Here is another piece of equipment advice for you that only comes after many years of experience working with top racing sled dogs. Let’s talk about fleece harness padding.
Harnesses made with fleece padding have been the most common harnesses on the market for many years. “Fluffy” fleece was the padding on the first x-back harness I ever owned. (The year was 1988.) This was before tougher/better padding material came along. Fleece (most importantly “fluffy” fleece) will not withstand the wear and tear other padding types will. In addition to that in the winter snow will quite often freeze to the padding, on occasion forming ice balls and be uncomfortable for the dog. During rainy, wet or humid conditions, fleece will absorb moisture. And during hot days, fleece will be too warm for the dog. Even though harnesses with fleece padding are the cheapest ones on the market (and quite often they are offered by new/inexperienced manufacturers), be wary. Us here at Howling Dog are staying away from fleece padding for the reasons stated above! We use closed cell padding (foam wrapped in a rip-stop shell) on the majority of our harnesses. This padding has been tested and used for many years on top racing sled dogs. And what works for top canine athletes will work for all the other dogs out there. In the long run you will be better off investing in a harness with good quality padding, rather than keep spending money on harnesses, which are inferior. Unlike 25 years ago, the selection of harnesses on the market is bigger, so take your time, investigate and choose a harness with proper padding (such as our Standard Harness or our Light Weight Harness).