3 Types of Dog Harnesses and the Pros and Cons of Each

When it comes to managing their faithful four-legged family members, pet parents are usually faced with one question: collars or harnesses? While each option has its advantages and drawbacks, animal experts agree that a custom dog harness is the safer of the two. In this guide, we’ll detail what the benefits of using a harness are and enumerate the different types of dog harnesses that you might come across. With this information, we hope that you can more easily make an informed and responsible choice for your pup. Read on below:

What Is a Dog Harness?

The dog harness has risen in popularity in recent years as a safer, more humane alternative to traditional dog collars. In essence, both pieces of equipment perform the same function: when used in conjunction with a leash, they allow a pet owner or dog trainer to control, guide, and communicate with their dog during a walk. However, harnesses differ from collars by removing pull pressure from the dog’s neck, trachea, and windpipe entirely. That pressure is instead transferred to the front of the dog’s body and is evenly distributed throughout their torso, thus minimizing pain and discomfort.

dog harness

Types of Dog Harnesses

There are several different types of dog harnesses available on the market. We’ve listed some of the most common ones below:

The Classic or Back-Clip Harness

The classic or back-clip harness is one of the most common types of dog harnesses, favored by most pet parents due to its ubiquity, durability, and ease of use. With this type of harness, the clip or D-ring that the leash attaches to is located on the dog’s back. This rear attachment puts the leash away from the dog’s windpipe and trachea, making for a more comfortable experience even if they tend to pull during a walk.

Another major advantage of the back-clip harness is that the leash is less likely to get underfoot of your pooch while walking, minimizing the risk of your dog’s legs getting entangled in it. They’re also easy to put on, and dogs tend to adjust to them more quickly than other types of harnesses.

While back-clip harnesses do offer more control than a collar, they don’t dissuade your pet from pulling or lunging forward. This type of harness also does not provide directional correction and thus cannot be used to lead your dog while walking.

The classic or back-clip harness suits most breeds; in fact, many will take to them well. As one of the most popular personalized pet products, they are widely available in a variety of designs and colors, too. However, they may not be the best choice for larger dogs with more excitable or aggressive dispositions. They’re best suited for smaller dogs and puppies with slender necks and tender spines, as the design prevents them from injuring themselves even if they pull on the leash.

The Front-Clip Harness

Front-clip harnesses put the leash attachment on the center of the dog’s chest, hence the name. They are a popular choice among professional dog trainers because they offer a greater level of control over the pet without causing them any pain. Specifically, the position of the attachment pulls the pet towards the holder of the leash instead of forward, thus physically preventing them from going astray. The design also allows for directional correction, allowing the holder of the leash to steer the dog during a walk.

The front-clip harness is not without its cons, though. For one, the position of the leash attachment can make it all too easy for a dog to get entangled in their own leash. Dogs also find them uncomfortable, and getting one on your pet can be a bit of a struggle. Additionally, even if the harness’ design discourages pulling, it alone will not be able to dissuade large dogs with serious behavioral issues from doing so.

The front-clip harness is an excellent training tool for larger dog breeds who still require additional guidance on a walk. However, owners should ensure that they’re properly fitted to their pets to prevent gait issues and long-term injury.

The Dual-Clip Harness

Dual-clip harnesses combine the features and functions of the back-clip and front-clip harnesses into one neat package. They have leash attachments located on both the back and the front of the dog, making them an extremely versatile option for managing your pet no matter the situation. With a dual-clip harness, owners or handlers can attach the leash to only the front clip, only the rear clip, or both, depending on the level of control that they want to exert over the dog. From there, it’s easy to use the rear clip to guide the dog while on a walk, only pulling on the front clip when necessary.

One of the major drawbacks of dual-clip or multi-clip harnesses is their webbed design, which can cause chafing around the dog’s shoulders. They are also often more expensive than regular back-clip or front-clip harnesses.

As pet parents, we all naturally want the best for our fur babies, whether that’s customized dog toys or tools and equipment that can help us manage them without hurting them. With this guide, we hope that we’ve helped you make the best harness choice for your forever friend.


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