Harness Vs. Collar: Which is Right for Your Dog?

5 min read

Harness Vs. Collar: Which is Right for Your Dog?

You can always find passionate pet owners arguing over what are the best products to use for their beloved pets. One such argument is the harness vs collar debate. You'll find passionate pet owners in both camps. Find out here once and for all which is right for your dog.

We all want what's best for our furry friends, but how do we know for sure when everyone has different opinions?

Take harnesses and collars, for example. Each side argues that it's the best, while there's no one best thing - there's only a better option, and it differs with every dog owner. It all depends on your dog and your preferences.

So, how do you know which is the better option for you? Read on to see which side of the harness vs. collar debate you and your dog should be on.

Harness vs. Collar: Consider These Things First

When choosing between a harness or collar, it's easy to forget that there are more factors we need to consider apart from your personal preference. There are certain circumstances wherein one is more appropriate than the other, which we'll tell you in detail below.

Comfort and Convenience

How often do you want your dog to wear a harness or collar? If your answer is all the time, buy a collar.

Collars are the easiest to use; most have quick release buckles to easily put or remove the collar no matter the size or how energetic your pup is. They're also more comfortable to wear, so your dog won't mind wearing it all the time inside your home or anywhere for that matter.

If you want to take your dog outside, you simply snap on a leash, and you're good to go. You won't have to wrestle with your dog every time you put it, as is the case with harnesses, which restrict movements and freedom.

Frequency of Walks

There are a lot of exciting things outside, and your dog sure knows it. If you take frequent walks, you've probably had to chase your running dog one time, or you may have had to stumble behind as your dog drags you around like a doll.

If you have that problem, a harness may be a better choice for you. It grants you more control of your hyper little beast, which is essential when every little thing, like a squirrel or passing children, excites them. It's more preferable over collars if you always pass by crowds, busy streets, and such.

However, some dog owners have no problem using collars on their trips outside. Check out the next item to see if you can make do with a collar.

Your Dog's Personality

Your dog's personality matters as well. Is your pet well-trained and has good behaviour overall? Don't restrict its freedom and use a collar.

However, if it's hyperactive and you constantly have to tug at their leash to stop them from running away, a harness is better, and it may also be better for their health. Use the harness if your pup needs more training.

When they start behaving, that's the time you can upgrade them to a collar.

Size of Dog

If you have a bigger dog, a harness might still render you unable to control them. It may even work the other way around - they'll have more control over you.

They'll be more likely to ignore you when you tug, so there's a high chance that they'll drag you around. Dogs react more to a tug at the collar, although you need to be careful as you might pull too hard.

Smaller dogs like Chihuahuas might need a harness as they're more fragile. It will allow them to breathe properly, and they'll get more protection from the hug of a harness.

Medical Issues

Some medical conditions will require the use of harnesses. For example, dogs with tracheal collapse shouldn't use collars, as these things would put stress on your dog's windpipe that would then cause a fit of coughing. We also don't recommend using collars on neck issues, and injuries as these may worsen their conditions when they put pressure against them.

A collar will put pressure on their necks, while a harness will displace the pressure toward their chest and shoulders. If you have a healthy dog, however, feel free to use a collar. It's perfect for everyday use.

Harness Pros and Cons

The guide above still confuses you? Here are the pros and cons of harnesses at a glance.


  • Better for dogs with medical conditions
  • Effective training tool for puppies
  • Better for smaller dogs


  • More restricting
  • Back-attaching type might not be effective for distracted big dogs

As you can see, harnesses do provide an impressive list of pros, but the cons may turn away some people. For one, if your dog absolutely hates the feeling of a harness, you won't reap the benefits of it anyway as they'll find a way to get out of it or they could chew on it. Even if you know how to use a dog harness, you'll be wrestling with your buddy every time.

Collar Pros and Cons

If the pros of harnesses don't appeal to you, a collar might be the right one for you and your dog. Consider the following pros and cons along with our guide above.


  • Allows more freedom; dogs love it!
  • Holds identification and other tags easily
  • Easy to put on, adjust, and remove
  • Provides an easy transition to various activities
  • Dogs of any size and breed can wear it


  • Some types can cause pain or discomfort depending on it's use

This should help you make an informed decision on which product is the most suitable for your dog. If you decide to get a collar, make sure that it's not the type to cause pain as a means of training. Examples of are prong and canine choke collars - avoid these at all cost.

Choose the Right Choice Today!

Now that we've detailed what the harness vs. collar war is about, it's time for you to choose. However, keep in mind that whether you opt to use a collar or harness for a puppy or full-grown dogs, there are other things you need: their identification, license, and other tags. A frightened or overexcited dog might suddenly bolt off without you, and a harness or a collar will not prevent 100% of these cases.

For these reasons, your dog must wear an identification tag at all times. Microchips are great, but they're not a catchall solution either. Order a brass hang tag, or if you prefer something quieter, a brass nameplate that attaches directly to your dog's collar is a perfect option.