Choosing the best harness for small dogs

Your Guide to Choosing The Best Harness for a Small Dog

What is the Best Harness for a Small Dog?

Whether you're a seasoned dog owner or you've just welcomed a tiny furball into your family, ensuring your pup's safety and comfort during walks is paramount. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by choosing the right harness... not just any harness.

For small dogs in particular, the right harness will help prevent injuries, ensure their comfort and help with training them to stop pulling.

Why listen to us? Well, with four years of creating, sizing, designing and receiving feedback in the dog walk wear game, we’ve got you and your tiny bestie covered when it comes to small dog harness sizing.

In this blog post, we'll explore some of the important harness considerations for small dogs.

chihuahua in taupe st argo dog harnessAn adorable cream short-haired #Chihuahua wears the ST ARGO Taupe harness in size XS.

Advantages of choosing a harness for small breeds: Why Use a Harness for Small Dogs?

1. Neck Safety

Small dogs are more susceptible to tracheal collapse, a condition where the windpipe weakens or collapses. A collar can put direct pressure on the neck, exacerbating this risk. A harness distributes pressure more evenly across the chest and back.

2. Better Control

A harness offers more control over your pet, especially if they're prone to darting off or pulling.

3. Comfort

Harnesses can be more comfortable for dogs, as they don't tug directly on their neck.

💡PRO TIP: For the best control over your small dog, select a harness that is ‘no pull’. This means there is a leash attachment point at the front of the harness, not just on the back. Check out our range of no-pull dog harnesses.

Safety: Important Medical Considerations! ⛑️

If you have a small dog such as a chihuahua or pomeranian, you’ve probably already heard of tracheal collapse. As a safety concern it is VITAL that your small dog wears a harness to prevent this occurring.

The ST ARGO harness has been specifically designed to prevent tracheal collapse. Not only is it a ‘no-pull’, but the cut of the harness is just so that it sits BELOW your dog’s neck.

We’ve offered generous neck sizing to completely prevent the risk of choking and tracheal collapse. Small dogs are our biggest customer, so we have designed our harnesses to maximise safety and comfort for small dogs. You’re welcome! 💝

🤔 FYI: Here is a list of dog’s who are at HIGH RISK of tracheal collapse:

- Chihuahuas;

- Shih Tzus;

- Pomeranians

- Toy Poodles; and

- Yorkshire Terriers. 

Pomeranian in ST ARGO small dog harness

How cute is this little #Pom in our bottle green harness? 

Top Harness Pick for Small Dogs: What is the best harness for a small dog?

ST ARGO XS No-Pull Harness: Made from a soft, cruelty-free leather alternative, the ST ARGO harness is a favourite among small dog owners. It's comfortable, lightweight, and comes in 9 colourways.

💡PRO TIP: For puppies and toy breeds, select the ST ARGO Extra-Small dog harness. This is suitable for very small dogs (and cats) up to 4kg (9lb).


Im(paw)tant Factors to Consider When Shopping: What to look for when choosing a harness for your small dog...

Adjustability - Will your pooch be comfy? 

Ensure that the harness offers an adjustable strap to fit your dog's unique shape and size. The ST ARGO harness has an adjustable chest strap to mold to your dog’s unique shape.

Material - Is it lightweight? 

Look for a harness made of breathable, soft, and durable material. This ensures your dog's comfort and the longevity of the harness. The ST ARGO dog harness is made from a lightweight vegan leather which is PERFECT for tiny dogs, toy breeds and puppies.

Easy to Put On and Take Off - Consider Use-ability!

This is especially important if your dog isn’t a fan of wearing things, you'll want a harness that's easy to put on and take off.

Leash Attachment Points - Is it a no-pull?

Consider where you can attach the leash. Some offer front-clip options, which can deter pulling, while others might have a back clip.

✔️ PSA: The ST ARGO small dog harness has both for ease of use!

Price $$

While it's essential to invest in a quality harness, it doesn’t mean the most expensive one is the best. Balance quality with affordability.

toy poodle breed dog harnessHow adorable! A tiny toy poodle wears the ST ARGO Ruby Red harness in size XS.


Choosing the right harness for your small dog isn't just about aesthetics; it's about their safety, comfort, and the control you have during walks. By considering the factors mentioned above and checking out some of the recommended products, you'll be on your way to enjoying more pleasant and safe strolls with your canine companion.

✨FAQ's: Frequently Asked Questions ✨

How do I fit my small dog with a harness? 

To fit a harness on your dog, start by standing or having your dog sit in a calm position. Make sure the body strap on the ST ARGO harness is undone. Slip the neck loop over your dog’s head. Then buckle the chest strap so that the harness sits comfortably on your dog's body without being too tight or too loose. You should be able to fit two fingers between the harness and your dog's skin, ensuring comfort and preventing chafing.

Before going out, give a gentle tug on the harness to make sure it stays in place and doesn't restrict your dog's movement. Regularly check and adjust the fit, especially if your dog is still growing or if its weight changes. 

How do I size my dog's harness? 📏

To correctly size your dog for a harness, it's essential to take accurate measurements of his or her body. Begin by using a soft measuring tape, and measure the girth of your dog, which is the area around the widest part of its chest, typically right behind the front legs. Once you have this measurements, refer to the ST ARGO sizing chart and select accordingly. Always prioritise the chest girth measurement, as this determines the fit more than other dimensions. If your dog's measurements are between sizes, it's generally advisable to choose the larger size and adjust the straps for a precise fit. 

💡PRO TIP: If you don’t have a measuring tape, use a string and mark at the size. Then lie this flat and measure with a ruler!


black toy poodle harness leather st argoAn adorable black toy poodle looks beautiful in our Lilac Harness in size XS.

How to tell if my dog’s harness is too small?

The best way to check the proper fit of your dog’s harness is if you can comfortably (but snugly) fit TWO (2) fingers in between the harness and your dog at the tightest point. If not, it’s too tight. 

Can I use a small dog harness for my cat? 🐱

Yes, you can use a small dog harness for a cat. Cats generally fit the size XS ST ARGO harness, but measure their chest and check against our size guide to make sure. 

It’s important that the harness you choose is lightweight and doesn’t have large buckles, as cats are generally more sensitive to new sensations than dogs. 

Should small dogs wear collars or harnesses? 🤔

For small dogs, harnesses are often recommended over collars when walking your dog.

When walking or restraining, collars can put a disproportionate amount of strain on a small dog's delicate neck and throat. This pressure can lead to injury, especially if the dog has a tendency to pull or if they suddenly lunge. Moreover, small breeds like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Toy Poodles are susceptible to conditions like tracheal collapse, which can be exacerbated by the pressure from a collar.

Harnesses distribute the force more evenly across a dog's chest and shoulders, thereby reducing the risk of injury. They also provide better control over your dog without putting direct pressure on the neck. This is especially beneficial for puppies or dogs that haven't been leash-trained yet.

However, it's worth noting that while harnesses are excellent for walking and activity, collars are still useful for holding ID tags which are mandatory in all Australian states. 🇦🇺

📢 PSA: Did you you know it is also regulation in most Australian states to carry poop bags with you when walking your dog? Be stocked for your fluffy bestie and avoid a hefty fine with the ST ARGO poop bags

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Staffy in Ruby Red Dog Harness

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