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Which Harness for Your Dog? PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 28 November 2010 09:18



All harnesses are the "siwash" style harness where the pull is on the sternum/breastbone. The shoulders are free to move. There are no straps covering the shoulders. All three harnesses, the X-back, Urban Trails, and the Hybrid Performance, use the same neck/collar. The measurements for the collar are the same for each of these harnesses. Some dogs fit one style better than another. Most dogs are fine in any of the harnesses if they fit right.


The X-back is the traditional sled dog harness.


It is comfortable, light weight and cheap. It is designed for use with a tugline that goes straight back to the sled/rig. Some dogs back out of these harnesses. The harness can be fitted with a belly band to prevent the escape artists from doing this. Some long distance mushers (100 miles a day) notice that their dogs get sore backs from this harness.  Pet dog owners won't see this problem. Becky Loveless of Alpine Outfitters observed that some of her sled dogs ran more naturally (more arching of back) when switched to the hybrid performance harness which does not constrict the upward curve of the back.



The Urban Trails harness was originally designed for a man in a wheel chair.

urban trails

He could run his dog in front of the chair when out in the open and he could hold the harness with the dog beside him while in a store because of the tight girth. The urban trails harness is designed for the situation where the tugline goes upwards towards the handlebars of the scooter or waist of the runner. The urban trails harness must have the girth strap tight. It is the girth strap that holds the collar in place when tension is placed on the harness. If the girth is loose, the collar slides up and rides on the dog's lower throat. Avoid the temptation to make the harness comfortably loose like say a walking harness.


The Hybrid Performance harness (y-back) is the urban trails harness modified.


It works well where the tugline runs parallel with the dog's spine and back to the sled. The dog's back is free to arch up and down as the dog gallops. It is especially nice with short haired dogs like this lovely pit bull because the strap with padding is between the snap of the tugline and the dog's back.

Do not worry about which harness to buy. Worry about what color to choose... (Joshing with you...) The Brittany spaniels in the urban trails photo are hunting dogs. Gotta have hunter orange harnesses for safety in the woods
Last Updated on Thursday, 17 February 2011 21:48
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