French Bulldog Harnesses: The Ultimate Guide (Perfect Fit)

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When walking a dog, the options available are harnesses and collars. While other breeds may be fine with either of the two, for Frenchies, French Bulldog harnesses are a better choice because they do not put pressure around the neck, which could exacerbate their breathing problems.

However, not all harnesses are created equal, and finding the most suitable one for your Frenchie requires careful consideration of the material, fit, and design. In this article, we’ll delve into why selecting the appropriate harness for your Frenchie is crucial and what to look for when buying one.

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Understanding French Bulldog Anatomy

Every dog breed has distinct physical attributes that differentiate them from others, and the French Bulldog is no exception. Three key features of the French Bulldog’s anatomy must be taken into consideration when trying to find the best harness:

1.   Broad chests

French Bulldogs have broad, muscular chests, making finding a fitted harness size somewhat challenging. A loose harness can allow french bulldogs to slip out, while one that is too tight can cause discomfort.

2.   Thick necks

French Bulldogs have thick necks, which pose similar problems to those identified above. Aside from the discomfort a tight harness can cause the dog, it can also chafe their neck and cause breathing problems.

3.   Brachycephalic skull

French Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short and wide skulls that flatten their snouts, essentially meaning a flat face. This congenital abnormality (meaning flat faces) puts them at risk of suffering from Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS), exposing them to severe respiratory issues that can be life-threatening. As a result, a tight harness would further complicate their already existing breathing problems.

Types of Harnesses for French Bulldogs

Finding the best harness for your French Bulldog can be overwhelming since numerous options exist in the market today. However, understanding the various types of harnesses can help you narrow down your options and make an informed decision. Below are some of the most common types of French Bulldog harnesses:

1.   Step-in harnesses

Step-in harnesses are a go-to choice for many Frenchie owners because they are easy to put on and take off. The harness has two leg holes that your dog can step into first. Afterward, you only need to wrap the harness around their chest and fasten it on their back. Step-in harnesses are ideal for anxious or uncooperative French Bulldogs that do not enjoy having things placed over their heads.

71O8X3U EYL. AC SL1500
Gooby Simple Step-in III Harness (Step-in French Bulldog Harness)

2.   Vest harnesses

Vest harnesses combine the comfort of a vest with the safety of a harness into one protective gear. They offer full chest and back coverage and are an excellent choice for Frenchies that require extra support or have mobility issues.

AMTOR Dog Harness with Leash Set - Top Frenchie
AMTOR Dog Harness with Leash Set

Other Great Picks – Vest Harness For French Bulldog

PawSafe No Pull Dog Harness - Top Frenchie
PawSafe® No Pull Dog Harness – Top Frenchie
QTpawz French Bull Dog Vest Harness - Top Frenchie
QTpawz French Bull Dog Vest Harness – Top Frenchie
WINSEE Service Dog Vest No Pull Dog Harness
WINSEE Service Dog Vest No Pull Dog Harness – Top Frenchie
DOCO Step-in Bulldog Dog Harness - Top Frenchie
DOCO Step-in Bulldog Dog Harness

3.   Back-clip harnesses

Back-clip harnesses have the D ring leash attachment on the dog’s back. They are popular among Frenchie parents due to their ease of use and the fact that French Bulldogs usually adjust to them easily.

4.   Front-clip harnesses

Front-clip harnesses have their D-ring leash attachment in the centre of the dog’s chest. It is sometimes identified as the “No pull harness” because its design provides greater control to steer the dog’s direction, making it an excellent choice for pawrents who struggle with French Bulldogs that pull on the leash too much.

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ThinkPet No Pull Harness with Front & Back D Rings
Various Types of French Bulldog Harnesses Top Frenchie
French Bulldogs can wear a variety of harnesses to ensure their comfort and safety

Features to Consider When Choosing a French Bulldog Harness

Keeping your Frenchie safe and comfortable during walks and other activities is easy with the right French Bulldog harness. Get the wrong one, and you risk your dog slipping out or not wanting to wear it. Here are things to look out for when shopping for French Bulldog harnesses to get one that is perfect for your dog:

1.   Materials

The material used in making a harness determines how comfortable your dog will feel when wearing it. Therefore, you should only consider French Bulldog harnesses made with high-quality materials like cotton, nylon, and leather. You may need to try different materials to find the most comfortable one for your dog.

2.   Breathability

Due to the structure of their flat face, Frenchies are more susceptible to breathing problems and, by extension, overheating than other dog breeds. When choosing the best harness for your French Bulldog, ensure that you opt for one that allows plenty of ventilation. This eliminates the risk of your dog suffering a heatstroke.

3.   Adjustability

A harness that cannot be adjusted to fit the French Bulldog’s peculiarities can be too tight or loose. An adjustable harness accommodates changes in your dog’s body size or shape due to weight gain, weight loss, or growth, meaning you won’t incur additional expenses.

4.   Durability

Prioritizing durability when selecting the best harness for your Frenchie is essential not just because it saves you money in the long run as you won’t need to replace it frequently but also because it guarantees your dog’s safety.

5.   Padding

The French Bulldog’s unique body structure makes it prone to chafing from poorly fitted harnesses. Therefore, consider getting a harness with plenty of padding, especially around the chest and belly, to provide your dog extra comfort and safety. Adequate padding helps prevent rubbing or digging into the skin, reducing the risk of injuries and discomfort while wearing the harness.

6.   Attachment points

Harnesses come with the leash attachment point on the front, back, or both. When choosing the best French Bulldog harness, you should note where its leash attachment points are, as that determines how much control you will have over your dog when walking them. Harnesses with front leash attachment offer more control than harnesses with back leash attachment.

7.   Reflective features

This is optional but highly recommended if you intend to walk your Frenchie at night. Harnesses with reflective features, such as reflective strips or stitching, help to make your dog visible to motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians in low-light conditions, reducing the risk of accidents.

Finding the Right Fit for Your French Bulldog

Before purchasing a French Bulldog harness, it is important to measure them first to ensure you get one that fits them correctly.

how to measure your Frenchie for a harness Top Frenchie

Here’s how to measure your Frenchie for a harness:

1.   Use a measuring tape

Weight-based sizing can be misleading when shopping for the perfectly fitted French Bulldog harness. Although it can provide a general indication, it is not always accurate. We recommend you get a measuring tape to measure your dog’s dimensions to determine their exact size for the harness.

2.   Measure their chest

Start by placing the measuring tape behind your Frenchie’s front armpits and wrapping it around and under their chest before going over their back. Be sure to note the width of the chest at its widest point, typically an inch or two away from the armpits. If your Frenchie is a puppy, you can add an extra 3 inches to the recorded chest dimensions to allow room for growth.

3.   Measure their neck

Some harnesses go over the dog’s head. If you are considering getting such a harness, you should measure your dog’s neck circumference to ensure it is not too tight and fits comfortably around their neck. When measuring your dog’s neck, add a few extra inches to give your dog enough breathing space to ensure they don’t experience breathing problems.

4.   Weigh them

Weighing your Frenchie is another step in selecting the perfect harness size. While it can be challenging to make them stand still, an easier way to do it is by carrying your dog and stepping onto the scales to obtain your combined weight. After taking note of the combined weight, place the dog back down and weigh yourself alone. Now, you only need to subtract your weight from the combined weight to get your dog’s correct weight. 

Selecting the perfect harness for your Frenchie becomes much easier if you accurately measure their chest, neck, and weight. Harnesses are typically sold based on these measurements, so you only need to find a harness that matches your dog’s measurements. If you cannot find a perfect match, you can opt for a slightly larger harness that you can adjust to fit your dog’s size.

Video Tutorial: How To Measure Your Dog For a Harness

Finding the Right Fit for Your French Bulldog Puppy

Ensuring a good fit is crucial when selecting a harness for your French Bulldog puppy, and there are a few expert tips to bear in mind. The tutorial video above provides a good visual guide on how to measure your pup for a harness.

Start by measuring your puppy’s neck and chest circumference. For the neck, measure around the widest part, usually right below where the collar sits.

For the chest, measure around the broadest part, which is typically right behind the front legs. Always use a soft measuring tape and ensure it’s snug but not too tight. When you’re checking the fit of the harness, you should be able to slide two fingers comfortably between the harness and your puppy’s body.

A good fit is one that’s secure yet comfortable, without any rubbing or restriction. Always remember to check the fit regularly as your French Bulldog puppy grows, adjusting the harness or upgrading to a larger size when needed.

It’s also worth noting that French Bulldogs have a unique body shape with a wider chest and a smaller head, which can make them Houdini-like escape artists. Thus, a harness with a secure buckle system is a must to prevent any possible escape attempts.

Tips for Training Your French Bulldog to Wear a Harness

Training a French Bulldog to wear a harness can be challenging due to their stubborn nature. However, it is an essential part of their overall training and care. For this process to be as smooth as possible, there are a few tips that you can follow:

1.   Gradual introduction

Some French Bulldogs might find harnesses scary and may not want to have anything to do with them. If your Frenchie is one such dog, you can help them get comfortable by slowly introducing them to the harness. Allow them to sniff and inspect the harness before putting it on them.

2.   Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective tools to teach French Bulldogs acceptable behaviors. Be sure to reward your Frenchie with treats, praise, and attention when they show interest or interact with the harness. Gradually work towards putting the harness on them and reward them for wearing it without fuss.

3.   Patience and persistence

Your Frenchie may not be excited about wearing a harness and could even throw a fit. However, this should not make you frustrated or cause you to give up on their training. Instead, take small steps each day and continue to reinforce positive behavior.

4.   Safety considerations

Regularly inspect your dog’s body to ensure the harness fits correctly and does not chafe or irritate their skin. This is important because if your dog experiences pain whenever they wear it, they would naturally resist wearing harnesses. You must also inspect the harness for damages and replace it if necessary.

What is the best harness for a French Bulldog puppy?

Finding the ideal harness for a French Bulldog puppy is slightly different than choosing one for an adult Frenchie. Given their smaller size and growing nature, harnesses for French Bulldog puppies should have some key attributes.

First, opt for a harness that has a fully adjustable chest and neck area. This adaptability not only ensures that the harness fits your pup perfectly but also accommodates their rapid growth.

Second, a good puppy harness should be lightweight and soft on the skin to avoid any unnecessary discomfort or chafing. Brands like Puppia and Ruffwear typically offer excellent models designed with puppies’ needs in mind.

For French Bulldog puppies, a harness with a broad chest piece is beneficial. This design can distribute pressure more evenly across the chest, reducing strain on their throat and neck – an important aspect given the breed’s susceptibility to breathing issues.

Recommended Harnesses For A French Bulldog Puppy

Adjustable Dog Harness and Leash Set for Puppy - Top Frenchie
Adjustable Dog Harness and Leash Set for Puppy
BARKBAY No Pull Pet Harness Dog Adjustable Harness - Top Frenchie
BARKBAY No Pull Pet Harness Dog Adjustable Harness
PUPTECK Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash Set
PUPTECK Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash Set
SCENEREAL Puppy Harness and Leash Set - Top Frenchie
SCENEREAL Puppy Harness and Leash Set

Top 3 Best French Bulldog Harness Recommendations

When it comes to finding the perfect harness for your French Bulldog, comfort, security, and style are key considerations. Having tested numerous options, we present our top 3 best French Bulldog Harnesses that combine all these qualities in one.

Whether you have a puller or a Frenchie who dislikes having a harness pulled over their head, we have the ideal solutions for you.

Bully Billows Mini Tri Harness

Bully Billows Mini Tri Harness - Top Frenchie
Louis V in his Bully Billows Mini Tri Harness

Designed with smaller breeds in mind, the Bully Billows Mini Tri Harness is a great harness for Frenchies and secures a spot in our top three. What sets this harness apart is its three key points of contact for the lead, offering enhanced security during walks, even on a motorbike.

The tri harness is crafted for durability and features a design that minimizes rubbing, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for your Frenchie. Bid farewell to discomfort and walk with confidence. You can get this harness from www.bullybillows.com, they also ship worldwide!

The Paw Print Boutique French Bulldog Big Dawg Harness

For those who love to flaunt their Frenchie’s charm, The Paw Print Boutique French Bulldog Big Dawg Harness is an excellent choice. This harness showcases adorable Frenchies all over it, making it a stylish and eye-catching accessory.

The buckle design eliminates the need to put the harness over your Frenchie’s head, making it convenient and easy to use. With full adjustability and padded interiors, it ensures optimal comfort and control during walks. It also features a handy control handle for quick restraint when needed. Available at www.thepawprintboutique.co.uk (Worldwide shipping available)

The Treats Doggy Style Pucci Harness

Treats Doggy Style Pucci Harness 2 - Top Frenchie
Louis V looking dapper in his Treats Doggy Style Pucci Harness

The Treats Doggy Style Pucci Harness, is a great harness with a fusion of comfort, style, and affordability. Crafted from super-soft leather, this harness guarantees a luxurious walking experience while turning heads with its fashionable design.

The four-buckle system ensures hassle-free wearing, without the need to put it over your Frenchie’s head. Its durability and resistance to dirt and muck makes it a great harness and a practical choice for everyday use. The harness’s lightweight construction and strategically placed straps allow for ample airflow, keeping your pooch cool while preventing excessive pulling. This harness and other designs are available at www.treatsdoggystyle.co.uk. (Available in UK only)

Other Great French Bulldog Harness Picks

PoyPet No Pull Dog Harness
PoyPet No Pull Dog Harness
AMTOR Dog Harness with Leash Set
AMTOR Dog Harness with Leash Set
PUPTECK Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash Set
PUPTECK Soft Mesh Dog Harness and Leash Set
ThinkPet No Pull Harness Breathable Sport Harness with Handle
ThinkPet No Pull Harness Breathable Sport Harness with Handle

Conclusion

The key to finding the best French Bulldog harness for your Frenchie is to understand their anatomy and use that knowledge to choose a harness that meets all the criteria for their comfort and safety.

For example, knowing that your furry friend has a brachycephalic skull, which puts them at higher risk of respiratory problems, would guide you to choose a harness that is not too tight on their neck and uses breathable material.

Furthermore, trying out different types of harnesses can help you find the best option for your French Bulldog, so don’t be afraid to experiment until you find the perfect fit.

Frequently Asked Questions About French Bulldog Harnesses

How often should I replace my French Bulldog’s harness?

It would be best to regularly inspect your French Bulldog’s harness for wear and tear. If you notice any signs of damage, replace them immediately. A good rule of thumb is to replace your dog’s harness every 6 to 12 months.

Can a French Bulldog wear a collar and a harness at the same time?

Yes, but don’t forget that French Bulldogs have a unique physical makeup, such as short snouts and smaller tracheas. This puts them at a higher risk of choking compared to other dog breeds.

Hence, harnesses are better suited for them than collars since harnesses provide better support for their body and keep their neck in the proper position.

What if my French Bulldog doesn’t like wearing a harness?

If your French Bulldog doesn’t like wearing a harness, you may need to try different types to find one they are comfortable with or seek the assistance of a professional trainer.

Can a French Bulldog wear a harness in hot weather?

Yes, your French Bulldog can wear a harness in hot weather. However, to guarantee their safety, it is best to choose a harness made of breathable material and avoid having them wear it for extended periods.

The French Bulldog Podcast By Top Frenchie

7 March · Episode 1

EP#01 French Bulldog Harnesses: The Ultimate Guide | Top Frenchie

12 Min, 7 Sec · By Top Frenchie

In this episode, we’ll delve into why selecting the appropriate harness for your Frenchie is crucial and what to look for when buying one.

Dr. Majid Tanveer

Veterinary advice reviewed by Dr. Majid Tanveer (Licensed Veterinarian & Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)

About The Author

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