It didn’t use to be this complicated. We have more choices today than ever before when it comes to choosing a harness for our sled dogs. A seemingly simple piece of equipment, the harness has evolved quite substantially from the padded leather yoke seen in old photos. Well, it has and it hasn’t. For the most part the modern sled dog harness has a padded “collar” just like the old times, but there have been many improvements over the last few years. A properly chosen and fitted harness is essential equipment for today’s top mushers. We’ve chosen a few of the most well known brands to show you here. No two dogs are exactly the same, therefore there is not one “best” harness for all the shapes, sizes, and uses of sleddogs out there. We hope this can provide you with some visual information to help you choose the right one for your dog. When choosing a harness, we urge mushers to talk to the manufacturers. Luckily, most harness makers are mushers themselves, and are more than happy help you make your decision.In the next issue we will look at more harnesses, and “specialty” harnesses.Adanac Lightweight X-backAdanac offers a lightweight padded foam harness made with nylon wrapped around closed-cell foam and nylon webbing. They stay flexible in the cold, dry very quickly, and do not absorb water. www. adanacsleds.comBeWeX-backThis harness from well known German sled maker BeWe is an excellent fitting harness with a wide breast plate to keep it centered. Closed cell foam padding covered with waterproof nylon keeps it dry and flexible in cold weather. The most notable feaure is the sliding tug loop configuration. (see inset)Black Ice NorthstarBlack Ice’s top model features heavy duty webbing with robust PolartecTM which extends under the dog’s legs. The padding around the neck is also filled with 1/4” neoprene for extra shock absorption. This harness had a slightly larger neck opening for the body size, meaning it should fit larger necked dogs Cold Spot FeedsX-backA basic X-Back harness made with heavy-weight webbing and the comfort of polar fleece which reduces rubbing and also wicks moisture and dirt away from the dog. The harness comes in a variety of colors and sizes ranging from XS to Jumbo. Suitable for all dogs from recreational to racing.www.coldspotfeeds.comDragrattanCollar NeckMade in Sweden, this harness is the top choice of European sprint teams. Notable features are “right angle” attachments of the side webbing to the wide breast plate, (see inset) and the single top strap that sits between the shoulder blades of the dog. The webbing also has a woven in reflective tape, making the entire length visible when ManMat HoundDesigned for difficult to fit, wide and deep-chested dogs, especially purebred pointers and pointer crosses. Specially constructed neck opening and breast plate keeps harness centered on the dog’s chest. Construction of the “collar” minimizes pressure on the dogs throat, pull force is distributed mostly to the sides of the “collar”. Webbing is tubular and extremely durable, and is woven with ManMat’s exlusive design.www.howlingdogalaska.comManMat LightweightX-backMade out of 1 inch wide light weight, extremely durable tubular webbing, Special breast plate design minimizes turning and “under arm” rubbing.  Padding is made out of light weight foam covered in rip-stop shell. Padding extends along the harness’s entire length.  Designed to fit both hound crosses, Alaskan huskies and lean Siberians.www.howlingdogalaska.comRisdon RigsLightweight X-backThis popular, well made harness goes back to a design that Harris Dunlap and Clyde Risdon tested over 20 years ago. This design fits most dogs, and can be seen at races on everything from sprinting euro-hounds to Siberian Huskies. The standard version has a single chest band, the split chest version is shown at left. Some hound owners prefer this split design. ZIMA X-backZIMA harnesses have been manufactured for 53 years and are the original x-back harnesses. The fabrics have changed over the years, but our quality materials and craftsmanship have not. The popular x-back style harness design transfers the power of the dog equally to the base of the dog’s neck and chest. The x-back design functions to keep the harness centered on the body of the dog without causing undue restriction or any downward pressure.


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