English Bulldogs are an ever-popular breed that continues to steal the hearts of dog-lovers around the world. With their wrinkly faces and playful attitudes, how could you not want to care for these pups?
Raising an English Bulldog puppy can be a real joy. That said, there are also a lot of challenges heading your way! English Bulldogs have a myriad of unique needs you won't find with other dog breeds. We're not just talking about dietary concerns or potential health problems.
Even choosing a harness can be a difficult process!
Thanks to the English Bulldog's distinct build and head shape, finding a suitable harness for your pup is paramount. Your new pooch is going to rely on that harness to stay safe. It's an accessory that plays an integral role in training, too.
A standard harness just isn't going to cut it. To keep your pup safe, there are a few more considerations to make before you settle on the right one. To help make things easier for you, here are some of the best English Bulldog harnesses on the market.
So What's the Best Dog Harness for English Bulldogs?
1. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness with Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength
The Kurgo Smart Harness is one of the safest and most durable around. It uses the same kinds of technology that rock climbers use, so you know that it's built safe! The harness wraps around the chest to keep your pup's body mass contained. On the back, nestling buckles ensure that you can get a snug fit that doesn't go anywhere!
This harness is good for everyday use on walks. However, it's also designed to work in the car. It can keep your Bullie safe during road trips by anchoring into an existing seat belt system.
2. Puppia RiteFit Soft Dog Harness
Perfect for English Bulldog puppies, this harness is very comfortable. Rather than plain straps to keep your pup contained, this model uses a large panel. The panel stretches across the bottom of the chest, preventing any acute pressure points. When your pup pulls, they will feel the harness pulling their entire body back instead of a singular uncomfortable point.
The harness is available in a few different colors. It has durable straps and an adjustable fit. Once you have it correctly sized for your pooch, putting it on will only take a few seconds.
3. EzyDog Quick Fit Dog Harness
Here's a simple, no-frills harness from EzyDog. It's a lightweight harness that's built for comfort. The straps are protected to prevent chaffing. There's also a thicker padded section that goes over your dog's chest at the base of the neck.
It's this strap that provides you with great control. Giving the harness a light tug will stop your pooch in its tracks. The harness is made out of nylon webbing. There are a few different colors available. However, all colors come with reflective stitching for some extra peace of mind.
4. Chai's Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness
Day or night, this harness will help your pup get seen. Choose from a selection of nine vibrant colors for daytime visibility. At night, the large panels of 3M reflective material will provide extra visibility.
The design of this harness is very safe. It uses two large panels. One goes on the chest of your pup while the other is snug on their back. Various straps hold the panels together. Each panel is padded for comfort. Mesh material is used too for breathability!
5. Best Pet Supplies Voyager Black Trim Mesh Dog Harness
This one-piece harness from Best Pet Supplies looks simple. But, it has all the hallmarks of a safe accessory for English Bulldogs. Instead of straps, the harness is made up of one vest. The vest slips onto your dog and secures at the top where the lead rings are.
The vest-style harness helps to spread pressure around your dog's entire chest, which prevents any uncomfortable spots. It's also padded and breathable. There are only two straps at the top to adjust. Once you get things right, this will be a harness that your pup doesn't mind putting on.
6. Puppia Soft Black Trim Dog Harness
Made from 100 percent polyester mesh, this harness is very comfortable on the skin. The material helps to prevent chaffing. There's also light padding and plenty of ventilation to keep your pup cool during those long walks.
A thick panel wraps around the base of the neck. This panel extends down around the back of your pup's front legs. The unique design disperses pressure evenly while taking the load off your dog's neck completely. It's a good safe option that shouldn't cause any breathing difficulties.
7. PetSafe Walk Along Outdoor Dog Harness
From PetSafe is the Walk Along harness. This is a great option for English Bulldogs because it safely puts all of the pressure on the chest. A sizable padded panel rests on the chest while various nylon straps wrap around the body.
The cool thing about this harness is that it has a small storage pocket. Positioned on your pup's back, it holds onto small items without any issues. Thanks to its position, it doesn't weigh your pup down or cause any discomfort.
Why Use a Harness Instead of a Collar for English Bulldog Pups?
You might be wondering, "Why use a harness in the first place?" Most dogs just use collars, so that should be good enough for your English Bulldog, right?
Unfortunately, this way of thinking can be dangerous. As we mentioned earlier, English Bulldogs are very different than other popular breeds. They are Brachycephalic dogs. English Bulldogs belong to a special category of dogs that also includes Pugs, English Mastiffs, Boston Terriers, Shar-Peis, and more.
A Brachycephalic dog is easily identified with its condensed snout. The flat face and stubby build of an English Bulldog might seem like a cute physical quirk, but it can be much more serious than that if you're not careful. You see, the body and face shape of a Brachycephalic dog is actively working against them!
In addition to the smushed face, English bulldogs have deep chests, a condensed esophagus, large tonsils, and a narrow trachea. Pair that up with smaller nostrils and you have a recipe for breathing difficulties.
English Bulldogs are notorious for experiencing shortness of breath. Even younger pups can get wiped out with intense play.
When an English Bullie overextends itself or is exposed to higher temperatures, they will struggle to breathe normally. If the problem is not addressed, your pup could suffer from seizures, loss of consciousness, and even death.
So, how does a collar play into all of this? Well, one of the most important things you need to do when carrying for a Brachycephalic dog breed is to avoid putting any pressure whatsoever on the neck. The goal is to open up their airways as much as possible so that they can breathe comfortably.
You can't exactly do that when you have a collar wrapped around the neck? Even if the collar is loose and well-fitted, there's always that risk that your dog could pull and constrict themselves during a walk.
The Benefits of Using a Harness
Using a harness offers a lot of benefits. They're an effective alternative to traditional collars. In fact, any breed can benefit from a harness. However, those benefits are far more obvious with a Brachycephalic breed like the English Bulldog.
The most obvious benefit is going to be better safety. Harnesses are specifically designed to wrap around the chest. This eliminates pressure from around the neck and displaces it onto a much larger surface area.
As a result, you don't have to worry about your dog choking themselves out on the collar. This is especially important during the puppy years.
Puppies are still learning how to walk on a leash. Most will pull on the leash aggressive, leading to excess pressure around the neck if they're wearing a collar.
This poses both immediate danger and risks of long-term damage. In the moment, that sudden pressure from the collar will cut off your pup's air supply. If they get extra-aggressive, they could suffer from a tracheal collapse in the future.
With a Brachycephalic breed, that long-term injury could have a lasting effect. By removing the pressure off the neck, you can avoid all of that. Harnesses are far safer for your English Bullie!
Another thing that many owners fail to think about is the level of constraint a collar provides. Have you ever taken a moment to look at your puppy's head? For English Bulldogs, the head is nearly the same width as the neck!
As a result, collars can slip right off if your pup is determined enough! All they have to do is back up and wriggle the collar over their ears. Just like that, your puppy is unconstrained and free to roam! Not exactly the best way to train your pup!
Harnesses are virtually impossible to escape from. Designs can vary from brand to brand. But most have straps that wrap under the front legs. This adds some extra reinforcement and peace of mind.
Interestingly enough, harnesses can provide you with better control over your dog, too. When there's nothing but a collar to hold your dog back, it can be difficult to really pull their attention and guide them in the right direction. Dogs can easily turn their head to focus on what they want to see.
With harnesses, you have control over the largest center of mass on your dog! Giving then a slight tug from the chest is an easy way to pull attention. Not only that, but you can safely move your pup if a slight tug of the leash isn't doing the trick!
Many harnesses have handles for this exact reason. Just pull your dog's harness and guide them in the right direction. It's safer and more effective than a collar alone.
How to Find the Right Harness for Your English Bulldog
Walk through any pet store and you're bound to find aisles of harnesses up for the taking! Before you choose the first one that catches your eye, you need to know what to look for. Here are some important tips and considerations to help you choose the very best harness for your English Bullie.
First things first, you'll need to know what size to get! Before you start shopping, whip out your flexible tape measure and start jotting down some numbers. Measure the width of your dog's chest at the widest point.
Usually, this is about two inches behind the front legs. This measurement is referred to as their "chest girth."
Now, measure the circumference of your pup's neck. This measurement isn't going to be used for all harnesses. But, it's good to have.
Once you have your measurements, add two inches to each one! That extra two inches will give your pup the wiggle room they need to stay safe and comfortable. When you shop, use your measurements and compare them to a brand's sizing chart.
To get an even better fit, choose a harness with adjustable straps.
Safe Strap Designs
For English Bulldogs, it's best to get a harness with no straps that are high around the neck. Lower straps are fine. But it’s those higher ones that go around the dog’s airways that you need to avoid.
No-pull harnesses are a good option. They focus on creating pressure and tension around the chest rather than the neck.
What good is a harness if it's just going to fall apart in a few months? English Bulldogs are strong canines! They can easily destroy cheap materials.
To keep your pup's harness in good shape, go for reliable materials like leather or nylon webbing. Pay attention to construction quality, too. Features like reinforced stitching are always welcome.
Like the main strap material, your hardware needs to be built tough. Metal hardware is always the best choice. Metal D-rings, chuckles, and adjustment sliders can keep the harness in good condition.
Plastic is a good option as well. Just make sure that the plastic is thick and tough enough to last.
Last, but not least, look out for safety features. To keep your pup visible on those nightly walks, look out for reflective materials. To ensure that your pup's skin doesn't chafe, choose harnesses with smooth finishes or padding underneath the arms.
These features, plus many more, can make the harness safe for your dog to use in the long run.
A good dog harness can keep your English Bulldog pup safe and comfortable. These canines require a bit of special attention to keep healthy. As long as you have your bases covered with a harness, you should have no problem going for walks and completing your training!
Also Read: Dachshunds Dog Harnesses: 7 Top Picks