5 tips to choose the best harness for your dog

A dog harness can be a great choice for both your dog as well as yourself, whether for short walks around the neighbourhood or more active sports. But which harness to choose? A collar is less than ideal if your dog is very active or tends to pull on leash, since it can lead to irritation, coughing, or neck injuries. By maintaining good posture and spreading out the force of traction, a harness is more comfortable for the dog, and the owner is better able to control the dog’s strength. Harnesses are also available in different models best suited to different usage.

A harness to fit every need

  • Classic harness for walking: with adjustable straps made of polyester, this model is the most common available in stores. Choose one where the metal clips rest against the upper part of your dog’s back (where there is more fur than on flanks) in order to prevent irritation.
  • Sling harness to improve mobility: created to help dogs that have difficulty moving around,  whether it is because of a disability, an injury, or because they get too tired during longer walks. If your dog gets tired quickly, this is the ideal harness because you can help support him as he walks and the harness remains comfortably in place.
  • Anti-traction harness for more spirited dogs: the opposite of a sling-type, this harness is used with dogs that are constantly pulling on leash. The anti-traction system directs the dog’s head upwards rather than forwards, effectively stopping forward movement. This makes it easier for you to remain in control with less strain on your wrists.
  • Husky harness for work: this harness is used for training and strengthening exercises. This extra-strong model allows dogs to pull heavy burdens as they run, engaging their entire muscular build.
  • Flyball harness for sports: used for flyball, canicross, and other sporting activities with your dog (running or bike riding for example). Very flexible, the flyball harness allows your dog to be active without restricting his movements.

A harness: choosing the right size

The effectiveness of a harness depends greatly on selecting the proper size for your dog. It must be well-adapted to your dog’s weight and overall size. Start by measuring around your dog’s chest by placing the measuring tape just behind his front legs. Add 5 cm (2 inches) to this number and this will indicate the ideal size harness to buy.

Some harnesses, however, do not always include the size in centimeters or inches. For example, a size XS harness usually measures 25-40 cm and fits small puppies, Chihuahuas and Yorkshire Terriers.

  • Size S : 40 to 50 cm (Jack Russel, Puppy) ;
  • Size M : 50 to 70 cm (French bulldog, Maltese, Miniature Pinscher) ;
  • Size L : 70 to 90 cm (Miniature Schnauzer, Australian Shepherd) ;   
  • Size XL : more than 90 cm (Labrador, Dalmatian, Standard Poodle).

These are only generalizations, of course, and may not coincide with your particular dog’s size. Choose the size that best represents your dog, and you will be sure to find the size that is both effective and comfortable for your furry friend!