Dog Collar vs Dog Harness – Which is Better for my Dog

Dog collar vs dog harness

Happy adopted mixed breed dog in garden

Dog Collar vs Dog Harness - Which is better for my dog?

Collar or harness – which is more species-appropriate? An eternal question that continues to divide the dog-owning world. It comes down to more than just opinion, as your dog will be more suited to either a harness or a collar depending on a number of different factors.

Point and purpose of harnesses and collars

Both collars and harnesses have the same essential purpose – when combined with a lead, they give dog owners the ability to guide and control their dogs, keeping them away from potential danger. Depending on the character and temperament of both dog and owner, significant levels of force may need to be exerted through the lead, harness and collar, which is where the sticking point lies…


A collar, as you may expect, goes around the dog’s neck. When the lead is pulled, force is placed directly on the dog’s neck, where important organs such as the thyroid, larynx, trachea and blood vessels can be found. The owner has the ability to influence the dog more, but there can also be an increased risk of injury to the pet. Recent research has shown that long-term application of this force can cause chronic inflammation in the spine and thyroid.

In contrast, a harness acts on the chest and back of your four-legged friend. This means that force is more evenly distributed, making daily walks gentler and less irritating for your dog. However, a poorly-fitting harness may cause problems with the shoulder blades and impede natural movement.


The impact of a harness or collar should be as low as possible. This is only possible if the owner and dog are communicating with one another through other ways, as well as simply pulling on a lead. This requires good training, particularly in more active pets.

Whether a harness or collar is more effective will depend on your dog’s training and your own discretion. If you are finding that every walk is an opportunity for your dog to show off its strength, then you may find it more useful to invest in a good dog training school rather than merely a sharper collar or stronger harness!

The right product

No matter whether you choose to go with a harness or a collar, either option will need to be adjusted according to your dog’s age, weight and size. A harness, for example, should be a hand’s breadth behind the elbow and under no circumstances rub directly under your dog’s armpits. The material should also not be pressing on the sternum.

Collars are also available in a range of different styles and sizes, as well as different materials. You should choose one that is light, yet stable and flexible. Buckles will make it easier to put on and adjust.

We wish you and your dog all the best and plenty of fun on your walks together!

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