The Chihuahua is a delightful dog, not least because that pint-size body contains a whole heap of character.
Although they are well known for their strong-mindedness, it should not be overlooked that they are physically small and delicate.
This means collars and choke chains stand a greater chance of damaging their delicate windpipe, especially when used inappropriately.
For walks and training using the best harness for a Chihuahua is essential.
This gives you a safe way of keeping your dog under control.
This is because when the dog pulls, the force of the tugging is spread over his entire chest, shoulders, and back, rather than just the throat area.
One reason collars, especially choke collars, are popular with some owners, are because it restrains their dog around the throat, and encourages them to walk to heel.
However, for a small chap like the Chihuahua, it’s a very fine line between restraint and strangulation.
The fine nature of the Chihuahua’s bones and the thinness of the cartilage in the trachea (windpipe) make them more vulnerable to damage.
Add into this that ‘collapsing trachea’ is a common condition in Chihuahua and it becomes even more important not to put pressure on the area.
To understand this better, let’s take a brief look at the anatomy of the windpipe.
It is a tube, made up of ‘U’ shaped rings of cartilage that are bridged across the top with a ligament to holds the windpipe in a ‘pipe’ or ‘tube’ shape.
Collapsing trachea is the result of a combination of overly soft cartilage (which compresses easily) and a slack ligament (which allows the trachea to flatten or collapse).
In addition, when the dog breathes in, instead of inhaling air through a rigid tube, the soft trachea sucks against itself and closes, cutting off the air supply to the lungs and causing the dog to collapse.
Definitely a problem to be avoided where possible.
And with the Chihuahua’s tendency to collapsing tracheas, a harness (rather than a collar) is a must when on the leash.
Rather than inadvertently doing your dog harm, take the sensible option of a harness
1. EXPAWLORER Checkered Frills Fashion Pet Dog Harness
Your Chihuahua puppy is so small they fit in the palm of your hand, and this is exactly the right time to get him used to wearing a harness.
Start him young and he’ll think wearing a harness is completely normal, which is a great way to avoid a battle of wills later in life.
Of course, for a pup so tiny that albeit the teeniest of harnesses are going to dwarf him, which is why we love this EXPAWLORER product as the best harness for Chihuahua puppy.
Fit-wise it comes in both small and extra small, and is suitable for even teacup breeds to wear.
In addition, the harness is very soft and comfortable, which means the pup is going to be happy wearing it because it fits like a second skin.
The air mesh that makes up part of the harness is breathable yet durable, and indeed the whole harness can be machine washed (although hand washing is recommended.)
The harness is “X” shaped, with a soft, air mesh arm that slips over the neck, and a webbing strap that goes around the puppy’s girth.
This strap is adjustable, to ensure the perfect fit, and there’s a handy D-ring on the back to attach a leash.
We found that the sizing did indeed come up small…very small in fact.
If you have a tiny dog then go for the XS, but otherwise, think of going up a size.
However, the payback is that the design places no pressure on the throat and even those dogs prone to coughing can safely wear this harness.
One slight negative is that the harness can stretch or give after a little use, so again bear this in mind if your dog is between sizes.
2. The Original EcoBark Control Dog Harness
If you missed out on the opportunity to get your adult dog used to a harness, don’t despair.
This super comfortable harness from EcoBark is so snuggly that even the most rebellious of dogs are happy to give it a go.
Ecobark describes their product as a luxurious padded vest that fits exquisitely.
Getting the correct measurement for the neck is especially important because this has to slip over the dog’s head and it is none adjustable.
However, the payback when you get it right is a breathable mesh harness that molds itself to your dog’s shape.
There is a knack to finding the perfect fit which is to measure your dog before ordering!
Don’t assume that other brands use the same sizing and therefore order what fitted well in another manufacturer’s product.
Instead, measure around the base of the dog’s neck and the waist and then consult the EcoBark sizing chart.
Given the name “EcoBark” you’d expect this to be an ecologically sound product, and indeed it is, with fabric made from recycled plastic bottles.
The dog doesn’t want to take it off.
It’s also super easy to put on and take off, and got full marks for the quality of the craftsmanship and the materials.
All in all, a most excellent harness and definitely one to bear in mind if you have a dog who normally isn’t great with a harness.
This could be just the product you’re looking for.
And oh yes, it comes in a rainbow of different colors to choose from. Nice!
3. Tru-Fit Dog Harness
Let’s not be size-ist about this: Even small dogs like to go hiking or enjoy a good walk…which is when you need a strong harness that’s comfortable and will keep them safe.
As the best harness for a Chihuahua we picked this Kurgo product.
We were drawn by Kurgo’s reputation as a manufacturer of dog safety harnesses for car travel (another important aspect of keeping your dog safe.)
A product by brand with their finger on the pulse of road traffic safety had to be worth looking at.
That said this is specifically a walking harness and not sold as a crash-tested travel harness.
There is a short strap that is designed to pass through a seatbelt to secure your dog in transit – but remember it has not been crash tested so its effectiveness in a crash is not guaranteed.
However, the harness does come with the craftsmanship you expect from Kurgo and has a lifetime guarantee for parts and materials.
As to the actual harness itself, crucially it does not put pressure on the windpipe.
It’s also extremely flexible in terms of fit because it has five – yes, five – adjustment points.
There are also two D-rings to which to attach a leash: One on the dog’s back and one on the brisket which acts as a no-pull attachment point.
With the latter, when the dog pulls, his own momentum turns him sideways, and with the benefit of pulling removed the dog tends to drop the habit.
On the downside, if we want to be really picky, you can have any color you like – as long as it’s black!
It would be nice for it to come in bright colors to match the sparkling personality of the Chi.
4. Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness
Spare a thought for the safety of your Chihuahua in the car.
When not secured inside the car, in the event of a crash the dog will fly through the air resulting in a variety of nightmarish scenarios.
Indeed, don’t think for a moment that holding your dog on your lap is safe because in a smash the dog becomes your personal airbag. Not good.
For a small dog, you have a number of options to secure them, including booster seats, travel boxes, or a harness.
We love this Kurgo Crash-Tested product as the best harness for Chihuahua precisely because it has all the benefits of a harness, is safe in a crash, and you can use it to walk the dog.
So what about the construction of this harness?
There is a padded chest plate, which in the event of sudden deceleration (OK, a crash) spreads the forces over the dog’s chest rather than compressing the windpipe.
The webbing is made from materials used in human safety restraints, and is indeed depended on by high-risk sportsman such as mountain climbers to keep them safe.
But don’t take Kurgo’s word for it because they have the harness independently tested by a university testing facility that certifies children’s restraints.
The harness passed (this sounds obvious, but not all products claiming to be crash-tested are safe…some were tested but failed!)
Again, balancing the positive with the negative, this may not be the most comfortable harness to wear whilst exercising and it’s only available in black.
5. DOGGYZSTYLE Bling Rhinestone PU Leather Harness
No one said we had to be dull and boring! Fed up with black?
Then put some sparkle in your life with this Doggyzstyle Rhinestone harness – it’s the bling every Chihuahua secretly craves.
What’s not to love about a pink harness studded with sparkle?
OK, not so great if you’re a male Chi so go with the blue or red instead!
Made from PU leather this inexpensive harness looks so cute you can’t help but smile.
It has a D-ring to which to attach a leash, and the size is adjustable via two buckles.
This harness is all about fun and looking good, so in reality, it’s a better choice for the carry-in-the-arms Chihuahua rather than a piece of equipment to go hiking in all day.
But heck, we all need stiletto shoes in our life and they aren’t necessarily practical in all situations.
Just bear in mind that this is an H shaped harness and the top loop does pass around the throat.
Again, if you know your Chihuahua has a collapsing trachea then, unfortunately, it’s best to cross this one off the shopping list (a bit like having bunions and wanting to wear stilettos – sorry, but no dice.)
6. Dog Harnesses for Small Dogs
Small dogs can be difficult to find a comfortable harness. Some do not fit right while others are made of uncomfortable materials that irritate their skin. Well, luckily WZPB Dog Harness for Small Dogs knows just what a small dog needs.
This harness is made of soft, breathable polyester and mesh material that helps your dog stay well-ventilated while on their walks. It is also padded for extra comfort, so your Chihuahua’s skin is not irritated while they are on their walk. Since it is made of durable material, it is constructed to stay standing against all types of conditions, even if your dog gets a bit messy. If you do need to wash the harness, you can place it in your washer along with the rest of your clothes. It is best to air dry it, though, to avoid the material from being heat damaged.
You will not have to struggle with placing the harness on your dog as the easy step-in design wraps comfortably around your pup, like a warm hug. You can adjust the size of the harness to fit your dog’s size the best with the adjustable sliders, and the strong side-release buckle keeps the harness from coming off. As well, the heavy-duty D-ring on the back of the harness provides a secure place to attach a leash to your dog.
With the variety of sizes and fun colors to choose from you will have no problem deciding which harness to pick. You may want to have all the color styles so your pup can be ready for any occasion. The quality, comfort, and durability are sure to be high selling points for you, especially if you want your Chihuahua to enjoy the outside world as much as you do.
7. Soft Mesh Comfy Step in Dog Vest Harness
For a harness that knows how fragile a small dog’s body can be, turn to the Snazzi Pet Soft Mesh Comfy Step-In Dog Harness. This harness is designed to look like a vest so that it gives full, comforting support to your Chihuahua’s body without straining any part of their body. Think of it as a loving embrace that will keep your dog close to you while on a walk.
It is made of breathable, air-mesh fabric that is gentle to the touch yet durable enough to handle little pullers. Your dog will feel fresh and dry in the summer. It is also choke free as there is nothing around your dog’s neck, which can harm their trachea if they pull too hard, and no thin straps that could irritate their skin and cause rashes or wounds.
Placing the harness vest on your dog is simple. Since it is a step-in design, your dog can walk into their harness without needing to be lifted or lift their legs uncomfortably. The Velcro closure secures the harness to your dog while the sturdy plastic buckle adds an extra security restraint. Two heavy-duty D-Rings on the back provides a secure place where you can clip the leash.
Its material is easy to clean, in case your pup would have gotten themselves into a messy situation. You can spot clean it with a wet towel, or you can pop it into your washer for a more thorough clean. While it can be dried, it is best to let it air dry to preserve the durability of the material.
As for finding the right measurement for your Chihuahua, make sure that you accurately measure their chest and neck size. The harnesses do run small, so you may need to buy a size up if your dog is between two harness sizes.
8. Pawtitas Padded Harness
Pawtitas’ harness is perfect for small or teacup-sized dogs of any breed. The shape fits perfectly with your dog so that it does not feel cumbersome for them to walk while wearing their harness. The padded harness is comfortable for your dog as it does not irritate their skin while they walk nor does it get tangled up in their legs. Since it is a harness it will not cause strain on their neck and throat from pulling; it can help you leash train your pup by evenly distributing the force they use on to their body.
Not all dogs enjoy putting a harness on, so the step-in design is easier for you to put the harness on your dog as well as makes it an enjoyable experience for your dog; they will soon start to recognize the harness as meaning it is time for a fun walk! If need be, you can adjust the size of the harness with the sliding adjuster on the side of the harness. To ensure that your dog does not slip out of their harness make sure that the sturdy plastic buckle is secured. A metal D-ring on the back gives you an ideal place to clip on your dog’s leash where you will have better control over them and their movements.
If you are a fan of night walks, then this harness will help you out. A reflective strip is woven into the harness so it provides a light source on your dog so drivers and other pedestrians can see you and your pup on their walk. Walking can become an even more enjoyable experience for you and your Chihuahua!
And finally, if your Chihuahua is new to wearing a harness, take your time to get them used to it.
Try putting the harness on immediately before a meal, and that way they get food as a reward for being so good.
Then praise your dog and tell them how handsome/ beautiful/ clever they look, so the dog builds strong positive links to wearing the harness.
Always keep safety in mind and check the straps regularly for signs of wear and tear, and ‘retire’ the harness if you spot a problem.
That is unless you purchased one of the two Kurgo harnesses mentioned here since these both come with a lifetime guarantee for parts and workmanship.
Remember, buying the best harness for Chihuahua is a good investment in your Chi’s future health.
And absolutely the final words are don’t leave a dog unattended that is wearing a harness.
Although safer than a collar from a choking perspective, it is still possible to get hooked up on something and come to harm.
Supervise the dog at all times…or take the harness off.
Happy walking everyone!