How To Measure A Dog For A Harness | Travel With Doggie

How To Measure A Dog For A Harness

Do you have the ritual of taking your adorable dog out for a walk every single day? Then, you must be aware that making your pup wear a harness is imperative to manage and get control over it, especially on busy streets. You should make sure that the harness fits right to avoid rubbing against the soft skin of the pooch and slipping. In this article I am going to tell you how to measure your pooch for a harness!

What Is A Harness?

A harness is nothing but a set of straps which goes around the chest of your pup behind and in front of its front legs. The straps can be fastened to stay intact with the help of buckles and other fittings. 

Why Do Dogs Need A Harness?

There are many good reasons for the dog owners to opt for a harness instead of traditional collar and leash. If your little pooch is still learning to walk with a leash and to acquit then a harness can be a great training tool as it let the masters have a bit more control. It is a natural trait of the dogs to climb and jump over the strangers they encounter. Harness discourages pulling on the leash and so, you can stop your dog from jumping and being over enthusiastic. 

Choking and respiratory problems are some of the biggest concerns associated with using a collar over the dog’s neck. Harness tend to disperse the strain across its tiny/huge body and thus protects your canine from neck injuries. Dogs with collars are more likely to get tangled up in the leash when compared to the ones with harnesses. This is because the harness offers you multiple points of attachment.

It Should Just Fit Right!

Every dog breed has a different shape, size and mobility. With many types of harnesses available in the market, choosing the perfect one can be overwhelming and challenging. Just remember that one particular size of a harness won’t fit all! You can’t expect the harness that you have bought for your pug to fit a chihuahua. People advise you to pick a size based on the weight of your pup. However, you should be aware that a 50 lb greyhound will have a different fit than a 50 lb bulldog! 

So, I suggest you measure your dog in order to choose the right harness that best fit your pup. This is what you get to do. Take the appropriate measurements and take them to the pet store or seek guidance from the suppliers. They will suggest the right size according to the measurements provided by you.

How To Measure A Dog For A Harness?

Measuring your adorable pet dog for the harness is not that hard as it seems. The prerequisite to getting the accurate measurement is, of course, a measuring tape, preferably, a cloth or a sewing measuring tape. Such tapes are so precise that you can get too close to the surface of your dog’s soft skin.

  1. Right posture is the foremost requirement to take any kind of measurement. You should make your pooch stand in front of you, upright straight. Most importantly, it should stand in a way facing to the sides. 
  2. The dog’s head and tail should be up and firm. It should be made to stand on a flat surface, in a way that the legs are parted equally. 
  3. While doing so with my pup, I took the help of my friend as my little dog was a bit naughty at the moment. If yours is an uncooperative canine, seek your closed one’s assistance. 
  4. Treats are also great ways to make your pooch stand still and sturdy.

Measurement Proper


Find the widest part of your dog’s body/rib cage and measure it with the tape. The chest region is approximately the width of four fingers or a couple of inches behind your pup’s front legs. This is also known as the girth. Starting at the withers, carefully wrap the tape completely around and note down the reading. Girth or chest measurement is crucial in choosing the right harness for your dog. You can also use twine in the place of tape and use it against the ruler for measurements.

As I said, mine is quite enthusiastic and wiggles around a lot. It can’t stay still most of the time. In such cases, we can take chest measurements thrice. Most probably, we get the precise truth measurements on the third time. 


    You are now going to measure the circumference of your pooch’s neck. Make a loop with the tape encompassing the thickest section of your dog’s neck. The thickest part is little below where the collar is usually placed and exactly above the withers. Not every harness need the neck measurement, however, a few styles do.


    If you have visited your vet recently, you would have known your dog’s weight. You can just use it in the process of choosing the harness. If not, you can very well use your bathroom scale. Lift your dog and stand on the scale, note down the pounds. Then, stand-alone on the weighing scale. The difference between the two weights is the accurate weight of your canine. Though, weight is not so important, knowing it can help the harness salesperson roughly guess the pulling potential of the pooch. He can suggest harness taking it into consideration.

    Key Points To Remember

    • While measuring, the tape shouldn’t be wrapped too tightly. Little looser measurements are usually ideal. I said, ‘little’. If you wrap too loosely and buy harness based on the measurements, it will be sliding down from the body of your pooch.
    • Add 2 inches to your measurements to compensate situations like growth and weight gain.
    • With the measurements in hand, head to the pet store and look for the harness that more or less matches with the measurements you have taken.
    • If you are confused between two sizes, always go for the bigger ones.
    • Make sure that a two-finger gap is there between the straps and the dog’s coat so that your pup feels comfortable and cozy.

    Final Thoughts

    Once you bought the perfectly-sized harness, wear it over your pooch and adjust the straps till it fits properly. A poor fit not only gives an unpleasant look but also make your cuddly pooch suffer from breathing problems and uneasiness. Hope this article was helpful. I am sure you make no mistakes while measuring your dog for a harness.

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