Dog Harness vs. Collar – Is a Harness Better Than a Collar?

Regardless of the type of dog you have, dogs need to go on walks. Leashes attach to either a collar or a harness—and while collars have been used for decades for walking your dog, harnesses are also a popular choice. 

There are benefits and drawbacks to walking a dog on a collar vs a harness, so it is important to understand the pros and cons of each to make the best decision for your pup. Check out some frequently asked questions and learn when to use a dog harness vs when to use a dog collar below.

Are Harnesses Better Than Collars?

While collars are best for everyday wear, a harness can be the safest option for dog walks and other outdoor activities depending on your dogs needs. Whenever a dog is more tempted to pull, a harness can make that pulling worse for certain breeds, however it puts less stress on their necks. For dogs that have sensitive necks or breathing trouble, a harness may be the better option. Harnesses can also be a more secure option for dogs that tend to back out of their collars.

pug dog harness

Be sure to visit the pet store with your pup and try on different harness options. Pick out the harness that fits your dog the best and is easiest for you to put on your pup. Step in harness options can be easier to put on your pup.

Is a Collar or Harness Better for a Puppy?

Harnesses are great options for puppies, especially puppies that haven’t learned to walk on a leash yet and tend to pull or back out of their collars.

Should My Dog Wear a Collar and a Harness?

To answer this question simply, if the dog can already walk very well on leash, all you may need is a collar. For dogs that tend to get out of their collar, a harness may be a more secure option.

Harness vs Collar: The Pros & Cons

Understanding the pros and cons of dog collars and harnesses can help you determine when to use a dog harness vs when to use a dog collar, what the best option is for your dog, and how to keep your pup as safe as possible. Check out the benefits and drawbacks of each below.

'Brandy' Designer Dog Leash

Dog Collars

Pros of Dog Collars

Some benefits of dog collars include:

  • Simple way to identify if a dog has an owner
  • Easy and convenient to put on
  • Variety of styles, materials, and options available 
  • Generally more comfortable for dogs, especially for every day wear
  • More options for attaching or incorporating identification and other important information

Cons of Dog Collars

Some drawbacks of dog collars include:

  • Unsafe for dogs with certain medical issues
  • Not as safe for dogs that escape their collars
  • Can cause pressure resulting in neck and spine damage
  • Should not be used for certain breeds like toy breeds, brachycephalic breeds, and more
  • Possibility of getting caught on things resulting in injury to the dog
  • Can be harmful and cause pain if not fitted properly
  • Certain types of collars—can cause neck injury, pain, and even strangulation

Dog Harnesses

Pros of Dog Harnesses

Some benefits of dog harnesses include:

  • Disperses pressure over a larger surface area
  • Easier to control the dog
  • More secure than collars
  • Harder to slip out of 
  • Better at preventing accidents
  • Helps prevent the leash from getting caught or tangled
  • Does not put pressure on the dog’s neck
  • Best for dogs with health issues

Harnesses are great for dogs with respiratory issues or a history of tracheal collapse, breeds with risk factors for spinal problems, and large dogs with orthopedic problems—among others.

Cons of Dog Harnesses

Some drawbacks of dog harnesses include:

  • Less convenient and more time consuming to secure
  • Not as comfortable as collars, especially for every day wear 
  • Can take time for the dog to adjust and get used to wearing
  • Can be harmful and cause pain if not fitted properly
  • Does not typically have a place for customization, personalization, and identification
  • Can encourage some breeds like huskies to pull harder if they were bred for that.


While many harnesses do not offer ID tags or customization, all of the harnesses we make at Mimi Green do! Each and every Mimi Green harness is washable, safe, and made in the USA—with the ability to choose your favorite buckle type and add an engraved buckle, name plate, or hand embroidery.   

Choosing between a dog collar and harness for your dog depends on your dog’s health, breed, and your vet’s recommendation. However, in general, harnesses are best for walks and other outdoor activities while collars are best for everyday wear.

Ready to purchase a dog collar, harness, or both? When you shop with Mimi Green, you are supporting a small, woman-owned business with beautiful, handmade products. All Mimi Green dog collars and harnesses are handmade, unique items designed with quality materials and care to keep your dog safe and fashionable.

Dog Harness vs Dog Collar:
Shop Both at Mimi Green!

With all of our dog collars and dog harnesses, you can also customize the size, pick different buckles, and add your dog’s name, address, contact information, and more. Shop our variety of dog collars, harnesses, leashes, and accessories today!

Not sure what size collar or harness to order? Send us an email; we are always happy to help!


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