why are sighthounds prone to slipping their harness

Why are sighthounds prone to slipping their harness?

Picture this: you’re out on a leisurely walk with your sighthound when they suddenly slip out of their harness and you’re left standing there, lead in your hand, wondering how you’re going to get your hound back this time.

If you have a greyhound, whippet, saluki, lurcher or any other sighthound breed, you may already be too familiar with this scenario. I know I was. My saluki Blondie used to be a menace at escaping any harness I put her in.

But why are sighthounds so prone to slipping harnesses?

Why sighthounds are prone to slipping their harness:

Sighthounds are notorious for their Houdini like ability to escape harnesses, but why is this so prevalent in sighthound breeds? It essentially boils down to a few key factors:

  • Natural instincts – sighthounds have an incredibly high prey drive, so if they see something small and furry, it can make them quite determined to get free so they can chase it. On the other hand, they can also be easily spooked which similarly can make them determined to get free so that they can get away from whatever gave them a fright.
  • Unique body shape – it will come as no surprise to hear me point out just how different our sighthounds are compared to other breeds of dog. What is especially relevant here though is the slim head and neck, and the broad chest which gives sighthounds their elegant figure. Due to their broad chest, sighthounds require relatively large harnesses. The challenge arises when the harness shifts even a few inches forward, a situation often triggered by their strong prey drive or moments of anxiety. In such cases, a significant gap is created, allowing sighthounds to slip right back out of the harness. Unlike most other dog breeds, sighthounds' narrow heads and necks lack the natural barrier that would prevent them from escaping through this gap.

How to stop your sighthound escaping their harness:

So now we know why this happens, but what you really need to know is how to stop it from happening.

  • The best way I found, and what stopped my sighthound from escaping, was to use a proper escape proof harness designed for sighthounds, like ours. It is designed for their body shape and it has a third strap which tucks behind the chest to stop it from slipping forwards, making it escape proof.
  • You can use a martingale collar, which are collars designed to be escape proof. They tighten as your dog pulls or tries to back out which prevents it from slipping over the head. If you’re unsure what a martingale collar is then you can find out more here.
  • Use a double ended lead and attach one end to the harness and the other end to the collar. This gives you double protection as they would have to slip both to escape.
  • Another option is to work on your dog’s recall so that it isn’t such a big problem if they do escape although this can be particularly challenging with sighthounds.


If your sighthound is regularly escaping it’s harness, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I think the best method is to use a properly fitted escape proof sighthound harness like ours which should immediately put at end to your dogs escape act.


You might also like these articles about whippet harnesses, greyhound harnesses, lurcher harnesses, italian greyhound harnesses or sighthound harnesses.

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