Collar Vs Harness For Husky: Which Is Better?

When it comes to using a collar vs harness for a husky it can be difficult to decide which is best.

In our opinion, harnesses are more suited for huskies for several reasons. Harnesses are more comfortable, and work great for huskies specifically as they can be prone to sprinting away suddenly due to their high prey drive.

There are benefits to using collars, especially during training, and in this article, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of each to see which is best.

The Debate Between Collar Vs Harness For Husky

There’s a lot of ongoing debate about which is best for huskies between the collar and harness.

I’ve personally used both over the course of 10 years and I prefer harnesses, but it does come down to the breed and the owner as well.

Huskies are super energetic and have a high prey drive, which means that they might spot a small animal and decide to chase it given a moment’s notice.

Huskies also have a background of pulling sleds, so using a harness can be more natural for them but it can also teach them to pull you around if you don’t know how to rectify this behavior.

In order to choose between the two, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each.

Pros And Cons Of Collars For Huskies

Despite the bad rep that collars sometimes get, there are actually a few benefits to using them.

Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of collars for huskies to see whether they are worth it.

Pro #1 – Better For Training Purposes

Collars are much better than harnesses in a training environment.

If you put a harness on a husky, they will just want to pull and pull at first. It might be more natural and comfortable for them, but it can leave you with a huge problem to overcome in excessive pulling.

Using a collar can give you more control over your husky and it’s a better way to train them not to pull while out on walks.

There are several methods for teaching your husky not to pull. One of these is to use a command such as ‘No!’ when your husky starts to pull, and then reward them if they stop pulling at the command.

This is then repeated over the course of a few weeks to reinforce the behavior.

Pro #2 – Easy To Take On And Off

Collars are much more practical than harnesses, as they can be kept on most of the time and simply clipped onto a lead when you want to take your husky out for a walk.

A husky wearing a red collar looking out the window

Pro #3 – Less Expensive

Another benefit of collars is that they are less expensive than harnesses, especially the higher-end harness brands that can sometimes cost up to $100.

If your husky is a big chewer, they may be prone to chewing through harnesses or collars regularly, so it might be more cost-effective in that situation to stick with collars until you can solve the chewing problem.

Con #1 – Can Be Uncomfortable, Especially If Your Husky Pulls

The biggest downside to using a collar is by far how uncomfortable they can be, especially for dogs like huskies that tend to pull quite often.

Pulling should, in an ideal world, not be a problem as training can help to minimise it.

The fact of the matter is that huskies are exceptionally difficult to train, and even if you manage to leash-train them perfectly there’s always a good chance that they will chase after a smaller animal due to their prey drive.

This is where wearing a harness comes in handy, as it will protect your husky from hurting themselves.

Con #2 – Easier To Escape

Okay, all collars should be fitted properly and in theory, a husky should not be able to get out of them.

In reality, huskies are known as escape artists for a reason and will find just about any way they can to slip out of a collar.

It’s only natural to not want to put the collar on too tight. I’ve made this mistake several times, and a breed like the husky will make short work of an incorrectly fitted collar.

Pros And Cons Of Harnesses For Huskies

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of harnesses for huskies to see how they compare to collars.

Pro #1 – Comfort

Harnesses can be much more comfortable than collars when fitted right.

Harnesses put much less stress on the neck and allow huskies to pull with their shoulders which is both more comfortable and natural.

Pro #2 – Natural

Huskies love to pull given their sledding background, and harnesses allow for this natural behavior.

While pulling constantly on the lead is not the type of behavior you want from your husky, a great way to tire them out is to let them pull you around on a bike or skateboard. Just make sure to separate the two activities so the pulling doesn’t translate over to regular exercise.

Pro #3 – Safety

If your husky decides to take off and run for whatever reason – whether chasing an animal or simply because they want to – a harness is much safer as the force will be exerted through their shoulders and back where they are strongest.

A husky wearing a purple harness on some grass

Collars put pressure on the neck and can cause a husky to choke if they pull too hard.

Con #1 – More Expensive

Harnesses are more expensive than collars and usually cost between $20 and $60, depending on the specific model.

If you decide to get a harness for your husky, we would usually recommend the Julius-K9 brand. They are on the more expensive side, but they last for years and are very high quality.

Con #2 – Can Encourage Pulling

Harnesses, especially those that hook on the back, can encourage certain breeds to pull.

Given the husky’s background as a sledding dog, using a harness can make them much more prone to pulling you around while out on a walk.

This is both a pro and a con of using the harness as it is more natural for your husky, but you need to be aware of the pulling issues it might create.

Using a harness will require some training at first to teach your husky not to pull you around. This is done with positive reinforcement and lots of treats.

Why I Would Recommend A Harness

It ultimately comes down to the pros and cons of each weighed up against the others.

Harnesses are more comfortable, which should be a priority, especially for a breed like the husky that can be prone to running suddenly.

I would still keep a collar around, especially for helping to train your husky not to pull while out on walks, but a harness should be used for daily walks and exercise.

What If I Don’t Have One?

Using a collar isn’t the end of the world; you just need to make sure it fits properly and doesn’t cause any discomfort.

You can find our recommendations for the best husky collars here if you want to see which ones are best for your pup.

You also need to be extra careful if your husky is prone to pulling, as they will choke themselves happily in pursuit of small animals or exploring new places.

You might be tempted to use an elastic or extendable dog leash, but it’s better to correct their pulling behavior rather than relying on the leash. These types of leads can cause issues if your husky darts off in one direction suddenly and puts themself in harm’s way.

In Summary

Harnesses are a better option for most huskies, assuming you can deal with any excessive pulling problems that may occur when you make the switch.

This is because harnesses are more comfortable, and they will stop your husky from potentially hurting themselves if they decide to run while on their leash suddenly.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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