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A Brief Guide for Beginners


harnesses 1Racing harness or Freight harness - which to choose?

The racing/recreational harness, whether an x-back style or h-back style, is designed for the efficiency and comfort of a dog pulling a light load at anything from a walk/trot to a gallop. This may be either as an individual or working in a team. This harness is not well suited to heavy weight pulling.

The freight harness is designed to allow the dog to use his strength more effectively and without strain to pull a fairly heavy load. This work is usually done at a slow pace. It may be just pulling a heavy weight a few feet, as in competitive weight pulling, or an extended trot as in a freighting team. The freight harness is also popular for such useful work as hauling firewood. The design allows the dog to pull with his chest and shoulders comfortably even when the load and hook-up are close to ground level.

Harnesses should be properly fitted. Refer to the Resha guide to proper harness fit. Most Northern breed dogs as well as many others can be fitted with standard size x-back, h-backs, or adjustable freight harnesses according to their weight. To weight your dog, pick him up and stand on a bathroom scale, then subtract your own weight. Most people think the dog weighs more than he actually does. The best fit for non-Northern type breeds (sporting, collies, smaller breeds, etc.) can be obtained by fitting the dog with an adjustable "measuring" harness and having a custom harness made.


Do not use a full choke or chain collar. The most useful and efficient collar is the adjustable semi-choke or circle collar with no buckles to cause problems.


The gangline is the means of attaching the dog(s) by harness to the sled, other vehicle, or weight to be pulled.

For one dog: use a one dog line, 6 ft. long.

For two dogs: use a two dog line which consists of a short (2 ft.) center line with a loop to attach to the vehicle. Two tug lines (4 ft.) attach to the center line by loops and to the dogs harnesses with snaps. A double neckline is used between the dogs' collars.

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