Not only are there plenty of outdoor activities you can enjoy with your dog in summer, but winter too!
Skijoring with your dog is arguably the best sport you can do in winter, which you will be towed over the snow on skis by your pooch.
And below are our top 7 picks for skijoring dog harnesses and other dog joring equipment you will need.
1. Ruffwear Omnijore Dog Harness
The Ruffwear Omnijore has a rear attachment specifically designed for pulling and features 4 points of adjustability to achieve a comfortable and customized fit.
It also has reflective trim and is equipped with a built-in light loob, meaning you can buy a separate beacon light to attach to it for added nighttime visibility.
The best thing is, this skijoring harness is also suitable for many other dog-powered joring activities, such as snowboarding, skating, biking, and canicross.
2. Canine Equipment Ultimate Pulling Dog Harness
This harness has an innovative design that focuses on distributing the weight evenly across the chest and shoulders, and to avoid putting too much unnecessary pressure on the throat and back.
It also offers anti-slip sliders to prevent slipping when used and is heavily padded in the shoulder and neck area for your dog’s comfort.
Apart from that, the Canine Equipment includes a shackle snap that allows you to detach yourself from the joring system to ensure safety. It is also adjustable, with fleece lining to provide added traction and reflective 3M piping to keep your dog visible in a low lighting condition.
3. Neewa Sled Pro Mushing Harness
As soon as you look at it, you notice it has an X-Back design. The purpose of that is to ensure a uniform distribution of pressure over your dog’s body while your canine pulls.
It is durable and made of non-allergenic breathable materials, with padding in the neck and rib cage areas for your dog’s comfort.
The Neewa Sled Pro is ideal for all pulling activities such as skijoring, canicross, sledding, and bikejoring.
One thing to note is that this harness is made for the Nordic breeds like Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, and Greenland Dog. So, if you have a different dog breed, you may want to consider other adjustable harnesses on this list instead.
4. Non-stop Dogwear Freemotion Harness
Just like its name indicates, this harness is designed to allow your dog to move freely, especially their shoulders. It is ergonomic and won’t restrict your fido’s airways while they pull.
It is made of durable woven nylon with a cell foam base to prevent water from soaking in and integrated with 3M materials for visibility.
Also, the Non-stop Dogwear Freemotion is adjustable to ensure it can fit most breeds. It is explicitly made for joring activities with a higher pulling center point than the dog’s back and is definitely one of the best skijoring harnesses on the market.
5. Northern Howl X-Back Pulling Dog Harness
This is another X-Back harness, designed to provide your dog with unrestricted movement, as well as to distribute the weight evenly across their body.
It uses polypropylene webbing for construction and is made specifically for the wolf-like breeds like Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute.
On top of that, the Northern Howl X-Back has breathable air mesh padding in the neck loop and chest strap and is extended to the back of it for your dog’s comfort.
Plus, it is fitted with fabric reflectors on the sides for visibility in a dim light situation. It is suitable for all the pulling sports such as skijoring, canicross, and dog sledding.
6. Pet Artist Dog Sledding Harness
You notice this is also a standard X-Back style harness and is unadjustable, meaning it will be more suitable for sled-dog shaped breeds such as Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute. It is made of extremely durable 50mm-wide nylon webbing material with reinforced stitching.
Additionally, the Pet Artist can withstand a pulling force of up to 1200 pounds, making it great for most joring activities. Also, it has padding in the neck and chest areas to ensure your dog is comfortable while they pull.
7. Kurgo Long Hauler Joring Harness
While this joring harness is lightweight, it is made with rough use in mind, constructed of durable 400D and ripstop fabric. It is padded, adjustable, and has an over-the-head design with side buckle closures to ensure a comfortable fit.
Also, the Kurgo Long Hauler comes with a top handle and a D-ring for attaching the leash. And similar to most joring harnesses on this list, it has reflective trims to keep your dog visible at night.
Why Do You Need a Skijoring Dog Harness?
You would probably wonder why you can’t use a standard harness for skijoring. The reason is that conventional dog harnesses may not be strong enough to withstand your dog’s pulling force.
Also, the position of where the tow line attachment is situated can cause discomfort to your dog and pose a potential risk of injury while they pull.
As much as you want to have fun, your dog’s comfort and safety is more important, hence why a skijoring dog harness.
Typically more expensive than regular harnesses, but the good news is that not only can they be used for skijoring, but also other winter dog sports such as bikejoring, skatejoring, canicross, mushing, and dog sledding.
Is My Dog Suitable for Skijoring in Winter?
All the best dog breeds for skijoring have one thing in common. They are large and powerful. It makes perfect sense because they need to be strong enough to pull the load.
Also, they need to have a desire to pull, plus a thick coat, so that they can withstand the cold weather. That explains why Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute are generally a great candidate.
However, if your dog possesses all these traits and has a strong prey drive, they are not suitable for skijoring as you don’t want them to drag you out of the trails when they see a squirrel. That also means you will need a dog that obeys your commands!
The Best Skijoring Dog Harness Buyers’ Guide
Just like when you shop for other dog joring equipment, there are many features that you may want to consider. And we understand that picking a skijoring dog harness can be very confusing, which is why we have broken it down to make it easier for you.
1. X-Back Harness vs H-Back Harness
First, you will have to understand the difference between the two most common dog harnesses for skijoring, an X-Back harness, and an H-Back harness.
- X-Back harness.
Got its name off the shape of the harness forms on the back of your dog ‘X’, designed to fit a traditional sled dog body such as the Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute. It is unadjustable and is made in a way that can distribute the weight of the load uniformly across your dog’s body while they pull. It is also lighter and shorter than the H-Back harness, making it a more popular option for racing.
- H-Back harness.
Similarly, this type of harness will form an ‘H’ shape on the back of your dog, hence its name. It has a broader chest band to distribute the weight across the chest and shoulders and prevent it from putting too much pressure on the neck area. H-Back harness is usually adjustable, which means it can fit most dog breeds.
Getting the right fit is crucial as there is a possibility that your dog can slip out of the harness if it is too loose, which will pose a danger to them and yourself. And it can also cause discomfort to your dog if it is too tight.
When it comes to picking the material, polypropylene and nylon are preferable. The reason is that these types of materials are non-absorbent, which means they are capable of preventing the water from soaking in.
In other words, the harness won’t become heavier, ultimately keeping your dog comfortable.
Skijoring with your dog can put a lot more pressure on their body than many other winter outdoor activities. So, padding is a must to keep them safe and comfortable, especially around the chest and neck area.
5. Reflective Strips
It would also be a better idea to consider harnesses with reflective strips, which is particularly crucial if you plan to skijor with your dog at night as it will help keep them visible and safe.
Other Skijoring Equipment for Dogs You Will Also Need
1. The Best Human Hip Belt - Non-stop Dogwear Hip Belt
There are 3 things that you will need to get yourself started with skijoring, and a hip belt is one of them. The purpose of that is to protect your waist and allows you to attach the tow line so that your dog can pull you.
And this belt may be a great option as it is durable and is very comfortable to put on thanks to the soft undercoat padding. It also features the leg straps to hold the belt in an optimal position, with reflective tubing to keep yourself visible and safe in a low light situation.
2. The Best Tow Line - Shock Absorbing Joring Bungee Dog Line
The next thing you will certainly need is a tow line, ideally 8 to 10-feet long, to accommodate your skis and allow for a safe stopping distance between you and your dog. This 8-feet shock absorbing bungee line can be extended to over 9 feet, with both ends equipped with high-quality swivel snaps.
3. The Best Dog Paw Balm for Winter - Musher's Secret Paw Wax
You may also want to consider applying paw balm to your dog’s feet in winter. The reason is that cold weather can cause your dog’s pads to become too dry and crack, which can be very uncomfortable.
The Musher’s Secret is known to be the best balm for cold weather protection, made with 100% all-natural ingredients, and combined with vitamin E and beeswax to soothe the pads.
4. The Best Dog Boots for Snow - QUMY Waterproof Dog Boots
Another gear that you may also need is a pair of good quality dog snow boots to help keep the paws warm in cold weather and protect them from the sharp items hidden under the snow.
The QUMY Waterproof Dog Boots is a perfect choice because it is water-resistant, meaning it can keep your dog’s paws dry and warm, with waterproof anti-slip soles to provide traction and stability.
5. The Best Insulated Jacket - Ruffwear Powder Hound Insulated Dog Joring Jacket
If you are going to skijor with high energy breeds that don’t have a thick coat such as the German Shorthaired Pointer and Greyhound, it may be a good idea to invest in the Ruffwear Insulated Dog Joring Jacket to keep them warm and comfortable.
It is made of polyester shell fabric to protect against the elements, plus nylon-spandex blend with a 4-way stretch that won’t restrict your dog’s movement.