How to Choose the Right Dog Harness

How to Choose the Right Harness
for Your Dog

By Holly Genser

The Right Harness Gives You Peace of Mind and Safety for Your Dog

A good harness protects your dog's delicate trachea from choking or damage. And it's not just for small dogs. A harness is critical for safely walking dogs weighing less than 20 pounds, dogs with flat noses, and dogs with delicate windpipes or arthritis. For these reasons, older dogs of any size, even large dogs, benefit from using a harness. You can choose harnesses for different kinds of weather, and they come in many colors, patterns, and styles, but type and fit are the your first decisions.

Types of Harnesses

You can find many different types of harnesses for different purposes. The three quality types of harnesses that we recommend are adjustable, step-in, and Easy-Go harnesses. All come in a variety of fabrics, colors, and patterns to suit the season and your personality.

Adjustable Harnesses
If your dog's proportions are not standard or your dog is very small, you'll need an adjustable harness. An example of a dog that needs an adjustable harness is the dachshund. It has a wide chest combined with a relatively narrow, long body.

To put on an adjustable harness, you put it on over the dog's head and place one leg into the opening. Then you close the other side around the second leg with the hook and loop and buckle closures. The leash clips to two D-rings in the back.

Puppia Sappy Dog Harness
An excellent example of an adjustable harness is the Puppia Sappy Dog Harness A at right. Notice the buckles on the straps. This view shows the part that goes under your dog's chest.

Step-in Harnesses
If your dog's shoulders and neck are in proportion to the rest of him, and his measurements fit within a given size range, you can choose a step-in harness. With a step-in harness, you place it on the floor, have your dog step into the leg holes, and pull it closed in the back with the hook and loop closure. The leash clips to the two D-rings at the back. When you pull on the leash, the harness will tighten slightly.
Puppia Cosmic Dog Harness B
See the Puppia Cosmic Dog Harness B, below, right for an example of a step-in harness. It shows the back of the harness with the hook and loop tab closure and the double D-rings for the leash.

Ultra Choke Free Step-In Harnesses

Another example of an excellent step-in harness is the American River Ultra Choke Free Harness. It is contoured for a better fit and has a patented Ultra Choke Free feature. It pulls your dog only by the shoulders, not by the neck. It fits dogs from one- to 50-pounds.
You can see some Ultra Choke-Free harnesses here.

EasyGo Harnesses
EasyGo harnesses are quick to put on and take off. You simply put the dog's legs in, attach the leash, then slide the bar clip down toward the dog to tighten. The leash keeps the harness on. You must have a good fit, or the harness can ride up or fall off. EasyGo harnesses, come in sizes up to XL.

Factors to Find Your Best Fit

To determine which type of harness is best for your dog, fit is key.

Start by Measuring Your Dog
Measure your dog at the chest and take your dog's weight. Then compare the measurements with the fit charts for the harnesses that interest you. Your dog's chest size plus and her weight should fit within the range given.

If both your chest and weight measurements don't fit a style's range, try a different manufacturer or type of harness.

Other Important Factors
If you have a dog that's hard to fit, then your harness needs to be adjustable.

If you have a small dog, you will want to have an Ultra Choke Free harness to protect your pup's delicate trachea.

If you want the harness to be easy to put on and take off, and your dog
has no special fitting needs, then you can choose an EasyGo harness.

Now Choose Your Style, Fabric, Color, and Pattern
Doggie Design Black and White Cool Mesh Floral Harness
Whichever type of harness is best for you and your baby, you can choose a harness for every season and mood.

For winter, choo
se a heavy fabric. For summer and warm climates, choose mesh to keep your dog cool.

All styles come in dresses, vests, florals, plaids, animal prints, and themes. Manufacturers of quality harnesses include Puppia, Pinkaholic (for small dogs only), Doggie Design, Gooby, and Pooch Outfitters.

Click here to browse our complete selection of Dog Harnesses.

Who We Are

Patti Hasner is the owner of For seven years, she's offered exceptional service and dog attire to lavish your dog with love. Her miniature white poodle, Samantha, is the store's mascot and proud product tester.

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