Animal Welfare Inspection / Julius-K9® Powerharness
On the re-evaluation of products K9® Powerharness and IDC® Powerharness
“CHEST HARNESSES OF JULIUS-K9®”
The highlighted details of the study illustrate the effects of powerharnesses on dogs’ movement.
The following is an excerpt of the full study
The complete study material can be found here:
Austrian Animal Welfare Act
Address: Veterinärplatz 1, 1210 Vienna Austira
Animal species: Dog
Intended use: Chest harnesses for dogs
Ipar utca 10-12.
Current result: 27.02.2020
Relevant animal welfare labels: 2019-10-020, 2019-10-021 (from 10.10.2019)
Submitted documents / surveys (K9® Powerharness / IDC® Powerharness):
– Products in various sizes / product descriptions
– Website / Webshop of the company K9-Sport Kft.)
– Oral statement of the company K9-Sport Kft. from 26.06.2019
– Physiotherapeutic expertise Dr. Otília Biksi, 2018
– Magyar Versenyagár Egyesület & Alsónémedi Agárpark (Hungarian Greyhound Racing Association), 2018: Motion study concerning the JULIUS-K9® IDC® Powerharnesses
– Kiss, R., Nagymáté, Dr. Biksi O., 2018: Biomechanical analysis of the kinematics of different dog harnesses – research report
– Technical material information
Test Report for K9-Sport Ltd, 2017, Department of Polymer Engineering, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Materials Testing Laboratory
(H-1111 Budapest, Műegyetem rkp. 3., MT building) – Tensile tests
Oeko-Tex® Certificate Standard 100 – report number ZH010 150027.1
Oeko-Tex® Certificate Standard 100 – report number S18-3297
Oeko-Tex® Certificate Standard 100 – report number ZH010 134837.1
Oeko-Tex® Certificate Standard 100 – report number 251/2016
o Tensile Test Report – report number 01-01/449-2010(E)
o Abrasion resistance [MSZ EN ISO 12947-2:2000] – report number 3/56-2017(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/22-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/55-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/170-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/171-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/172-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/173-2018(E)
o Tensile Test Report Report [MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000] – report number 3/114-2019(E)
– Evaluation of the products and their use in dogs between July and September 2019 – in cooperation with Mag. Ursula Aigner, animal welfare qualified dog trainer, behavioural biologist and sworn appraiser for dogs.
Product Description / K9 & IDC® Powerharnesses
The JULIUS-K9® powerharnesses are saddle harnesses and consist of a back plate, an abdominal strap and a chest strap. The K9® Powerharness is available in eight sizes, and the IDC® Powerharness in nine sizes (Table 1).
The back plate consists of a multi-layered construction. A soft and breathable lining made of OEKO-TEX® certified fabric is placed directly on the dog’s back, followed by a seat padding layer. This is also used in cars and an elastic lining, a flexible plate in the middle of the back and a fixing strap, ensure that the harness retains its original shape and does not get twisted up. The padding on the inside increases the dog’s comfort whilst wearing it and can provide pressure relief or better pressure distribution. On top there is a water-repellent layer as well as an OEKO-TEX® certified safety strap. All of the layers are enclosed by a reflective edge The leash ring is made of stainless material and has a diameter of 3 mm (Baby 1 – Mini), 4 mm (size 0) or 6 mm (size 1 – 4).
The IDC® Powerharness and K9® Powerharness from size “Mini” upwards have a handle on the back plate. The base of the handle consists of a 50 mm wide safety belt with a ribbed surface. The grab handles stand stiffly upwards so that the owner can easily reach into them at any time
without having to put up or look for the loop first. In order to prevent the dog from getting caught anywhere, the K9® Powerharness has a hook-and-loop fastener on the handle which can be used to lock the grip securely onto the harness. In the IDC® Powerharness the hook-and-loop is only available in sizes Baby 1 to Mini. From size 0 onwards the handle can be locked with a snap fastener. This is made possible by the built-in flexible plate on the back section.
Both powerharnesses from size 0 upwards have a rubber strap with OEKO-TEX® certification attached to the back part, which serves as a mount for a flashlight and a plastic strap to which a side pocket can be attached. On the sides of the two powerharnesses there are also hook-and-loop areas for patches with various inscriptions/logos.
Both powerharnesses can be continuously adjusted at two points, on the chest and abdominal straps. The chest strap has a hook-and-loop fastener, while the belly strap can be adjusted with a plastic slider. The chest and belly straps have a width of approx. 48 mm. The chest strap is additionally equipped with a reflective band. According to the manufacturer, the chest strap must be closed by at least 50% to guarantee that it does not come unfastened.
Plastic buckles serve as fasteners. The IDC® Powerharness also comes with a safety buckle that can be locked with a hook-and-loop fastener, which can increase the load capacity of the plastic buckle on the chest strap by about 60 kg. Due to its shape, the harness is very easy to put on, because after optimal adjustment it only needs to be pulled over the head and the abdominal belt should be closed.
The biggest difference between the two harnesses is the different placement of their chest straps. With the IDC® Powerharness, the chest strap is more inclined and lower, and has a more ergonomic shape due to this. It lies more on the sternum and not on the neck. In addition, the back plate of the IDC® Powerharness is also cut slightly shorter and covers less area at the sides. The manufacturer recommends the powerharness for short city walks as they are less suitable for longer, extended walks or hikes.
Test Reports JULIUS-K9® Powerharnesses ( Materials / Spare Parts )
– Several load tests of the Innovatext® (Textile Engineering and Testing Institute Co., Budapest, HUN) testing institute regarding the criteria according to the MSZ EN ISO 13934-1:2000 standard (Tensile properties of textile fabrics – Part 1: Determination of maximum tensile strength and maximum tensile strength-extension with the strip tensile test) have been submitted for the two powerharnesses.
The most recent tests from 2018 showed maximum tensile forces of 4542 N / ~ 463 kg for the IDC® Powerharness, as well as 2334 N / ~ 237 kg for the K9® Powerharness with a simple bar, 3223 N / ~ 328 kg for the K9® Powerharness with a double bar and 2377 N / ~ 242 kg for the K9 Powerharness with a normal seam. In addition, the fixing seam of the D-rings of the powerharnesses was also tested for its tensile resistance. Five samples of two seam types (bar seam and normal seam) were tested. The chest harnesses with bar seam yielded at an average force of 1803 N / ~ 183 kg, whereby the hem tore only once and the D-ring opened four times at the weld. The chest harnesses with a normal seam yielded at an average force of 1269 N / ~ 129 kg, of which four times the seam tore and the D-ring opened at the weld only once.
Practical experience / expert opinions / movement studies on freedom of movement and comfort
– A physiotherapeutic report written in January 2018 by the veterinarian Dr. Biksi, where special attention was paid to the free movement of dogs while wearing the IDC® Powerharness, was submitted to the Specialist Centre for Animal Welfare and Animal Protection. In order to be able to make a statement regarding the influence of the chest harnesses on the dogs, the dogs were observed by Dr. Biksi both with and without a leash and under different stress levels. The report concludes that the freedom of movement of the dog’s front legs is not restricted by the IDC® Powerharness as long as the size is correctly adjusted.
– In July 2018, K9-Sport Kft. initiated an independent movement study on the JULIUS-K9® IDC® Powerharnesses at Magyar Versenyagár Egyesület (Hungarian Greyhound Racing Association) in cooperation with Alsónémedi Agárpark (Greyhound Park in Alsónémedi). The aim of the study was to find out whether the running times and freedom of movement of the dogs are influenced by the IDC® Powerharness. To this end, the running times in milliseconds of 31 dogs with and without chest harness were measured, whereby the assignment of which of the two races the dog wore the chest harness was random. Only new and, according to the prescriptions of K9-Sport Kft., well adapted IDC® Powerharnesses were used for the measurements of the times. The results of the study showed that there was no significant deviation in the running times due to the different equipment.
In October 2018, the Budapest University of Technology and Economics conducted a biomechanical analysis of the kinematics of various chest harnesses for dogs. The aim of the study was to determine how different chest harnesses change the gait kinematics of dogs, compared to free movement, using a 3D motion detection method. For the study, five dogs of different breeds were accustomed to a relaxed walk on a treadmill. The gait pattern of the dogs was then tested without chest harnesses, with three different JULIUS-K9® chest harnesses (K9® Powerharness, IDC® Powerharness and IDC® Longwalk Harness), on the treadmill and on a normal floor. The influence of an automatically retractable dog leash was also tested. On the treadmill as well as on a normal floor, no significant differences between the gait pattern of the dog with and without chest harnesses or among the chest harnesses were found. The analysis of the gait pattern with and without leashes showed significant differences both on the treadmill and on normal ground. Greater changes were found when walking on normal ground, as there was no predetermined speed and the dogs could regulate the speed and gait pattern more easily. The changes in the gait pattern with the leash can probably be attributed to the increased resistance against the leash and are a normal adjustment.
In September 2019, the four different chest harnesses of K9-Sport Kft. were evaluated by an animal welfare-qualified dog trainer for the specialist centre on their basic fit as well as in different situations in training. (Mag. Ursula Aigner, dog trainer qualified in animal protection, behavioural biologist and sworn appraiser for dogs)
Evaluation of K9 and IDC Powerharnesses:
Harnesses like the K9® Powerharness and the IDC® Powerharness are preferably used for short (city) walks.
The two powerharnesses were rated “very good” in terms of materials, handling and durability.
The stepless adjustability by hook-and-loop fastener Page 13 of 20 was generally assessed as very positive. However, the inside placed hook-and-loop fastener on the chest strap of the powerharnesses was judged to be impractical (adjustment on the dog is barely possible). Manufacturer’s note: The invention of JULIUS-K9® is the chest strap, which is closed on the inside (towards the dog’s chest), that ensures an extremely high carrying capacity and safety of the chest strap. This solution is widely used for dog harnesses worldwide.
For the smaller harnesses (Baby 1 – Mini-Mini), attention should be paid to the fact that if the length of the waist belt is fully utilised, the adjustment buckle of the harness could rub against the joint of the dog. In this case the next larger model should be used as an alternative. The usage when walking on a loose leash was generally rated “good”.
In summary, the K9® Powerharness, IDC® Longwalk Harness, IDC® Powerharness and Hard Dog Race® harnesses from K9-Sport Kft. offer a wide range of different harnesses, from which most pet owners can choose the right harness for their dog in terms of size, fit, buckle type, etc. It is always necessary to consider the individual characteristics of the dog (anxious/insecure, calm/confident, pulling strongly on the leash etc.) as well as the type of use (short (city) walk, long hikes etc.), so that the right harness is chosen in every respect.
Harnesses with a strap that runs horizontally in front of the dog’s chest (Norwegian or breastplate harnesses) are also called “restrictive harnesses” in literature (without a scientific background). However, scientific studies/evaluations so far only provide the following information on the subject of “freedom of movement in chest harnesses”:
– In the preliminary study (on nine dogs) by Lafuente et al. (2018), the chest harness with the belt running horizontally in front of the chest did not show any greater restriction of movement of the front extremity (“shoulder extension”) than the Y- harness.
– In the opinion of veterinarian Dr. Biksi, it was concluded that the IDC® Powerharness does not restrict the movement of the dog’s front legs as long as the size is correctly adjusted.
– In the movement study of the JULIUS-K9® IDC® Powerharnesses at Magyar Versenyagár Egyesület (Hungarian Sighthound Racing Association) in cooperation with Alsónémedi Agárpark (Sighthound Park in Alsónémedi) no significant deviations in running times were measured due to the different equipment (with or without harness).
A biomechanical analysis of the kinematics of different canine chest harnesses by the Budapest University of Technology and Economics showed no significant differences between the gait pattern of dogs with and without chest harness or among the chest harnesses.
Comprehensive studies on the effects of chest harnesses on dogs are still missing from scientific literature. Manufacturer’s note: The frequently quoted Jena scientific study “Dogs in motion” contains no data on dog harnesses. No dog harnesses were used in this study for x-rays or other examinations. Usually this subject is accompanied by infringing activities such as defamation or consumer deception.
“The area of application for harnesses such as the K9® Powerharness and the IDC® Powerharness are preferably for shorter (city) walks.”
Re-evaluation of the products from 02.04.2020:
When used as intended and in compliance with the following conditions of use, the products – K9® Powerharness, IDC® Powerharness, IDC® Longwalk Harness and Hard Dog Race® harness from JULIUS-K9® – meet the requirements of the Austrian Animal Welfare Act.
Relevant legal regulations for the assessment of K9® Powerharnesses / IDC® Powerharnesses:
1) Federal Law on the Protection of Animals (Animal Welfare Act), Federal Law Gazette I No. 118/2004 last amended by Federal Law Gazette I No. 86/2018
2) Ordinance of the Federal Minister for Health on the keeping of vertebrates not covered by the 1st Ordinance on Animal Husbandry, on wild animals that place special requirements on husbandry and on wild animal species whose keeping is prohibited for reasons of animal protection (2nd Ordinance on Animal Husbandry), Federal Law Gazette II No. 486/2004, last amended by Federal Law Gazette II No. 341/2018
3) Ordinance of the Federal Minister for Health regarding more detailed provisions on the training of dogs in conformity with animal welfare (Dog Training Ordinance), Federal Law Gazette II No. 56/2012 4) Ordinance of the Federal Minister for Health on the Establishment of a Specialist Body for Animal Welfare and Animal Protection for the Evaluation and Labelling of Serially Manufactured Animal Husbandry Systems and Livestock Housing Facilities as well as Pet Accommodation and Pet Equipment (Specialist Unit /Holding Systems Ordinance – FstH