Top Five Harnesses for Running with Small Dogs

I often get asked if there are any harnesses available for small dogs, those dogs who are small yet mighty and need decent dog sports harnesses but their owners are struggling to find the right fit and style.

So I’ve put together this short blog with my top 5 dog sports harnesses for smaller dogs to help guide new canicrossers to the brands and styles which might suit their dogs best.

So you have a small dog who pulls hard, what harnesses can you use?

Top Dog Sports Harness for Small Dogs Number 1 – The Non-stop Freemotion

My top recommendation for a dog sports harness which suits strong pulling dogs working hard is the Non-stop Freemotion. The Non-stop Freemotion is not specifically designed for the smaller dog but ranges from a size 10 at the biggest (Great Dane & Malamute sized) to size 2 which will happily fit a small terrier.

Small terrier in Non-stop Freemotion
Even the smallest of terriers can have a suitable long harness with the Non-stop Freemotion

I love the fact the Non-stop Freemotion is adjustable and that gives it the edge over other longer style harnesses which are on the market, because you can alter the side and back straps to cater for the dogs’ shape.

Top Dog Sports Harness for Small Dogs Number 2 – The Zero DC Short

The Zero DC Short Harness is a great one for smaller dogs because it’s design makes it easy to adjust and fit for the smaller body shape. The harness is again not just designed for smaller dogs and comes in a size range from Mini 1, which is the tiniest harness you’ll ever see, right up to XXXL which is the biggest harnesses I stock. Zero DC have definitely covered every possible size of dog with the Zero DC Short sizing.

Small terrier running down a hill in the Zero DC Short dog sports harness
The Zero DC Short is a firm favourite for many active terriers who like to run with their owners

My only reservation with the Zero DC Short is that if the harness doesn’t fit exactly right, it can cause some wheezing in stronger pulling little dogs, this is due to the angle of the harness and where it pulls when your little powerhouse is really going for it. It’s all about fit with this one and if the fit is right, it’s perfect.

Top Dog Sports Harness for Small Dogs Number 3 – The Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin

The Howling Dog Alaska Harness is also one suitable for the stronger pulling smaller and is made of a soft flexible mesh which makes it great for dogs just starting out. The sizing is again not just tailored for smaller dogs and ranges from XXS to XXL in the Second Skin range.

Staffy type dog in a Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin Harness
The Howling Dog Alaska Second Skin is a very good one for Staffy shaped dogs and Spaniels

The Second Skin is a really good one for spaniel and staffy types, I think it has to do with the fact the harness is a mid length harness which acts like a longer harness, so caters for the strong puller by distributing the pull along the side of the body. Your dog really needs to be attached and out front pulling for this harness and if I were to have a complaint about it, I think they need to go even smaller still, as the XXS is still too big for small terrier types.

Top Dog Sports Harness for Small Dogs Number 4 – The Non-stop Line Harness

The Non-stop Line Harness is a great one for the smaller dogs and best if you want one with more padding, the size range is vast with this range too, going down to size 1 which is tiny terrier size, right up to size 9 which is your big dog size.

The Non-stop Line Harness is much better than a traditional walking style harness and suits dogs right down to very small terriers

The style of the Non-stop Line harness is very much like a traditional walking harness but the difference is the piece that comes under the chest is cut a lot longer to avoid any interference behind the front legs when your dog is pulling if attached to you. The Non-stop Line harness has the same limitation as the Zero DC Short in that due to the design, the size has to be a good fit on your dog, otherwise you will get the rasping or wheezing noise with a very strong pulling little dog.

Top Dog Sports Harness for Small Dogs Number 5 – The Arctic Wolf Adventure Harness

The Arctic Wolf Adventure harness is a similar style of harness to the Zero DC Short but with a couple of crucial differences and the one which makes it so much better is the deep V which is cut into the neck of the harness which prevents the harness from causing the problems with wheezing if the fit isn’t bang on perfect on the neck.

Sports dog in an Arctic Wolf Adventure Harness
The Arctic Wolf Adventure Harness fits dogs from about 12kgs upwards

I love this harness for it’s versatility and if I had a complaint it would be that there needs to be a few more sizes as it currently only goes down to an XS and up to an XL, the XS will fit dogs of around 12 kgs but not much smaller. The harness was only released for the first time in 2020 though and so I believe there may be more sizes in the pipeline, it’s certainly the one we go to for the team dogs on our hiking / canicross adventures!

So those are your top 5 dog sports harnesses for smaller dogs, there are a couple of others maybe worth mentioning such as the Dragrattan Multi Sport which can provide a useful mid length harness for strong puller smaller dogs from about 10-12kgs depending on their shape. Another good one is the Dragrattan X-Back in the smallest size of 0 which I’ve found works for small spaniels but doesn’t go down to terrier size unfortunately.

As always we’d love to help you getting started with your equipment and you can either visit us at one of our pop up shops …

Or you can always email us info@k9trailtime.com for more help with harness selection and fitting.

Happy Trails!