What is the Best GPS Dog Tracking System

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GPS Dog Tracking Systems

A family pet runs away or is lost or stolen every 2 seconds.

Fact: Only 1 in 10 lost or stolen pets are reunited with their owners.

And if you’re like me and millions of other pet owners, your biggest fear is losing your best friend.

The problem with your dog is, they can’t dial your cell to let you know where they’re at.

So, if you’re wondering which GPS tracker system to get for your dog, you’re in the right place today.

Head Straight to the Comparison Table

The fact is, a family pet runs away or is lost or stolen every 2 seconds (National Council of Pet Population Study and Policy and National Humane Society).

In the roughly 10 minutes it’ll take you to read this review 300 pets have been separated from their families.  And like I already mentioned, only 1 in 10 of those pets are reunited with their families.

Those are scary stats.  And unfortunately, the odds are stacked against us and our dogs.

So it’s logical that pet owners are looking for a tracking system to ensure they never lose their dog.  And no, it’s not being paranoid!

But before you spend a dime, you need to know that a GPS tracking system is an investment in your dog’s safety and your peace of mind.  So you don’t want to waste money on junk.

That’s why here at German Shepherd Corner you can explore what’s available to you. And use the buyer’s guide to learn about exactly what to look for to make the best choice for you and your dog.

Editor’s ChoiceWhistle Go Pet Locator and Health Tracker

Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker

The feature-rich Whistle Go takes the #1 spot and Editor’s choice for the Best GPS Dog Tracking System.

Learn More at Whistle

Check Price on Amazon

If you’ve got time and want to hang around, just use the links below and be magically transported to any section you’re interested in.

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  1. What to Consider When Shopping for a GPS Dog Tracking Device
  2. GPS Tracker Systems – A Comparison Table
  3. Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker
  4. Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker – Worldwide
  5. Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
  6. Link AKC Plus GPS Dog Tracker
  7. Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best GPS Dog Tracking System
  8. Best GPS Dog Trackers to Consider

What to Consider When Shopping for a GPS Dog Tracking Device

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a tracking device for your dog.  And not all GPS dog trackers are made equal.  And expensive doesn’t always mean better.  Each product reviewed here will look at the most important features and highlight the drawbacks.

  • Coverage and Map Accuracy
  • Frequency of Data Updates
  • Notifications
  • Subscription Costs
  • Battery Life
  • Supported Devices and Services
  • Waterproof
  • Size and Dimensions
  • Extra Features
  • Drawbacks

GPS Tracker Systems – A Comparison Table

Tractive

Whistle Go

Findster Duo+

Link AKC Plus Tracker

Tractive 3G GPs Dog Tracker Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker
Coverage Country Specific, Europe Only or Worldwide USA & Canada Worldwide USA, Canada & Mexico
Map Accuracy Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Data Updates Real-Time Real-Time Real-Time Real-Time
Safe Zone Yes Yes Yes Yes
Activity Monitor No Yes Yes Yes
Waterproof Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery Life (standby mode) 2 - 5 days 10 days 5 days maximum 3 days
Subscription Costs From $5 per month From $9.95 per month None From $9.95 per month
GPS Yes Yes Yes - MAZE Technology Yes
2G Yes Yes No No
3G No Yes No No
Size (inches) 2.0 x 1.6 x 0.6 3.4 x 0.7 x 1.4 0.5 x 2 x 2 Unknown
Weight (ounces) 1.2 1.3 0.74 1.0
Supported Devices Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS, Web Android, iOS Android, iOS
Read My Full Review Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker Findster Duo+ GPS Pet Tracker Link AKC Plus GPS Dog Tracker

Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker

Editor’s ChoiceWhistle Go Pet Locator and Health Tracker

Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker

The feature-rich Whistle Go takes the #1 spot and Editor’s choice for the Best GPS Dog Tracking System.

Learn More at Whistle

Check Price on Amazon

Wearables for dogs is an idea that’s becoming more and more popular. A few years back, when peeps started geeking out on wearable tech, who would have guessed that in 2020, wearables for dogs are more popular than ever!

So it’s no surprise that Whistle has upgraded their original Whistle 3 into the Whistle Go or Whistle Go Explore. And according to them, these upgrades make the Whistle, the “most comprehensive pet tracker of the market.”

For this review, I’ll be looking at the Whistle Go, which only differs from the Whistle Go Explore in terms of its waterproof rating and the night light feature. You can check out the Whistle Go Explore and its features on Amazon.

Coverage and Map Accuracy

With the Whistle Go, you’ll have coverage to track your doggo anywhere in the United States and Canada.

And Whistle tracks your dog’s GPS location using the vast AT&T network along with Google Maps. AT&T is America’s largest network.

And of course, we know how super-accurate Google Maps has become over the years, so as long as you have sufficient AT&T LTE coverage, your Whistle tracker should work seamlessly.

Although, rural areas with large bodies of water and wooded areas, as well as highly built-up areas, may affect the clear line of sight and, therefore, the signal strength.

The newer versions no longer make use of a base station. The Whistle Go range makes use of your home’s WiFi and “Safe Places” you set up beforehand, to keep tabs on your pooch and save on battery power.

A Safe Place is a sort of virtual perimeter you set, and when your dog leaves that area, you’ll be notified via your preferred method. You can have more than one Safe Place set up at any given time.

Frequency of Updates

The Whistle Go GPS tracking systems offer real-time live tracking so you can know where your pooch is every second of the day.

If your dog does manage to do a Houdini act on you and escape, breaking through a Safe Place you’ve set, you’ll be notified immediately and start receiving GPS location updates at 15-second intervals.

Notifications

You can choose to get notifications in three convenient ways – email, text, or in-app notifications are available. It all depends on which medium of communication you prefer accessing.

The notifications will keep you up to date on everything from whether the dog walker has picked up your dog for a walk, to sneaky escapes as well as activity and behavior monitoring, and weekly wellness reports – more on this in a minute.

Subscription Costs

The subscription costs go towards the monthly service provided by AT&T for the 24/7 tracking and monitoring of your pooch. As far as I can tell, there is no hidden subscription fee.

And when you purchase the device, it belongs to you outright, although you are not able to use the Whistle with any other cellular network other than AT&T.

There is no difference between the subscription fee of the Whistle Go and Whistle Go Explore. Currently, the monthly subscription is under ten bucks. A yearly subscription is even less expensive, and if you choose a subscription for two years, it’s considerably cheaper.

Battery Life

The battery life of a GPS tracker system is just as important as how well it keeps on-signal. If the battery is dead, no matter how good the signal is, you’ll never find your dog. So reliable, long battery life is essential!

Here’s where the newer models outperform the older Whistle 3 GPS Tracker. The Whistle Go range offers a battery life expectancy that far exceeds its predecessor:

  • Benchwarmer – 15 days
  • Weekend Adventurer – 10days
  • Houdini-Wanderer – 5 days
  • Globetrotter – 3 days

Long Battery life is one of the things that separates the regular Go version from the Explore Go version as well:

  • Benchwarmer – 20+ days
  • Weekend Adventurer – 20 days
  • Houdini-Wanderer – 10 days
  • Globetrotter – 5 days

When your pooch is at home, within the Safe Places you’ve set up you can save on battery life. The Whistle Go uses your home WiFi network to help you monitor your pet while keeping the battery in a low-power state.

This helps keep the battery life high and also means the charger doesn’t need to be plugged in while not in use.

Supported Devices and Services

As far as I can tell, most devices support the Whistle Go and Go Explore.

And the app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play store for Android. Or if you have an Apple device, the app is available from the Apple App Store.

Waterproof

It’s essential for any GPS tracking device worth its salt to be waterproof. And the Whistle does not disappoint here either.

The Whistle Go is IPX 7 rated in terms of waterproofing and can be submerged comfortably up to 3 feet. So unless your doggo is getting a lot of water time or swimming in deep waters, the Whistle Go should be just fine.

For interest sake, the Whistle Go Explore is rated IPX 8 and can be submerged up to 6 feet.

Size and Dimensions

The Whistle Go comfortably fits any dog weighing 8lbs and up. And will easily attach to any dog collar.

Depending on how active your doggo is, you have a choice of either using the snap or hook and loop options to attach the Whistle to your dog’s collar.

Check out this video to see exactly how both options work…

It’s worth noting that the Whistle will fit any 1-inch wide collar you prefer. So you don’t get a collar with the device but can purchase one separately. Or just use your dog’s current collar.

Extra Features

Besides the primary function of tracking your dog, the Whistle Go has a ton of extra features explicitly focused around the health and wellness of your pooch.

  1. Track your dog’s activity and set goals based on your dog’s age, breed, and weight.
  2. See the distance your pooch has traveled in a day (think counting steps here).
  3. Monitor how many calories your canine friend has burned on any given day or over a specific period.
  4. Catch potential health problems brewing before they surface by monitoring licking, scratching, and sleeping behaviors.

These are just a few of the extra features you can use to keep on top of your dog’s everyday life and health.

And with just one tap from inside the app, you can share a 30-day report with your dog’s vet if you have any concerns.

Check out this short video where Dr. Jeff explains why keeping your dog fit is super important.

Drawbacks of The Whistle Go

Okay, so sometimes our smart technology is not as intelligent as we think. And I have come across a few complaints from pet owners about the smart tech failing.

Things like a time delay between a dog leaving a Safe Place and receiving a notification is one common complaint I see.

Some customers have experienced issues with accuracy were in this case, their cat was galavanting, but the app said he was chilling on the patio.

Of course, this can be frustrating, but we’ve all been let down by technology at some point.

What makes up for this in a big way is the fact that Whistle actively responds to these customer complaints and pet owners on platforms like Amazon. And they also have a live chat function on their website.

Conclusion

When I reviewed the Whistle 3 a few years back, it wasn’t my first choice as the best GPS tracking system. But I have to say I’m very impressed with what the upgraded Whistle Go and Go Explore have to offer.

The device itself is priced just right, in my opinion, and the monthly subscription fee is more than reasonable.

And compared to the Tractive (which was my top choice before), I’m going to say that the Whistle Go is the best GPS tracker system for dogs right now.

Try the Whistle Go for 90 Days Risk-Free and Also Get 1 Year Product Warranty, Exclusive to Whistle

Check out the Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker on Amazon.

Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker

Runner UpTractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker

Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker

This tracker comes in at a close second. It offers a number of great features to keep tabs on your dog remotely.

Check Price on Amazon

Coverage and Map Accuracy

The Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker allows you to track your dog in over 150 different countries. This updated version of Tractive means you could be on the opposite side of the world and still track your dog in real-time.

Although the subscription plan determines this, more on that, and whether it’s worth it in a minute.

A few years back, Tractive had an excellent reputation for map accuracy. And with this new 3G GPS tracker, they claim it works over any range and distance.

Tractive 3G also offers an unlimited Live-Tracking function with both the basic and premium subscriptions. Their Live-Tracking updates at intervals of 2 to 3 seconds.

And as if that is not enough, they also offer something called “Augmented Reality.” AR is pretty handy since it’ll drop a pin as an overlay on your smart device with an approximate distance between you and your dog.

Keep in mind though that this tech is still in development, so the distance in the AR function might be off.

From my experience and research, the Tractive GPS dog tracking system makes use of the best tech out there to offer and ensure accuracy.

However, I have seen some customers complain about the device struggling to track their dogs in valleys and more rural areas.

Of course, any kind of cell reception should be enough to transmit GPS coordinates. Still, as my review of the previous version stated, I believe rural areas will not enjoy the speed and efficiency of more urban areas.

Frequency of Updates

The frequency of updates is vital to successfully locate your lost canine friend, or getting a jump on your dog if they breach the safe zone.

So you’ll be happy to know that the Tractive servers are updated every 2 to 60 minutes. And that counts for both the basic and premium subscriptions.

Notifications

In terms of notifications, the Tractive 3G device meets the same level of efficiency as it’s European version when it comes to notifying you of important events.

You’ll get an immediate notification if your canine friend exits or enters a predefined “fence” you have set.

You’ll also get notified of the following important events:

  1. The battery level hits a low of 10%
  2. Someone else has shared their tracker with you
  3. You receive a reply from Tractive customer service.

You can choose to receive notifications via push notifications or via email inside the app or all three if you prefer. Although, I’d be inclined to pick notifications through the app or push notifications.

Subscription Costs

Yes, the Tractive GPS Dog Tracking system does require a subscription. According to Tractive, this is only to cover the expenses of the cellular network.

The subscription fee is fixed depending on which option you choose, and there are no extra charges or hidden fees for notifications, real-time tracking, or any updates on monitoring.

As I mentioned earlier, the subscription plan you choose will determine your perks and benefits.

Both basic and premium subscriptions will give you the following…

  1. GPS tracking updated every 2 to 60 minutes.
  2. Unlimited Live Tracking updated every 2 to 3 seconds.
  3. Activity monitoring (where you can actively monitor the health and wellness of your pooch).

The premium subscription will give some extra, handy functions that may help you find your missing dog.

  1. Public and Family Sharing – this is an essential function to assist you in finding your missing pooch with the help of friends, family, and other Tractive users.
  2. Worldwide Coverage – This is handy if you’re on holiday and your doggo hits the road. And if you live near the border with a neighboring country, this is useful too. Worldwide coverage has the Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracking system working in over 150 countries.
  3. Augmented Reality – this function is only available with the premium subscription and discussed above.
  4. Unlimited Location History – our dogs are creatures of habit. So imagine being able to see the location history of places your Houdini-dog previously escaped to explore. Chances are they’ll head that way again on their next exploration. So the unlimited location history (and the ability to export it) in combo with the Heatmap will give you insights into the behaviors and habits of your canine friend.
  5. Premium Customer Service – This might be the last point in my list of benefits, but it’s one of the most important, in my opinion. Receiving priority service from the folks at Tractive is essential when there’s a problem or your dog is missing.

Battery Life

According to Tractive, the battery life of their device is between 2 and 5 days. I know that sounds a little broad, so I assume a battery life of two days if there’s been an incident where you’ve needed to track and recover your dog actively.

And a full battery life of five days as a maximum, where there has been no incidence of missing dogs.

And when it’s time for a recharge, this can be done in approximately 2 hours – which is about the same time your phone takes to recharge.

Supported Devices and Services

The Tractive 3G Dog Tracker comes with an integrated sim card for both the basic and premium subscriptions and their respective functions.

And the app is free for download on the following devices:

  • Apple iOS 11+
  • Android 5.0+
  • Amazon Alexa

Waterproof

The Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker is 100% waterproof, shock resistant and almost unbreakable according to the company.

So if you and your pooch are the outdoorsy types, never fear! Your pooch can live the lifestyle they love and take part in activities like swimming and hiking without damaging the Tractive.

Size and Dimensions

As technology improves, things get smaller and smaller. And it’s no different with the Tractive Dog GPs Tracker.

This baby weighs a light-weight 35g or 1.2oz and is perfect for dogs sized anywhere from 4.5kg or 9 lbs and up.

And without much trouble, the device will easily fit onto any standard dog collar.

If you want to drill down even more, here are the dimensions of the latest offering from Tractive:

51 x 41 x 15 mm or 2.0 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.

Extra Features

I love the virtual fence the Tractive 3G Dog GPS Tracker offers.

Here’s why…

Imagine you get home after a night out and discover your doggo has done a Houdini on you. By the time you find out they are missing, they could be miles and miles away.

So the virtual fence is a must, in my opinion, because you’ll get a notification the moment your dog breaks through the virtual fence you have set up ahead of time.

I also love unlimited live tracking with the basic service. Most trackers for dogs don’t offer this with base plans. But Tractive does – which is a big plus in my books.

And although I’m mentioning this last, it’s one of the top extras this tracker offers – worldwide tracking.

Drawbacks of The Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker

The sim card that comes with the Tractive 3G is integrated and not replaceable, so you can’t change it or decide to go with another service provider. Although, I don’t see this as a drawback since the sim card works in 150+ countries.

I’ve also seen some customers complain about poor tracking in rural areas. Of course, this is not ideal, but even a regular cellphone will have weaker reception in rural, wooded, and forest areas.

And I found that some customers say the device reports their dog a few blocks away from them when in fact, their pooch was lying at their feet.

But keep in mind, this is not military-grade stuff. So there may be some discrepancies. However, when your dog is missing, wouldn’t you prefer to be a couple of blocks out from where they are rather than not have any idea where in the world they are?

Conclusion

Just like my review of the European model, the Tractive 3G has a lot to offer. And it strikes the right balance between price, subscription fee, and benefits.

I’d go for the worldwide tracking subscription and take advantage of everything the Tractive has to offer. You never know when you might need to track your dog across a border or while you’re away on holiday.

See the Tractive 3G GPS Dog Tracker on Amazon

Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker

Subscription-Free GPSFindster Duo - subscription Free GPS Do Tracker

Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker

Free from monthly subscriptions, this GPS tracker helps you keep tabs on your dog when out on walks, hikes and other outdoor adventures.

Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on Chewy

I’ve added the Findster into the mix because it’s subscription-free but still offers the ability to keep tabs on your dog in real-time – although with some limits which I detail in the review below.

Coverage and Map Accuracy

Thanks to the unique MAZE technology offered by Findster Duo+, you can track your dog anywhere on the globe, even in the remotest of places.

Unlike other GPS trackers that struggle to perform in rural, more off-grid areas, the Findster Duo+ excels in these situations because it doesn’t need cell coverage or a sim card.

Keep in mind though that it only works within a range of 3 miles (4.8 km) in rural areas. And in built-up urban areas, this distance is reduced to 0.5 miles or 0.8 km. Although the Findster website states the current range record is 10 miles.

So if you’re one of those pet owners who enjoy off-leash adventures with your dog, Findster Duo+ is the perfect GPS tracker system for you.

You’ll also be happy to know that Findster allows you to view a detailed history of past walks and locations. Why is this important?

Well, just like humans, our dogs are creatures of habit, so you’re likely to find your Houdini dog at a destination they are familiar with.

Frequency of Updates

Unlike other GPS dog trackers that offer instant notifications on a delayed basis, the Findster Duo+ offers true real-time tracking. This is due to its internal MAZE technology and integrated app.

I also think it’s because the range of distance is contained, making the information transmitted between the dog module and human module more accurate.

Notifications

With Findster’s built-in radar, you can track your dog from a reasonable distance, without being reliant on a cellular signal. And notifications are received via the app in real-time.

Regular, new data means you can quickly locate your dog by following the map available in the app.

Subscription Costs

No monthly subscriptions is the main reason Findster Duo+ got a place in this review.

Although, Findster does offer some neat extra features for a small monthly subscription that I’ll discuss in more detail under the Extra Features section.

Battery Life

The Finster Duo+ comes with a rechargeable battery. And if you’re constantly tracking your dog, the battery life is only around 12 hours.

But if you’re only using the real-time tracking function intermittently, you’ll experience a long battery life of up to 5 days.

Supported Devices and Services

The Findster Duo+ will work seamlessly with Apple devices running iOS 9+ and Andriod devices running Android 5.0+.

Waterproof

If your dog likes frolicking in water as mine do, you’ll be happy to know that the Findster Duo+ can be immersed in water up to 3 feet deep.

So unless your doggo is swimming in deep lakes and rivers, the Finster Duo+ will hold up to water exposure.

Size and Dimensions

The dimensions of the dog module are 0.5″x2″x2″. And it weighs in at 0.74 oz. Findster recommends their GPS tracker for any dog weighing 8 lbs and more.

Extra Features

The Findster Duo+ offers you the ability to set a Virtual Leash, a Safe Zone, and a Danger Zone.

The Virtual Leash is a fenced circle centered on your current position, and it adjusts as you move.

Safe Zone is stationary and customizable. It’s an area within which your dog can freely move without alerts. If your dog breaks through this zone, you get an instant notification.

Setting a Danger Zone will define an area where your dog should not go at all. If your doggo enters a danger zone, you receive an instant notification.

Besides all these features, Findster also offers an extra feature known as Findster Care.

Findster offers this for a small monthly subscription, and this service is priceless if you want a qualified vet available that you can touch base with 24/7.

With Findster Care, a vet is on-call to answer your questions 24/7. You also have the peace of mind of early detection of illness and behavior analysis.

Drawbacks of The Findster Duo+

If you’re looking for a GPS dog tracking system to keep tabs on your pocch over vast distances, the Findster Duo+ is not for you.

But if you want to keep tabs on your dog while out hiking, camping, or on long walks, the Findster is something to consider, especially if you’re in a rural area, off-grid, or have poor cellular reception.

And you have the benefits of being able to track your dog’s activity and the extra option of Findster Care if you don’t mind the additional subscription fee.

Conclusion

For a no-frills dog GPS tracker system, I’m more than impressed with the Findster Duo+.

I love that it can be used without a subscription, functions well in rural areas, and there’s no need for cellular service or a sim card.

Not to mention the saved history, you can refer back to and the option to subscribe to Findster Care if you want that extra support and advice from a professional vet 24/7.

So although the Findster Duo+ has some limitations, there is a group of dogs and their people that the Findster is probably the best GPS dog tracking system.

Check out Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker on Amazon.

Check out Findster Duo+ Pet Tracker on Chewy.

Link AKC Plus GPS Tracker for Dogs

The Frugal PickACK Link Plus Dog GPS Tracker

Link AKC Plus GPS Tracker for Dogs

If you’re looking for premium features but don’t want to spend a fortune, this tracker might be just what you’re looking for.

Check Price on Amazon

Check Price on Chewy

I’ve included the Link AKC Plus GPS tracker in this review as the frugal pick of the lot.

Although the purchase price or subscription fee is similar to our runner up, it does offer one or two features that come at a premium with our Editor’s Choice.

Coverage and Map Accuracy

The Link AKC GPS tracker makes use of GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth to keep track of your pooch at all times.

The WiFi and Bluetooth work in conjunction with Safe Zones, you preset to monitor your dog’s movements when it is within range of the base station, which is plugged in at your home.

If your dog breaks through your preset Safe Zones, the Link AKC tracker switches over to GPS, which relies on the AT&T cellular network.

AT&T is the largest provider in North America, and our Editor’s Pick makes use of this network also, although the Link ACK has the extra benefit of being able to track your pooch in Canada and Mexico too.

Which is something not even the pricier Editor’s Pick can boast!

Frequency of Updates

Trying to find precise information about the update frequency of the Link AKC has proven tricky. The information on the company website is vague regarding this.

So I jumped on their live chat and asked a few questions that will hopefully help you make the decision that’s best for you and your doggo.

According to Link, if your dog leaves the area near your Base station, the Link will initialize the GPS tracker systems. Also, it will try to use area WiFi and cellular signals to triangulate the area where your dog is.

So depending on signal strength, this could take 3 to 5 minutes.
Once the GPS achieves a line of sight, then the locations will update at least every 20 seconds.

In my opinion, real-time updates at high frequencies are the make or break of any GPS dog tracking system. And I’m relatively impressed with the rough estimates given by Link.

Interestingly, Link has plans to shift over to a much more reliable signal with their new offering this summer, Link 3. They are expecting way more responsiveness once this switch takes place.

And if you get on board with Link now, you’ll have access to the Link 3 before “John Q Public” and at a reduced price.

Link is also planning on continuing to support their Plus and Classic trackers for the foreseeable future.

Notifications

The Link AKC Plus communicates with you through their dedicated app for free download from the Apple Store or Google Play. It’s compatible with most Bluetooth-enabled phones.

The app is quite intuitive, and from it, you can access everything the Link has to offer:

  • Activate GPS.
  • Monitor movement.
  • Access historical data.
  • View daily activity records.
  • Customize safe zones.

And much much more…

Subscription Fee

The monthly subscriptions fall into a similar price range as most of the top GPS trackers for dogs.

The Link AKC starts at $9.95 billed monthly. And if you choose an annual subscription, you can save 20%. And a 2-year subscription will land you a saving of 30% currently.

Battery Life

With regular use, Link claims the battery life can last up to 3 days before needing a recharge.

With GPS always enabled, battery life is significantly lower. But this is standard with any smart device running GPS – think about your phone here, and you’ll get the idea.

You can always turn the device off when your dog is safe in your home with you to save on battery power.

Supported Devices and Services

The Link AKC Plus is compatible with Android 5.0+. and iOS 9.0+.

Waterproof

Yup, this baby is water-resistant up to 3 feet, according to the Link website.

Size and Dimensions

The Link AKC Plus only weighs 1 oz and is recommended for pets from 15 lbs and up.

It will easily fit a dog collar with a width anywhere between 3/4 and 1 inch.

Extra Features

Link Plus offers a ton of regular features like Safe Zones, activity monitoring, historical data, and vet records and reminders.

But it also offers a host of added features that not even our Editor’s Choice does!

  • An AI algorithm ensures that your dog gets the right amount of exercise daily.
  • Temperature alerts notify you if your dog’s environment is too hot or cold for them.
  • The Virtual Scrapbook will help you keep the memories of awesome adventures alive with a date stamp, distance, and photos you took along the way.
  • And the app-controlled light access means you’ll be able to spot your dog even in the darkest of places.

Drawbacks of The Link AKC Plus GPS Tracker for Dogs

The Link AKC Plus only works in the USA, Canada, and Mexico. So if you’re outside these areas, the Link is not for you.

My research has revealed that some customers have struggled with connection issues.

Connectivity issues are a problem, especially since the whole point of a GPS tracker is to keep tabs on your dog’s movement and find them if they escape.

Although I have to say that opinions on this significantly varied and some folks rate the Link’s connection and tracking capabilities highly.

In my opinion, connectivity is an issue with most, if not all, GPS trackers. And as technology improves, so will the capabilities of these devices.

Conclusion

When my research on the Link AKC Plus tracker started, I wasn’t overly optimistic about it.

But truth be told, after hours of research, reading customer reviews, and chatting to the support team, I’ve changed my mind.

With all it’s extra features and the must-have standard ones, the Link AKC Plus is my frugal pick and one to consider if you’re looking for the best GPS tracker on a budget.

Check out the Link AKC Plus GPS Dog Tracker on Amazon.

Check out the Link AKC Plus GPS Dog Tracker on Chewy.

Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best GPS Dog Tracking System

Types of Dog Tracking Systems

Dog tracking devices are not the same as regular implantable microchips that are scanned to identify your pet on a database.

A microchip is an implantable, electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice. It has a unique number that can be read by a scanner.

A Dog GPS Tracker is a light and small module that fits snuggly on a standard dog collar. There is usually a base station at your home and you can get real-life updates on the GPS location of your dog via a smart app.

There are 2 types of GPS devices to track dogs: GPS trackers and radio trackers. GPS trackers are new high tech devices that offer some advanced features that radio trackers don’t.

GPS trackers are devices that attach to your dog’s collar and you can access a map on your smartphone or a web browser to pinpoint where they are.  Even the most basic GPS trackers will send you real-time alerts if your pooch wanders out of a safe zone you set.

The advanced tech of the GPS trackers offers a much more accurate and wider range of tracking.  But the drawback is, its reliability depends on the strength of the satellite connections.  As technology advances companies are improving their precision tracking by using satellite and cellphone networks.

A radio-tracking system works in pretty much the same way.  Except they rely on a radio frequency and don’t need a GPS connection.

It attaches to your dog’s collar and you’re equipped with a receiver that communicates with the collar attachment. When you need to know where your dog is, the GPS location query is manual with the push of a button.

Radio trackers are much more reliable, especially in rural areas or places where satellite and cell signals are weak. But the have a much shorter range.

This means you might need to move around an area until your receiver picks up the signal from your dog’s collar attachment.  And if your dog is moving fast and long distances this could be an issue.

Choosing the Right Size for Your Dog

Dog GPS Tracking Devices for Your Dog

Best GPS Dog Tracking Systems for You?

It’s essential that you pick the right size tracker device for your dog.

Your dog will be wearing their tracker device 24/7 and if it’s too large and heavy this will affect their muscles and restrict their movement.

From what I’ve seen, most devices have a minimum weight requirement of 9 lbs.  But if you have a large powerful dog, this won’t be an issue.

Durability

The device you choose should be durable.  Dogs will be dogs, they run, jump, wrestle, scratch and even swim.

So durability is an important consideration.  You’re going to spend some greenbacks on this and you don’t want to keep replacing it. So it’s got to take the punch.

Some tracking companies offer a discount on a new collar attachment if yours gets lost or broken, which is a great benefit and something to look out for when deciding what to buy.

Features

Nowadays we track everything in our lives.  And some GPS dog trackers offer features for you to track your pooch’s wellness too.  You can track anything from upcoming vet and vaccination appointments, activity levels and bio-metrics like heart rate and fitness levels.  Some devices also allow you to see into the fascinating life of your dog through adventure tracking.

Most dog tracker devices offer a fantastic safe zone feature.  In my opinion, this is an absolute must-have if you want full control over your dog’s movements and safety.  A radio-tracking system, on the other hand, will not have this feature.

Of course, these features come at a price, so you’ll need to decide what’s important to you.  Maybe you just want the basics like GPS tracking, real-time updates, and a virtual fence.  If you’re helping your dog manage their weight, a feature like bio-metric tracking might be important.  Or maybe exploring your dog’s secret life intrigues you.

Battery Life

Battery life is a crucial consideration.  Access to GPS tracking, a variety of different maps, safe zones and other extra features means the GPS trackers will have a much shorter battery life.

Most batteries last 2 to 5 days before needing a recharge.  But if your pooch is a Houdini that makes regular escapes it’s likely you’ll be recharging more often than a manufacturer claims.

This won’t be a problem if you remember to do it.  But there are GPS devices for dogs that will send you a recharge notification when battery life drops critically low.

Costs

There are 2 costs you’ll need to take into account when it comes to a GPS dog tracking system for your dog.  Firstly, the cost of the device itself and any monthly or yearly subscriptions.

GPS trackiers for dogs can be broken down into 2 categories.

Smartphone GPS Trackers – These devices send GPS data directly to your smartphone.  They come with a monthly or yearly subscription fee to ensure the device continues to work properly.  In most cases, the initial cost of the device is also lower than an independent tracing device.

Independent GPS Trackers – These devices send data to a handheld device designed specifically to read your dog’s GPS coordinates from their collar.  The initial cost of the device is considerably higher.  And in most cases, there is no subscription fee, unless there are extra features available that you’d like.

Even the most basic GPS dog devices offer the core features you need for peace of mind.  And thanks to the wide variety of dog GPS ttrackers you won’t need to sacrifice features for affordability.  There are some fantastic devices on the market that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Frequency of Data Updates

Although data updates would fall under features, I think it’s important to highlight the importance of this feature here.  The frequency of updates is essential to finding your dog before something goes horribly wrong.

The best data frequency update is by the second.  Some companies call this live-tracking or real-time updates. Second, best is updates of no more than 5-minute intervals, but 2 to 3 minutes is better.

In my opinion, by-the-second-updates is worth any extra cost.  But you’ll be happy to know that most companies offer this as a standard feature. And some even offer both by the second and 2 to 3-minute intervals.

Best GPS Dog Tracking Systems to Consider

What is the Best GPS Dog Tracking System for Your Dogs Safety

What is the Tracking System for your Dog and Peace of Mind?

Editor’s ChoiceWhistle Go Pet Locator and Health Tracker

Whistle Go Health and Location Tracker

The feature-rich Whistle Go takes the #1 spot and Editor’s choice for the Best GPS Dog Tracking System.

Learn More at Whistle

Check Price on Amazon

Figuring out which one of these systems is best for you depends largely on what you need.

It’s not an easy choice to make, that’s for sure. And there’s no perfect dog GPS tracker out there.  They all come with their great features and drawbacks.

The reality is, any dog half-decent GPS tracker is better than none. And now that you’ve learned about what’s out there on the market, you can shop with confidence.

And the buyer’s guide has shown you what to look for, so you’ll have a much easier time making the right choice for your peace of mind and for your pooch ‘s safety.

Older or Discontinued Versions Previously Reviewed Here

Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker

This is the older version of the Whistle Pet Tracker which is still available but with limited features. For a look at the more up to date, version click here.

Whistle GPS Pet Tracker

Whistle GPS Tracker. See it on Amazon

Next up is the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker.  This baby brings a ton of handy features to the table. This is a GPS based unit, that is priced rather reasonably considering what it offers. The first thing that attracted me to this model is the reputation this brand has. They are among the few go-to companies out there at the moment.

The package contains two separate devices – Whistle tracker unit and a base station. The tracker itself is robust and compact. It’s not something the dog can easily lose, either by rubbing on trees or just by running around all day and it is light enough for them not to even notice it.

To attach the Whistle to your pup’s collar, all you have to do is adjust the clip that comes with the tracker for the size of the collar you have. It’s very easy.

Coverage and Map Accuracy

Whistle offers coverage of the entire United States. This tracker works by tapping into the existing 3G cellular network the AT&T Network and good old Google Maps. That means that you will be able to track your pet wherever it is as long as there is network coverage. While your pup is at home, Whistle uses the base station to keep an eye on your pet.

Doing things this way is not pinpoint accurate, but it’s good enough to locate your dog at any moment. In fact, you will know the exact position of the tracker with an error margin of about 10 to 20 feet. For a commercial and rather affordable model, this type of performance is pretty decent.

Check out the secret life of Walter.  It’s a humorous clip, but in reality, loosing your best friend is not a laughing matter.

Frequency of Data Updates

One of the most important things about any pet tracker is the frequency of updates you get. With Whistle, you will get an update every 12 minutes as long as your canine friend is within what they call Whistle Zone.

This is a perimeter you can set around the base station at home. In case you have a missing dog situation, Whistle goes into emergency mode and increases the frequency of updates to every 3 minutes 60 seconds.

Notifications

There are generally two types of notifications you will get from Whistle – both of which I have mentioned earlier. You can get these either using the app that comes with the tracker, by a text message or by e-mail. On top of that, you can authorize multiple people to receive notifications from your Whistle as well.

These definitely come in handy when you need to leave the town for a few days, and you have someone to babysit your furry friend. In addition to these, you can also set up a dietary or medication schedule and receive reminders for previously set events.

Subscription Costs

As many trackers of this type do, the Whistle requires an ongoing subscription plan if you want to use all the features. They offer three different options, starting from a monthly plan which will cost you $9.95

The next plan is an annual plan which ends up costing $7.95 per month, and finally, there’s a biannual plan that costs $6.95 per month.

The main difference between these is the length of the subscription, while they all enable you to use the full features of the app and tracker itself.

Battery Life

On average, the battery life of the Whistle tracker will last you up to 10 days for a couch potato doggo. And for a doggo that most active only on weekends, the battery life will last around 7 days of continuous use.

If your dog decides it’s time to take a road trip, the battery life is going to suffer because the tracker starts pinging you more frequently.

Supported Devices and Services

The app which you get with the package works on most recent smart devices. Specifically, any Apple device with iOS 7.1 or greater is supported, as well as any Android device which has Android 4.0.3 or greater installed. Additionally, you can get a desktop app for your computer.

Waterproof

I’m not sure whether this older version of Whistle still has its IP67 certification. But the manufacturer does claim their device is waterproof for up to a maximum of 3 meters for 30 minutes.

This is fairly deep for a reasonably long time, so I think it’s safe to assume that even the older version – Whistle 3 – is water safe.

Whistle GPS tracker features IP67 certification. The Whistle’s manufacturer claims it’s waterproof, but this is not always the case with IP67 certification.

But from my research, I haven’t come across any complaints from pet owners about water damage. So, I think it’s safe to say that your pup can enjoy running around in heavy rain and even dipping into some puddles.

Size and Dimensions

Compared to some other trackers in its category, Whistle is very compact. You are looking at a device that measures 3.4 x 0.7 x 1.4 inches and weighs 1.3 ounces.

Whistle has a minimum weight recommendation of 15lbs and will fit snuggly onto any standard dog collar.

Extra Features

The main function of Whistle is to track your pet’s current GPS location. However, it offers so much more. One of the more basic features is the Whistle zone which you can set any way you like.

As long as your pup is within this zone, you will get standard updates. If it leaves the zone, you will be notified and the tracker will keep updating you with your dog’s current GPS location.

Whistle also acts as a fitness tracker.  A kind of Fitbit for dogs. You can use it to monitor your pup’s daily activities, log their eating habits and generally keep track of their health. If you’re a busy person, this can be a very helpful feature.

Drawbacks of the Whistle GPS Tracker

The only real drawback of the Whistle GPS tracker is the fact that you absolutely need to set it up properly. The process is not complicated, but it does require a bit of effort. Failing to do so will result in false GPS location reports and other stuff you definitely don’t want to deal with. However, if you’re having trouble figuring out this process, Whistle support is always there to help out.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, Whistle GPS Tracker is a pretty decent GPS dog tracking system on the market today, although it’s not my first choice.  But it gets you the information you need with a great deal of accuracy, and it brings some additional features to the table.  And should be one of the choices on your list.

Tractive GPS Tracker – European Version Only

This version of Tractive is intended for the European market.

Tractive GPS Tracker See in on Amazon

First up is the feature-packed Tractive GPS Tracker.  If you’re looking for a reliable way to track your dog without expensive bells and whistles this GPS tracker should be on your list.

Coverage and Map Accuracy

The Tractive offers either basic coverage in the country of your choice. Or coverage in 80 different countries, depending on the package you choose.

The Tractive can be set on standard, satellite or hybrid settings.  And from my research, the feedback on map accuracy is very positive.

The interactive map provides accurate tracking in wooded areas and also forests. And shows finer details like roads, streams, ponds, and rivers.  Which is great if you want to track your dog based on landmarks.

Rural areas usually have weaker signals than towns and cities.  But even with a lag in time, you can easily get a more accurate reading thanks to Tractive’s Live-Tracking feature.

With Tractive Live-Tracking mode you can also see where your dog was a few minutes ago and also where they are headed in real-time.

Here’s how easy it is to get started with using the Tractive app.

Frequency of Data Updates

The frequency of data updates is crucial to the success of finding your lost friend or getting a head start if your pooch breaches the safe zone.

The Tractive servers are constantly updated to give you real-time information on the movements of your dog.  GPS tracking is updated at regular intervals and the Live-Tracking feature is updated every second.

Notifications

If your dog leaves the safe zone the free Tractive app will send you an immediate alert directly to your smartphone.

And, If you’re anything like me, and regularly forget appointments, you’ll love the fact that you can manage your dog’s vet appointments and vaccination appointments.

Check out this short video from Tractive.

Subscription Costs

Tractive also covers the costs of monthly data fees so you pay nothing for notifications.  Although, they do charge a small monthly subscription fee.

Subscription costs vary depending on which package you choose.  But both offer Live-Tracking updated by the second and GPS tracking updated at regular intervals.

The basic package will cost you roughly $5 per month. With tracking in the country of your choice.

The premium package comes in at roughly $10 per month.  And offers tracking in 80 countries across the globe.  It also offers other great features like;

  • GPS Tracker Sharing
  • Tracking in over 80 countries
  • Unlimited position history
  • Premium customer support
  • And ad-free Tractive app.

The subscription fee is pre-paid.  There are no activation fees, no hidden fees and you can cancel at any time.

Battery Life

Tractive claims the battery life of its device is 2 to 5 days. This depends on network coverage and usage.

If your dog stays in the safe zone the device will use very little battery power.  But if your dog regularly escapes the Live-Tracking feature will use more power and the battery life will be affected.  So you’ll need to charge the tracker more often.

The Tractive app always indicates the current battery status and will remind you in time when it needs recharging.

Supported Devices and Services

The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker comes with an integrated, non-exchangeable SIM card.  This SIM card communicates with the GPS device to calculate the current GPS location of your dog.

This data is then sent to the Tractive servers in real-time.  You can activate the LIVE-Tracking feature at any time.  So you always know exactly where your pooch is.

For the Tractive to work either AT&T or T-Mobile coverage is required.

And the Tractive Tracker supports a variety of different devices.

For iPhones:

  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 4s
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6S

For Android: any version 4.1 or newer.

But, you can use the Tractive GPS device without a smartphone through a web browser.

Waterproof

If your dog is adventurous like my German Shepherds who love swimming, don’t worry about water damage.  The Tractive is 100% waterproof.  So your dog can happily swim with the Tractive Tracker!

Size and Dimensions

The Tractive Pet GPS Tracker weighs in at only 1.2 ounces (3 grams). So it’s light as a feather and won’t weigh your dog down.

The dimensions are; 2.0 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.  And it’s perfect for dogs over 4.5 kg (9 pounds).

Extra Features

Imagine you return home from a night out, only to find your best friend is missing.  By the time you realize your dog is missing, they could be miles and miles away.  So the Tractive’s Safe Zone feature is an absolute must.

The Safe Zone feature acts like a virtual fence.  You set up a zone where your pooch is safe, and if they breach that zone, you are alerted immediately.

The Safe Zone feature could mean the difference between finding your dog ASAP or not.  Or worst of all, never.

The Tractive GPS Pet Tracker also offers a handy integrated light.  This great little feature makes it easy to find your pooch in the dark.  And if they are walking close to a road, the light provides high visibility for oncoming traffic.

Another feature I love is the clip loss detection.  Knowing ahead of time that the Tractive has lost a clip means you can be one step ahead of protecting your dog.

Check out just how easy it is to attach the Tractive device to your dog’s collar…

Drawbacks of the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker

From my research customers have said that the battery life is not as good as suggested by Tractive.  Rather than a life of 2 to 5 days, it’s closer to 1.5 days.  But as I said before, this depends on coverage and usage of the Live-Tracking feature.

I think if you use the Live-Tracking only when necessary, you’ll definitely get in the 2 to 5-day battery life range.

Also, the SIM is non-exchangeable, so you can’t use a SIM that you already own.  But on the upside, Tractive does pay your data costs which they could not do if you were using another SIM.

Tractive has a deal with AT&T and T-Mobile which is also the reason you have no monthly data charges.  The downside to this is if you’re in a country where these service providers don’t operate, the Tractive won’t work.

Conclusion

Should you buy the Tractive Tracker?

The Tractive has a lot to offer when it comes to features, even with the most basic package.

I think the Tractive GPS Pet Tracker is a neat little device. It strikes a perfect balance between features and price to give you the peace of mind you need without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for a good GPS system to track your dog the Tractive GPS Pet Tracking System should be on your list of choices.

  • Gabriella, you have a great site!
    I sure wish they had had these GPS trackers when my oldest JRT was a puppy. I was a first time dog owner, and spent countless hours tracking him through our area. Luckily he was predictable, wherever there were people, that’s where I’d find him, which usually meant the farm down the hill.

    • Hey MamaMinion!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I wonder what attracted your boy to the farm down the hill? Did he have a playmate there?

      But I know the feeling! When I was growing up Rex our German Shepherd loved jumping the wall. Once he went AWOL for about a week and my parents eventually found him by placing an ad in the newspaper! Those were the days before microchipping and GPS trackers. I have my doubts whether a newspaper ad would work nowadays!

  • PuppyPower

    whistle got my attention than the others, looks pretty good though I’m using my Trackimo now and does the job on pet tracking too. Also an excellent pet tracker for my buddy.

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