With their hot-dog shape and adorably stubby legs, Dachshunds are a unique breed! While they’re cute, their body shape does mean there are extra challenges when it comes to safe and comfortable adventures with their humans.
Dachshunds are also popular pups when it comes to so called “designer dogs” which means that two purebred dogs from different families are bred together to make a “new” mixed breed type of dog. A classic dachshund example is the Dorgi. When doxies are mixed with breeds that are smaller in stature like the corgi, harnesses that are designed specifically for standard sized dachshunds can still often times fit.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best harnesses for Dachshunds, including how to find them. If you have a smaller mutt, then take a look at some of our favorites for smaller breeds.
- 1 Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Why Harnesses Are Great
- 3 Our Favorite Harnesses For Dachshunds
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Final Thoughts
With their long and low-slung body type, shopping for harnesses and other equipment for Dachshunds can seem daunting. But looking for the right features can help you narrow down the options and find the proper fit for your pup—and keep them looking and feeling great, too.
Because Dachshunds are likely to have back issues because of their breed, comfort is a priority when buying a harness. Purebreed doxies can sustain back injuries easier than other dogs because of their genetics, but other diseases like hypothyroidism are also common.
Depending on your dog’s age and skeletal structure, he could develop disc problems from regular activities like jumping and climbing. Regardless of whether your pup already has a health problem, buying a harness that irritates his back increases the odds of developing issues.
A no-pull leash is ideal, especially for puppies, as you want leash walking to be as gentle as possible for your little pup.
Padding and Anti-Chafing Materials
Dachshunds tend to have short hair, though not all do, so looking for lightly padded and anti-chafing harnesses is a good idea. Depending on your pup’s coat, a bit of padding can make the difference between a comfortable walk and sores that last for weeks.
And although a no-pull style helps avoid spine issues, padding will help if your pup decides not to obey while on a walk. You don’t want to let your dog get away with whatever it wants, but you also don’t want to put additional strain on his body while trying to keep him safe.
Your Dachshund is long and lean, which is a relatively uncommon body type in dogs. Highly adjustable harnesses are easier to manage for a Dachshund, so look for multiple straps with easy adjustments instead of one-size neck measurements or single-strap designs.
Wrangling your pup into a harness with too many straps can also be frustrating, though, so a balance between adjustability and ease of use is helpful. A step-in harness might be easier for calmer dogs, but one which goes on over their backs might be easier for most Dachshunds.
Why Harnesses Are Great
Most dogs wear snug collars with their (and their owners’) identification information on a tag. But with your purebred Dachshund, a collar may not be enough to keep them contained and safe—and it could contribute to existing health problems, too. Here’s why you should consider a harness over a collar for your Dachshund pup.
They Redistribute Pressure
Instead of creating a pressure point around your dog’s neck, as a collar would, a harness redistributes that force across your dog’s body. While putting more pressure on the dog’s back isn’t ideal, spreading the force over their chest helps reduce the amount of stress on their body overall.
With a full-coverage harness, there’s even more surface to spread the force throughout, so your dog is secure but doesn’t feel stress at pressure points. Instead of catching at your dog’s throat and potentially harming them, a harness would hold the dog in place wherever it became caught.
They Can Be More Secure
A dog who is practically a Houdini when it comes to escaping collars (or yards) may give you trouble when it comes to wearing a harness, too. But in general, a harness is more difficult to escape than a collar is and is less dangerous in terms of getting caught in fences or other obstacles.
If your Dachshund tends to slip out of her collar, a snug-fitting harness could eliminate that problem. Plus, if it’s comfortable, she may not even notice she’s still wearing it when you come back from a walk.
They Provide Versatility (and Safety)
Many harnesses include a handle both for assisting older or injured dogs and for emergencies when you need to remove your dog from a dangerous situation. At the same time, a handle can also give you a means of securing your pup in the vehicle while you’re driving.
Threading the seatbelt through your dog’s harness makes for a safer car ride for everyone and can be effective at keeping him from roaming around the vehicle. And if you take the advice of many dog experts, you can use the handle to assist your dog in using the stairs or climbing down from high places without pain or injury.
Can Prevent Injury Post-Surgery
If your pup has had the unfortunate experience of undergoing surgery for spine issues, you will want to stay away from collars that can stress the area post-surgery. Once your dog recuperates and you get the okay from your vet, a harness can help your dog feel comfortable while walking—without straining any part of her spine.
Our Favorite Harnesses For Dachshunds
With dozens of dog harnesses on the market it can be difficult to know which ones are best for Dachshunds. Check out our top choices to help you get started.
RUFFWEAR Web Master Multi-Use Support Dog Harness
With more back coverage and three adjustable straps, RUFFWEAR’s Web Master harness gives Doxies pressure distribution to help avoid back problems. Instead of tugging on your dog’s neck or back, you can control where they go by gently redirecting their entire body.
A built-in handle allows you to assist your injured or elderly pup or secure him in your vehicle while driving. Reinforced straps maintain security while ample padding keeps your dog comfortable—there’s even padding along the belly straps to prevent rubbing and make all-day wear possible.
While this option is a bit pricier than alternatives on our list, it’s a full-coverage option for dogs who need more guidance while on walks (or help around the house). And if your dog is a service pup or has other patches to wear, there are plenty of areas to affix them with this professional-looking harness.
Things We Like
- Five points of adjustment allow for a custom fit
- A reinforced handle lets you help your dog over obstacles (and buckle up in the car)
- Reflective trim makes your pup visible in dark conditions
- The additional belly strap helps prevent escapes
RUFFWEAR Doubleback Belay Dog Harness
The title states that RUFFWEAR’s harness is for belaying and hiking, and it is a bit more expensive than the others because of that. But in terms of support and comfort for your Dachshund, the extra-secure harness is ideal for dogs who need help climbing or jumping.
If you like to adventure a lot but recognize that your Doxie’s physical limitations are keeping her from having fun, this harness could be a great solution. Seven adjustment points allow you to fully customize the fit, and the buckles are durable anodized aluminum.
Even though it’s a heavy-duty harness aimed at backpackers and hikers (pups included), the Doubleback harness has padding along the belly support and leg loops to prevent rubbing and pinching. Multiple tie-in points are perfect for actual rock-climbing scenarios but also provide options for leashing and buckling into the car.
Things We Like
- Seven adjustment points to achieve the perfect fit
- Heavy-duty materials and buckles prevent tearing and chewing
- Padded belly support helps keep your pup comfortable
- Built-in storage pack to tuck away the leg straps when you don’t need them
Wellver Dog Halter Harness
With a third strap ideal for longer-bodied pups, the Wellver harness meets most Doxie fit requirements. Even the longest dogs have full coverage along their backs, and the polyester material isn’t as bulky as some alternatives.
Double D-rings provide for leash fit and tag attachment, and the built-in handle gives you a way to grab onto your pup easily. The lack of padding on the belly and chest straps is a bit confusing, but the body of the harness is soft enough to remain comfortable with prolonged wear.
Velcro sections secure the straps once you adjust to fit your dog, so no dragging or snagging occurs if you have a trim pup who needs a tight fit. And as one of the most budget-friendly choices, Wellver’s harness is a great pick for puppies and still-growing Doxies, too.
Things We Like
- Third strap across the belly helps prevent dogs from wiggling out
- Wide adjustability range per size to accommodate different body types/statures
- Built-in handle for assisting your dog over obstacles and buckling in the car
- Easy buckle on and off via three straps
Gooby Perfect Fit X Harness
Gooby concentrates on comfort (and style) with their Perfect Fit X harness. For small dogs who do well on a leash and don’t need extra support (there’s no handle here), the Perfect Fit X is comfy and streamlined.
It fits your dog’s chest area only (no extra straps or belly coverage) in an X shape and has simple size adjustments and one closure buckle. The smallest size accommodates dogs with a chest circumference of 12 inches, so if your Doxie is super tiny, this might be a good choice.
On most Dachshunds, the fit is well below the trachea area, ensuring your dog won’t choke themselves or otherwise have breathing issues even if they tug on the leash. Dual D-rings and no handle keep the design trim, but you may have trouble buckling your dog in the car unless you purchase an attachment for the seatbelt.
Things We Like
- Synthetic lambskin straps make for a cozy and comfortable fit
- Accommodates dogs with chests as small as 13 inches
- Range of fun color options for visibility
- Step-in design goes on easily
- Lies below the neck and doesn’t irritate sensitive tracheas
Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
A lightweight all-seasons harness, Voyager’s Step-In Air fits even the tiniest of Dachshunds (at a 13-inch chest size) and delivers barely-there comfort. Size adjustments are minimal, however, because of the Velcro closure and buckle overlay, so this may not be the right harness for Houdini Doxies.
But if you are looking for an affordable harness option that won’t irritate your Dachshund’s sensitive skin or airways, this low-lying harness might be the perfect fit. Mesh fabric enhances airflow and keeps your pup comfortable in all seasons, but of course, it’s also susceptible to chewing.
The step-in design is simple to get on your dog, and there are no complicated straps to twist or rub. Double D-rings provide added security when going on walks, though this harness may not work for Dachshunds who pull a lot; it lacks reinforcement in many areas. There’s also a plush Voyager Step-In option for extra-pampered pets.
Things We Like
- Range of color options make a fashionable harness affordable
- Streamlined construction without bulk or extra features to weigh your dog down
- Lies below trachea area so doesn’t affect breathing
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are commonly asked questions about shopping for harnesses for Dachshunds.
Q: How Big is a Full-Grown Dachshund?
A: Most Dachshunds remain puppy-sized their entire lives, but there are some variations in Dachshund size. A full-grown Standard Dachshund can weigh anywhere from 16 to 32 pounds, while a Miniature Dachshund doesn’t often surpass 11 pounds as an adult.
By the time your dog is about a year old to a year and a half, she has likely stopped growing and will stay that size through adulthood. Your Dachshund may live to be around 15 years old, but as with other purebred pups, the older they get, the more likely they’ll have health complications.
Q: Can Dachshunds Run?
A: If you’re new to Dachshund ownership, you might wonder whether your new pup’s stubby little legs will keep him from running far or fast. The short answer is yes, Dachshunds can run—and fast enough to escape from you if their harness fails—but they also shouldn’t do a whole lot of climbing or jumping.
So while you may enjoy an adventurous lifestyle, your dog’s health depends on gentle walks, strict rules about jumping down from the furniture, and gentle handling whether leash walking or carrying your Dachshund.
Q: Do Dachshunds Chase Other Animals?
A: Part of your reason for buying a harness for your Dachshund might be due to their tendency to chase animals in your yard. Whether they’re going after squirrels or trying to hunt badgers (which their breed originally did!), Dachshunds have it in their blood to go after small critters.
While the tendency to “hunt” doesn’t mean you can’t train your dog to obey, it does mean you should keep good control over your little dog while out walking. A harness keeps your dog safe while avoiding undue strain on her neck or spine, so you can more effectively control her if she spots a squirrel!
Q: Can I Lift My Doxie By the Harness?
A: Many harnesses include handles for lifting (or assisting) your dog, but with Doxies, you won’t want to grab them by the harness unless the straps support their entire back. Lifting advice for Dachshunds includes supporting their tummies and not grabbing them by the front legs/upper body, so make sure the harness adequately cradles their midsection before you lift.
Dachshunds are hard to buy for when it comes to accessories like harnesses and clothing. With their elongated bodies and narrow profiles, fitting a harness can be frustrating. When you consider the potential for spine problems with the wrong type of harness or habits, shopping for your Doxie becomes serious business.
Fortunately, there are solutions even for the longest and skinniest of Dachshunds. In terms of fit, most of us look for a third strap to distribute pressure evenly along the pup’s body. Plus, a third strap makes it less likely your dog will wriggle away whether you’re on a walk or in the car. If your dog has existing spine problems or has had surgery, you should consult your vet before trying any new equipment—but for most Dachshund owners, a harness is a significant improvement over a collar.
For both adjustable fit and usability (the buckles are simple to operate), Wellver’s Dog Halter Harness earns my vote. Polyester construction keeps the bulk to a minimum but also prevents your pup from overheating, and the built-in handle is always welcome for little dogs trying to overcome big obstacles.