Harness or Collar for Greyhounds?

When walking or training a Greyhound, choosing the right equipment is crucial. One ongoing debate among Greyhound owners is whether to use a harness or a collar. In this article, we will explore the benefits and considerations of using harnesses and collars for Greyhounds and introduce an alternative collar designed explicitly for Greyhounds: the Martingale collar.

Greyhound’s Anatomy and Behavior

Before delving into the harness versus collar debate, it’s essential to understand Greyhounds’ unique anatomy and behavior. These elegant canines are characterized by their slim, streamlined bodies and deep chests. Due to their physique, Greyhounds are more prone to neck and throat injuries, and they have a strong prey drive that may cause them to pull during walks. Considering these factors is crucial when selecting the appropriate equipment for your Greyhound.

Purpose of Harnesses and Collars

Both harnesses and collars serve distinct purposes for walking, training, and controlling Greyhounds. Harnesses distribute pressure evenly across the dog’s chest and back, reducing strain on the neck and throat. This design is particularly beneficial for Greyhounds as it minimizes the risk of injuries to their delicate anatomy.

On the other hand, collars are simple and convenient, providing a traditional and familiar control method.

brown greyhound with harness
A good boy with a harness

Benefits of a Harness for Greyhounds

A Greyhound harness is a popular choice among many owners for several reasons:

  • Enhanced Control and Stability: Harnesses provide better control and stability when walking or training your Greyhound. Unlike collars, harnesses distribute the pressure evenly across the chest and shoulders, reducing the strain on the neck.
  • Preventing Neck Injuries: Greyhounds are prone to neck injuries due to their delicate neck structure. Harnesses minimize the risk of these injuries by redirecting the force to the chest area. This is especially important if your Greyhound tends to pull or lunge while on walks.
  • Escape Prevention: Greyhounds are known for their exceptional speed and agility. They have a natural inclination to chase small animals. A harness with a secure fit can help prevent escape and keep your Greyhound safe during walks.
  • Ideal for Greyhounds with Respiratory Issues: Greyhounds are known to have respiratory issues, such as collapsing trachea. Using a collar can exacerbate these problems by putting additional pressure on their windpipe. A harness eliminates this issue and allows your Greyhound to breathe more comfortably.

Pros and Cons of Using a Collar

  • Simplicity and Convenience: Collars are simple and easy to use, making them a popular choice among Greyhound owners. They are lightweight, quick to put on and require minimal adjustments.
  • Potential Health Concerns: Using a collar can pose potential health risks for Greyhounds, especially those prone to neck or throat issues. Constant pressure on the neck may lead to tracheal damage or discomfort, particularly if the dog pulls forcefully.
  • Training and Behavior: Collars may not be suitable for Greyhounds with a strong prey drive or a tendency to pull. The pressure applied to the neck area might inadvertently reinforce their pulling behavior, making training more challenging.

The Alternative: Martingale Collars

Considering the potential health concerns associated with traditional collars, an alternative collar option for Greyhounds is the Martingale collar.

Martingale collars are designed to prevent dogs from slipping out of their collars while providing a gentler form of control than choke or prong collars. They consist of a loop that tightens when the dog pulls but doesn’t fully close, preventing excessive pressure on the neck.

Benefits of Martingale Collars for Greyhounds:

  • Control and Safety: Martingale collars provide better control over Greyhounds without exerting excessive pressure on their necks. This is especially beneficial for Greyhounds with a tendency to pull or escape.
  • Preventing Escapes: Greyhounds have slender heads, and regular collars may slip off easily. Martingale collars offer a secure fit, reducing the risk of escape during walks or sudden movements.
  • Gentle Correction: The tightening action of the Martingale collar provides a gentle correction, discouraging pulling behavior without causing harm or discomfort to the Greyhound.
greyhound martingale collar
A cutie with a martingale collar

Ensuring the Perfect Fit

Regardless of the type of harness or collar you choose, achieving the proper fit is essential for your Greyhound’s comfort and safety. Here’s how to measure and fit a harness:

  1. Measure the circumference of your Greyhound’s chest, just behind its front legs.
  2. Please measure their neck width, as the harness or collar should comfortably fit without irritating.
  3. Select a harness or collar size that matches the measurements. Refer to the manufacturer’s sizing guide for accurate sizing information.
  4. Adjust the straps of the harness or collar straps to ensure a snug yet comfortable fit. Avoid making it too tight, as it may restrict your Greyhound’s movement or cause discomfort.

Choosing the Right Option

When deciding between a harness, collar, or Martingale collar for your Greyhound, it’s essential to consider their needs, behavior, and overall comfort. A harness or Martingale collar will be safer and more comfortable if your Greyhound has any existing neck or throat issues.

Additionally, if your Greyhound tends to pull or requires more control during walks, a harness or Martingale collar can provide better handling and prevent accidental escapes. However, a regular collar may be a simple and convenient choice for well-behaved Greyhounds with no neck or throat concerns.


In the ongoing debate of harness versus collar for Greyhounds, the choice ultimately depends on your Greyhound’s specific needs, behavior, and overall well-being. While harnesses offer better comfort and control, collars can be simple and convenient.

However, for Greyhounds insistent on wearing a collar, the Martingale collar provides a suitable alternative. It offers control, safety, and gentle correction, addressing the potential health concerns of regular collars.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use a harness for Greyhound puppies?

Yes, harnesses can be used for Greyhound puppies. Selecting a size-appropriate harness that provides proper support and allows for growth is vital.

Do harnesses restrict Greyhounds’ movement?

When properly fitted, harnesses do not restrict a Greyhound’s movement. They provide a balanced pressure distribution, ensuring comfort and freedom of motion.

Can a collar cause injury to a Greyhound’s neck?

While collars can potentially cause injury if misused or the dog pulls forcefully, the risk is higher for Greyhounds due to their delicate anatomy.

Should I use a harness or collar for Greyhounds during running or exercise?

Harnesses are generally recommended for running or intense exercise with Greyhounds. They offer better control and reduce the strain on the dog’s neck.

Can a Greyhound switch between a harness and a collar?

Depending on the situation, Greyhounds can switch between a harness and a collar. However, ensure a proper transition and provide adequate time for adjustment to avoid confusion or discomfort.

Evan S. Conaway

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