A complete guide to harnesses for dogs

As a new dog owner, learning the ropes and the dos and don'ts of looking after your new pet can often feel overwhelming! With so many factors to consider, it can be hard to know where to start.

If there’s one thing that’s for sure, dogs will always need to go out on walks. So, a good starting point can be to ensure that you’re geared up for walkies from the get-go!

If you’re struggling to decide between collars and harnesses for dogs, don’t worry. We’ve created this guide to cover everything you need to know about dog harnesses, and help you find the perfect lead attachment for your pup.

  1. What is the purpose of a dog harness?
  2. How does a dog harness work?
  3. What are the different types of harnesses for dogs?
  4. Is it easier to control a dog with a harness?
  5. Dog collars vs. harnesses:
  6. What are the benefits of dog harnesses?
  7. Are dog harnesses safe for puppies?
  8. How to put a dog harness on correctly:
  9. What are the best dog harnesses to buy in the UK?
  10. Why choose Barc London's harnesses for dogs?

 Barc London Harness For Dogs


What is the purpose of a dog harness?

The purpose of a dog harness is to guide dogs during walks, and provide them with an option that reduces tension on the neck when they pull. As an alternative to a dog collar, dog harnesses are made of straps that wrap around a dog’s torso. 

There are lots of different types of dog harnesses available, each with different purposes. Generally speaking, dog harnesses are helpful training tools for lead walking as they allow for greater control.


How does a dog harness work?

A dog harness works by utilising a dog’s pulling power and allowing for more control during dog walks. By distributing weight, harnesses reduce pressure on dogs’ collars and necks to the shoulders, chest and back area. Because of this, dog harnesses help to provide greater comfort and reduce risks like neck strain and choking.


What are the different types of harnesses for dogs?

There are four main types of dog harnesses that can be used on walks. The different types include:

  1. Back clip harnesses
  2. Front clip harnesses
  3. Dual clip harnesses
  4. Step in harnesses

Though similar, each of these dog harnesses has their own pros and cons, and you’ll need to work out which type is best suited to your dog’s breed, size and temperament during walks. 

Back Clip Harnesses

These are the most common type of dog harnesses that you’ll find when shopping around, and the type of harness that we currently sell. With a similar design to the front clip harness, back clip harness D rings are on the dog’s back. 

Back clip harnesses are by far the simplest and easiest harnesses to use, and can be used with a variety of dog leads, including retractable ones. We recommend these harnesses for dogs that tend to be quite calm on dog walks, as they are less effective at discouraging pulling.

Front Clip Harnesses

Commonly referred to as ‘anti-pull harnesses’, front clip harnesses feature D-rings for the leash attachment that are positioned on a dog’s chest (as opposed to the back). 

Front clip harnesses change the point of leverage, so they are best suited to dogs that pull during dog walks. They are helpful for training purposes, as when a dog pulls, the leash moves to the side and shortens, guiding the dog back towards its owner. 

Dual Clip Harnesses

Dual clip harnesses allow leads to be attached to a back clip or front clip. So, they are a versatile option that can be used in both ways - on normal dog walks and when greater control is needed. 

They are helpful in preventing injury as the pressure is distributed evenly across a dog’s body. However, be advised that these types of harnesses can take a while to get used to, they tend to be a bulkier option that should be kept for training purposes. 

Step In Harnesses

With a step-in harness, a dog steps into it with both front paws, and then the harness is fastened at the back. Some dogs dislike having harnesses put over their heads, so in this instance, a step in harness is the ideal option. 

If you buy a step-in harness for dogs, you’ll be happy to hear that these harnesses are easy to put on. All you have to do is unbuckle the harness and lay it flat on the ground. After placing your dog’s front paws in each loop, you can pull the straps together and secure the buckle on its back.


Is it easier to control a dog with a harness?

Generally speaking, yes it is easier to control a dog using a harness. This is because harnesses have been specifically designed to discourage pulling, so you may find it easier to control your dog and improve its lead skills with this option. 

Dog harnesses are useful tools for training dogs during walks. They enable you to prevent your pup from jumping up at strangers, without having to worry about potential injury from strain. 

Note: the best dog harness for dogs that pull are called front clip / anti-pull harnesses.

Dog harness vs. collar:

When it comes to choosing a harness or a collar for your pup, both have advantages and disadvantages. If your dog tends to pull, or shows any signs of difficulty breathing when on walks, then a harness is probably the better choice. However, collars tend to be more comfortable for dogs overall and provide a place for the identification tag to hang.

Both of these lead attachments offer benefits on dog walks, you just need to work out which one is right for your pup!


Large Dog Harness

What are the benefits of dog harnesses?

Dog harnesses offer a number of benefits for both pups and their owners. The main advantages of harnesses for dogs include: 

  • Reduce pulling on walks: When wearing a harness, dogs are forced to slow down when they pull. The tension from the leash forces them to turn back and walk towards their owner, helping to teach them how to walk properly. 
  • Less neck pressure: Due to the fact dog harnesses fasten over the chest area, the neck is protected from pressure and issues like restricted airways. 
  • Ensure security and safety: Generally speaking, harnesses do a good job at preventing accidents from occurring. As they are fastened around dogs’ bodies, there is less chance of them slipping off and allowing your dog to run away. 


Are dog harnesses safe for puppies?

Yes! Puppies can safely start wearing harnesses at just 8 weeks old. When introducing your puppy to its harness, it's recommended that you give it a few days to let it settle in and get familiar with the harness before starting any training. 

There are a number of brands that offer puppy harnesses and by training your puppy from a young age, you will help it to quickly develop good walking habits and ensure optimal control when out on walkies.


How to put a dog harness on correctly:

Many people are put off by using harnesses because they feel they’re too complicated to put on, but this simply isn’t the case! It just takes a bit of getting used to.

Before choosing a harness for your dog, you’ll need to use a tape measure to measure your dog’s neck and the thickest part of its chest. This will help to make sure you’ve got the correct fit, which is crucial to avoiding injury. 

Earlier we explained how to put on a step-in harness, but what about the other options? While each brand of harness can vary, these instructions provide a general guide:

  • For a black clip harness you should first line up the harness so that you can see the two loops. The smaller loop is the front one which will go over your dog’s head first. After that, help your dog lift its front left leg and put it into the harness. You can then guide the strap underneath the belly area and clip in the buckle near the right leg. If fitted correctly, the D ring will sit on the top at the back, between your dog’s shoulder blades. 
  • The front clip harness works similarly, but this time the D ring should be positioned at the centre of the chest. Slip the main loop over your dog’s head first, making sure the D ring is aligned. After that, you can fasten the belly strap behind your dog’s legs using the buckles provided.
  • The dual clip harness can be a bit more tricky to navigate as there are two D rings provided. Find the loose buckle as this will be the one that sits at the top of the dog’s back. After that, pull each loop under the left and right leg and do up using the buckles provided. 

 How To Put On A Back Clip Harness

What are the best dog harnesses to buy in the UK?

When it comes to buying the best dog harness in the UK, it’s important to shop around and do your research. All dogs are different, and the best product will depend on your pup’s needs. 

Of course, we may be biased, but we believe our harnesses for dogs are some of the best money can buy... Available in four pretty colourways, each dog harness is made from a sturdy nylon fabric that provides high levels of safety. Despite being strong, we have designed them to be soft on dog fur to ensure comfort. 

As mentioned, our dog harnesses are back clip harnesses, which means they might not be the right choice for dogs that pull when out on walks. However, they can be used by lots of different breeds as they are available in four, fully adjustable sizes.

Dog Harness Size Guide:

 Extra Small Dog Harness (XS) 28.5cm - 40cm chest
Small Dog Harness (S) 36.5cm - 49cm chest
Medium Dog Harness (M) 46cm - 65.5cm chest
Large Dog Harness (L) 57cm - 78cm chest


Why choose Barc London's harnesses for dogs?

We’re not done boasting yet! To give you a better idea of why we recommend choosing our dog harnesses for your pup, we’ve outlined some of their best features: 

  1. Nylon Fabric: As our harnesses have been crafted from nylon webbing, they  can be washed easily, so you don’t need to worry about them getting muddy on wet walks. The nylon webbing is both hard-wearing and dog friendly.
  2. Part Of Our Charity Range: If you didn’t know yet, we’ve partnered with Wild At Heart Foundation. Two of our harnesses form part of our charity collaboration, which means that 60% of profits go towards WAHF’s mission.
  3. Luxury Colours & Designs: Our harnesses feature gorgeous three-stripe colourways that can be paired with our matching leads. Choose between candyfloss, champagne and liquorice designs.  

Still not convinced? See what some of our customers have to say about our harnesses for dogs:


Lovely harness, nice and light for the summer. Beautiful colours and nice responsive clip. Love that 60% of the cost goes to the WAHF
- Victoria 
Amazing!! I also have the colour and lead too! Material is so lightweight and looks so comfy on my dog. Definitely recommend
- Abby


Barc London x WAHF Charity Dog Harnesses

If you're looking to make a difference, check out our charity harnesses for dogs. Created in collaboration with our partner charity Wild At Heart Foundation, 60% of the proceeds from these harnesses go towards ending the suffering of stray dogs. 

We love what WAHF stands for, and have incorporated their ethos 'Believe In Dog' into one of the harnesses.

WAHF Harnesses for Dogs
Shop our collection of harnesses for dogs