I'm sure we're all aware of the fact that our little barrel-chested, squish-faced bundles of joy cannot wear a 'normal' collar. Which really isn't a huge deal considering the alternative - the harness - is safe, comfy, and quite fashionable.
"So my dog has to wear a bra?" Mmmm, not exactly, but...kinda. That being said, buy your tough guy one with skulls and crossbones on it and I DARE some human to call it a bra! Let's dive deeper into the world of harnesses. Hopefully, by the end, you'll be well on your way to getting the perfect one for your pug.
Why a Harness & Not a Collar?
Pugs are a brachycephalic breed. Brachycephalic means "shortened head" and refers to the short nose and flat face of dogs like Pugs, French Bulldogs, Shih Tzus, and Chihuahuas. The flat face is the result of a smaller upper jaw, in which the tissues inside are bigger than the jaw can allow. All of the airway issues that can result from this overcrowding are collectively referred to as "brachycephalic airway syndrome."
What's BAS? Very simply, it's an airway obstruction that causes symptoms such as snoring, snorting, noisy breathing, and tiring or fainting during exercise. Granted, these quirks are part of the comical allure we love about this breed, but it's not necessarily a positive trait for our pugs.
Now that we know the anatomical background of our pug's face, we can discuss why a harness is necessary over a collar. Simply put, collars can pull on our pug's layrnx, making breathing more difficult, and also put strain on the face and eyes. This compression and constriction whenever your pug pulls ahead and the leash goes taut causes increased breathing difficulties. Moreover, if your pug lunges to the side or jerks his head, serious injury can happen to the windpipe which could lead to a collapsed trachea. A harness is also essential for pugs, who risk their eyeballs protruding from the sockets if too much pressure is put around their neck. Reason enough, right?
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A proper harness should be the apparatus that is used any time that a Pug dog is on leash. As opposed to a collar, the harness will distribute pressure, force and tension across the dog's shoulders, chest and back.
Let's list the pros of the harness, shall we?
Better control over your pug, which is especially important if you’re walking on a busy road, when surrounded by large crowds, etc.
Discourages pulling, because it teaches pugs that the action doesn’t give him any advantage. With a harness, pulling often does nothing but get the front legs off the floor – definitely not a result your pug will find effective.
Helps to stop jumping. If you have a pug that jumps up against people, a harness is a good way to stop the action without worrying about choking him in the process.
Ideal for puppies, which might get tangled or hurt themselves while pulling on a regular collar and leash.
Helps control pugs that are easily distracted. This is key when you’re walking with your pug or in areas where getting distracted could result in injury or getting lost.
The Fun Part - Choosing a Harness!
Harnesses can be purely functional, but let's be honest, you want your pug to look cool as well! In the world of harnesses, that will not be a problem. In the list we've created below, we provide our exclusive rundown of the best harnesses on the market! Let's get down to business.
We love Puppia! It's basics make it the perfect starter harness for any pug owner. The harness is made from 100% polyester soft mesh, offering a stylish, comfortable and secure fit. Designed with not only comfort but also safety in mind, it offers you more control when the two of you are out walking together.
Fitting for pugs should start with the neck girth in mind. If their folds are rather thick, order a size up and adjust the chest tighter to ensure comfort and security. They also make the Puppia Ritefit Harness which adjusts at the neck in addition to the other fittings (for an additional cost, of course). For style points, search the Puppia Vests, Signature Fashion Designs, and Harnessed Clothing.
Ruffwear Harnesses are a backcountry pug's dream. I'm serious, you might have to couple this leash with a bowl of crunchy granola and a Jack Johnson CD! Despite the fact that it is a little bit more $$$, the number of features it offers might be well worth the price tag.
Ruffwear is an everyday harness that is easy to put on and comfortable for pugs to wear. It offers 4 points of adjustment that allow you to create a customizable fit specifically for your pug, allowing for full range of motion. It also features a padded chest and belly panels, two secure leash attachment points, and reflective trim that allows you to keep an eye on your squish-faced baby, even in low-light visibility environments. The harness also includes a handy ID Pocket to store your pugs tags, allowing you to keep them quiet yet easily accessible.
BUY: Find a Ruffwear harness HERE.
3) EzyDog Chest Plate Harness
The award winning Chest Plate Harness by EzyDog incorporates a unique design and materials to create the best in fit and function. The EVA Chest Plate forms to your pug's chest for a custom fit. It provides a vertical load dispersement; which provides greater control than a traditional harness. The fit of the harness makes backing out of the harness extremely challenging for most any pug, even the most stubborn. Reflective trim allows for night time visibility and the included Seat Belt Restraint keeps your pup restrained in the car.
If you and your pug are very active outdoors, I highly recommend their products. They all hold up well to hiking, camping, kayaking, and playing HARD! The prices seem high to start with, but I've never had to replace any of their products due to failure or wear-n-tear. Overall, just a solid harness for you and your pug.
BUY: Find the EzyDog HERE.
The Chai's Choice Harness is a thing of beauty! What I like is the high quality construction out of durable materials. There is tons of extra stitching reinforcement spots all over the harness. Your pug will love the comfort from the extra padding on the inside, it doesn't pinch the legs, and the center of gravity is squarely on the chest. There are dual attachment points on the back of the harness, and also on the chest. Whichever works best for your pug!
Chai's also has service dog harnesses and tactical vest harnesses available. They include reflective material for walks in low light, as well as a handle on the harness for optimal control if necessary. Overall if you are looking for a high quality harness, this is a great choice!
BUY: Find Chai's Choice Harnesses HERE.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is a highly adjustable, well-fitting, and extremely durable harness. The harness has five adjustment points for a custom fit and easy on-and-off, and the halt ring on the chest plate makes it an effective no-pull harness. The chest plate provides the optimal amount of comfort for your pug by reducing stress on the trachea and sternum. Additionally, this Kurgo harness comes with a 10-inch lead for training, or to use as a seatbelt loop to keep your pug safe while driving. The Kurgo brand also offers a wide variety of clothing and accessories.
6) Pawmigo Harnesses
We are currently obsessed with these harnesses. The Pawmigo Duo Reversible Harness is our go-to. It is interchangeable between two fun, fashionable printed sides, giving you two harnesses in one! In just seconds you can switch between a printed neoprene fabric harness and a printed mesh harness. The signature design is form-fitting, quick to dry, and includes a reflective printed safety label.
In our experience, the medium size fits our 12 pound and 16 pound pugs perfectly, while the large size is best for our 18 pound, girthy-necked boy. Seriously, we love these so much!
BUY: Find Pawmigo harnesses at their HERE.
1) Lucy & Co. Reversible Dog Harness: designer harnesses in fun patterns.
2) Eco-Bark Classic Dog Harness: eco-friendly materials in a variety of colors.
3) ThinkPet Breathable Soft Air Harness: perfect lightweight harness for the summer.
4) Mighty Paw Sport Harness 2.0: for the outdoorsy, adventurous pug in your life.
5) Embark Adventure Dog Harness: another great harness for those sporty spice dogs.
Time to Start Shopping!
There you have it! We hope this nugget of harness experience will help you find the perfect one for your pug. Please note that we do our best to provide accurate information, but we highly encourage owners to always double-check other sources for additional tips on best harnesses so that you can make a more accurate decision of what’s best for you, and your pug.
Finally, I hope this list was helpful, and if you tried any of these products, please let us know of your experience in the comments below.