‘Large and in charge takes on a whole new meaning when you try to take your big dog for a walk. Because of their weight and power, they can be difficult to control which is why proper training and equipment become necessary.
But does your large dog need a harness?
Keep reading as we discuss the benefits of a harness for your large dog, along with the tips and steps to help you choose the right fit for your big ol' rover!
The Benefits Of Using A Harness For Large Dogs
When large dogs pull on the lead, it can be challenging to control them. You need to train them not to pull and employ the right tools to help you control and handle them without placing too much pressure on their necks.
Though large dogs can sustain a lot of pressure on the neck, a harness can be more comfortable than leash walking and offer you more control during your walks. Specific harnesses also make it extremely difficult for your dog to pull, and distribute the weight of pulling evenly across the dog’s body.
So, consider using a harness for your big, loveable friend. But which harness is best, and how do you find the right fit?
Types Of Dog Harnesses
Here are the main types of dog harnesses to consider for your big dog!
Back Clip Harness
A back clip harness fastens at the back. Back clip harnesses are often referred to as step-in harnesses. This is because your dog can easily step into the harness, and you can then fasten it at the back. If you have a big dog, it can be hard to lift your dog's body while fitting its harness, which is why the back clip harness is an excellent choice. The leash attaches to a D-ring at the back of the harness, and back leash attachments are one of the most popular choices for harnesses.
Front Clip Harnesses
Most dog trainers will use front clip harnesses for large dogs, ensuring a limited impact when pulling on the leash. The leash attachment is at the front of the harness, so when your dog pulls, he actually ends up turning back towards you instead of towards his intended target.The front clip harness is a cruelty-free way to discourage large dogs from pulling on leashes.
A dual-clip harness offers you the benefits of both front and back clip harnesses. The leash attachment sits at both the front and back of the harness. So, you can switch it up depending on how your dog is behaving. When you expect your dog to pull on the leash in a particular area, you can switch to the front clip/no-pull harness.
If you're looking for a harness for large dogs, you might be interested in a harness with handles on the back. If you've taken your dog out for an off-leash adventure, it might be beneficial to have a control handle to grab it if you suspect they're about to go and chase a squirrel or participate in other rowdy canine behavior.
Some dog owners use the dog's collar to do this, but this can strain your dog's neck and trachea, and it will be challenging to grip on in a hurry (before your dog spots the squirrel).
A tightening harness gives you the ability to adjust your harness to fit your dog's neck and your dog's body seamlessly. The best dog harness for large dogs will be one that can accommodate their unique size, as their bodies will vary more in length than smaller dogs.
How To Choose The Correct Harness For Your Dog
The correct harness for large dogs will have the following qualities. Choosing a suitable harness for your dog is essential, as you want your pup to be comfortable for long walks and adventures with you while also giving you good control
If you're buying a dog harness, you need to know your dog's size. Based on weight and measurements, you can use Neewa’s sizing guides to see how big your dog's harness should be.
Flexibility In Size
As we discussed earlier, the best dog harness for large dogs is an adjustable harness. The straps adjust and allow you to ensure a comfortable fit for your dog, giving them the ability to wear their dog harness all day long without chafing or rubbing.
Full Range Of Motion For Legs
When your dog wears their harness, you must ensure its legs are entirely unrestricted. They should have a full range of motion for their legs, and you can test this by watching them walk in their harness for a while to see if their gait changes.
There should be adjustable straps and adjustment points to ensure your dog harness is entirely adaptable to your dog's size.
You don't want your dog's harness to become worn over time, or to shrink. Look for a dog harness made of quality materials like high-resistance polypropylene which doesn’t shrink or fray, is machine-washable and dries quickly.
Ease Of Use
Dog owners should take their dogs for walks 3-4 times a day, meaning you'll likely need to get your dog's harness on quickly, sometimes in a hurry. A too-difficult harness to put on your dog's head and body will frustrate you and your dog.
Because you want your dog to have a proper fit with a dog harness, you should look for harnesses that have padding to prevent chafing and rubbing on your dog's legs, chest, and neck. A padded chest plate can help make the harness as comfortable as possible for your furry friend.
Finding The Perfect Fit: How To Measure A Large Dog For A Harness
When it comes to sizing your dog for a harness, it can be helpful to know which measurements you need to take. Below are the measurements you'll need and how you can get these measurements.
Some types of harnesses for large dogs are sized based on the dog's weight. To fit dogs for these harnesses, you can look at your vet documents to see your dog's weight or visit your vet to have them weighed. Your big dog likely won't fit on the family scale but this is an option for smaller dogs.
For the best fit, however, it’s probably best to buy a harness that is sized based on measurements and not weight. Picture a bull mastiff that weighs the same as a greyhound and you can easily understand why weight is not the best guide for picking a harness for your dog.
To measure your dog's neck, you should place the tape measure at the base of its neck, at its thickest part. This spot is where the harness will sit around your dog's neck.
To measure your dog's chest, you should fit the tape measure around the widest part of your dog's chest. A good fit around the chest and legs will ensure active dogs have a complete and unrestricted range of motion.
Pros And Cons Of Using Harnesses For Large Dogs
Many dog owners consider harnesses unnecessary for large dogs. Of course, the majority of dog trainers agree that harnesses are the best option for walking and exercising with your pup. To help you determine whether a harness is suitable for your large dog, here are some of the pros and cons of using a harness for large dogs.
The pros of harnesses for large dogs are listed below:
- Pulling sports - if you want to make your dog a pulling dog, you can use a pull dog harness, allowing your dog to perform sports like skijoring, bikejoring, canicross, and mushing.
- Control for unwanted pulling - With a harness, you can control your dog's pulling behaviors more efficiently. A front leash attachment prevents your dog from pulling firmly by repositioning them when they pull.
- Less pressure on trachea and neck area - dog collars can be uncomfortable and even dangerous, making dog harnesses the superior choice in most cases.
Here are some of the possible cons to consider:
- More difficult to put on - with your dog's collar, you can hook them onto the leash attachment and go. However, with a harness, you need to place your dog's legs into the saddle before taking them out and take it off when you return home.
- Takes time to get used to - some dogs really don’t like the way a harness feels at first (similar to when you first put a collar on them). With time, they get used to the feeling.
- Can be easier to escape from - certain breeds can easily escape from their ill-fitting harness, making the proper fit even more important.
6 Best Dog Harnesses For Large Dogs
Here's some inspiration to help you make the best choice for your dog! Check out these dog harnesses for large dogs from Neewa and see which one best suits you and your furry pal!
Perfect Fit Harness
The perfect fit harness is designed for all kinds of dog sports for large dogs and comes with a padded chest plate to make your dog super comfortable while they pull a sled or if there are any severe tugs on the leash. The harness has an X-back structure to ensure pulling weight spreads evenly across your dog's body. And, if your dog is a breed with a large head, you'll be happy to know that the perfect fit harness comes with a wide neck so you can easily dress your dog.
Dog Running Harness
A dog running harness is designed for canicross, running or walking with your dog. You can use this harness daily for your dog, and it's highly durable and water repellent - so you don't need to worry about hanging it up to dry! It has four adjustment points for your dog's neck and chest, making it comfortable and supportive of your dog's movement for running and walking.
Sport Dog Harness
Active dogs need plenty of exercise, and more and more dog owners are using dog sports to give their dogs the training they need to be healthy and happy. A sport dog harness is designed for mushing, canicross, bikejoring, and skijoring, where your dog will need to pull a heavy load. It’s easy-on, with a handle and a reflective band.
The utility harness is an excellent choice for those who need a harness that allows for easy grabbing and holding of your dog. The harness comes with a handle on the back, making it easy to grab, lift, or restrain your dog. Other harnesses do not come with this handle, making them less ideal for swimming. With the utility harness, you can easily hold your dog and support them while they paddle.
Adjustable Racing Harness
The adjustable racing harness for large dogs is a great option. If you enjoy sporting activities with your dog, this harness will keep them comfortable, and the harness evenly distributes pressure across your dog's body, making it ideal for sled dogs. The harness is designed for paths and courses without many turns or bends and has an H-back structure to support your dog's movement and reduce the chance of strain or sprain.
No Pull Dog Harness
The no-pull harness helps you walk or hike with your dog without them dragging you when they get excited. The harness comes with a front clip, making it the best to prevent pulling. You can have more control over your dog's movement and enjoy your hike without worrying about your large dog dragging you along, which could lead to severe injury in rocky terrain.