How to choose between a collar and harness

If you’re wondering whether using a harness or a collar is best for your dog, and if particular breeds fair better with one or the other,  Poppy + Ted have put together this helpful
guide so you can rest assured you’re making the right choice for your furry friend.


Dog wearing a harness with animal print stripes, sitting in a field of lavendar


The Pros of Using a Harness

  • Less pressure on your dog’s neck
    Some dogs are stronger than their owners, depending on size and breed. Whilst some dogs may walk
    closely next to their owner, others pull their owner along. As a collar sits snug around a dog’s neck, it can
    create tension when they pull on the lead. Not ideal for dogs that get excited very easily. Pressure on the
    trachea can cause discomfort and breathing problems in severe cases.
    It is highly recommended to train your dog not to pull to avoid these issues altogether, but harnesses are
    a great tool to aid the training process.


  • They provide more control
    There are multiple reasons that dogs pull on a lead, including the following:
    ● Over-excitement
    ● Excess energy
    ● Behavioural problems
    ● Size of the dog compared to the owner
    When you walk a dog with a collar and a lead, and they start to pull, tightness is caused around the neck.
    Harnesses cover the neck, chest, and shoulders, which are much stronger than the neck- and give the
    owner more control when walking a dog.


  • They are often more secure
    Dogs are secured in multiple places when wearing a harness. It fits around their chest, back, and front
    legs. The fit of a harness means much less chance of escape. This is perfect if you have a dog who gets
    frightened easily, or tends to run around with excitement. With an adjustable harness, you can adjust it to
    fit your dog perfectly.


The Cons of Using a Harness

  • They don’t always have space for an ID tag
    Often, harnesses only come with an attachment for a lead and don’t have room for an ID tag. This is easy to overlook but it is also a
    must-have to ensure your dog’s safety is paramount. If your dog was to escape, an ID tag is the easiest
    way for somebody to identify your pup and get in touch with you. Some harnesses, offer alternatives, for example Poppy and Ted offer
    slide-on ID tags to fit harnesses, meaning you can still make sure your dog is quickly identified if he goes astray or gets lost.
    Also, if you have a dog sensitive to the clicking or fuss of having a tag clipped on to their collar, the slide tags are a fantastic.


  • They can be bulky
    Harnesses are bigger than collars; they can be pretty bulky and heavy. If you are using one frequently, it’s a good idea to choose
    a lightweight harness that still provides the required protection. Poppy and Ted have a range of ‘walk + wear’
    harnesses designed to be worn for long periods, made with durable polyester and lightweight/breathable
    padded mesh lining to make them as comfortable as possible.


  • They can be uncomfortable in warm weather. When a harness is super bulky, it can be uncomfortable during the summer months.
    If you do decide to go with a harness, you want your dog to be able to wear it year-round and not have to swap to a collar when the sun’s out.
    This is why Poppy + Ted designed harnesses made with breathable fabric; we all know how dangerous overheating is for dogs.


Dog wearing Poppy and Ted bandana style collar with pink and grey design


The Pros of Using a Collar

  • They can be more convenient
    Collars are designed to be kept on at all times so that all you need to do is clip on their lead when
    popping out for a walk. Usually, dogs do not wear harnesses during the day, so it may seem inconvenient
    to put their harness on every time you leave the house.


  • They are specifically designed to hold ID tags
    All collars usually come with a metal ring to attach your dog’s ID tag and your lead to ensure your dog is
    easily identified if they were to go missing.
    You can use special tags such as Poppy and Teds slide tags if your dog doesn’t like a collar and prefers a harness.


  • They are lightweight and comfortable
    Nowadays collars come in many forms as well as designs and colours. Poppy + Ted’s motto is ‘Who said dog essentials had to
    be boring?’. There are lots of options that are more comfortable for dogs than traditional leather collars. Poppy and Ted offer
    soft padded collars made from durable polyester to ensure they are soft and light yet sturdy. Helpfully if you have a mud or water loving dog, they are also quick-drying and machine

The Cons of Using a Collar

  • They are not safe for all breeds
    Some dogs are more prone to specific medical issues than others, so collars may not be the safest
    option. You should consider choosing a harness over a collar if any of the following applies to your dog:
    ● They suffer from Glaucoma
    ● They have experienced neck injuries
    ● They have experienced spinal malformations
    ● They are a Brachycephalic breed


  • They are dangerous for dogs who pull
    If your dog tends to pull against their collar, they can injure themselves or even limit their airflow! Pulling
    on a lead can be due to behavioural issues, excitement, or size. A harness helps with this as the tension
    spreads across the neck, back, and chest, causing less damage over time.


Which should I choose?
The decision is down to you; everything stated above is based on research, but there is no right or wrong
answer. Poppy + Ted highly recommend researching your dog’s breed, behavioural characteristics and
health conditions. Luckily, they stock a vast range of harnesses and collars in trendy designs. So,
whichever product you choose, you know you will be spoilt for choice!


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