Being a Yorkie parent calls for learning every single day. One of the challenges is knowing what to buy for your Yorkie and separating the essentials from luxuries, especially if you’re on a budget.
One of the debates that all first-time puppy owners have is whether they need a harness when they have a collar.
The short answer is, yes, it’s best to have both because they play different roles.
In this blog post, I’ll cover why you need a harness for your Yorkie, how to find the right fit, and lastly, share our favorite picks.
Let’s dive in.
Why use a harness with a leash instead of a collar?
The one thing that’s for sure is that you’ll need to take your Yorkie out for walks to keep them healthy. And since there are only two leash attachments (collar and harness) you’ll need to make a choice. I always prefer using a harness for my Yorkie puppy for the following reasons.
1. You’re in more control of your Yorkie.
Yorkie puppies are very active and jumpy, especially during walks. It can even get harder when you’re walking them through a path with stimuli scents or when they see a bird or a cat.
To control them, you have to keep pulling them back.
If you’re using a collar, all this pressure is exerted on your dog’s neck, which can cause unnecessary injuries. However, the pressure is equally distributed to their back and their whole body if you’re using a harness. This means you can easily control your pup without fear of hurting them.
2. A harness stops your puppy from pulling.
Puppies are very mischievous; when walking them using a collar, there is a high chance that they’re pulling. The problem with collars is that when your Yorkie pulls, it allows them to move forward, encouraging them to keep doing this.
On the other hand, when you’re using a harness, this works in your favor because the harness is fixed on their back and in between the shoulders, which discourages them from moving forward even when they pull.
Eliminating the pulling alone can make your walks more blissful and easier.
3. A harness keeps your pooch safe.
One of the rules of using a collar is to leave space that can fit two fingers to ensure it doesn’t hurt your puppy. If your puppy sees something scary or exciting during walks, and they’re keen on escaping, there is a chance that they’ll be successful. This can be fatal if you’re walking on a busy road.
A harness is safe as it secures a huge part of your Yorkie, completely restricting them from slipping away or escaping.
4. It prevents your puppy from Ocular Proptosis.
Ocular proptosis is a condition where your puppy’s eyes pop and protrude from their sockets, and they appear like they’re bulging out of their eyelids. The condition may result from a collar’s pressure on the puppy’s neck.
5. It prevents your puppy from neck and trachea injuries.
As we mentioned earlier, puppies are likely to keep pulling when using a collar since they can get some action. This pulling puts serious pressure on a puppy’s neck, leading to injuries around the neck.
Unfortunately, some of these injuries may not manifest immediately as they may be internal. The pulling can cause severe pain for tiny dogs like Yorkies since they have very fragile bones.
If you’re using a collar, your pup might also have an unexplained continuous cough as their windpipe is strained, restricting airflow.
What we don’t like about a harness
Although we are high advocates of using a harness, we must let you in on the drawbacks of using one. Here are our top pet peeves when it comes to using a harness.
- They’re hard to put on and take off. Many harnesses have complicated designs, and sometimes it can take time to figure out how to join all the parts. It can be incredibly frustrating when you’re trying to put one on a jumpy and impatient puppy.
- They can be uncomfortable during summer or hot weather since they cover a large part of the Yorkie’s body.
- Unlike collars, harnesses don’t allow room for a name tag, so it might be harder to trace them back if your dog gets lost.
How to Fit a Puppy Harness
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even after buying the right harness for your puppy, it won’t serve its purpose if you don’t fit it correctly. In fact, you could end up experiencing the pulling that you’re avoiding with the collar and potentially hurt your puppy.
Once you buy the puppy harness, assemble it as instructed by the manufacturer. Fit two fingers in different parts of their body that are in contact with the harness and ensure you can move them freely.
This is the same standard test you have to do when fitting your puppy’s collar.
Take your puppy for a short trip around the block and see how they behave. Checking for any discomfort and adjusting the harness accordingly. It may take a few trials to get the sweet spot, so be patient with the process. This will also allow you to confirm that they can’t slip away while you’re still in a safe environment.
How to Get the Right Harness for a Yorkie Puppy
Here are a few hacks to help you get a harness for small dogs.
1. Take the right measurements.
A puppy harness will only be comfortable and effective if it’s the right size for your puppy. The only way to get the right fit for your puppy is to measure them before purchasing their harness. To do this, focus on their neck and chest.
Using a cloth measuring tape, place the tape measure at the bottom of your Yorkie’s rib cage, wrap it around their back and mark the measurement. This should be at the largest part of the dog’s chest area.
Next, measure your puppy’s thickest neck part, just above the shoulder.
I know this is more of a visual thing, so watch the video above for more clarity.
2. Consider your puppy’s weight.
Many harnesses are categorized into three categories (small, medium, and large). One of the differences is the weight the harness is meant for. You don’t want to buy a harness that’s meant for a heavier dog so pay attention to the weight section.
The measurements vary from one manufacturer to another so be sure to check on the description part to see which size is appropriate for small dogs.
3. Go for a Chew-resistant material.
Puppies tend to chew on things when they’re at a young age. They will be teething and are likely to chew on the front part of the harness when you’re not looking. Therefore, it’s best to buy a chew-resistant material to be assured of their safety.
4. Prioritize harnesses with padding.
Padding in a harness isn’t necessary, but it makes a harness more comfortable for your puppy. Harnesses with padding are also stylish, giving your puppy a sense of fashion during their walks.
5. Ensure the harness meets your requirements.
Every pet parent has different needs. For example, I don’t like the kind of harness that is just straps. To me, it’s totally confusing and I can’t figure it out.
Similarly, if you’re buying a harness to go hiking with your puppy, it’s important to choose a padded one because they’ll be wearing it for long hours.
6. Consider the harness’s fabric for longevity.
Puppy accessories are very costly, so you want to buy products that can serve them for a while. In this case, some of the factors to consider are the harness fabric and adjustability levels.
Although at some point, you’ll have to upgrade your Yorkie’s harness as they grow, an adjustable one will serve you for a few milestones. In addition, ensure the harness has a good fabric that will last for a long time.
7. Consider your budget.
Although we strongly advise against compromising quality, you don’t need to break the bank for a puppy harness.
Buy what you can afford and save up for a better one once they transition to the next level because that’s the one they’ll use for a long time.
What are the best Yorkie puppy harnesses? (Our top 5 favorites)
Now that you know everything you need to know about shopping for a puppy harness, it’s time to go shopping.
Here are the best Yorkie harnesses on the market. We observed the factors we just discussed when picking them.
1. EcoBark Classic Dog Harness
If you’re a new Yorkie parent and protecting the environment is equally important to you, this harness is a perfect choice for you. They make their hypoallergic chest straps using recycled plastic bottles to reduce plastic trash, and all other materially are eco-friendly.
Also, you’ll be glad to know that this harness uses special anti-rub technology to keep your puppy’s underarms safe. They’ve also upgraded their buckle to enhance protection, so there is no chance of your pup escaping.
Lastly, they use very comfortable padding, and they’ve invested in a breathable fabric that allows your pup to ventilate and stay cool during hikes.
This is the harness my 2 yorkie boys wear. You can see them wearing it in the photo below (they are wearing shirts under the harness)
What we like
- It’s eco-friendly
- It’s padded
- It’s hypoallergic
- It has an anti-rub technology
- It has a breathable fabric
What we didn’t like
- Some pet parents complained about the buckles wearing out too soon (although we have used this brand for years with no issues)
2. Copatchy Reflective Mesh Dog Harness
CHECK THE CURRENT PRICE. (Amazon)
This is a great harness for first Yorkie pet parents as it’s easier to put on and take off. The Yorkie harness has many amazing features, including a reflection feature, which comes in handy for night walks.
Another Copatchy Reflective Mesh Dog Harness we like is the padding. It’s so spongey to ensure your puppy is comfortable even during long walks.
The harness has two adjustable straps, so your puppy won’t be outgrowing it soon. The fabric is breathable and lightweight to ensure your dog doesn’t get hot during long walks or summer.
However, ensure you fit in the harness correctly as it can cause chaffing on your Yorkie’s arm, especially during long walks.
What we like
- It’s heavily padded
- It’s lightweight and breathable
- It has a reflective material
- It’s available in five colors
What we don’t like
- It can cause arm chafing during long walks
3. Voyager Mesh Dog Harness
The Voyager Mesh Dog Harness is one of the most rated puppy harnesses on Amazon, and it’s totally worth the hype. It checks out all the boxes of what a great harness should have.
I have one of these for my female chihuahua and it works great.
It has an all-weather mesh for starters, so whether it’s winter or summer, your dog will still be comfortable. It’s also lightweight, which makes it comfy for long walks and the soft fabric just tops the great experience.
Secondly, the harness has three safety features to ensure even the sneakiest puppies don’t escape.
Lastly, it’s easy to put on and take off, which is a huge bonus.
What we like
- It has three layers of security
- It has a soft fabric
- It’s lightweight and has breathable material
What we don’t like
- It has Velcro, which can be annoying when it sticks to the fur.
4. Pawaboo Puppy Safety Vest Harness
When you’re getting a new puppy, you have so many expenses, so it’s important to find ways to save. The Pawaboo Puppy Safety Harness is a good example of how you can save without compromising your puppy’s life quality. It’s cost-friendly, and it doubles as a car seat belt for your puppy.
The harness has a clip that can be secured on your car seat, so you don’t have to stay distracted when driving.
The harness is still effective and reliable during walks as it has a padded chest to keep your pup comfortable. It also has heavy-duty buckles to prevent your pup from escaping.
What we like
- It doubles as a car seat belt
- It has heavy-duty buckles
- It’s made of durable fabric
What we don’t like
- Personally, it’s too “strappy” for me
5. Didog Adjustable Mesh Vest Harness
This harness is specifically designed for female Yorkies. It’s very cute and colorful – and your Yorkie will be getting all the compliments. The harness is available in gray with tiny flowers or pinks with strawberries. The harness comes with a matching leash to ensure your little girl is totally styling.
We don’t recommend using this leash for a long walk, but it would be a great choice for summer or days when you’re outdoors with your puppy.
What we like
- It’s very colorful
- It’s super cute
- It comes with a leash
What we don’t like
- It’s not designed for long daily walks
Raising a Yorkie puppy is fun and exciting, but learning what’s good for them can be confusing and frustrating at times. One of the greatest puzzles is deciding on what you really need during their first months.
If you’re debating on whether to buy a harness or collar, we recommend buying both because they’re both useful in their ways. For example, while a harness is good for walking your puppy, they can’t wear it all the time or hold a visible tag with their name. On the other hand, a collar would hurt their neck if you use it too often during walks.
Our greatest advice is to have both and use them accordingly depending on the occasion.
Let me know which harness you choose and if there’s another harness you really love that isn’t on the list, share that too in the comments.
Dog Blogger, Former Dog Groomer
I have adored Yorkies for well over 50 years. As a young adult, I began to show and breed them. Now, I just write about them and have several in my little pack of small dogs.
I have had dogs all my life and have trained as a dog groomer. I also have been a kennel worker, worked in a pet hotel through PetSmart, and still am a pet sitter.
Check out my bio for more information about me.