Should I Get A Collar Or Harness For My Dachshund?

Dachshund collar vs harness

Are you wondering if you should get a collar or harness for your Dachshund puppy? Have you read lots of different opinions online? Do you want to know the pros and cons of each? Here’s everything you need to know about Dachshund collars vs harnesses.

Should I Get A Collar Or Harness For My Dachshund? It’s best to get both a collar and harness for your new puppy. If you have an active Dachshund that pulls on leash, use a harness. If your Dachshund walks well and doesn’t tug you can choose either. Just be aware of strain on your Dachshund’s fragile back.

But, before you start browsing Amazon, there’s more you need to know! Read on to find out the pros and cons of both collars and harnesses, which one is better for Dachshunds, and how to tell if the fit is right.

This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.


What Types Of Collar Can You Get For A Dachshund?

There are lots of different types of collars you can get for your Dachshund, but the most common options are:

Rolled or flat collar

Rolled or flat collars are standard collars that fasten around your Dachshund’s neck, with a ring to clip a leash on to.

They’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time and are often adjustable, which makes it easy to get a good fit. 

Martingale collar

Martingale collars gently tighten as your Dachshund pulls on the leash (but not so that it chokes him). This stops it from slipping over his head.

What Types Of Harness Can You Get For A Dachshund?

The types of harnesses you can get for your Dachshund are:

Harness with front attachment

When the lead is attached to the front, the chest takes most of the pressure.

Harness with back attachment

When the lead is attached to the back, the pressure is spread across the chest and back. This option is said to be safer for Dachshunds.

Harness with front and back attachment

You can get a double-ended leash and a harness with a leash attachment at the front and back, which is supposed to give you more control.

Dachshund Collar vs Harness

There are pros and cons to both collars and harnesses, particularly around neck safety, back safety, IVDD, comfort, control and security.

However, some people even disagree on these. Remember, different solutions work for different Dachshunds, so there’s no one-size-fits-all here.

You need to find the option your Dachshund is happy in and that keeps him safe and comfortable.

Pros Of Collars For Dachshunds

  1. Collars don’t restrict your Dachshund’s movement, so he can move more naturally
  2. Collars give your Dachshund a greater sense of freedom, which these independent dogs love!
  3. Some people think Collars are best for developing puppies as they don’t restrict their movement while they grow
  4. Collars only cover your Dachshund’s neck so the rest of his skin can breathe
  5. Many dog trainers say collars are better for puppy training (although some people think harnesses are better)
  6. Collars are better if your Dachshund is used to walking off leash
  7. Collars are handy for attaching ID tags
Dachshund wearing a collar and leash
Dachshund wearing a collar and leash

Cons Of Collars For Dachshunds

  1. If your Dachshund pulls on the leash, his neck takes all the force
  2. Your Dachshund could strain or damage his neck or back if he pulls or gets jolted suddenly
  3. Sadly, your Dachshund’s airways could be restricted if he pulls hard, making him cough 
  4. Your Dachshund could bruise his trachea or larynx, or even cause long-lasting damage
  5. Some Dachshunds have breathing difficulties later in life if they’ve always worn a collar and pulled on the leash
  6. Dachshunds have been known to wriggle out of collars – they’re very clever! Obviously this is a big safety issue as your dog could run out into the road or get lost on a walk
  7. If you’re crate training, a collar could get caught on the bars and potentially harm a Dachshund

Pros Of Harnesses For Dachshunds

  1. Harnesses spread the force across your Dachshund’s chest, which is much stronger than his neck
  2. Some people think harnesses reduce the risk of your Dachshund hurting his back or getting IVDD as the pressure is dispersed across his body 
  3. Harnesses are good for Dachshunds who have suffered from IVDD in the past and have extra-sensitive backs
  4. Some people think a harness gives you more control over your Dachshund when out on walks 
  5. Harnesses are much harder to wriggle out of than collars, so there’s less risk of your Dachshund escaping and running off into a potentially dangerous situation
  6. Harnesses are good for when you’re travelling in a car, as they help to keep your Dachshund stable and protected from bumps and jerks
  7. Some people think a harness is better than a collar for training puppies, as it discourages pulling and jumping (although other people think collars are better)
  8. Harnesses can be quicker to grab if a Dachshund is off leash and starts to run
Dachshund wearing a harness
Dachshund wearing a harness

Cons Of Harnesses For Dachshunds

  1. Harnesses can restrict a Dachshund’s movement, which can mean your dog has to adjust the way he walks
  2. Harnesses can also rub, especially when they get wet. This can cause cuts, sores, tenderness or chafing, particularly under his legs
  3. Some Dachshunds can get a rash where the fabric of the harness reacts with their skin
  4. It can take Dachshunds a while to get used to wearing a harness, because they’re so used to being naked! Some Dachshunds have to be trained to wear a harness
  5. There’s a risk of shoulder damage due to the harness restricting your Dachshund’s movement
  6. Some people worry that harnesses might actually encourage a Dachshund to pull on the leash more, because they work out they’re able to do it without hurting themselves (however, this is more a sign that your Dachshund needs extra leash training)

Is A Collar Or Harness Better For A Dachshund?

A collar can be used for short walks if your Dachshund walks nicely by your side and doesn’t tug. A harness is better for long walks and also for active Dachshunds that pull on leash. A well fitting harness spreads the pressure of the leash more evenly and helps to protect the Dachshund’s fragile back. 

There are pros and cons to both collars and harnesses for Dachshunds, so there’s not a definitive answer to which is better.

Some owners swear by harnesses, while others always use collars. It really depends what your Dachshund responds to and which he feels most comfortable in.

Does your Dachshund prefer walking in one more than the other? Do you prefer one more than the other? Which does your Dachshund seem happier and more well-behaved in?

These are all important considerations when choosing the best gear for your Dachshund, not just what other people say.

Really, the most important thing is not actually whether your Dachshund wears a collar or a harness – it’s whether he’s trained to walk well on a leash.

Because, if your Dachshund is trained to heel when walking and doesn’t pull on the lead, it doesn’t really matter whether he’s wearing a collar or harness.

On the flipside, if your Dachshund is always pulling on the leash and suddenly shooting off, he’s at risk of doing himself an injury, especially if he’s wearing a collar.

As long as you train your Dachshund to walk nicely on a loose leash without pulling, most Dachshunds should be OK in either collars or harnesses.

Should I Buy A Collar Or A Harness For My Dachshund?

Many Dachshund owners buy a collar and a harness and use them in different situations. For example, they might use a collar for a shorter walk, but pop on a harness if they’re going to be out for longer.

They might also use a harness if they know they’re going to be somewhere with lots of distractions.

The last thing you want is for your Dachshund to get over-excited and start pulling on the leash while wearing a collar. This could potentially injure his neck or back.

Getting to know when a collar or harness is better for your Dachshund may take a bit of trial and error, but you’ll soon get a feel for it! 

Another option that some Dachshund owners use is to pop a collar and a harness on, and use a double-ended leash that attaches to the collar and the back of the harness.

This can give you a bit more control, similar to the harness with the front and back attachments.

Dachshund learning about collar vs harness
Dachshund learning about collar vs harness

How Should A Collar Fit A Dachshund

You must make sure the dog collar fits your Dachshund properly. You should be able to slip two fingers underneath the collar and your Dachshund shouldn’t show any signs of discomfort when wearing it. It needs to be tight enough that he doesn’t slip out, but loose enough for him to breath and not feel choked.

An ill-fitting collar isn’t just uncomfortable, it’s unsafe. Your Dachshund could easily slip it or do himself an injury.

How Should A Harness Fit A Dachshund?

You must make sure the harness fits your Dachshund properly. Slide a finger under the harness to check it isn’t too tight against his skin. You should also check that it’s not digging in anywhere and putting pressure on his body.

It’s better to get a harness professionally fitted to your Dachshund at the pet store. Getting it wrong can result in nasty sores and cuts under the legs.

The material of the harness should be comfortable and soft so that it doesn’t rub on your Dachshund’s skin.

Padded harnesses are more comfortable than the nylon ones and are less likely to chafe against the skin or make it sore.

It’s a good idea to do a quick check under the legs after a walk to make sure everything is OK. This is especially important if you’re using a new harness for the first time.

How To Tell If A Collar Or Harness Is The Wrong Fit For A Dachshund

Please look out for these signs in your Dachshund, as they could indicate a potential issue with his collar or harness.

It could be incorrectly fitted, he might not like wearing it, or he may have injured himself by pulling too hard:

  1. Limping
  2. Difficulty moving
  3. Soreness, redness or a rash
  4. Cuts or sores under the arms
  5. Moaning, whimpering or growling on walks
  6. Red eyes, rubbing his eyes or squinting a lot
  7. Awkward posture
  8. Difficulty going to the toilet
  9. Not walking to walk
  10. Persistent panting or breathing issues
  11. Appetite loss

If you spot any of these symptoms, you could try a different collar or harness to see if that alleviates them. But if you think your Dachshund has injured himself, it’s always best to pop him to the vet for a checkup.


So, there you have it! The Dachshund community still seems to be split on whether collars or harnesses are better for Dachshunds. It’s just one of those things owners can’t quite agree on! Harnesses are said to take the pressure off a Dachshund’s fragile back and collars may be better for puppy training. Whichever option you choose, just make sure you focus on leash training. Because, regardless of collar or harness, the key to preventing injuries is to stop your Dachshund pulling on the leash!

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Should I get a collar or harness for my Dachshund?
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