Dog Harnesses - makes and models explained
Dogs need comfort - we want style!
Our dogs are members of our families. We want them to feel wonderful and look great - at home and out on the town.
Most veterinarians are now recommending harnesses, instead of collars, for small dogs. But there are a gazillion different kinds of harnesses - how do you know which is best for you and your pup?
Here's a look at the different styles of harnesses now available, how to use them, and what dogs would benefit.
So - what's the difference? - What kind of harness is right for my dog?
There are new designs and styles coming out all the time, but most harnesses can be described as one of the following types
- Step-in Harnesses: A new classic - the Step-in is easy to use, comfortable, sturdy, and stylish.
- Standard Harnesses: Tradition updated - Standard Harnesses are making a comeback with new styling and modern materials.
- Vest Harnesses: Vest harnesses are surging in popularity. Adorable and perfect for pups that pull!
- Easy-on Harnesses: Hook and Loop closures have brought great changes to harnesses.
- Unique harnesses: Harnesses that meet a need, solve a problem - and look great doing it!
Getting the right fit for your dog
There are no size standards for dog harnesses. Each manufacturer has its own size chart. To find the right size for your dog, you must know his girth (chest) measurement.
Dogs come in all shapes, lengths, sizes, widths and weights; even within a single breed.
For a proper fit: Measure your dog's girth (all the way around) just behind his front legs. If you don't have a tape measure, use a piece of string or yarn and measure that length against a yardstick or retractable measure.
Step-in harnesses are rapidly becoming dog owners' favorites - for good reason. Step-ins are easy to use, choke-free, adjustable, comfortable and come in a variety of patterns and sizes.
Almost all Step-in Harnesses have two straps collected by a buckle at the ends, with a perpendicular strap between, forming the spaces for the dog's front legs. The dog steps into the harness (hence the name), the ends are brought up over the dog's back and the buckle is clasped. Easy!
Putting on a Step-in Style Harness
Standard (or Roman) harnesses are the ones most people are familiar with. In the past, with straps going every-which-way, unclear back and front, etc. Standard Harnesses may have been difficult to use. Not anymore. The style has been updated by many manufacturers so these harnesses are comfortable for dogs to wear and easy to put on. The Standard Harness slips over the dog's head, one leg goes into the "armhole," the bottom strap is brought around and buckled. Straps can be adjusted for a custom fit. Most harnesses use a "parachute clasp" which snaps shut, so your dog won't have time to wiggle away. If you haven't tried a Roman harness in a while, it may be the time to revisit this old favorite with a modern twist!
Standard Harness styles
Putting on a Standard Harnes
The Vest-type Harness is exploding in popularity for good reason - no pressure on your dog's neck. The D-ring for the leash is on the dog's back, far away from the dog's vulnerable throat. There are a variety of styles to choose among; functional, sporty, trendy and fun.
Most of the sportier vest harnesses, like the Puppia Soft Harness, do not adjust at the neck. Vest harnesses come in a wide range of sizes, so most dogs, especially those under 25 lbs., will find a good fit. Measure your dog's girth, just behind his front legs. To put it on your dog: Slip the harness over your dog's neck, draw one paw through the "armhole," bring the strap around under his tummy and clasp.
Vest Harness styles
Industrial-strength Velcro (tm) is the key for these harnesses! Harnesses with hook-and-loop (Velcro (tm))closures are easy for everyone. Set the harness on the dog's back and just smooth it closed around his neck and tummy! A good fit is crucial, most do not adjust. Because they have fairly good coverage and a snug fit, these are excellent choices for "escape artists
Easy-on Harness Styles
Unique Harness styles
Unique Harnesses for the dog who won't be lost in a crowd, has particular medical or training issues, or just likes to be distinctive!
Putting on the Harness Lead
We can help you choose the right harness for your dog!
Our experts at Golly Gear are happy to help! Just fill out and submit our Harness Picker Questionnaire. We'll send two or three suggestions via email within 48 hours.
Or - you can now figure it out for yourself! Our DIY Harness Selector is now live!
© 2008 Hope