- Understanding French Bulldog Anatomy
- Types of Harnesses for French Bulldogs
- Features to Consider When Choosing a French Bulldog Harness
- Finding the Right Fit for Your French Bulldog
- Tips for Training Your French Bulldog to Wear a Harness
- Frequently Asked Questions About French Bulldog Harnesses
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 French Bulldog is crucial and what to look for when buying one.
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 most appropriate French Bulldog harness:
1. Broad chests
French Bulldogs have broad, muscular chests, making finding a fitted harness size somewhat challenging. A loose harness can allow the dog 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 difficulties.
3. Brachycephalic skull
French Bulldogs are brachycephalic, meaning they have short and wide skulls that flatten their snouts. This congenital abnormality 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 perfect French Bulldog harness 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 dogs that do not enjoy having things placed over their heads.
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.
3. Back-clip harnesses
Back-clip harnesses have the leash attachment ring on the dog’s back. They are popular among dog parents due to their ease of use and the fact that dogs easily adjust to them. However, they are not the best option for untrained dogs who frequently pull on the leash, as they don’t provide enough control over the dog’s movements.
4. Front-clip harnesses
Front-clip harnesses have their leash attachment ring in the center 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 dog parents who struggle with dogs that pull on the leash too much.
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:
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.
Due to the structure of their face, Frenchies are more susceptible to breathing problems and, by extension, overheating than other dog breeds. When choosing a 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.
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.
Prioritizing durability when selecting a French Bulldog harness 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.
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 a 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. 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.
4. Weigh them
Weighing your French Bulldog 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 French Bulldog 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.
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 dogs might find harnesses scary and may not want to have anything to do with them. If your French Bulldog 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 dogs 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 French Bulldog 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About French Bulldog Harnesses
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 key to finding the perfect French Bulldog harness 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.