving their range. Budget collars to Bluetooth trackers generally only work 30 to 50 feet, but some of the collars we have listed above have a range of up to 10 miles.
Q: Can I track my dog with my phone?
If the dog tracking device attached to your dog has the capability to sync with your phone, you can use your phone to track your dog. The Tractive GPS tracker, for instance, is compatible with a phone app that allows you to track your dog’s movement on your smartphone. The downside is that it requires enough cell service to locate the dog.
Q: Can I use AirTags for my dog?
While AirTags can technically be used to track your dog, Apple states that they should not be used to track any pets.
Q: How long do dog GPS trackers last on average?
How long a dog GPS tracker lasts depends on the brand, style, and mode of use. For trackers like Tractive or the Fi collars, they state the battery lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a week or more. The reality of those trackers is that things like temperature can drain the battery faster if used in live mode. Garmin GPS collars tend to have a longer battery life since they are designed for off-grid, in-field use and are primarily used for hunting dogs. Each collar and tracker will have battery life listed within product descriptions, but remember that other factors will influence the actual battery life.
Q: Are all dog GPS trackers waterproof?
Most GPS trackers designed for tracking dogs are waterproof to ensure they continue functioning in the rain or while a dog is working in or near water. Always check manufacturer information regarding the level of water resistance the tracking device has for the best results.
Whether you found the best dog GPS tracker for your pup on our list or not, we know that a reliable system is essential. Understanding your needs and intended use is always the first place to start, but many other aspects should be considered before buying. For hunting dogs, our top pick on this list is the Garmin Alpha 200i, which would pair well with one of our favorite hunting dog vests, too. While a dog GPS tracker isn’t necessary for the average dog owner, it’s great for hunting.
How We Made Our Picks
As a dog lover with two companions myself, choosing the best dog GPS trackers was not an easy task. They had to check all of our boxes and the needs of those relying on the trackers while hunting or doing other dog sports. Along with all of the aspects discussed in the buying considerations section above, I also took into account the following:
Ease of Use: How easy is the device to use when in the tracking function? Does it still work without cell service? Is the map easy to navigate? Can you see multiple dogs at one time on the same display? Is it a generally intuitive device and program to navigate?
Customer Service: If there are issues, how quickly can they be resolved? What is the return or repair policy like? Is there consistently a response to customer questions?
Reliability: Where does the tracking work? What is the range? How long can you stay in tracking mode? Where can you download maps for? Does it work internationally? Does it work in all weather conditions? How accurate is the location monitoring?
Other factors that led me to choose the top options for this list included personal experience with products, company-specific research, and verified customer testimonials.