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A Guide to Harness Styles

Which Harness Is The Most Suitable For My Dog?

There are two different types of harnesses: The Short or Shoulder harness and The X-Back (long) Harness. The X-back harnesses are traditionally used for dog sledding and dry land racing as they capture the dog's full pulling power from their chest right through to their back legs. The Short Harness only reaches half way down the dog's body, and allows the dog to use his chest and shoulders for pulling. Here are a few points to consider when deciding which harness to choose for your dog:
Which activity/activities are you going to use the harness for?

Both styles are designed for pulling activities, but the Short Harnesses are specifically designed for activities where the attachment point is higher than the dog such as Bikejoring (biking with your dog pulling in the front), Canicross (cross-country running with you dog pulling you) and Scootering (depending on the height of the attachment point on your scooter). If the attachment point is significantly higher than your dog, an X-back harness may lift from the back and pull your dog slightly upwards reducing his pulling power. The angle of the line also depends on the length of the line (you can make the angle less steep with a longer line), and the size of your dog of course.

If you intend to use the harness for walking as well as for pulling activities, a Short Harness may be a better choice as it stays in the right place also if your dog walks on your side. It can also be used as a car restraint harness.

Does your dog pull in the front keeping the line tight?

If your dog is wearing an X-back harness, they should ideally be pulling in the front at all times, keeping the line tight. If the line is slack and your dog runs on your side, a long harness will start flopping around and twisting. So if your dog likes running on your side or tends to be more focused on other things than running forward, a short harness might be a better choice for him as it stays in the right place also when it is not being pulled back.

Is your dog an escape artist?

It is quite easy for a dog to back out of an X-back harness if they want to. So if you run your dog by himself and he quite likes the look of the sheep on the paddock next door or the neighbor's cat, and he knows all the tricks for escaping and pulling out of collars and harnesses, a Short Harness will be a safer choice, as with the tight chest strap it is harder for him to back out of (still not impossible though - we have seen that before).

If your dog runs in a team or with another dog, a neckline will secure him to the rest of the team.

If your dog runs by himself and you need extra security, you can use a neckline or something similar to clip from his collar to the ring on his harness - that way even if he pulled out of the harness you will still have him by the collar.

Does your dog have lower back or hip problems?

If your dog has got any problems with his lower back or hips, a Short Harness is a better choice as the dog pulls with his chest and shoulders, leaving the back end of the body free of pressure.

Which one of the styles UrbanWolf stocks would be the most suitable for my dog?

Short Harnesses fit basically any shape and size of dog. If your dog does not fit any standard size X-back harness, he will most likely fit any of the Short Harnesses.

ManMat harnesses come in the standard sizes only, Nordkyn Shoulder harness and Zero DC harnesses can also be ordered in custom made sizes.

Here is a short summary of the X-back styles we sell and which types/breeds of dogs they fit best:

ManMat Light WeightAlaskan Huskies; lean, athletic type Siberian Huskies and similar type of dogs
ManMat Siberian RaceMore "stocky", wider chested type Siberian Huskies and similar type of dogs
ManMat Hound HarnessPointers and other wide and deep chested breeds
ManMat Sled HarnessDogs with a shorter body and bigger neck - Malamutes, Labs, German Shepherds etc.
Zero DC Euro LongSpecifically designed for Pointers , also other deep chested dogs. Can be custom made to fit any size/shape
Nordkyn X-BackCan be custom made to fit any size/shape

For details about how to find the right size to fit your dog, please go to:

Dog Measuring

You'll find measuring instructions for the Zero DC Harnesses in the product descriptions.

If you have any further questions about the harness styles or sizing, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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