Like people, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes and all have unique personalities that come with varying needs. What works well for one pooch may not be the ideal solution for another and dog owners must keep this in mind when deciding between opting for dog collars or a harness. Instead of following a preference or trend you must think, ‘What works for my individual dog?’
Professor Dick White, founder of specialist vet practice Dick White Referrals says, “Picking between a collar and harness often depends mainly on the type and breed of dog and not so much in the first instance on how you exert control.”
Dog collars are the most traditional option and the majority of breeds are suited to wearing a collar and lead combo. There are several types of collars to consider when buying for your dog; the classic collar which is a fixed diameter collar, a martingale collar or a slip lead.
Classic dog collars are the safest option as long as they are fastened to the correct diameter and the only time it is not recommended is for those dogs that pull on the leash or who have respiratory issues.
The other option is a martingale, also known as a slip collar, which is perfect for those dogs that tend to slip out of their collars because of their structure. Greyhound, Whippets and Afghan Hounds due to their build are the perfect dogs for these dog collars, along with dogs with thick necks such as French Bulldogs and Shiba Inus. Martingales function by gently closing around the neck when you dog pulls and is a much better alternative to metal choke collars which aren’t recommended as they are potentially harmful for your dog.
Slip leads offer a variable collar diameter and are used in particular by working dogs. Professor White says, “Slip leads are often used for working dogs so that they can be released quickly when working in the field. This type of arrangement is only suited to dogs that are under complete control because of the potential for the slip to tighten around the neck if the dog pulls really hard.”
The best candidates for harnesses are those that both pull and lunge excessively or those breeds with a predisposition to breathing complications and tracheal collapse.
If your dog tends to lunge while out walking then a harness is perhaps the best option, as all the pulling can put strain on the neck and throat which over time can cause harm. Toy breeds such as Chihuahuas, toy Poodles and miniature Yorkshire terriers are often suited to harnesses as their necks are so delicate that too much pressure from a collar can easily compress their airways.
Brachycephalics or flat-faced breeds, such as Bulldogs, Pugs, Pekingese are not anatomically suited to collars, as these pooches can develop respiratory stress if too much pressure is put on their throat and neck area, so harnesses are perfect for these types of breeds.
But remember when it comes to buying dog collars or harnesses for your dog these tips are helpful as a guide however the key is knowing your pooch and making the right choice for their type, personality and lifestyle.