Every dog is unique, but French bulldogs are even more so when it comes to equipment and even treats. Your Frenchie possesses not only trademark bulldog looks but also a bright personality and a predisposition for some unique challenges. They are quite different from the English bulldog, and their smaller stature will require a smaller harness than you’d equip an English bulldog with.
Frenchies are a similar size to Boston terriers and are often mistaken for the same breed. Just because they are similar sizes, doesn’t mean that the harnesses are interchangeable. The Boston terrier is more likely to pull, while the French Bulldog can be a little bit easier to manage when walking in a harness.
Here we’ll cover how to find the best harnesses for French Bulldogs, plus other considerations when it comes to shopping (and caring) for your pup.
- 1 Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Harness vs. Collar for French Bulldogs
- 3 What to Look For
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Our Favorite Harnesses for French Bulldogs
- 6 Final Thoughts
In the buyer’s guide below, we will dive into each category to find out what harness fits your Frenchie the best. There are a variety of different harnesses on the market today, so you’ll want to analyze all the different brands for your needs before making a purchase.
There are some details you need to dive into before wasting your hard earned cash, and that includes weighing if you truly need the harness in the first place as some dogs grow out of pulling on a leash.
Harness vs. Collar for French Bulldogs
You might wonder why a harness is preferable for a French bulldog—especially if you haven’t brought your pup home yet. Like with any breed of dog, it’s essential that you do your research before adopting a puppy or mature dog, and French bulldogs have specific traits which require special attention.
Why You Need a Harness
Many Frenchies are happy as indoor dogs, and the breed doesn’t require a ton of outdoor exercise. Therefore, many pet owners may forego a collar or harness altogether. Especially if your pet already has an identifying microchip, you may not see a reason for a collar or harness with an ID tag.
However, some French bulldog owners might avoid microchipping due to their dog’s skin sensitivities. Some pets develop health issues after microchipping, like irritation at the injection site or a lump in the area.
And even if your pet has a microchip, for walks around the city, you will need to use some form of leash to comply with local law. Dogs must be leashed in most cities, though there’s some flexibility when it comes to enforcement of those laws.
Few locations have state-wide leash laws; it’s usually up to the local municipal level whether a code is on the books or not. To be on the safe side, harnessing your bulldog is a smart idea.
Plus, even if your dog doesn’t care much for exercise, the breed is susceptible to weight problems, so regular walks can help avoid those issues. A short walk or just a game of fetch in the backyard should be enough to keep your bulldog in good shape—just go easy on the treats, too!
Collar Versus Harness for French Bulldogs
Because your pooch has a genetic tendency toward breathing problems, it makes sense to avoid collars. If the collar gets caught on something or is too tight (especially as your dog grows), it could constrict your pup’s airway.
A harness covers more of your dog’s body area, rather than just the neck, and keeps the leash attached securely. When it comes down to a safety scenario, whether it’s a large dog intimidating your Frenchie or your pup getting too close to water (French bulldogs cannot swim), having a harness and leash on can help prevent otherwise dangerous emergencies.
A French bulldog isn’t a large dog by any means, but the fit for your pup’s harness can prove challenging. Because bulldogs are front-heavy, their chests are larger than many other dogs in their class—at least when it comes to weight and height.
Keep in mind that an adjustable harness is the best solution to fit issues, especially if you have a puppy who is still growing.
What to Look For
French bulldogs have unique personalities and needs, and fitting them for a harness has special considerations, too. Here’s what to look for when buying a harness for your Frenchie.
Durability & Material Type
Puppies (and plenty of older dogs, too) tend to chew, so opting for more robust materials ensures your dog’s harness will last a significant length of time. Mesh harnesses might help keep your dog cool (and they look cute, too), but the mesh isn’t very durable when your pup needs to chew.
Of course, if your mature dog has no interest in chewing your shoes or anything else, you may get away with opting for a mesh-style harness. The key is knowing your dog and its habits.
Because your dog is a stocky yet compact breed, an adjustable harness is ideal. You may need to choose from available sizes such as medium or large, but adjustable straps can help customize the fit of the harness and keep your dog comfortable.
Avoiding Neck/Chest Strain
In a traditional collar, your dog might wheeze or gasp for breath when tugging on the leash. For any other breed, you might say the dog needs to learn not to pull—but for French bulldogs, their short snouts mean significant breathing challenges already.
The solution is to find a harness which allows them to breathe freely and doesn’t put undue strain or pressure on their chest or throat. Even distribution of pressure and lightweight materials are ideal for keeping your pup comfortable while wearing their harness.
Ease of Use
A complicated harness with multiple straps, buckles, and connectors can be daunting to use each day. Plus, if your dog gets excited when it’s time to go for a walk, you might spend extra time struggling to get them attached to the leash.
For particularly excitable dogs, it’s much easier to find a step-in type harness that goes on easily. Adjustability is helpful, but too many options just mean it’s challenging to get ready for a walk.
Other helpful features for your French bulldog’s leash include reflective panels for better visibility when walking at night, dual-function harnesses which double as doggie seat belts in the car, and even harnesses with holders for dog waste bags.
Training harnesses are also an option which can help relieve strain on your bulldog’s chest, as they help eliminate pressure from pulling. Consider which additional features, if any, are important for you and your dog in daily use, and shop accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are commonly asked questions about French bulldogs and equipping them with harnesses.
Q: What are common French bulldog health issues and can a harness impact them?
A: According to the American Kennel Club, common French bulldog health issues include breathing problems, skin allergies, autoimmune skin disorders, hip issues, and even cardiac issues. Frenchies can also be sensitive to anesthesia, so undergoing seemingly minor procedures can pose a health hazard to your dog.
Knowing the potential for these complications, it makes sense to fit your dog carefully for her harness, avoiding too-tight or otherwise constrictive options.
Q: How Much Do French Bulldogs Weigh?
If you’re shopping for a harness for your puppy, be aware that as he or she grows, you can expect plenty of wear and tear on their leash and harness! Although French bulldogs are relatively small dogs—weighing in between 20 and 28 pounds as adults—they are sturdy and can be rambunctious.
Q: What Size Harness Does My Frenchie Need?
A: Ideally, you should measure your French bulldog for his harness before making a purchase. But if you’re waiting on a puppy to take home, or your dog’s adoption isn’t final yet, sometimes you must make an informed guess.
Pet stores recommend a medium-size harness for French bulldogs, based on a girth of 18 to 29 inches. At the same time, the size parameters note a medium should fit dogs up to 55 pounds, which is likely more than double that of your pup’s weight.
Q: Should My French Bulldog Keep Her Harness on All the Time?
A: It depends on your dog’s personality and comfort level with their harness! Some dogs will show symptoms of skin irritation after wearing a harness or collar for any amount of time, and French bulldogs are already susceptible to skin problems.
But if your dog is not microchipped and tends to spend time alone outside, keeping a harness with identifying information on your pup is the best way to ensure their safety. Conversely, if your dog tends to stay indoors and doesn’t make a run for it when the gate is open, you may not need a harness except for walks or trips to the vet.
Q: Are French Bulldogs Hard to Train?
Whether you have a puppy or a mature dog, training is always an area of concern for pet owners. If you’re shopping for your Frenchie’s first harness, it’s understandable to worry about introducing it to them.
Fortunately, French bulldogs often respond well to positive reinforcement. Their personality means that if you approach leash training with enthusiasm (and a few treats!), your dog will likely learn quickly! Of course, a no-pull harness also helps with training, as it keeps your dog comfortable while they learn the laws of leash walking.
Our Favorite Harnesses for French Bulldogs
Looking for a high-quality and durable harness for your Frenchie? Check out our five favorite harnesses that your Frenchie is sure to enjoy from the moment he/she straps it onto their chest.
Eagloo No Pull Dog Harness
Eagloo’s no-pull dog harness has a comfortable chest panel and both front and back rings for attaching a leash. Use the back ring for no-pull features, adjust the straps for comfort, and you’re ready to walk. Reflective webbing materials help with visibility, and the mesh is also breathable to keep your dog cool.
Multiple color options (and sizes) ensure everyone can see your pup no matter where you walk. A handle on the back of the harness helps in emergencies but also works as a loop to put your vehicle seatbelt through on car trips.
Thick straps (with four adjustment points across the two straps) help keep the harness secure, even if your dog is between sizes. Flexible sizing means your front-heavy bulldog can have a custom fit, too. There’s no struggle to figure out what goes where, either.
Just two buckles and it’s on—plus the quick-release buckles help make removal easier.
Things We Like
- Spongy lining helps keep pups comfortable
- No-pull ring attachment avoids tugging on your dog’s chest
- Back handle for seat belt attachment
- Two strap adjustments are simple and customizable
EcoBark Max Comfort and Control Dog Harness
EcoBark’s dog harness is one of the most budget-friendly options, especially if you have a puppy who is still growing! Fun prints and multiple size options fit every pup, and the lightweight padded vest prevents skin chafing and breathing issues.
Sizing is a bit unconventional, so you’ll need to read carefully to determine what option will fit your pup the best. The neck measurement is most important, as it’s not adjustable. The girth adjusts via one strap, so that’s a secondary consideration when measuring your dog. Take note of the size guidelines to ensure your dog won’t be able to slip out of their harness.
The comfortable fit makes the EcoBark harness an ideal option for puppies if they aren’t avid chewers. With the lightweight design, puppies can get used to walks without extra bulk, and for larger dogs who carry extra weight on their own, it’s a feather-light fit.
Things We Like
- Comfortable, padded harness won’t choke your dog
- Recycled materials are environmentally friendly and reduce waste
- Does not rest on trachea area (sits higher) so avoids constricting the airway
RUFFWEAR Everyday No Pull Dog Harness
Two leash attachment points provide flexibility in how you walk your dog with the RUFFWEAR no-pull harness. The front loop helps your pup keep up, while the back loop is ideal for dogs who don’t pull.
Four adjustment points let you customize your dog’s harness fit, and this harness is a heavier-weight and more durable option than others. A built-in ID pocket is an excellent addition for keeping crucial identification info on hand, and it’s uncommon in harnesses for smaller dogs.
The absence of a handle is my only complaint with RUFFWEAR, but for most French bulldogs, that’s a minor complaint, since their personalities are relatively easygoing. Durable construction and the ID pocket are highlights, earning this harness a spot on our best-of list.
Things We Like
- Chest padding provides comfort and prevents chafing
- Reinforced yet lightweight webbing is comfortable for all-day
- Four points of adjustment to accommodate dogs of all builds
- Reflective trim helps keep your pup visible
- A tag pocket keeps your dog from jingling but contains vital ID information
Embark Adventure Dog Harness
Comfortable padding prevents rubbing in Embark’s Adventure harness, which means it can withstand plenty of adventuring without causing your dog discomfort. Thanks to the reinforced seams and high-grade nylon thread, the harness can take a beating—unlike thinner mesh options.
If your dog is a serious adventurer, you’ll appreciate the durability of the harness and the reflective trim, which helps add an extra layer of safety should your exploits involve nighttime walks or runs. The design is simple, but up to six inches of adjustment between the two straps allow for a decent fit no matter how big your pup is.
Puppies may not fit these harnesses well, however, as the smallest size suggests 15 inches as the smallest neck circumference the harness will suit. Bigger dogs may also pose a risk to the durability of the front D-ring, which doesn’t seem to handle pulling or pressure as well as the back attachment.
Things We Like
- Built-in handle for security and car ride buckling offers versatility
- Military-grade nylon thread and quadruple stitches ensure durability over time (and even with pulling)
- Adjusts up to six inches, ideal for fitting growing dogs
- Reflective trim helps with nighttime visibility
Gooby Comfort X Head-In Harness
For smaller French bulldogs or puppies who are still growing, Gooby’s Comfort X harness is a gentle and comfortable option. Ideal for dogs under 30 pounds, the harness is a choke-free model which creates an X across your dog’s chest—missing their trachea and preventing chest pressure.
Polyester mesh is super lightweight and breathable, and although the design isn’t as secure as other harness options, Gooby’s comfy harness works great for dogs who are obedient walkers. A single strap adjustment makes it simple to get on and off, and the D-ring on the back makes for secure leash attachments.
If you have a dog who does well on walks, doesn’t pull, and isn’t excitable, Gooby’s Comfort X harness provides a low-profile fit that doesn’t interfere with your adventures.
Things We Like
- Lightweight and gentle for dogs who already walk well on a leash
- Versatile fit for puppies through adult dogs
- Simple design with a single buckle, so it’s easy to put on and take off
When it comes time to adventure with your French bulldog, comfort and attention to their health is crucial. At the same time, security is a top concern: you want your dog to be comfortable but also under your control. Since a collar isn’t often an option for this breed, you need a durable and versatile harness to keep your pup safe.
In terms of durability and features, I prefer the Embark Adventure Dog Harness. Its design is rugged and resistant to chewing and environmental effects, plus there’s padding to prevent chafing while you’re out and about. The handle is also a helpful feature since it adds to your pup’s safety while in the car—just thread the seatbelt through, and your dog is that much safer during your trip.
Ready to adventure with your Frenchie? Buy the Embark Adventure Dog Harness now by clicking here.