Features of Dog Harnesses for Large Dogs

Dog harnesses are a useful alternative to collars, and they are especially handy to have if you own a large breed dog. Let’s look at why your large dog may need a harness, what to know to get the harness to fit correctly and what you should look for when selecting a harness for your pet.

Why Your Large Dog May Benefit from a Harness

Harnesses offer some benefits over collars for dogs. Some dogs that have respiratory or throat problems may benefit from a harness because their necks and throats won’t be compressed by a collar. Other dogs that pull on their leashes may benefit from a harness because they won’t choke themselves when they pull while wearing a harness as they might while wearing a collar.

Dogs whose heads are smaller than their necks, such as boxers, Rottweilers or Doberman pinschers, will also benefit from wearing a harness because they won’t be able to slip out of the harness as easily as they could slip out of a collar.

Owners can benefit from their dogs being in a harness, too. You may be able to better control a powerful dog if he’s wearing a harness instead of a collar, and your arm may be less sore after a walk if your prone-to-pulling dog is in a harness rather than a collar.

How to Fit Your Dog for a Harness

To properly fit your dog for a harness, you’ll need three measurements:

  • the length of his body from the base of his neck to the base of his tail
  • the circumference of his neck
  • the girth of his chest at its widest point (this is the most important measurement because it’s the basis for most harness sizes)

The harness should fit snugly enough around your dog’s body so he can’t wiggle out of it, but it should be loose enough for him to move his head and body easily while he’s wearing the harness.

What to Look for in a Large Dog Harness

The ideal dog harness should be adjustable, sturdy and comfortable for your dog to wear. It should be easy for you to use on your dog, and it should fasten securely and easily around your dog.

Sturdy harness material choices include nylon webbing or leather. These can be made more comfortable for your dog by the addition of fleece or other soft lining.

A wide variety of harness styles are available for dogs. You can choose from step-in styles, K- or H-style harnesses that resemble the letters for which they are named, or the easy walk style. Step-in or K- or H-style harnesses may be easier for you to use on your dog than some other styles, which is why it may be a good idea to take your dog to your local pet supply store to ensure the harness you choose will fit him properly and will be functional for you, too.

Before you take your dog outside in his harness, allow him to become accustomed to it inside your home for a few days. Also check the harness’ fit each time you use it on your dog because the harness can stretch over time or with repeated washings.