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How should a dog harness fit?

Hur ska en hundsele sitta?
How should a dog harness sit?

Pictured: Anny-X Fun dog harness

Finding an ergonomic dog harness for your dog can be a challenge considering all the body types that can be found on dogs. There are many different harnesses and it can be difficult to navigate the jungle of different varieties. In this article, we will help you focus on what is important when choosing an everyday harness for your dog. There are also other types of harnesses, such as pull harness, track harness and anti-pull harness, which we will not cover here.

Difference between Y harness, X harness, H harness, D harness and T harness

When it comes to dog harnesses, there are a few different models that are common. D harness, Y harness and H harness are the most common. But sometimes it can be hard to know which is which:

  • Y-harnesses can have different designs on the back, and this can affect how they sit on the dog. Some Y harnesses look like a Y on the dog's chest and lack the strap on the back.
  • X-harness instead has neck and chest straps that meet in the middle of the dog's bow leaf and form an X.
  • H-harnesses have a longer back strap than Y-harnesses and the neck straps go straight out from the back strap.
  • D-harness and T-harness are the same thing and are the variant that goes across the chest at the front of the dog.

It can be a bit tricky to tell them apart sometimes, but the most important thing is how the harness affects the dog's movement pattern. So whatever model you choose, make sure it fits your dog well and doesn't hinder it from moving comfortably.

Difference between Y harness, X harness, H harness, D harness and T harness

Is it harmful to use a dog harness?

If the harness has a bad fit, sits incorrectly or is incorrectly adjusted, it can be harmful to your dog. If the harness fits incorrectly, it will affect how the dog's bones and muscles are affected. Below are some indications that the harness fits your dog's body shape incorrectly:

Neck and Sternum - When choosing a harness, you also want to make sure it ends up on the sternum, between the front legs and a little further down the neck, to avoid putting pressure on the dog's trachea. At the same time, you should choose a harness that is not too wide at the front, which can affect the freedom of movement of the hinge joint and cause chafing between the front legs.

You can feel the dog's sternum between the front legs, a bit down the neck. When putting the harness on your dog, it is best if the harness sits directly on the sternum. If the harness sits higher up, it will press against the dog's trachea. It is not good if you plan to let your dog pull on the harness.

Elbow - A harness that is too tight around the elbow and armpit can cause chafing on your dog and it can also be uncomfortable for the dog when it tries to move its front leg back, which can result in shorter strides than normal.

Scapula - A harness that crosses the scapula can affect the movement of the scapula, which can lead to stiff muscles and a tripping gait in the front legs.

The hinge joint - The freedom of movement of the hinge joint is also very important, and if the harness interferes with it, the dog can become stiff and take shorter steps than normal, which in the long run can lead to problems with the joints.

Ribs and soft parts - The harness should not be further back on the back than where the ribs end, to protect the dog's internal organs. So make sure the harness doesn't go further back on your back than where you feel the ribs end.

Why should you use a Y harness on your dog?

Y-harnesses are in most cases the harnesses that meet all the criteria for how an ergonomic harness for dogs should sit. If they are the right size and are properly adjusted, they should not prevent the dog's hooves from moving freely, nor should they impede breathing.

D harnesses

D-harnesses are a common model of harness, but unfortunately they rarely fit the dog well from an ergonomic point of view. Many D-harnesses can interfere with the dog's freedom of movement and press on sensitive soft parts of the neck. Some D-harnesses can sit higher up on the neck to give the hinge joint more freedom, but then it risks pressing against the dog's trachea. In addition, the harness can be uncomfortable for the dog when it needs to bend its head down.

Examples of dog harnesses that fit well:

Anny-X Fun dog harness border collie

Pictured: Y-harness Anny-X Fun dog harness (the pink color in the picture has been discontinued)
Non-stop Line harness y-harness miniature Australian shepherd, MAS Pictured: Y-harness Non-stop Line Harness

Examples of dog harnesses that hinder the dog's freedom of movement and breathing:

Is the D harness harmful to the dog? Harness that prevents the bow blade from moving freely.

In the picture: D harness from Hurtta

When choosing a dog harness, it is important to remember that all dogs are different and therefore have different needs. The width of the padding, the adjustability and how far it goes behind the back are just a few factors that affect the fit on different dogs.

How tight should a dog harness fit?

A dog harness should not be too tight or too loose. If it is too tight, it can cause chafing and damage to the dog's skin and respiratory tract. If it is too loose, the dog can easily get out of the harness or it can cause frictional damage. It is important to adjust the harness straps so that the harness sits close to the dog's body, but without restricting freedom of movement or breathing.

A good guideline might be that you can insert two fingers between your dog's body and the straps. If the dog seems to have difficulty moving or if it seems uncomfortable, it may be necessary to adjust the straps to get a better fit.

During summertime and during hard work, it can be good to loosen the harness a little as the dog pants more and needs more space to expand the chest when it breathes.

How do I put on a dog harness?

Here is a video showing how to put on a double buckle y-harness

Five important points to keep in mind to ensure a good fit on the harness

  • Freedom of movement for the bow blade
  • Freedom of movement for the hinge
  • Freedom of movement for the elbow
  • Do not press on the trachea
  • Do not press on the abdomen*

If the harness meets these requirements, it is suitable for your dog.

When it comes to choosing the best harness for your dog, there is no easy solution. It depends on your dog's body type and what you want to be able to do with the harness. For example, the Y, H or D harness can fit different dogs depending on their shape and size. So it is important that you consider these factors when choosing a harness for your dog.

Try several different models to see the differences in the dog's steps and feel so that the harness does not impede any movement or rubs on soft parts. That way you will find a perfect dog harness for your best friend!

*It is worth noting that there are special harnesses with an extra belly strap designed for dogs prone to escaping. These harnesses are an exception to the five criteria for a good fit.

How should I measure the dog?

Measure the dog around the neck and around the chest, just behind the front legs. You need these two measurements for the vast majority of harnesses that we sell.

How should I measure the dog to find the right size?

Order home and try the harness

With us at Dogmania, you can order home one or more harnesses to try which one suits your dog. You are welcome to contact us if you need help choosing, then please send your dog's measurements around the chest and around the neck and we can help you faster.

If you are unsure about the fit when you have received it, please send us a picture at and we can help you check the fit. You have an open purchase for 30 days and do not incur any costs for the return if you need to change sizes.

At Dogmania we have a carefully selected assortment of dog harnesses and here you can buy harnesses from brands such as Anny-X , Dog Copenhagen , Non-stop , Zero DC and Curli .

Do not hesitate to contact us if you need help choosing a dog harness, we are here to guide you in the right direction.