Read this blog post to learn all about the different types of dog harnesses!
Dog harnesses are a safer and more comfortable alternative to using leashes for outdoor activities with your dog. Dog harnesses make it possible to run with your dog and participate in dog sports safely.
But which dog harness is best for your dog and the activities you want to perform with him?
Keep reading for the ultimate guide to dog harnesses - why they're needed, which type is best for your breed, and more. This guide will help you to choose the perfect harness to meet your needs and also let you know all of the activities that are possible with each harness.
Dog Harnesses Explained
So, what do you need to know about dog harnesses before investing in one for your dog? Let's dive in and discuss the structure and purpose of a dog harness.
What Is A Dog Harness?
A dog harness is an excellent alternative to a collar, as it provides more support for the dog's body and allows you to control the dog and guide them without causing any discomfort or pain. Dog harnesses are ideal for dog sports like canicross, skijoring, and dog mushing. They are made up of a series of straps that surround the dog's body. Of course, not all dog harnesses are designed for dog sports and some may not distribute the tension from any pulling across the dog’s body evenly.
Uses Of A Dog Harness
A dog harness can be used for various activities, from simply walking or running with your dog, to performing in races and dog sports. Dog harnesses are ideal to mitigate any pulling behavior when taking dogs on walks or jogs. They will stop the dog from injuring themselves when they pull strongly, whereas just a collar may be uncomfortable for a pulling dog.
Dog harnesses also allow dogs to pull heavy loads in pulling activities like canicross, skijoring, and dog mushing. If you're considering practicing dog sports with your dog, the first step would be investing in the right equipment, this includes a dog harness.
Structure Of A Dog Harness
Here are some of the different structures of dog harnesses available and the benefits they can offer for your dog:
- Back clip harness - the back clip harness is one of the most basic dog harnesses. It has a sewn D-loop on the back of the harness where the dog lead attaches, meaning the leash is less likely to get trapped. The back clip harness is the most widely available, it can be purchased in many different places. The back clip harness does not do anything to prevent your dog from pulling.
- Front clip harness - the front clip harness is known as the harness best equipped to prevent your dog from pulling. The front clip harness is similar to the back clip harness; only the D-loop is located at the front of your dog's chest. Trainers prefer the front clip harness for teaching dogs proper leash walking etiquette. However, if you don't carry the leash high enough, the front clip harness tends to cause the leash to get tangled up in your dog's legs as they walk.
- Dual clip harness - this is a versatile harness that gives you the option of attaching the lead to the front or back of your dog's body, depending on their behavior. The dual clip harness offers the benefits of both front and back clips and offers a more versatile walking experience. However, the dual clip harness could be uncomfortable for your dog should the unused back clip or front clip chafe against your dog's skin.
- Head halters - a head halter is a special kind of collar which is a head harness for your dog, designed to pull your dog's snout to the side should they start pulling. The Halti head halter is excellent for training bigger dogs that could potentially injure you with their pulling.
- Weight pulling dog harnesses - unlike the front clip harness, these harnesses are designed to encourage pulling rather than stopping a dog's pulling problem. The H-back and X-back racing harnesses are designed to allow your dog to pull heavy loads without discomfort. Participating in dog sports without a proper pull harness would be considered unethical as it could cause your dog harm.
Purpose of Dog Harnesses
Every harness is different and is designed for its specific use. Choosing the right one helps prevent injury to you and your dog.
For example, harnesses that are adjustable for pulling/mushing are the Perfect Fit Harness, and the Adjustable Racing Harness. Some are not adjustable, like the Sled Pro Harness, and the X-Back Harness. Others like the No Pull Harness and Running Harness are multipurpose oriented and great for hiking/running. Some people simply like a nice walk, which we would recommend the Utility Harness or the Sport Harness.
Does My Dog Need A Harness?
Pulling behavior can be quite dangerous if your dog is wearing only a standard collar. The dog's collar will pressure the neck, leading to a potential tracheal collapse. If your dog is choking and gasping frequently, visit your vet to check that they are not suffering from a tracheal collapse.
Little dogs have weaker necks, making vest-style harnesses more suitable for their bodies than a standard collar. Head halters may be necessary to control larger dogs while walking and are an excellent training tool. If you're planning on participating in any dog sport that involves pulling, you will need to invest in a proper weight-pulling harness to give your dog's body the support it needs and to prevent injury.
All You Need To Know About The Different Dog Harnesses
Let's look at some of the dog harnesses on offer at Neewadogs.com, the activities you can use them for, and which types of dog harnesses would suit your dog's chest and body.
Sled Pro Harness*
The sled pro harness is designed specifically for dog sledding but can be used during any season. The sled pro harness has a non-adjustable X-back structure which is designed with more wrapping for the dog to guarantee maximum traction on mixed trails.
The sled pro harness is made of durable polypropylene to ensure long lasting use and is non-allergenic to ensure the harness does not cause your dog's skin to become irritated. The harness has reflective inserts so your dog is visible at night, this allows you and your dog to perform pulling activities in darker hours. The extra padding around the dog's neck and the dog's chest helps to promote maximum comfort, allowing your dog to perform for longer without experiencing irritation or discomfort.
This harness is designed to fit the bodies of Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and other similar wolf-like dogs. It's always best to opt for the larger size if you're unsure which size is right for your dog, as you can adjust the harness to fit your dog's body perfectly. This harness is well suited for canicross, skijoring, dog sledding, and pulling sports.
* - While usable for more dogs, if yours is lean with a narrow chest then we would recommend the X-Back Racing Harness (below).
The running harness is ideal for your dog's daily walking and running activities. Just like the sled pro harness, the adjustable harness is made from durable polypropylene which is designed to stand the test of time. This material is breathable and hypoallergenic to ensure your dog's skin doesn't become irritated with extended use.
The harness will cushion your dog's chest and neck with extra padding to make sure no extensive pressure is applied to these areas. The running harness is designed for use in activities in the summer months. Thanks to 4 adjustment points, this harness should fit most dogs and it's easy to put on/off with the leash attachment on the back. Check the size guide for more information about sizing.
The sport harness is a Swedish-style harness which comes with a handle that will allow you to lift, carry, or firmly hold your dog up. The harness is made from durable and breathable non-allergenic polypropylene.
The harness is adjustable around the dog's chest and ribcage and similarly to the running harness, is suitable for most breeds and great for everyday use, but not designed for pulling. This harness is designed to act as an obedience and agility training tool, and the special construction means the harness can be put on and removed within a matter of seconds.
The utility harness is another Swedish-style harness with a handle to help pet owners easily lift and carry their dog. The design is engineered to protect the dog's back and is suitable for use during any season, with easy application and removal. The utility harness is breathable, durable, and made of non-allergenic polypropylene to keep your dog comfortable during the summer months. It's worth to note that while its easy to put on/off for everyday use, it's not designed for pulling. The ribcage and chest adjustments make the utility harness suitable for any dog breed.
Adjustable Racing Harness
The Neewa adjustable racing harness has an H back design that helps to distribute pressure evenly across the dog's body with more freedom around the belly. It is designed to provide unrestricted breathing while the dog is pulling heavy loads and could increase your dog's comfort if they are prone to pulling whilst on walks. The racing harness has reflective stripes and is made of breathable materials like the utility harness, that make activities with your dog possible at night and during the summer months. This harness is suitable for all types of dog pulling activities and is highly adjustable, making it a good fit for any breed of dog, including small dogs.
The Neewa no-pull harness has an H back structure and is designed to help dog owners stop dogs from pulling on the leash. The no-pull harness has a front clip that helps discourage pulling behavior and gives owners more control during walking and running activities. The no-pull harness has two leash attachment points which means the back d ring can also be used for walking and running. The reinforced back handle also helps you guide your dog on long hikes. Equipped with extra padding and made from breathable, non-allergenic materials, this harness will keep your dog comfortable when exercising outdoors. With a reinforced handle to lift the dog and a leash attachment on the back and front leash to discourage pulling, this harness may be a good choice if you want to control and mitigate dog pulls.
This dog harness is perfect for use in dock diving activities and any other activities where your dog may require lifting. The no-pull harness is adjustable and will suit most dog breeds and sizes. Check out the product sizing and fitting guide to learn which size will suit your dog best.
The perfect fit harness is a polypropylene harness with extra padding around the neck and chest for extra comfort while your dog is walking, running, or pulling. The X back structure of the harness with adjustable rings grants more wrapping for the dog to guarantee maximum traction on mixed trails. This harness has the same structure as the sled pro harness, but the 8 adjustment points make it a perfect fit for all dogs over 120lbs, including dogs with large heads. This harness is recommended for breeds like the Pitbull, Newfoundland, and Rottweiler. The perfect-fit harness is suitable for all dog pulling sports, such as canicross, skijoring, and dog mushing.
X-Back Racing Harness
The X back racing harness is, unlike the other harnesses, made from nylon, which makes it better suited to withstand freezing temperatures. This harness is designed for sled dogs and is best suited to dogs with a broad chest and muscular body, like the Husky. The X-back racing harness comes with reflective strips to help make dogs visible at night. If you are unsure which size is right for your dog, we recommend opting for the larger size as it can be adjusted to perfectly fit your dog's body.