How to choose the right dog harness
A good harness is one of the most important pieces of equipment an active dog can have. Well-fitting gear will help prevent injuries and give your dog a better and more comfortable experience when being active together with you.
Your dog can’t choose its own harness. Therefore, it is important that you find the right one for him/her. When looking for the best harness for your dog, there are some specific points you should consider.
In this guide, we will help you find the best harness for your dog. You can also take our dog harness recommendation quiz to quickly find out which harness that suits your needs.
1. The right harness for your activity
The kind of activities you do is crucial for choosing the right harness. There are different types of dog harnesses explicitly designed for various activities.
If you have a dog that is pulling very hard on the lead and joins you running, bicycling or skiing, you need a pulling harness. A pulling harness is also mandatory for dog mushing. If you are mostly hiking or walking with a dog that is not pulling much, an all-round harness is the best choice. If you don’t want your dog to pull, a harness with an anti-pull attachment point can be a nice addition to your leash training.
2. Ergonomic fit
A dog harness should have an ergonomic fit, regardless of the activity you plan to do. An ergonomic dog harness will help prevent injuries and is more comfortable to wear.
Harnesses with a Y-shaped front allow free shoulder movement and minimal breathing constraint.
Dogs put their gear to the ultimate test, day in and day out. For safety reasons, you should choose a harness made of strong and durable materials. You don’t want the harness to break if your dog suddenly sees a squirrel running across the road!
Investing in a high quality dog harness is also a more sustainable choice, as they will last longer. It is also cheaper for you in the long run.
Below, you will learn more about all of our harnesses and for which activities each harness is best suited.
For a dog pulling harness, the attachment point for the line should sit at the base of your dog’s tail rather than in the middle of its back. This avoids putting stress on your dog’s spine.
For activities like canicross, bikejoring or skijoring, where your dog’s line is attached to a hip belt or bike the so-called pulling center is above your dog. This means you need a dog harness shaped and developed for a high pulling point, such as the Freemotion harness 5.0.
The Freemotion harness 5.0 is our best selling pulling harness for dogs. Our original harness design has been developed and tested by world-leading athletes within bikejoring, skijoring and canicross. It is used by elite athletes as well as active dogs at every level.
The Freemotion harness 5.0 comes in a wide variety of sizes for big and small dogs and adjusts easily to fit most breeds. This harness utilizes your dog’s anatomy to increase performance and comfort.
The Combined harness is a pulling harness with the exact same design and function as the Freemotion harness but with additional attachment points for a pulk. The optional girth strap will prevent your dog from sliding out of the harness.
If you are doing dog mushing or light weight training, you need a harness designed for a lower pulling point, such as the Nansen nome harness 5.0.
This is an x-back harness developed specifically for mushing. It utilizes all of the power that the dog puts into the harness and offers optimum comfort. Since 2010, the Nansen nome harness has been used by dog teams that have won international medals in sprint, middle and long distance races. For example, Thomas Wærner used the prototype of the upgraded version when he won the Iditarod in 2020. The Nansen nome harness was tested on a distance equal to going around the world 16 times!
A straight section over the dog's neck provides full freedom of movement in the shoulder area. For dogs who are pulling to one side, this harness decreases the risk of strain because the back strap travels on the attachment point, which levels the harness and dog.
Another option for dog mushing and light weight training is the Nansen stick harness. This pulling-harness was co-developed with the five-time Iditarod champion, Dallas Seavey. He wanted to solve the problem of back and hip strain that many of the rearmost dogs are exposed to. This harness puts minimal pressure on the dog's hips when the pulling center is low thanks to the elastic back piece and stick.
Multi-use dog harness
If you are looking for one harness to cover all needs, you should have a look at the Rock harness long. This is a multi-use dog harness suitable for your favorite activities and daily life.
This long harness is unique because it is designed to aid with pulling. The support strap at the base of the harness distributes the pressure evenly at top and bottom for optimized power transfer when pulling. This makes the Rock harness long suitable for activities like canicross, bikejoring and skijoring for dogs that are pulling moderately.
The harness is also an ideal choice for trekking and obstacle racing, as it is equipped with a solid handle and distributes your dog's weight evenly when being lifted.
Our breathable HexiVent material ensures excellent airflow and keeps your dog comfortable even in warmer temperatures. The material also dries quickly and smells less.
Hiking and everyday harnesses
If your dog does not pull much or you don’t want him/her to pull at all, you can look for a so-called half harness where the leash is attached to a point on your dog’s back. Some of the hiking and everyday dog harnesses even have a front attachment point for mild anti-pull control, as well as one under the chest for a tracking line. There are many styles to choose from within this range. Most important is that you find an ergonomic harness that fits your needs.
If you are looking for a highly versatile, ergonomic and lightweight dog harness the Line harness or Line harness grip, with an additional handle, is a great choice. These popular harnesses were developed for tracking with dogs, but they are also suitable for daily walks, hiking and other activities. The harnesses have several leash connection points and are very comfortable for your dog to wear.
If you are looking for a highly adjustable dog harness with a handle, the Ramble harness or Rock harness is perfect. These dog harnesses can be adjusted around both neck and chest, which is great for growing puppies or dogs with a strong build. The Ramble harness has extra padding, while Rock harness is ideal for warm summer days because of the innovative and breathable HexiVent material. These harnesses also have three leash connection points.
The importance of correct size
When you have chosen the harness that fits your needs, the next step is finding the right size for your dog.
The size finder on each product's page will help you find the correct size for your dog. Simply fill in your dog’s measurements and a size will be suggested for you. With this tool, you will also see if your dog is close to going one size up or down.
If the harness should not fit, you have the possibility to exchange for the right size.
After you have found the right size for your dog, it is time to adjust the harness for optimum fit. Having the right size is essential to utilizing the harness's properties in the best possible way and preventing strain. A pulling-harness should, for example, be snug around the neck to prevent it from sliding down towards your dog’s shoulders, as that will limit movement.
Click here to download the fitting guide for our Freemotion harness and Combined harness.
Why choose Non-stop dogwear?
We have been developing gear for active dogs and their humans since 2009. As dogsport athletes, making ergonomic, innovative and functional equipment is essential.
We team up with athletes and professionals to test each product to the limit under the most extreme conditions for your safety and comfort. We believe that all dogs deserve the best, no matter if they are a family dog or a world champion in their sport. Our passion is to facilitate and encourage an active lifestyle for dogs and their owners.
Our product developers carefully select durable, functional and environmentally friendly materials. We are the world’s first pet brand to become bluesign® SYSTEM PARTNER to ensure that our dog gear meets the highest standards possible.
We focus on making long lasting products. To reach this goal, many factors play an important role in a product's life cycle. We are proud to know that some of our athletes have been using the same harness for nearly a decade! That is possible due to our high quality and functionality standards but also because we provide replaceable parts like side straps and clips. If you choose to upgrade to a newer version of the product, give your old harness a new life with a different owner so that it gets many more years of use. We also gather up used gear and provide it to, for example, dog shelters and young athletes.
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