Best Sled Dog Harnesses – ReviewFebruary 2, 2021 2021-03-07 5:04
As an Amazon affiliate we earn a small commission on qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products we have tested and are using on our own dogs!
We tested 15 different harnesses to find our sled dog harness favorite!
Sled dog harnesses are significantly different to a regular harness that you might use for walks, so it’s very important to choose a harness that’s specifically designed for sledding. A standard harness is positioned around your dog’s chest and torso, while a sledding harness is longer and helps distribute some of the pressure to your dog’s legs as well as their bodies.
We’ve rounded up the best harnesses for sledding, to help you make the right choice.
Our Top Sledding Harness for Dogs
If you’re looking for a high performance harness for sledding, the Neewa Sled Pro Harness is our recommendation. This lightweight harness is made from polypropylene, with comfortable padding across the rib cage and around the neck. The x-back shape ensures that pressure is spread evenly across your dog’s body which helps them feel comfortable while pulling.
This harness is best suited for Nordic breeds like the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and Greenland Dogs. Available in six sizes, from Small to XXX-Large, you’ll be able to find the perfect fit for your dog, and Neewa provide a detailed measurements chart. This harness doesn’t have any adjustment points, so if your dog is between sizes, choose the larger size.
Perfect for all pulling activities including sledding, skijoring, carting, and bikejoring. The reflective bands towards the back of this harness give excellent visibility during dark winter days. Neewa harnesses are developed in collaboration with top mushers and dog trainers, so you can rely on their harnesses to get the job done.
Selecting a harness from a brand with a reputation for producing comfortable and effective pulling harnesses is a great start, and that’s why the Neewa Sled Pro Harness is our top pick. Made from lightweight yet strong polypropylene, the shape of this harness is designed to spread out the pressure from pulling, meaning your dog can concentrate on their job in comfort.
It comes in a wide range of sizes so while each harness doesn’t have adjustability points, you should easily find the correct fit for your pooch. Neewa works with the top dog mushers when designing their harnesses, so you know they’re made to perform at the highest levels.
While we absolutely love the Neewa Sled Pro Harness, we’ve also rounded up some other options which might suit you and your dog better. The majority of sled dog harnesses are made to fit the elite sledding breeds like Alaskan Malamutes and their mixes (such as the King Shepherd), Seppala Siberian Sled Dogs, and Siberian Huskies. If your dog has a different body shape, then the Dogs My Love Wide-Chested Sledding Dog Harness might be a better choice.
If you’re planning on starting to introduce your dog to pulling a sled, you might prefer to start out with a training harness. So we’ve included one of those too!
Carry on reading to discover our top 6 harnesses for your fast and fabulous sledding dog.
Table of Contents
Need a specialized sledding harness? Here are our top choices:
Best Sled Dog Harness for Adjustability
Harnesses for sled dogs often aren’t adjustable, but the Neewa Adjustable Sled Pro Harness comes complete with eight adjustments points allowing for the perfect fit. This makes it a great choice for those harder to fit breeds. There’s two adjustable sliders on the neck of the harness, and a further four on the straps of the x-back.
This harness has a softly padded section on the back of the neck as well as all along the chest plate. The harness is made from non-allergenic polypropylene as well as strong metal and plastic naval rings.
This lightweight harness comes in three sizes, to suit neck circumferences from 18-29 inches, and dogs weighing 33-120 pounds in size. It’s suitable for breeds including Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Foxhounds, Dalmatians, Newfoundland and more.
Best Sledding Harness for Small to Medium Breeds
With most sledding harnesses being non-adjustable, it’s important to find the correct dimensions for your dog. If your dog is on the small to medium side but they still want to be involved when sledding or carrying out any other pulling sport, then the Dogs My Love Sledding Harness is a great choice.
With a classic x-back design, this harness is made from nylon webbing with a padded chest plate. The neck circumference is 18 inches, so will fit breeds like American Pit Bull Terriers, Border Collies, Labradoodles, Wheaten Terriers, and other similar sized breeds.
The double padded chest plate is designed to distribute pressure effectively, keeping your dog comfortable for longer.
Best Harness for Racing
For lean sled dogs competing in races, you need a lightweight and well-fitting harness to help them perform their best. The Neewa X-Back Racing Harness is the answer! This harness fits dogs with narrow chests best, with recommended breeds including lean Huskies, Kugsha Dog, Seppala Siberian Sled Dogs, and Chinooks.
Created with an extremely strong yet lightweight nylon, this harness is padded on the neck and chest only. Nylon is used rather than polypropylene as it performs better at lower temperatures. Reflective strips on the neck and rear of the harness help your dogs to stand out in low-light conditions.
Available in seven sizes, it is worth noting that the neck opening on this harness is smaller than you might expect. We recommend sizing up if your dog’s neck measurement is at the upper end of the sizing chart. Make sure you measure your dog’s neck along the lower part of their neckline, further down than their collar. This is where the harness will sit once fitted.
Best for Dogs with Wide Chests
Many of the sled dog harnesses on the market are designed for the narrower chests of Alaskan and Siberian Huskies. Even if they’re adjustable they sometimes won’t feed deeper chested breeds. The good news is that the Dogs My Love Wide-Chested Sledding Dog Harness is designed specifically to fill this gap in the market!
Suitable for dogs with wide and deep chests like Pointers and Hound breeds, this harness is available in three different sizes. The double chest straps are generously padded, and designed to keep this harness centered and comfortable.
This harness is made from a multi-colored and durable rip-stop webbing with foam padding that extends along the entire length of the harness underneath. The classic x-back design helps to distribute pressure evenly along your dog’s body, while leaving their throat area free.
Best Harness for Training Weight Pulling
If you’re looking to introduce your dog to sledding, then using a training harness is a good way to introduce them to the sensation of pulling something before you attach a sled. This harness is designed to be longer than most sledding harnesses, allowing you to attach it to a tire or other item as your dog is being trained to pull.
It has a classic x-back style, with a neck opening of 31.5 inches. The entire harness is made from a nylon webbing with reinforced stitching. Around the neck of the harness there is additional padding for increased comfort.
Like many sledding harnesses this doesn’t come with any adjustment points, and is best suited for larger breeds including traditional sledding breeds like Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes. It will also suit medium to large breeds like Rottweilers and Boxers.
What Features To Look For In A Sled Dog Harness
Harnesses designed for sledding are significantly different in design to a harness designed for walking or running with your dog. It’s essential to choose the specific designs used in sledding harnesses to keep your dog comfortable and safe.
Here are the most important features to consider.
Type of Harness
Sled dog harnesses come in
- X-Back. These harnesses slip over your dog’s head and have a central chest plate that runs between their legs. They cross over your dog’s back in an X shape, hence the name. Compared to a regular harness they’re much longer, and extend all the way along the length of your dog’s back. The attachment point sits at the back of the harness, in line with your dog’s back. This design helps spread the pressure from pulling a sled evenly across your dog’s body. They also leave your dog’s rib cage free. These are generally designed to fit the body shape of classic sled dog breeds.
- Side Pull or Pulka. These harnesses look more like a regular harness, in that they only cover your dog’s torso. These are designed to be used with a Nordic Pulka sled, usually pulled by German Pointers or other Pointer breeds. These harnesses have attachment points on the sides of your dog’s body.
- Wheel Dog Harness. This is another x-back design, but this time the attachment point sits lower than your dog’s back, and further behind them. This type of harness is most often used as a training harness as you accustom your dog to pulling a weight behind them. A tire or some other weight is attached to the longer attachment points.
All but one of the sled dog harnesses we reviewed are the classic x-back style, as this is by far and away the most popular option for sled dogs.
Sled dog harnesses can be found in 2 main materials:
- Polypropylene. This material has increased water resistance compared to nylon, which is important for helping to guarantee a good fit even in wet and snowy conditions.
- Nylon webbing. Nylon is very strong, and is sometimes used on racing harnesses designed for use in extreme cold, because it performs better than polypropylene at lower temperatures.
Most sled dog harnesses slip on over your dog’s head and don’t offer any points of adjustability. This is to reduce any weak points where there are buckles or sliders that could break under pressure.
Make sure to refer to each individual manufacturer’s sizing chart when choosing the right size for your dog. You’ll usually need to take their back measurement and their neck measurement.
For their back measurement, start at your dog’s withers and measure to the base of their tail. For their neck measurement, measure the circumference of their lower neck, from the withers to the tip of their sternum and back up. Sled dog harnesses are designed to sit low on your dog’s neck, so their throat is free from any pressure.
If your dog is between sizes, it’s usually best to select the larger size.
One of the sled dog harnesses we reviewed, the Neewa Adjustable Sled Pro Harness does have eight adjustment points. This can be a good option if you need to use the harness on multiple dogs, or have a young dog and you want to introduce them to the harness before introducing them to pulling when their bodies are fully developed and mature.
Sledding can be great fun, but it’s important to introduce your dog to the concept slowly.
Working with a trainer experienced with sledding can help you know what to expect and how to train your dog for their new, and very fun job!
Whichever harness you use, it’s important to inspect it regularly for any frays, damage, or areas that look like they’ve become worn
The Bottom Line
When looking at sled dog harnesses, it can be hard to know how to choose the best one, especially as they look quite different from a regular harness. Sled dog harnesses are designed specifically to help keep your dog safe and comfortable while they’re pulling a considerable amount of weight. As the best overall choice, we love the Neewa Sled Pro Harness. With a combination of durable yet comfortable materials, intelligent design, and uniform pressure distribution, it’s a clear winner.
If you’d prefer an adjustable sled dog harness, then we again recommend a Neewa harness, this time the Neewa Adjustable Sled Pro Harness. With many of the same features as our best overall choice, this harness also comes complete with eight adjustability points, perfect for hard to fit dogs.
While most harnesses are naturally designed to fit the shape of classic sledding breeds like the Siberian Husky, other breeds can join in the fun too! The Dogs My Love Wide-Chested Sledding Dog Harness is designed to suit breeds like Pointers and Hounds.
Take To The Snow
Now you’re armed with all the information you need to choose the best sled dog harness, you’re all set to start training, or head out into the snow with your experienced sled dog! Choosing a harness that’s specifically designed to keep your dog comfortable and safe while pulling weight is an essential part of sledding.
We bet as soon as you pick up that harness, your dog is going to know what comes next! And they’re probably just as excited as you are.