Our dogs usually walk nicely to heel so we tend to wear just a dog collar and lead when out and about. But we do put harnesses on if the dogs are going to be on the lead for some time, if we take a trip to pick something up at the market, for example, or if they are restricted to lead walks due to injury.
That's why we designed and made our first harness: when Timber had an ACL injury and had to stay on the lead for 6 weeks he had pent up energy and so we wanted a comfy harness solution that would support him in all the right places and keep things from getting too frantic. An advantage of a harness is that it can be comfier and more supportive than just a dog collar, and it enables better control.
We decided to reimagine the standard harness - from materials to design - with a view to engineering a harness for ultimate comfort and functionality. Without a piece of plastic or nylon in sight.
During the process we learnt what is important. Here are 5 things to look out for when choosing the right harness for your dog:
1 - Comfort is paramount. That's why we use a cotton weave, it's a natural fibre and soft. Especially compared to nylon and other synthetic materials, which are much harder. Not just soft-to-the-touch, cotton also have flex and give, and so moves as your dog moves.
Below, Timber walking comfortably in his khaki harness:
2 - A good fit is important too. Hindquarters harnesses are fully adjustable. Available in three sizes - small, medium and large - they can be adjusted around both the neck and girth for a perfect fit. We know that dogs come in all shapes and sizes and that there's often a big difference within breed or type - so just send your dog's measurements if you are uncertain or would like your harness made to measure. Here is how to measure your dog for a harness.
Below, adjusting Percy's harness:
3 - Design is crucial too. Any pressure should be borne evenly across the chest and your dog must have free shoulder movement, the harness design should allow them to walk, run and move without being restricted.
Below, Barry running in his comfy harness:
4 - Appropriate, reliable materials. Alongside comfort, you should consider the nature and durability of the materials used to make the harness. The cotton weave we use withstands not just wear and tear but rough and tumble. And we couple it with marine grade steel metalwork because it's lightweight, strong and reliable - and even corrosion resistant. Meaning more beach trips.
Below, Tyson on the beach wearing his harness:
5 - Last but not least, practicality. Living with multiple dogs means we need a sharp eye when it comes to practicality. That's why we made an over-the-head harness that easy to put on and off. Here are instructions for how to put a Hindquarters harness on. You should also consider whether your dog's harness is going to be practical in both summer and winter. Will the harness be too hot for a warm day? Can it be adjusted to fit over a jumper when it's cold outside? As well as being practical for your dog, you'll want a harness that is easily cleaned and machine washable. Just put your Hindquarters harness in a wash machine at 40 on a gentle cycle (in a draw string bag or similar to stop it banging around in the drum).
Below, Marge wallowing in her harness:
At Hindquarters we make harnesses that suit all types of dogs from Terriers to Frenchies to Labs to Boxers to Greyhounds - and everything in between. Our harnesses are available in different sizes and a rainbow of colours. And if you can't find something exactly right, please get in touch and we can always make you a harness to order.
Below, Shimi wearing her purple harness: