I do an inordinate amount of harness shopping for my dogs. There are no fewer than ten harnesses (for three dogs) in my home, and my ever patient Greyhounds have endured countless fittings. I judge harnesses on their utility, comfort, quality, and style. Last year, a sharp decline in quality from one of my previous go-to harness makers had me on the lookout for something new. That’s what led me to Indi-Dog.
You’ve probably seen this harness if you follow me on Instagram. I love a clean, simple harness design when I can get away with it. The challenge lies in the fact that my girls are petite, and my male needs a harness he can wear around the house since collars are off limits as anything but decoration due to his back problems. Many off-the-rack products simply don’t fit well enough to stay on the girls, or to provide all-day comfort for Irish. Indi-Dog, an independent harness maker based in the UK, offers several solutions for hard-to-fit pups. The Houdini harness was my first pick for general use after a fantastic experience with its cousin, the Houdini Ultra (more on that in a later article). A variation on the standard H-harness, the standard Houdini harness provides a secure fit without compromising your dog’s range of motion. Let’s take a look at some of the features.
• Each Houdini harness is custom made to your dog’s measurements. With each harness being unique to your dog, you don’t have to worry about getting caught between sizes.
• An extended back makes the Houdini harness more difficult for dogs to back out of compared to many harnesses of a similar design. While I wouldn’t call the standard Houdini harness escape proof, I will say that I’ve found it to be more secure than some of the competition. Keep an eye out for my review of the Houdini Ultra if you need something with an extra measure of protection against your dog getting loose.
• The Y-shape of the Houdini’s chest piece keeps the straps off of the shoulders, allowing a fuller range of motion, and taking pressure off of sensitive areas. Because the back is extended, the girth straps sit further back from the elbows and armpits than usual, which may help reduce rubs and pinching.
• There are tons of customization options beyond sizing! You can choose from 13 different base colors for the 25mm nylon (plain) harness at the time of publishing, plus 14 different lining options, and more than 30 different trim styles. Need an extra leash attachment point? Add a ring to the front of the harness. Need something extra special? Contact Indi-Dog to find out if they can make something just for you. The Houdini harness is also available in a 20mm variation.
• Quality materials make a difference. The nylon for the Houdini harness is soft, thick, and durable polypropylene. The stitching, done with bonded nylon thread, is neat and strong. I opted for the neoprene padding, which ensures that my dogs enjoy a soft, comfortable fit that doesn’t rub. No-pill polar fleece padding is available as well. The hardware on the Houdini is nice and solid; standard harnesses come with welded nickel-plated cast iron fittings. Brass fittings are available on request.
• You can’t beat the Houdini’s price. The harness starts at £15.00 with the most basic options (that’s about $18 in the US, depending on exchange rates), and you can earn reward points toward future purchases if you register with Indi-Dog.
I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten a stellar performance out of my Houdini harnesses. Irish wears his most of the day, and it’s the best-fitting harness I’ve bought for him so far. Because he’s so good at getting out of a harness, I won’t be using the standard Houdini for him in public spaces, but my girls are another matter. Maia and Midori walk well on leash in the Houdini, and can easily perform all of their tricks while wearing it. Unlike some of the harnesses I’ve tried, the Houdini doesn’t tend to ride up their shoulders and over their heads if they lie down while wearing it. The custom fit ensures that the Houdini can handle the challenges of a deep-chested, long, skinny dog. I can also say from experience that Indi-Dog’s fit guarantee is the real deal. If your custom item doesn’t fit properly on your dog, Indi-Dog will work with you to make it right.
As with all harnesses, check your Houdini harness regularly to ensure it’s properly adjusted before you leave the house. Variations in your dog’s weight and fitness level, plus everyday wear and tear, can cause a harness to become too snug or too loose. The slides on the Houdini are easy to manage, so small adjustments should only take a moment.
Ready to give Indi-Dog a try? Head to their website. Because the Houdini is a custom item, it may take a week or more to ship, but the benefits are well worth the wait. My trio gives the Houdini harness three paws up.