The 3 Different Types of Dog Harnesses and How To Pick the Right Size for Your Pup

October 06, 2021

DJANGO Dog Blog - The 3 Different Types of Dog Harnesses and How To Pick the Right Size for Your Pup -

Choosing the right type of dog harness is crucial. A high quality and proper fitting dog harness will improve your pup's comfort, prevent the risk of chafing and injury, and make walks and outings more enjoyable for everyone. With an endless number of dog harness styles on the market today, selecting the best one for your pup can be a trying task.

In this DJANGO Dog Blog post, we review the 3 types of dog harnesses: back-clip, front-clip, and dual-clip. We'll also tell you how to measure your dog for a harness and how to make sure that it fits safely and correctly.

Back-Clip Dog Harness

Back-clip dog harnesses traditionally fasten in the back between a dog's shoulders or farther down on the spine. Dog owners often prefer back-clip harnesses because they are easy to slip on and comfortable to wear. They are particularly appropriate for small dog breeds since petite pups have delicate throats that can easily be hurt by collars. Back-clip harnesses also come in a variety of bright and bold colors and patterns.

With back-clip dog harnesses, dogs cannot easily access their leashes to chew on them. Dogs are are also less likely to get tangled in back-clip harnesses.

One consideration? If you have an aggressive puller and/or are trying to teach your dog how to properly heel without tugging on the leash, consider one of the two dog harness options below. Dogs have a natural instinct to pull—just picture sled dogs at work! Back-clip dog harnesses can encourage dogs to pull. They can also trigger your dog's “opposition reflex,” which basically means every time you pull your pup in one direction, he or she automatically pulls in the opposite one!

As a personal aside, we (Steph and Mike) have successfully been using back-clip harnesses for our dachshund Django for years. Ensure the dog harness you get is high quality, adjustable (in both the chest and neck straps!), comfortable, and lightweight.

A great option to consider is DJANGO's Adventure Dog Harness. The durable back-clip dog harness has a weather-resistant, padded, and lightweight neoprene body. Heavy-duty webbing is complimented beautiful solid brass hardware and reflective piping. Both the chest and neck dog harness straps are very adjustable, allowing a custom fit for your dog no matter his or her body side.

Front-Clip Dog Harness

Front-clip dog harnesses (aka “no-pull” dog harnesses) have a leash attachment at the center of the chest. They are best for large, stubborn dogs and tough walkers.

Front-clip dog harnesses put you in front of your pup. If your dog starts pulling you after him, the tension on the leash will cause him to turn toward you. If your dog wants to continue forward, he will have to slow down. While some dogs are still able to pull through a front-clip harness, it should prevent them from spraining your wrist or pulling your shoulder out of your socket.

What are the cons of front-clip harnesses? For one, they are generally heavier and bulkier than back-clip harnesses and therefore not always appropriate for small or petite dog breeds. Since the leash attachment or D-ring is located on the front of the harness, the back of the harness is typically large and padded. This is to prevent the backside of the harness (the part that rests on your dog's upper back, just under his neck) from digging into your dog's neck or shoulder blades and causing discomfort or chafing.

In addition to the above consideration, front-clip harnesses can be much harder to put on than back-clip dog harnesses. Moreover, since the dog leash is clipped at the front of the chest area, your dog’s front legs might get tangled in the leash if you give it too much slack. And while front-clip dog harnesses give you “a better grip" on the leash pulling problem, your dog may need additional walking tools, such as a gentle leader head collar.

Finally, front-clip dog harnesses will not teach your dog to stop pulling on his leash. For that, you will need properly leash train your dog.

This is currently the most popular front-clip dog harness sold on

Dual-Clip Dog Harness

Dual-clip dog harnesses have a leash attachment on the back and the front. In many cases, they also have a traffic handle in the middle of the back to prevent leash burn and allow you to better manage your dog if he or she tries to pull you. Similar to front-clip dog harnesses, dual-clip dog harnesses can be bulky and heavy and are often intended for larger dog breeds.

There are several benefits that come with dual-clip dog harnesses.  For one, versatility—they can be used as either a back-clip dog harness or a front-clip dog harness. Dual-clip dog harnesses with a built-in traffic handle are also helpful if you need extra control in a dangerous or distracting environment or if you want to train your dog to walk without yanking on his leash.

Have a double-ended leash? You can connect both the front and back leash attachments. When used correctly, they evenly apply pressure across your canine companion’s chest and back. Double-ended leashes offer the most control but take time to get used to.

How to Measure Your Dog For a Harness

You will need your dog’s neck and chest girth measurements to fit him or her for a harness. Here is how to properly measure your dog for these.

  • Neck: Loop a flexible plastic or soft cloth tape measure around your pup’s neck where his collar will sit. Position it between the top of his chest and his shoulder blades. To get the comfiest fit, use the "two-finger rule" and place two fingers (four fingers for large dog breeds) under the measuring tape. Cannot find a measuring tape? You can also use a shoelace or phone charging cable and then measure it with an accurate online ruler or rigid yardstick. 
  • Chest: Pull the tape measure around the broadest part of your dog’s chest. It should be behind his front legs but not right under his armpits. Then make sure you can slide your middle and pointer fingers between it and your dog’s chest. 

Once you have the right size harness, make sure that your dog’s front legs can move freely. You should easily be able to put your pointer and middle finger under all the harness’s straps. The front of the harness should also sit low on your pup’s chest and not touch his throat or neck. If he has a back-clip harness, the clip should be located between his shoulder blades or lower down on his spine. Have a front-clip dog harness? It should be in the center of his chest. 


Shop DJANGO's best selling and 5 star rated Adventure Dog Harness, Collar, and Leash Collection on djangobrand.comcollection

The DJANGO Adventure Dog Harness can withstand the roughest terrain and repels water, dirt, mud, and snow. It is made from rip-resistant and ultra-lightweight Neoprene (the same material that wetsuits are made from). It does not stretch out even after hundreds of hikes, swims, or walks with your four-legged family member. The DJANGO dog harness also features a soft and extra breathable mesh lining, a heavy-duty and fade-resistant webbing, a marine-grade brass D-ring, and four adjustment points for a perfect fit. It pairs beautifully with our lightweight and ergonomic Standard Adventure Dog Leash, sturdy and safe Adjustable Hands-Free Adventure Dog Leash, and/or chic and comfortable Adventure Dog Collar.


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