what size dog harness do i need 2
what size dog harness do i need 2

Have you ever found yourself wondering about the right size dog harness for your furry friend? Choosing the correct harness is essential for your dog’s comfort and safety during walks and outdoor activities. In this article, we will guide you through the process of determining the perfect size dog harness for your beloved companion. Whether you have a small, medium, or large dog, we have got you covered with all the tips and tricks to ensure a perfect fit. So, let’s embark on this journey together and find the ideal harness for your pup!

What Size Dog Harness Do I Need?

Factors to Consider

When selecting a dog harness, there are several important factors to consider that will help ensure you choose the right size for your furry friend. These factors include the dog’s breed, size, and age.

Dog’s Breed

Different dog breeds vary in their body shapes and sizes, so it’s crucial to take your dog’s breed into consideration when selecting a harness. Certain breeds may have wider chests or longer bodies, requiring specific harness measurements to ensure a perfect fit.

Dog’s Size

Beyond breed considerations, the size of your dog is also an essential factor when determining the right harness size. Small dogs will require smaller harnesses, while large or extra-large breeds will need more substantial options to comfortably support their bodies.

Dog’s Age

Finally, the age of your dog can also play a role in obtaining the right harness size. Puppies, for example, are still growing, which means that their harness size may need to be adjusted regularly. On the other hand, senior dogs may have specific requirements due to any age-related issues such as arthritis or mobility limitations.

Measuring Your Dog

To ensure you choose the correct harness size, it’s crucial to accurately measure your dog. This process typically involves measuring the neck, chest, and length of your furry companion.

Measure the Neck

Start by measuring your dog’s neck. To do this, use a soft measuring tape and wrap it around the base of their neck, where the collar would usually rest. Make sure the tape is snug but not too tight, as you want your dog to be comfortable.

Measure the Chest

Next, measure the chest of your dog. Place the tape measure around the widest part of their rib cage, ensuring that it is neither too tight nor too loose. This measurement is crucial to ensure the harness fits properly and provides the necessary support.

Measure the Length

Finally, measure the length of your dog’s body. Starting from the base of their neck, run the tape measure along their back to the base of their tail. This measurement is particularly important for breeds with long bodies or unique body shapes as it ensures the harness covers the necessary area without hindering movement.

Using Breed and Weight Charts

To further assist in determining the appropriate harness size, there are various breed and weight charts available that provide general guidelines based on the average sizes of different breeds.

Breed-Specific Guidelines

Breed-specific guidelines can be a helpful starting point when selecting a harness for your dog. These charts take into account the typical measurements and proportions of various dog breeds, helping you narrow down the options based on your dog’s specific breed.

Weight-Based Guidelines

Weight-based guidelines are another useful resource in finding the right harness size. These charts typically categorize dogs into weight ranges and provide corresponding harness sizes. While these charts can give you a good estimate, it’s important to remember that they may not cover all potential variations within a specific weight range.

Choosing the Right Harness Size

Now that you have measured your dog and considered breed and weight charts, it’s time to choose the right harness size. Keep in mind the following factors when making your decision.

Size Options

A quality harness should come in various size options to accommodate dogs of different breeds, sizes, and body shapes. Look for harnesses that offer a range of sizes, ensuring you can select the perfect fit for your furry friend.


An adjustable harness is highly recommended as it allows for a more precise fit. Opting for a harness with adjustable straps around the neck and chest ensures that you can fine-tune the fit to match your dog’s specific measurements. This is particularly important for puppies who are still growing.

Considerations for Puppies

Puppies grow rapidly, so it’s crucial to choose a harness that can be easily adjusted as they mature. Look for harnesses with multiple points of adjustment to accommodate their changing body shape and size.

Considerations for Senior Dogs

Senior dogs may have specific needs due to age-related conditions, such as arthritis or reduced mobility. It’s important to choose a harness that provides adequate support while being comfortable for your senior companion. Harnesses with padding and ergonomic designs are ideal for their comfort and well-being.

What Size Dog Harness Do I Need?

Different Types of Harnesses

There are various types of harnesses available, each with its own unique features and benefits. Understanding the differences between these harnesses can help you choose the most suitable option for your dog.

Front-clip Harness

A front-clip harness has its leash attachment point located on the front of the dog’s chest. This design helps discourage pulling by redirecting the dog’s focus back towards the handler. This type of harness is generally recommended for dogs who pull excessively during walks.

Back-clip Harness

A back-clip harness has its leash attachment point located on the dog’s back, between the shoulder blades. Back-clip harnesses are easy to put on and suitable for well-behaved dogs who walk calmly on a leash. They offer good control and are often comfortable for dogs to wear.

Tightening Harness

Tightening harnesses, also known as martingale harnesses, tighten slightly when tension is applied to discourage pulling. While these harnesses can be effective for some dogs, it’s important to ensure they are properly fitted and used correctly to avoid discomfort.

Step-In Harness

Step-in harnesses, as the name suggests, require the dog to step into them and are then secured around the chest and neck. These harnesses are easy to put on and are a good option for dogs who may be hesitant or fearful of having a harness placed over their head.

Harness with Handles

Harnesses with handles can be useful for dogs that may need extra assistance or control, such as elderly or disabled dogs. The handles allow you to support your dog’s body or lift them if needed, providing added convenience and safety.

Special Considerations

Certain situations and specific dog characteristics may require additional considerations when selecting a harness. Some of these special considerations include different harness styles, specialty harnesses, extra small and large dogs, and dogs with special needs.

Different Harness Styles

As mentioned earlier, the variety of harness styles allows you to choose the most appropriate one based on your dog’s behavior, walking habits, and comfort. It’s important to assess your dog’s specific needs and consider the different harness styles available to make an informed decision.

Specialty Harnesses

In some cases, dogs may require specialty harnesses designed to address specific medical or behavioral issues. For example, there are harnesses available that provide extra support to dogs with hip dysplasia or those recovering from surgery. Consulting with your veterinarian can help determine if a specialty harness is necessary for your dog’s well-being.

Extra Small and Large Dogs

Extra small and large dogs often have unique sizing requirements due to their proportions and body shapes. Harnesses specifically designed for these sizes should be sought to ensure a proper fit and avoid any discomfort or restrictions on movement.

Special Needs Dogs

Dogs with special needs, such as those with physical disabilities or senior dogs, may benefit from harnesses that provide additional support and stability. These harnesses are usually designed with features like handles or extra padding to assist dogs with reduced mobility.

Benefits of a Properly Sized Harness

Choosing a harness that fits your dog properly provides numerous benefits that contribute to their comfort, safety, and your overall control during walks.


A properly sized harness ensures that your dog is comfortable while wearing it. It will not dig into their skin, rub on their fur, or cause any unnecessary discomfort or irritation. Comfortable harnesses allow for a more enjoyable and stress-free walking experience for both you and your furry companion.


Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to selecting a harness. A properly fitted harness ensures that it remains securely on your dog’s body, reducing the risk of them slipping out or escaping during walks. It also prevents unnecessary strain on their neck, reducing the risk of injury.

Control and Leash Management

A correctly sized harness provides better control over your dog, especially if they tend to pull or have a strong prey drive. Harnesses distribute the pulling force more evenly across the body, making it easier for you to manage their movements and maintain control. This increased control enhances both your safety and that of your dog when out and about.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While determining the right harness size may seem straightforward, there are common mistakes that pet owners should be aware of to ensure they select the best option for their dogs.

Guessing Sizes

One of the most common mistakes is guessing the harness size instead of precisely measuring the dog. Guessing can result in an ill-fitting harness that can cause discomfort or restrict your dog’s movements.

Neglecting to Measure Properly

Another mistake is neglecting to measure the dog accurately or forgetting to measure all the necessary areas, such as the chest and length. Each measurement is essential, and overlooking any of them can lead to an incorrect harness size.

It’s Not Just About the Neck

Many pet owners make the mistake of solely focusing on the neck measurement when selecting a harness. However, it’s crucial to consider the dog’s chest and length as well to ensure a proper fit and provide adequate support.

Where to Find Harness Sizing Guides

Harness sizing guides can be found on various platforms and resources, making it easier for you to determine the correct size for your dog. Consider the following places when looking for guidance.

Manufacturer Websites

Many harness manufacturers provide detailed sizing guides on their websites to help you choose the right size. These guides often include instructions on how to measure your dog and provide size charts specific to their products.

Retailer Websites

Online retailers that specialize in pet supplies often provide sizing information for the products they sell. These websites may offer additional resources, such as customer reviews, which can provide valuable insights into the accuracy of the size charts and fit of the harnesses.

Pet Stores and Specialty Shops

If you prefer an in-person shopping experience, pet stores and specialty shops are excellent places to find harness sizing guides. Staff members are often knowledgeable about the different harness brands they carry and can assist you in selecting the right size for your dog.


Selecting the correct size dog harness is crucial for your pet’s comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment during walks. By considering factors such as the dog’s breed, size, and age, accurately measuring their neck, chest, and length, and utilizing breed and weight charts, you can confidently choose the perfect fit. Evaluating different harness styles, considering any special needs your dog may have, and understanding the benefits of a properly sized harness ensures that your furry friend receives the support they need. Avoiding common mistakes and utilizing harness sizing guides from manufacturer and retailer websites or in-store pet shops also aids in finding the right harness size for your dog. So remember, taking the time to select the correct harness size will result in more pleasant walks, better control, and a happier, healthier companion.

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Brian Moore
I'm Brian Moore, a veterinarian with over 10 years of experience. I graduated from the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. After graduation, I worked as a general practitioner in a small animal clinic for several years. In 2017, I opened my own veterinary practice, Moore Animal Hospital. I'm passionate about providing compassionate and high-quality care to all animals. I'm skilled in a wide range of veterinary procedures, including surgery, dentistry, and internal medicine. I'm also a certified animal behaviorist, and I take a special interest in helping animals with behavioral problems. In addition to my clinical work, I'm also active in the veterinary community. I'm a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and the California Veterinary Medical Association. I'm also a frequent speaker at veterinary conferences. I'm dedicated to providing the best possible care for my patients and their families. I'm a compassionate and knowledgeable veterinarian who is always willing to go the extra mile. I'm originally from San Francisco, California. I'm married and have two children. I enjoy hiking, camping, and spending time with my family. I'm also a member of the local animal shelter and volunteer my time to help care for homeless animals. I'm excited to continue my career as a veterinarian and help even more animals in need.