The best collar for your Morkie is a harness. Why? When you walk your Morkie with a leash and collar, his delicate neck can get injured. Both Maltese and especially Yorkshire Terriers, are prone to collapsing trachea (the windpipe.) Using a harness instead of a collar for walking, can reduce that risk.
Plus, a collar can result in serious injuries to your dog’s neck if he pulls too hard or turns quickly to one side. Even an accidental jerk on the lead could damage your Morkie’s spine.
Fitting a harness
- the harness should fit comfortably around the chest
- pick one that’s washable, and made from soft fabric
- before you buy a harness, you’ll need to know: your Morkie’s weight; the measurement around his chest (just behind his front legs) and the measurement around his neck. Of these, weight is the most important
- you’ll know the harness fits well when it is snug, but you can fit two fingers between it and your Morkie
The benefit of a harness: No coughing, gagging or choking
Types of harnesses
The step in harness: is almost like a leash
- the dog steps into the harness and the two ends are brought up over his back and buckled together
- it’s easy to use, and to figure out which way the straps go
- step-in harnesses are choke-free, adjustable and comfortable
The Standard or Roman Harness
- this is the harness you may have struggled with before – it used to be tricky to get on your dog, but newer ones are easier to use
- the Standard Harness slips over the dog’s head and each leg goes into one “armhole,” then the bottom strap is brought around and buckled
- the straps can be adjusted for a custom fit
The Vest-type Harness
- really popular
- no pressure at all on the dog’s neck, and the ring for the leash is as far back from the throat as possible
- they’re functional plus sporty and fun – many look like vests or shirts and they come in a wide variety of colours and styles
- they don’t adjust at the neck like the other harness styles, so it’s important to get the right fit – you simply measure around your dog’s body, just behind the front legs
- one of the most popular vest-type harnesses is the Puppia Soft Harness
All-in-one Harness & Leash Sets
- very handy, because the leash is attached
- these come in a variety of harness styles
The Shoulder Collar
- another choke-free way to secure your Morkie
- the dog’s legs go through the holes and then you bring the collar up over the dog’s back
- the result – a simple harness that goes around either side of the dog’s front legs
An adorable make-it-yourself Harness – FREE PATTERN
Jill Myslinski designed this Kimono Dog Harness for her 10 pound Pom/Poodle mix. She’s generously shared the pattern (FREE PDF download on her site, here) along with a very helpful tutorial.
As she says, her dog pulled on the leash, and a nylon webbing style harness really helped. But it wasn’t very…cute! So she designed this great harness instead.
To read about the best dog collar – used for identification not walking, please see my earlier post.