For a while they were Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses for dogs times right on trend and have become well-known thanks to the Velcro straps with their funny sayings.
However, Norwegian-type dog harnesses have some structural defects that make them less than ideal everyday harnesses for your dog.
Here are the currently most popular and high quality Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses, followed by a detailed description and criticism of this type of harness for dogs.
The best Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses for dogs
Here you will find what is currently considered to be the best Norwegian and saddle harnesses for dogs, including the IDC, which has emerged as the winner in many tests® Powergeschirr vonJulius-K9® and other products from well-known manufacturers.
How do Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses differ?
At Norwegian harnesses leads a belt ring around the dog’s torso. A belt is attached to this ring, which leads around the front of the dog. Different cuts decide where exactly the attachment point is to be found (sewn onto the harness or at the top of the handle) and how forces acting under tension are distributed.
At Harnesses the harness is sewn to a solid plate in the back area, which looks like a saddle on the dog’s back. Theoretically, there are also saddles on other types of harness, but you can usually find this construction on dog harnesses with a Norwegian cut.
With so-called Chow-Chow-Geschirren there is no connecting strap between the chest ring and the belly ring. In this minimalist variant, you actually only find two belt rings sewn onto each other. Due to the simple structure, the harnesses are reminiscent of a mixture of Norwegian and step-in harnesses and are especially popular among DIY enthusiasts who love to sew.
Comparison of Norwegian harnesses with other lead harnesses
Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses are particularly popular because they are foolproof and quick to put on, have a practical handle at the back and are simply one of the oldest types of harness.
The cut is so simple that you can get here no individual fits for dogs with special physique can expect and hardly any adjustment options finds. And we know from ourselves that “one-size-fits-all” usually misses the point of reality.
Not to forget the funny sayings that can be attached to the dog with a Velcro strap in branded harnesses and were very fashionable for a while.
Even if most dogs do not complain about their Norwegian harness or saddle harness, there are some deficiencies in the fit to complain about.
Advantages of Norwegian harnesses
- Norwegian harnesses can easier to put on than normal harnesses and are therefore usually better accepted than other types of harness by dogs who do not like harnesses.
- For large dogs, the hanger on the back of the Norwegian harness offers one Handle to hold the dog by.
- Norwegian harnesses are easy to use over a dog sweater attract.
Disadvantages of Norwegian dog harnesses
- Norwegian harnesses usually offer hardly any adjustment options and sit badly on most dogs.
- Especially for dogs with a narrow chest, i.e. greyhounds and narrow young dogs, the chest ring stands out from the front of the dog because the harnesses are not designed for such a tight radius.
- The belt across the chest and shoulder blades possibly minimizes the dog’s freedom of movement, .
- Under tension, the front belt may lie on the dog’s airways and force the dog to open unnaturally high head position. This makes these harnesses particularly unsuitable for flat-nosed dogs who already have breathing problems.
- The back strap is on most Norwegian harnesses too close behind the elbows and also chafs or restricts freedom of movement here
- In the absence of a belly bridge Norwegian harnesses slip easily to the side and then no longer sit properly.
- Dogs can be very good easily free from these harnessesif you want it.
- The thick plate of harnesses fulfills no real function for the dog and is definitely not fun on hot days.
- The plate of saddle harnesses can rub on skin and hair, something not every dog likes. Possibly rubs rigid rear edge of the saddle under tension on the spine of very slim dogs.
The American Whole Dog Journal reported in March 2019 from a gait analysis with dogs on restrictive harnesses that these dogs, in addition to a greatly changed gait, also put less weight on their front legs when they were not on a leash!
When running and running, the dog’s shoulders must be able to move forward. Here it was also concluded that it is not a good idea to put on a dog a harness that constricts the shoulder and biceps precisely for this activity.
And yes, most dogs don’t complain and happily play around with their Norwegian harness. Is that why it is healthy for the dog? Not really.
A Norwegian harness is practically not the ideal harness shape for any dog and there is significantly more ergonomic alternatives!
Areas of application for Norwegian and saddle harnesses
Saddle and Norwegian harnesses are just so okay for me for the little round around the block for dogs that do not have any skeletal disorders, should not wear the harness all day and have a rather short physique with a small stride length.
For walks on pull-out leashes, drag lines or for active dogs and especially dogs of the bully type, I strongly advise you to keep your hands off these harnesses.
Even if the manufacturers would like to market their harnesses as outdoor harnesses for long tours, I see no justification for this in view of the much better alternatives for the other types of harness.
Of course you can find many pictures of dogs at work in Norwegian harnesses on the Internet.
But with the best will in the world, these harnesses are neither suitable nor recommended for activities! This is especially true for swimming, racing and the various sports in which the dog should pull forward during training (tracking, joring, IGP, …).
So don’t be fooled by pictures, a dog works on the drive in spite of Norwegian harness and not because these harnesses would be particularly helpful.
Criteria when buying a Norwegian harness or saddle harness
If you need a Norwegian harness for your dog despite the weak points mentioned, please note the following points when making your selection:
The freedom of movement
Norwegian harnesses are not very ergonomic and even the good models restrict the dog’s freedom of movement to a certain extent and never sit properly. At least that’s how I see it, even if this question is still hotly debated on the manufacturer side.
All in all, the harnesses of this type give the impression that they were developed primarily for the control of the owner and less in the sense of the dog’s demands.
Not only the free stride length forward is restricted by the chest ring.
Most of the time these harnesses lie there extremely close behind the dog’s armpits and the chest plate or the belt on top of the dog’s shoulder allow no free movement of the shoulder blades upwards down.
There are a lot of Norwegian harnesses that are closed at the front only with Velcro. This already shows that the Pull point not neatly on fore-chest otherwise you couldn’t just hold a strong dog by a Velcro fastener.
Instead, these harnesses often cut into the waist belt or shoulders under tension.
Even with the idealized, perfect advertising images from the manufacturers, I often shudder. Because even here you can see obvious weaknesses.
My impression: these harnesses either sit far too far and then do not serve any party. Or they sit just right and restrict the dog.
If your dog shows an unusual gait pattern in this harness, then please say goodbye to the idea of buying him a Norwegian harness!
Many dogs find the chest strap restrictive and uncomfortable and try to defend themselves against the narrowing in the front chest area with counter pressure.
This often results in tinkling, paddling or frequent walking (a swing walk with simultaneous placement of the front and rear legs on one side each).
With the classic among the saddle harnesses, the Julius-K9® IDC® Power harnesses try to remedy this problem by moving the front belt further down and you can stabilize the seat with a separately available belly bar.
But let’s be honest:
Then why not buy a beautiful Y-harness with a deep neckline, belly bar and a better fit at the same price?
When buying a dog harness of this cut, make sure that the leash is as far back as possible and does not cause the chest ring to constrict the shoulders at the front or press on the larynx under tension.
Conversely, the harness should not stick out from the front of the dog while standing.
Padding on the closures
You will notice that with many Norwegian harnesses the click fastener on the side of the torso is hardly padded. In the best case, these often very clunky plastic parts are simply underlaid with webbing. I have deliberately avoided such models for the dishes mentioned above.
It gets bad anyway if the lock is directly under the dog’s armpit and consequently promotes lateral paddling with the elbows and the incorrect strain while walking.
And the belt straps or, in the case of saddle harnesses, the back plate are often not padded and have sharp edges that can lead to chafing and hair breakage on the flank.
Fortunately, a lot has happened here in recent years. You saw above that there are now Norwegian harnesses with different types of upholstery material.
Safety with Norwegian harnesses
Sure, only real safety harnesses with a double chest ring are really breakout-proof. You can’t really blame the manufacturers of the other types of harness for the fact that the dog can slip out of here if he wants to.
What I find worrying about Norwegian harnesses and saddle harnesses, however, is that they are self-adjusting without much effort let it peel off fairly easily.
If the dog bucks backwards and you still pull it on, you have the empty dishes in your hand in no time at all.
Because of course, what is so easy to put on does not sit tight.
I find it reprehensible and, above all, cheeky that many harnesses (not only, but very many Norwegian harnesses) are suggestively marketed as “safety harnesses” and of course one does not refer to the possibility of breaking out, but to any reflective stripes.
I haven’t listed such models here either.
How do you put on a Norwegian harness?
Putting on a Norwegian harness or saddle harness is such a simple matter, which has certainly contributed to the popularity of these harnesses.
You just put the neck opening over the dog, click the lock on the side and you’re done.
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Norwegian harnesses are popular. Certainly a dog will not suffer any acute damage in such a harness.
But too little is known about the actual effects and chronic stress of wearing such harnesses.
For my part, I also find these harnesses beautiful and practical, …