Because Chihuahuas are the smallest dog breed, they usually wear the smallest size available. It’s often XXS or XS. A Chihuahua puppy will wear a Chihuahua puppy harness size XXS. We recommend that you always measure your dog beforehand.
Saying that Chihuahuas are a special breed is an understatement. Weighing just six pounds, they have a HUGE personality. There is a lot of attitude packed into that cute, compact body.
When it comes to harnesses and collars, there are plenty of choices for medium and large dogs. But because Chihuahuas have different body proportions, they require gear for toy breeds, and “sizing down” the gear designer for bigger dogs is not enough.
Chihuahuas, Harness or Collar?
Chihuahuas can suffer from tracheal collapse
Like many small breeds, Chihuahuas are prone to tracheal collapse.
The trachea (windpipe) is made of cartilage rings and is very fragile. The area where the trachea bends a bit to move into the chest is the most fragile thus the most common area for collapse.
The causes of tracheal collapse can be a too-tight collar or a Chihuahua that pulls too hard.
When the Chihuahua is wearing a harness, it removes the pressure from that area and spreads it across the whole body. For this reason, most Chihuahua owners choose to use a harness.
No matter what lead you choose, Chihuahuas tend to pull
Unfortunately, many Chihuahua owners don’t teach their little friend to walk nicely on the leash, just because there is no danger for them to be pulled along. Because of their small size, Chihuahuas “get away” with pulling, which can cause them to weaken their trachea over time and lead to tracheal collapse.
Therefore, escape proof harness for Chihuahuas are considered as a better way to safely control these tiny dogs.
How to find the best harness for a Chihuahua?
Unsure what to consider when looking for a harness for your Chihuahua? Here are 5 elements the perfect Chihuahua dog harness should feature.
1- Chihuahuas can't have pressure on their neck
Because Chihuahuas don’t have a lot of muscle on their neck, many of them end up suffering from tracheal collapse. Therefore, we recommend using a harness that takes the weight away from its neck.
2 - Chihuahuas need padding and ventilation
Chihuahuas are known to have very sensitive skin, and that’s especially true for short-haired Chihuahuas. We recommend using a harness that is soft and padded for Chihuahuas, with plenty of ventilation to help keep your Chihuahua comfortable in warm and humid weather.
3 - Chihuahuas need adjustability
Because Chihuahuas are extremely small dogs with uniquely shaped bodies, harness adjustability is key. The harness must be easily adjusted to fit the dog’s body and prevent rubbing on the skin or even escape.
4 - Chihuahuas need material reflectivity
By using a reflective harness for your Chihuahua, your dog will be more visible in low-light conditions. That’s useful during early morning and late-night walks.
5 - Chihuahuas need to be stylish
Let’s face it, dog walks totally count as opportunities to dress cute, and that’s true for yourself and your dog. So for you fashion girls, when a moment to dress your dog up arises, you have to grab it. Explore the outdoors with a designer Chihuahua harness and turn heads at the dog park!
What harness size for a Chihuahua?
Before buying a teacup Chihuahua harness, you need to have the right measurements to ensure a good fit. Whether you have a short-haired or long-haired Chihuahua, a harness that is too loose represents a major safety hazard. On the other side, going too tight makes it hard for your Chihuahua to breathe when he gets active.
The rule for Chihuahua harnesses is that they should allow for at least one finger to fit under the straps or fabric all around. To get that, you need to use a tape measure to take a chest measurement.
First, take a tape measure, you will use it to measure your Chihuahua’s chest and neck size.
1- Chest size: place the measuring tape around the back of your Chihuahua, just behind the front legs while your dog is standing up. You need to measure the widest part of the chest.
2- Neck size: place the measuring tape around the neck of your Chihuahua, just where a well-fitted collar would sit.
If your Chihuahua is afraid of the measuring tape, you can also use a piece of string and measure the string with a straight edge ruler.
Important note: with small dog breeds, there is often a difference of an inch in size. Because Chihuahuas are very small, that can make a huge difference.
Do you want to know how to buy a XXS dog harness for a Chihuahua?
5 differenf types of harnesses for Chihuahuas
The type of harness you use for your Chihuahua matters. There are five basic Chihuahua harness designs you can choose from:
1 - Chihuahua vest harness
The most popular type of harness for smaller dogs and the safest Chihuahua harness. Simple design, single buckle at the back, made with nylon and soft polyester for maximum comfort and breathability. Vest harnesses for Chihuahuas are usually easy to put and take off, and comfortable enough to be worn all day long.
2 - Chihuahua walking harness
That type of harness usually uses a strap-based design with quick-release plastic buckles. Walking harnesses are very light but minimally padded. They are perfect for quick, everyday walks, but not ideal for extended wear.
3 - Chihuahua car harness
Because Chihuahuas are so small, active, and curious, one can’t leave them unattended in the car. Car harnesses are made with strong nylon and metal hardware to attach your Chihuahua to a seat belt or a car seat attached to the seat.
4 - Chihuahua lead harness
That type of harness is an all-in-one design: a cord is used as both leash and harness. It’s almost impossible for a Chihuahua to escape a harness lead, but because Chihuahuas are so fragile, we don’t recommend using a cord around their body.
5 - Chihuahua hiking harness
With the right harness, Chihuahuas are fantastic hiking buddies. Hiking harnesses are usually padded to ensure minimal rubbing on the skin and keep your dog comfortable all day. They also feature reflective materials and sometimes a handle, which allows you to pick up and control your Chihuahua if necessary.
How to get your Chihuahua to wear a harness?
Chihuahuas are opinionated and can be wary at first when introduced to new things.
If you have a puppy Chihuahua or just got an older Chihuahua who has never worn a harness before, he will have to adjust to it.
When your Chihuahua is getting used to their new harness, Positive reinforcement training is key: it’s all about treating and praising your Chihuahua when you are happy with his behavior. Don’t forget to carry plenty of treats when going for walks.
Training with a new harness should be a positive experience for your Chihuahua, not a punishment. If your Chihuahua is fearful, allow him to warm up to their harness slowly, at his own pace. We recommend that you put the harness on the floor and hold it so your Chihuahua can sniff it. Once your Chihuahua gets close to the harness, give him a treat. Once your dog is more relaxed, put the harness on him and let him wear it around the house for a while at a time. Once he is comfortable with that, it’s time to go for short walks and gradually work your way up to regular walks
Patience is key. Training any dog can be extremely frustrating and you just need to be patient. Keep using positive reinforcement, you will see improvements.
Chihuahua harnesses FAQs
What size harness should I choose for my Chihuahua?
Will a harness help prevent tracheal collapse in my Chihuahua?
Yes, you can prevent it by using a harness that is well fitted for your Chihuahua.
Will a harness irritate my Chihuahua's skin?
If the harness is properly adjusted, it won’t irritate your Chihuahua’s skin. One of the main causes of skin irritation is a harness that is too tight or too loose. When it’s too loose, it moves around excessively while when it’s too tight it cuts into your dog’s skin. While the harness should be tight, it shouldn’t be too tight. Find the tightest point of the harness and try to fit two fingers. If you can do that, your harness is the right size.
My Chihuahua likes chewing on their harness. What should I do?
We recommend that you only put the harness on your Chihuahua when he is under supervision. If you catch him chewing on his harness, a firm “NO” will provide negative feedback and help your Chihuahua break this bad habit.