Similar in shape to their racing cousins, the Italian Greyhound is a toy breed that usually tops out at about 15 pounds and a 14 inches tall. They are intelligent, playful, and would prefer to be in your lap, getting as much attention as you care to give. They need a fair amount of exercise, and a good session of play or fetch every day is usually enough.
As intelligent as they are, they can be easily trained to walk politely on a leash and harness. However, they are also “sighthounds” which means they can become easily distracted by fast-moving small animals like squirrels and rabbits. They should never really be allowed off-leash out in public due to this tendency, even in fenced dog parks, as they can jump quite high, even scaling a 4-foot fence if particularly motivated. A secure, escape-proof harness would be the best for them, at least initially, until you can be sure they are more comfortable being on a harness.
What are the Best Harnesses for Italian Greyhounds?
- Best Overall: Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
- Best Value Harness: Sporn Mesh No Pull Dog Harness
- Best No-Pull Harness: Frisco Padded Nylon No Pull Dog
- Best Front Clip Harness: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
- OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness
- Best Pet Supplies Voyager Black Trim Mesh Dog Harness
- Kurgo Journey Air Polyester Reflective No Pull Dog Harness
- Frisco Small Breed Soft Vest Step In Back Clip Dog Harness
- PetSafe Gentle Leader Nylon Dog Headcollar
- Mighty Paw Padded Sports Reflective No Pull Dog Harness
- Chai’s Choice 3M Polyester Reflective Front Clip Dog Harness
8 Different Types of Harnesses
- Back Clip – A very common design for harnesses places the leash ring on the back of the harness, usually somewhere around or between the shoulder blades. This allows for a lot of control and is a natural placement for the hand, holding the leash to hover over the dog’s back. This type is also useful for attaching to seatbelts for dogs in the car.
- Car Safety – A handful of harnesses have gone through a rigorous testing process to verify their safety in a car accident. There are also many options that have been designed to be used in a car but haven’t undergone any sort of crash rating. Look for a reference to passing a third party testing process, and it will usually give safety ratings for maximum weight and type of harness. Some can double as a walking harness while others are meant to stay in the car.
- No Pull – A lot of dogs like to pull. It is one of the most common types of training requests, and harnesses that are designed specifically to address this are very popular. They tend to use similar designs, all relying on applying gentle pressure to either the shoulders or the front of the body, guiding them towards you instead of forward. For small breeds like the Italian Greyhound, who is also prone to wanting to dart away and chase squirrels or rabbits, it is especially important to make sure you have a secure fit no matter what type of harness you use.
- Front Clip – One style of no-pull harness uses a ring attached to the front of the harness, called a front clip. This style pulls the entire front of their body to the side towards you when they want to try and pull. For large breeds, this can still require a lot of resistance strength on the part of the person holding the leash, but for small breeds, the biggest downside to them is their tendency to twist the harness if they persist in pulling. A version of the front clip that uses a martingale loop can usually prevent this twisting and works by lightly squeezing the shoulders together to deter pulling.
- Headcollar – Another no-pull option is the headcollar, or gentle leader, which places a padded loop around the nose up towards the eyes, with two straps under the chin that circle the head and clip together at the back of the neck. The nose loop does not restrict their mouths from opening or prevent them from eating or drinking water. It is also not useful to help curb barking. Though some may bark less when they have it on simply due to the distraction of it. It curbs pulling behavior by putting gentle pressure on the back of the neck, where it won’t press on their throat, and pulling their nose downward and towards you.
- Handicapped Support – Older dogs or those recovering from illness or injury may need a special harness that you can use to give them extra support. There are various options that can provide walking support for the entire body, just the forelegs, or the hind legs, and some are meant to work with wheelchairs. The key feature to look for is long adjustable loops for you to hold as these do not typically use a leash.
- Tactical Harness – Service and support dogs find wearing tactical harness very useful, as they can have their badges or identification easily displayed. Normally they are used by larger breeds who may need to carry extra bags of supplies attached to their harness. Many small breeds are being trained to provide emotional support or to detect sudden episodes of epilepsy.
- Escape-proof – The Italian Greyhound is a clever little dog that wants to badly chase whatever catches its eye, so a good escape-proof harness won’t go wrong. These harnesses usually employ multiple closure points and are high on adjustability to create a secure fit.
6 Key Considerations When Looking for the Right Harness for your Italian Greyhound
- Adjustability – Italian Greyhounds have a very defined definition from their head to neck, neck to shoulders, and so on, which makes harnesses less likely to come off if they can be adjusted to fit correctly. Some dogs have thicker necks that limit the usefulness of some harnesses, for example, as they can be pushed off over the head easily.
- Durability – You want a harness that will last as long as possible. Small breeds like to investigate interesting smells and need daily walks and runs, so a lightweight yet durable material is a must, and machine washable is always a benefit as well.
- Purpose – Small dogs are becoming more and more common as support animals, and the Italian Greyhound, with its happy, playful demeanor, appears quite often as an emotional support dog. If this is something your dog does, then finding a harness specifically designed for service animals can be helpful as they give identification options and are designed to be worn for long periods of time.
- Lifestyle – These little dogs like to cuddle and receive plenty of attention. They may not need hour-long runs every day, but a good play session and daily walks to stretch their legs will help keep them happy. A lot of small breeds travel the country with truckers or go out on pleasure boats. Finding the right harness to match your lifestyle needs may mean having more than one for different purposes.
- Escape Proof – Italian Greyhounds tend to try and escape if they can, especially if something catches their attention. If you have a little escape artist, then finding one designed to prevent it is very important. They are quick, agile, and can jump very high, so you definitely want to make sure you have a secure hold on them.
- Pulling – Many people tend to ignore pulling by small breeds as it doesn’t cause them to lose their balance or suddenly yank their arm like a large breed would. However, it can lead to them suddenly lunging forward and pulling the leash out of your hand. For “sighthounds” like the Italian Greyhound, the urge to chase is very difficult to ignore, but training from an obedience class and a no-pull harness can help curb that tendency.
The Overall Best Harnesses for Italian Greyhounds
|Our 2020 Picks: Overall Best Harnesses for Italian Greyhounds|
|Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
|Sporn Mesh No Pull Dog Harness
|Frisco Padded Nylon No Pull Dog Harness
|PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
|OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness
|Best Pet Supplies Voyager Black Trim Mesh
|Kurgo Journey Air Polyester Reflective No Pull
|Frisco Small Breed Soft Vest Step In Back Clip
|PetSafe Gentle Leader Nylon Dog Headcollar
|Mighty Paw Padded Sports Reflective No Pull
|Chai’s Choice 3M Polyester Reflective Front Clip
- Each size can be adjusted at multiple points
- Car safety rating up to 75 pounds
- Comes complete with car safety attachments
- Based on rock-climbing harnesses for flexibility
Best Overall – The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness comes with a 10″ belt loop for the car plus a carabiner. It doubles as both suitable for the car and as a regular walking harness. The design was based on rock-climbing harnesses, and it is very durable yet flexible. It also comes with four heavy-duty steel buckles for extra security.
Designed more for large breeds, small dogs may find the harness’s overall weight a little much to carry. This is also not a good option for pullers or jumpers as it can twist around the body.
- High ratings for car safety
- Steel buckles and durable materials will last through a lot of wear and tear
- Eliminates the need for both a car harness and a walking harness
- Easy to adjust and comes in a small enough size for toy breeds
- Will not deter pulling
- Small dogs may find it too heavy to wear for long
- Created by veterinarians to reduce strain
- Made specifically to help with pulling and jumping
- No buckles or clips; the design is meant to slip on easily over the head and around the legs
- Padded straps around the front legs and a mesh torso piece for added comfort
Best Value – The Sporn Mesh works to help dogs of any size or breed stop pulling and jumping using a gentle correction method designed by veterinarians. The harness has padded straps and a chest piece for the torso area that is very flexible and is meant to work with their own movements.
With options in sizes that can handle up to 200 pounds, any breed can benefit from this design. Italian Greyhounds weigh less than 14 pounds on average, so the smallest sizes would probably work best.
- Helps to deter pulling in any size breed
- Veterinarian approved design
- Easy on and off with no clips
- Multiple sizes available to help find a good fit
- Can be used in a car but has not been tested for it
- Though it has many size options, there are limited options as to where the harness straps can be adjusted
- Multiple ways to adjust the fit
- Extra-long chest piece with padding for comfort
- Has both a front clip to deter pulling and a back clip for the leash
- Easy slip-on design that goes on over the head
Best No Pull – The Frisco Padded Nylon harness is made specifically for dogs that pull a great deal. However, it also comes with a back clip so it can be used as a regular walking harness and can be attached to a car safety belt. It is made from a durable nylon material that can be easily cleaned.
The closure points are on the side straps, so once it goes on over the head, the neck strap can be held on to while clipping it closed. Particularly helpful if your dog does not like to stand still.
- Easy to adjust on the side and neck straps.
- Front clip to help prevent your dog from pulling
- Slip-on style, good for dogs that do not like to stand still or put their feet into harness loops
- Additional back clip for a leash that can also be used as a car harness
- Not intended to be worn for hours or unattended
- Not an escape-proof harness, some dogs find it easy to remove
- Easy to put on with a different color belly strap
- Curbs pulling with a martingale loop in the front
- High adjustability in multiple points on four of the straps
- Removes any strain from being placed on the throat or neck
Best Front Clip – The PetSafe Easy Walk harness is designed to work best on dogs that pull constantly and helps to deter that behavior with a martingale loop. This type of loop applies gentle pressure on the shoulders that tighten and loosen as they pull or relax against the leash. The side straps do not go around the front legs; instead, it goes around the ribcage further down the torso, which can help with chafing issues.
It is listed as waterproof but also reportedly has issues with the clips and buckles suffering wear and tear from water. Italian Greyhounds are very strong pullers, and there have also been issues with the smaller harnesses breaking at the clip points.
- Available sizes for most breeds
- Clips are easy to open
- Martingale loops help to prevent twisting
- Can be pulled off easily by smaller breeds
- Small sizes have been known to break
- The chest piece can be easily reached and chewed on
- Multiple adjustment options
- V-ring back clip leash attachment
- Has attachment points along the sides for adding bags for supplies
- Lightweight for long-wearing comfort
Best Tactical Harness – The OneTigris Tactical Vest is made to be worn for long-hours of active use and is made from a lightweight, water-resistant material. Tactical harnesses have options to attach supply bags and pouches at various spots and has open spaces for badges and patches to be applied for identification or customization.
Italian Greyhounds have been known to be trained as emotional support dogs for children and adults, and if they need to wear a harness for long periods of time, the medium size One Tigris harness should fit a full-grown Italian greyhound.
- Durable, lightweight material
- The strong V-neck leash clip on the back can also be used to attach to a car restraint system
- Three spaces allow for ID patches or high-visibility strips to be attached
- The smallest option is a medium, which may be too big for an Italian Greyhound
6 Other Top Rated Italian Greyhound Harnesses
The Best Pet Supplies Voyager harness is an excellent choice for your Italian Greyhound. It has multiple sizes for small breeds, using neck and chest measurements to find the best fit. If your dog falls in between two sizes, the larger size is the better choice.
It has multiple closure points, lightweight mesh material, and is machine washable. The Voyager harness is a step-in style instead of over the head, which can be helpful if your dog is a little wiggly. The two D-rings where the leash attaches can also be clipped into a car safety restraint system.
The Kurgo Journey Air Reflective harness has both a front clip to curb pulling and a back clip for a dog that doesn’t jump or pull. The back clip can also be used to attach to car safety restraints though the harness has not been rated specifically for car safety. There are four adjustment points with rustproof buckles and reflective trim for night time walks.
The extra small and small sizes are perfect for an Italian Greyhound but be sure to check the chest girth measurements before purchasing.
The Frisco Small Breed Soft Vest harness provides a snug, secure fit perfect for a small toy breed like the Italian Greyhound. It has a thick padded chest piece and multiple closure points, including a hook and loop fastener and a quick release buckle, to keep it securely against their body. The step-in style makes it easy to put on even if your dog is a wiggler.
The harness size is based on chest girth, and the Italian Greyhound falls in the small or medium range, so there is room for adjustment if your dog is smaller or larger than average.
The PetSafe Gentle Leader has a padded nose loop that slides over the muzzle with straps that clip behind the ears to keep it in place. This does not affect their ability to open their mouths, and it helps to stop pulling by turning their head towards you. This harness comes in a variety of colors and has a fairly low price point.
The only option for adjustment is on the side straps, so be sure to check the sizing chart closely. Most Italian Greyhounds would need a small size for a 7 to 15-inch neck.
The Mighty Paw Padded Sports harness is a good option for an active dog with various adjustment points for a snug fit. It also has reflective trim, is waterproof, and is made from durable long-wearing material. The x-small size is the most likely to fit an Italian Greyhound but be sure to measure their chest at the widest point to get the best fit.
The Chai’s Choice harness comes in a variety of bright colors and reflective strips, which make it easy to see at night or in crowded areas. It has lightweight mesh padding for a comfortable fit and can be adjusted fit most size breeds. According to the chest measurement size guide, the x-small and small options are most likely to fit a toy breed.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why is my Italian Greyhound shaking? As a small toy breed, Italian Greyhounds can be sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements. At home with their favorite people, they will be calmer but unexpected noises can still alarm them. Another reason for shaking can actually be out of excitement or happiness.
- Should I keep my dog on a leash all the time? Italian Greyhounds are “sighthounds” meaning they desperately want to chase any small creatures that dart across their path when out in public. Even a well-trained Greyhound will find it very difficult to resist bolting after a squirrel or rabbit. It is always a good idea to keep them on the leash even in dog parks or other off-leash locations as most anything can make them spook and run. They can also jump quite high, and the recommended fence height for a property is at least 4 feet.
- Why are my Italian Greyhound’s teeth chattering? Like the purr of a cat, Italian Greyhounds chatter their teeth when they are happy and content. It can become a little noisy but take it as a good sign that they are happy to see you and just want a little attention.
The Italian Greyhound loves to hang around and play with her people but can always benefit from an extra-long walk to work off some energy. As a toy breed, plenty of harness options are out there to fit him easily, and it is very important to match him to one that provides a strong, secure fit as they are likely to lunge suddenly if they see small animals anywhere nearby. It may take some trial and error to find the right style and fit, but a properly sized and adjusted harness can make all the difference in a well-behaved walk.