Passive and active GPS dog tracker – what’s the difference

Selecting the right device!

There are a wide range of “pet trackers” out there. Some perform really well but sadly, most do not deliver performance as they should, and worse, they do not actively track the real-time location of the pet, hence the entire product is questionable as it does not do what we need it the most for – locate your pet whenever needed.


It’s not about having a tracker attached to your dog or pet, it is about locating our dog or pet in real-time whenever your pet is in stress or is lost

So what’s the issue?

There is a need to know the difference between an active real-time tracker and a passive tracker that usually depends on the availability of a mobile phone in close proximity.

An active real-time tracker is a fully “standalone” device that can function without any dependency on any additional device. In other words, an real active tracker communicates with the GPS system directly and sends position data to the cellphone network directly. It functions fully independently in real-time even over extremely long distance. Even a simple pre-paid SIM card will do the job perfectly fine over several month at little cost.

In contrast, a passive tracker depends on the connection to a mobile phone in close proximity and very short distance of less than 50 meters or even below. The passive tracker is connected to the phone and the phone provides location data through the phones location function.

Practically speaking, if your dog is on the run, a passive tracker won’t do any good unless the phone is strapped right onto your dog together with the passive tracker.

What to pay attention to when making your choice?


Make sure to buy per your actual needs

Active tracker: Do you want to locate your dog or pet while on the run or lost?

Passive tracker: I only need to know my pet’s location in a very close proximity to my mobile phone.

How to identify active versus passive?

An active tracker is usually easy to identify as it requires an own SIM card with an own mobile number to be inserted into the tracker. This allows the tracker to communicate with the network directly over very long distance without any dependency on a smart phone in close proximity. Even a simple pre-paid SIM card will do the job perfectly fine over several month at little cost.

Active GPS Tracker


If you really wish to locate your lost pet when it counts the most you will need to attach an active GPS tracker to your dogs collar or harness. A passive tracker will not be able to locate your furry friend in real-time while on the run or lost. Passive trackers, such as the Apple air tag or Bluetooth based solutions are of no use for real-time pet location tracking or real-time position of the pet when in stress or lost.

In closing, the trackers we use at PAWBies are active real-time GPS trackers specifically designed, developed and produced by Alemanni, the parent company of PAWBies. Contact us if you would like to know more about the PAWBies PetTrack device. Happy to read your comments and feedback.

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