English Bulldog: Collar vs Harness

Should I use a harness or a collar on my English Bulldog?

Who we are and why we are the authority on the English Bulldog Breed

We have devoted the last 15 years to improving the health of the English Bulldog breed in the United States. Instead of following the current unhealthy breed standards, we set out to change the breed for the better, focusing on lighter wrinkle sets, slightly longer snouts and extensive health testing. Through years of dedication we have been able to significantly improve the health characteristics within our bloodlines and give hope to the breed that health improvements are possible. Along the way, we have also become thought leaders in proper bulldog training, care and behavioral studies.

Collars vs. Harnesses

Whether you are a longtime bulldog owner or starting to prep for your new bulldog puppy, the question comes up all of the time. Should you use a harness or a collar for your bulldog?” Bulldog owners often wonder which style is the most comfortable, safe, and effective for their bulldog.

Both collars and harnesses serve the purpose of securing your bulldog during walks and providing a means for attaching identification tags and leashes. However, each option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations, particularly when it comes to the unique anatomy and temperament of bulldogs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of collars and harnesses for bulldogs to help you make an informed decision that prioritizes your bulldog’s comfort and safety.

Understanding Bulldog Anatomy and Behavior Before delving into the specifics of collars and harnesses, it’s essential to understand the anatomy and behavior of bulldogs. Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, characterized by their short muzzles, wide heads, and compact bodies. Additionally, bulldogs have a tendency to pull on the leash, particularly during walks, due to their strong and muscular build. These factors play a significant role in determining which option – collar or harness – is best suited to meet the needs of bulldogs.

The answer is actually somewhere in the middle. Both collars and harnesses are specific and useful tools that are effective in their own unique situations.

Although collars are the most common choice, they may not be the best choice for all of your dog’s activities. Here are some tips that you can use as a guide when you are choosing between a collar and harness.

The Case for Collars

Collars are the traditional choice for securing ID and using during training sessions. They come in various materials, including nylon, leather, and fabric, and are typically equipped with buckles or quick-release snaps for easy adjustment and removal. Here are some of the benefits of using a collar for your bulldog:

  1. Lightweight and Minimalistic: Collars are lightweight and minimalistic, making them a comfortable option for bulldogs, especially those who are not accustomed to wearing additional gear.
  2. Ideal for ID Tags: Use your fun, quirky, fashionable, bedazzled, or sophisticated collar for you bulldog’s ID and rabies tags. Our recommendation for a collar is quite simple; use it for identification, everyday living and when your bully is under voice command.
  3. Reinforcement for Training: Collars can be used as a tool for training and behavior modification, particularly when paired with positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats.
Finding a good vet for a healthy bulldog

However, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks of using a collar for your bulldog:

  1. Risk of Neck Injury: Most importantly do not use your everyday collar for activities that will cause strain or pressure on a bulldog’s neck. Collars can exert pressure on the neck and throat increasing the risk of injury.
  2. Risk of slipping out of the collar: As an adult, bulldogs head circumference and neck are roughly the same size. If using a collar while walking a bulldog can easily slip through the collar. Even if your bulldog is an excellent walker, you never know when a squirrel or bunny will race past you causing your bully to make an unexpected quick move.
  3. Limited Control: Collars offer limited control over bulldogs, especially those prone to pulling on the leash. This can make it challenging to manage your bulldog’s behavior during walks, particularly if they are prone to darting.

The Case for Harnesses Harnesses have gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to collars, offering several benefits for bulldogs and their owners. Harnesses come in various styles, including step-in, vest, and no-pull designs, and are typically made from soft, comfortable materials such as nylon or neoprene. Here are some of the advantages of using a harness for your bulldog:

  1. Even Distribution of Pressure: Unlike collars, which concentrate pressure on the neck and throat, harnesses distribute pressure evenly across the chest and back, reducing the risk of injury and discomfort.
  2. Improved Control: Harnesses provide greater control over bulldogs, particularly those prone to pulling on the leash. The attachment point on the back or chest allows for better steering and redirection of your bulldog’s movements.
  3. Reduced Risk of Escape: Bulldogs have a reputation for being strong and determined, and harnesses offer a secure and escape-proof option for walks and outings. The snug fit and multiple attachment points minimize the risk of your bulldog slipping out of their harness.

However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks of using a harness for your bulldog:

  1. Adjustment and Fit: Proper fitting is crucial when using a harness, as an ill-fitting harness can cause chafing, rubbing, or discomfort for your bulldog. Take the time to adjust the harness to ensure a snug and secure fit without restricting your bulldog’s movement.
  2. Acclimation Period: Some bulldogs may require time to acclimate to wearing a harness, particularly if they are not accustomed to wearing additional gear. Introduce the harness gradually and use positive reinforcement techniques to create a positive association.


When it comes to choosing between a collar and a harness for your bulldog we recommend that you get both! Below you will find one of each of our favorite harnesses and collars.

Buy Here >

We love Kong harnesses as much as we love their toys!  This specific harness is tried and true which means we give it our stamp of approval. The design of the Kong harness with a pocket and handle is an amazing combination.   I don’t think I could ever go back to a harness without a handle.  The handle feature gives you complete control of your bulldog when you stop for a break or your bully spots a squirrel in the distance.

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Ruffwear collars are the best!  With bulldogs, collars are mostly for looks so it’s important that they are comfortable and good quality. The collar has a separate ID tag attachment point with tag silencer which is a brilliant idea! We only recommend using a collar for identification and rabies tags and to be worn around the house or yard.  Below is our recommendation for a harness, which is a necessity for walking. 

*The recommended items are part of our Amazon Affiliate Program. We personally use each item and give them our stamp of approval!

Check Out our Available Puppies Here


Bruiser Bulldog’s Reviews

  • I've grown up with english bulldogs my whole life. I am familiar with common and uncommon health problems they may face so when my boyfriend and I decided we were ready to adopt our own english puppy finding a reputable breeder that prioritizes health was most important to us. Erica and Mitch of Bruiser Bulldogs are just that. They are experienced, ethical and quality breeders. I was referred to them by my friend that I trust after I saw their gorgeous healthy puppy. Our Puppy Primrose is the light of our lives! Bruisers was there to assist us every step of the way. We would highly recommend Bruisers Bulldogs to anyone looking for their own happy, healthy pup!

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  • We, like many of the other people who found Bruisers, did a lot of research to find a responsible breeder, especially since English Bulldogs can have health issues and because there is a trend now for "trendy" bulldogs (blue, etc.) which have even more health issues. We were lucky to have come across Bruiser Bulldogs and even more so the fact that they were near our family and hometown made it even better. We have had Clementine (Callie) for four months now, and she is a wonderful dog. Her personality is amazing, and I think part of it is breeding and the other part is Erika and her family lovingly raising the puppies in their home with plenty of attention and snuggles. I also was impressed that, rather than send the puppies out right at 8 weeks, Erika kept ours for a few extra weeks because she was tiny and not read to leave her mom yet. It's that care that differentiates Bruisers from other breeders.

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  • We found Bruiser Bulldogs after researching healthy breeding line for bulldog puppies. Erica was easy to work with thru the entire process from application to adopting and now beyond as we host our new family member, Chief. Her on-call support and willingness to provide open, honest advice to all of our questions and concerns continues to be appreciated. We would highly recommend Bruiser Bulldogs to anyone looking for an English Bulldog to join their family.

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  • Bruiser Bulldogs are 5-star breeders! They are experienced, responsive and knowledgeable about all things bulldog related. They went above and beyond for us and are truly dedicated to all of their pups! We love our little girl so much and would recommend Bruiser to anyone looking for a healthy beautiful bully.

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  • Bruiser Bulldogs is a 5-star breeder in every way. Erica and Mitch are trustworthy, excellent communicators, fair, passionate, and produce the best bulldogs.We were at the top of the waiting list for months and Erica reached out every litter to see if we were finally ready for a bulldog. When we were, she was very easy to work with. Her knowledge on bulldogs is outstanding. We had many questions on the process and she always knew what was best for the puppy.We've had Penny (formerly Blair) for two months and she is very healthy, energetic, playful, and sweet. She is great with other people and dogs. We are so happy with our pup.When we are ready for bulldog #2, we will only consider Bruiser Bulldogs.

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  • We waited a while to write this review so that we had a better sense for the overall health of our Bruiser Bulldog “Bowser”. Bowser was born April 2020 and is an integral part of our family. When we were first exploring English Bulldog breeders our biggest concern was the overall health of the dogs. We decided to work with Erica at Bruiser Bulldogs because we liked their focus on improving the breeds breathing abilities and the fact that the puppies are raised within her family environment before coming home with their new owners.As for Bowsers health, he’s a health energetic English Bulldog that has no problem keeping up with the kids, going on 2 mi walks and camping with us on a regular basis. Bowser also breaths clearly and our vet was impressed with his overall health from the moment we brought him home. All that said we know English Bulldogs have a predisposition to many health issues and that his current health can not predict the future. With that In mind its important to start with a breeder that open to answer any of your questions as Erica has ours, and that strongly believes in improving the breeds overall health profile.

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  • After the loss of our first English Bulldog due to health issues it was very important for us to find a breeder who did not breed only for aesthetic but more importantly for health. My sister ended up finding Bruiser Bulldogs and we knew right away that they were the breeder for us.In September we ended up driving 9 hours to pick up two Bruiser bulldog puppies- one for my husband and I and one for my mom. Jackson and Penelope have been nothing but a joy. They are very social and very friendly to everyone they meet including kids and other dogs/animals. They are both very athletic and healthy. They are also HUGE snugglers and always want to be with you. It is an absolute pleasure having these two bullies in our lives! My sister and her fiancé also fell in love with them and now are on the waitlist themselves for a Bruiser bulldog!Erica is very knowledgeable about the breed. She is very hands on throughout the process and is just overall a kind and honest person to work with.With all that being said I cannot recommend Bruiser Bulldogs enough!

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  • What an awesome experience! We seen our dog on their website and sent them an Email. Mitch called us and personally walked us through the process and made sure we had the right dog for our family. We couldn't be happier when we picked up our dog Ramsey, Erica made sure we had everything we needed and then some. They are truly amazing people who breed truly amazing dogs!

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