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Getting a dog muzzle is often one of the first steps towards safely living with, training, and rehabilitating an aggressive dog (check out our Aggressive Dogs E-book for more on that).
If you have a dog who is aggressive around kids, reactive on leash, or highly prey driven, you might want to look into a dog muzzle. A muzzle is a key component of most good management plans for aggressive dogs.
Picking out the best dog muzzle is challenging, though, if you have a dog with an odd head shape. It can be particularly difficult to find a good dog muzzle for dogs that:
- Are very small or very large, like chihuahuas or mastiffs.
- Have a lot of fur around their face, like chows.
- Have very flat faces, like pugs and French bulldogs.
- Have very long, skinny faces like greyhounds.
Getting the perfect-fitting muzzle will help keep your dog comfortable while you’re working on a training plan.
I’m a huge fan of using muzzles for any dog that struggles with barking, lunging, growling, or hiding in certain situations.
The muzzle gives you peace of mind and allows training to proceed smoothly.
Additionally, a muzzle can work as a warning to other people that this dog might not be a good one to let your kids run up to!
Three Features of a Good Dog Muzzle
There are several common features of a good muzzle for your aggressive dog. You and your dog will be happiest if you purchase a muzzle that:
- Allows your dog to pant, eat, drink, and bark easily. We don’t want to use a restrictive grooming muzzle for training aggressive dogs. These muzzles don’t let the dogs eat, which makes training almost impossible. Your dog is also at danger of overheating because he can’t pant to cool off.
- Fits extra-securely. Most good muzzles will attach have at least two points of attachment. My personal favorite muzzle attaches to the dog’s collar, to the back of the head, and to the neck. We don’t want it to be easy for your dog to paw it off.
- Can be customized. Even the best muzzle rarely fits a dog perfectly right out of the box. Many of the best dog muzzles out there are fully custom or can be molded to fit your dog (like a hiking boot is molded to your foot).
Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s examine some of my favorite dog muzzles on the market.
The Six Best Dog Muzzles for Tough-to-Fit Dogs
Keep in mind that the most perfect dog muzzle won’t work if it isn’t fitted properly. Each muzzle requires you to take different measurement of your dog to get the right fit.
Be sure to read manufacturer specifications before entering your credit card number!
1. Best All-Around: Baskerville Ultra Muzzle
This is my hands-down favorite muzzle for *most* dogs. It’s the one that my dog Barley wears when we’re hiking (so he doesn’t pick up and choke on sticks). You can customize it for your dog by boiling it and then fitting it to your dog’s face.
This muzzle allows for plenty of panting, drinking, and training. I use squeeze cheese to reward Barley for wearing it – he loves it!
The Baskerville Muzzle (not the Ultra) runs a bit smaller, which can help with sizing.
2. Best for Flat-Faced Small Dogs: Canine Friendly Muzzle
Fitting a muzzle onto chihuahuas, French bulldogs, pugs, Pomeranians, Pekingese, Maltese, and other small breeds is really tricky. This muzzle is a bit more of a face mask, but it’s hands down the best option for really small, flat-faced dogs.
Your dog cannot drink with the Canine Friendly Muzzle on, but you can reward with squeeze cheese and he can pant.
While this muzzle isn’t perfect, it’s still the best option you have if you’ve got a really flat-faced dog.
3. Most Customizable: BUMAS Muzzle
The BUMAS muzzle is fully custom and comes in a variety of colors. The company, based in German, aims to help educate people about muzzles and change the stigma regarding muzzles.
Though ordering can take a while (you have to get a lot of measurements so that the muzzle is perfect), it’s worth it. These muzzles are also on the expensive side – but they’re worth it if you’ve got a dog that will need to wear a muzzle regularly.
My go-to muzzle for Barley is a custom BUMAS muzzle.
4. Best for Small Dogs: Jafco Muzzle or Barkless Muzzle
The Jafco muzzle is softer and more flexible than many others on the list, making it extra comfy for long-term use. Many users really like the clear option, saying it’s the softest option. This muzzle also comes in extra-small sizes, as small as 2.25 inch long snouts. Most muzzles don’t come smaller than 2.5 inches – so this is a good option for ultra-small dogs.
If you want a muzzle that’s similar, but a bit easier to feed your dog through, check out the Barkless Muzzle. I love that this muzzle comes with a training/fitting guide and a free clicker! Its smallest size is 2.3 inches, just a touch longer than the Jafco muzzle.
Unfortunately, I don’t know of any good basket muzzles that will fit the smallest toy chihuahua.
5. Best for Long-Nosed Dogs: Bronzedog Greyhound Muzzle
Greyhounds, Whippets, Salukis, and even long-nosed border collies can be tricky to fit a muzzle onto. A muzzle that’s long enough is often too wide for their face, causing gaps that rub. Luckily, Greyhound racers often muzzle their dogs.
And since these muzzles are made for racing dogs, they’re definitely easy for your dog to pant in. This muzzle is metal wire, but comes with a comfy leather strap to ride on the bridge of your dog’s nose.
6. Best for the Bull Terrier Schnozz: Jafco Muzzle
Yet again, that Jafco Muzzle is a winner. It is moldable enough to fit the potato heads of bull terriers and miniature bull terriers. Most users love that it’s soft and moldable. The clear plastic is softest, making it the most comfortable and easy-to-use option for bull terrier noses.
Remember: Dog Muzzles Don’t Replace Training
Keep in mind that dogs can still cause injury through a good muzzle. A dog muzzle is not a solution for training. If you need help with an aggressive dog, feel free to reach out and I’ll help you create a training plan.
Do you have a favorite muzzle for a tough-to-fit dog? Let me know, I’m always looking for more good dog muzzles!
Kayla founded Journey Dog Training in 2013 to provide high-quality and affordable dog behavior advice. She is a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant who’s worked with hundreds of private clients, thousands of shelter dogs, and dozens of working detection dogs. Kayla’s dog and cat behavior advice has been featured in NPR, the Chicago Tribune, and Pet MD. She’s an avid adventurer who is currently doing #vanlife on the Pan-American Highway with her two border collies and a cat. Aside from running Journey Dog Training, Kayla also runs the nonprofit K9 Conservationists, where she and the dogs work as conservation detection dog teams. You can get 1:1 advice with a Journey Dog Training team member here.
The flat faced muzzle you suggest for a FRench Bulldog still allows them to bite. They can’t pant properly either. I’m at wits end to find one that works.
Hi Barbara – try BUMAS or Trust Your Dog Training’s custom muzzles. You’ll have to email Amy at Trust Your Dog (just google Amy Creaven, she’ll come up). They’re quite a bit more affdorable than BUMAS.
We rescue animals and one is a wolf dog. We have had him 6 yrs now and he is about 8 yrs. we also have little weeniepoo, boxer and 2 cats. He has been fine with all. We took in a 2 day old kitten no mama, she got run over and we lost the brother after 1 week. She is now 7 weeks and has a bedroom all to herself and we bring her out starting this week in a big dog crate in living room for everyone to get familiar. My hubby sits in crate with her and plays. The wolf dog wants to eat her ! So until she is big I think we will buy the bronze dog muzzle to be safe. We never leave her unattended while she is out here.
Hi Kayla fratt
We have 12 year old rescue dog who attacks our 15 year old beagle and our 13 year old collie mix and the cats .she das have same medical problems too.we are looking into a mussel .may you can help use with same training tips thank you
I would focus on keeping the dogs separate for now while you look for an experienced in-person aggression trainer.
i have a 4month old rottie an the vet i go to said i should get him use to a muzzel that hes going to be very big hes 45 lbs right now so im not sure what kind or size its just for safety when he gets bigger thank you
Hi Christina, you could do either option. You could practice having him put his muzzle into a yogurt container or something else similar to get him used to a muzzle, then actually work with a real muzzle once he’s fully grown. It’s up to you!
I have a boxer male 18 months who keeps scavenging when at farm doggy day care I need to muzzle him, as keeps getting tummy upsets, do you think it’s cruel to muzzle.
A muzzle sounds like a great option here! I don’t think muzzles are cruel at all 🙂
Hi Kayla. I have a 15 yo male Maltese. He has some heart issues which are controlled with medication, but otherwise is healthy. The past few weeks he has not allowed us to put on his harness. He will run away and snap. Additionally, he is no longer allowing me to brush his teeth, and he is becoming more difficult to groom. The vet thought that maybe his neck was bothering him, however he will let me touch his neck, and xrays were unremarkable. My vet has suggested we get a muzzle for when we need to groom, and perhaps when harnessing to go for walks. I’m just heartbroken that he is becoming more upset when grooming (which he never really liked), and especially difficult to harness for a walk, which he usually loves. Any ideas? I am looking for a step in harness so that we don’t have to go over his head. Any recommendations? What do you think about muzzling? Any recommendation for a muzzle? Thank you.
Hi Lilie – at that age, I’d strongly suspect pain. LOTS of injuries can’t be found on x-ray, and it might be worth talking to your vet on a pain med trial. A muzzle may prevent you from getting bitten, but it won’t help your pup feel better about the walks. You can also look into cooperative care for lots of great help with these problems!
I have a 10mo old Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua mix who sees the muzzle come out and it completely aggressive. I can’t even get it on her. The few times I was able to manage to get it on her she became submissive yet still guarded. She immediately went to find the quietest place to lay down and sleep but when we would come near she would growl. Any digestion’s on trying to get it on her without her showing teeth and biting?
Hi Michelle – it sounds like you’ll have to go back to the very basics of training for this. The Muzzle Up Project has some great videos for this!
My 14 month old boxer female, Brooklyn, and I started working with a trainer 7 months ago because of Brooklyn’s reactivity. Our trainer recommended using a muzzle and shared this muzzle up project website as a resource and for muzzle party tips. I gradually introduced the muzzle and we used it for 4 months until getting a custom made Khaos Kollar. We have been using the custom muzzle for about a month, and I can tell that Brooklyn is much more comfortable and seems to enjoy our walks more. However, I am not sure what to do about her rubbing her face in the grass trying to get the muzzle off. Other than coaxing her to stand up and walk right, I do not know what else to do right now. Every now and then, I coax her upright and then have her sit for a treat before we continue on. That is a temporary, in the moment fix. Any ideas?
p.s. Before transitioning to a muzzle, Brooklyn wore a gentle leader head collar on walks. Even after she seemed well-adjusted and comfortable with it, she rubbed her face on the grass trying to get the loop off her nose. It’s a thing that she does.
BT owner here. The biggest advantage to the Jafco muzzle – it doesn’t push up into the dog’s eyes. Lacking a “stop,” on the face, most other muzzles can creep up into the eyes…..
We have a my daughter’s 1 year old female bordeaux and her 3 year old mother living with us. We also have a 10 year old male hound mix that is ours. The one year old will play fight with her mother but never go down hard enough to actually bite. The one year old has attacked the 10 year old for no apparent reason that we can figure out. Usually they all play very well together. The first 2 attacks did not punctured the male dog but the last one caused numerous puncture wounds and 2 that required stitches. The mother dog naturally went to the defense of the pup which caused more problems. The male is very passive so we don’t understand why she occasionally takes a dislike to him. Don’t really know if there is any saving her or if a muzzle would help. Any advise is appreciated
Hi Yvette, this sounds like a situation that requires a credentialed behavior professional. I can help you find someone near you if you’d like, but you’ll have to reach out over email for me to help you find someone nearby. It’s simply outside the scope of a blog comment!
What’s a good muzzle for an aggressive blue heeler mixed 1 year and 5 months old that weights around 60 pounds. We rescued our Lucki when he was 3 months old. He has recently become extremely aggressive with my husband and has bitten him a couple of times. One visit required a ER visit and stitches. I am now keeping my dog away from my husband.
Hi Pam – most dogs are well suited for the Baskerville muzzle but it requires measuring the face and fitting the muzzle, so I can’t guarantee anything.
Which muzzle would fit a jug dog . Hes aggressive to ppl and traffic . Hes starting traing for this soon .
I cannot say without measurements – you will have to size and fit the muzzle to your dog and his specifications.
Hello ; I have a Staffshire/Lab mixed. What is best muzzle for her. ? Comfortable., breathable, ? Thank You
You will have to measure your dog, I cannot tell you based on breed mix alone.
My 2 flat-coated retrievers measure:
5″ length and 11″ circumference
4″ length and 9.5″circumference
I have yet to find a size chart for any brand of muzzle that works. I let the dogs out a few times a day in our fenced-in backyard; maybe 30 minutes or less. They literally eat our deck..jagged splinters of wood–that what’s we want to prevent.
Baskerville won’t work…the measurements combine sizes 3 and 4 with size 6. I don’t know what to do. Thank you.
Hi Bill, you probably want to reach out to Trust Your Dog Muzzles for an affordable custom option. I don’t sell muzzles so I can’t help with sizing.
Not seeing a suggestion for larger brachycephalic breeds. I have a Boxer. The only time I need a muzzle is at the vets. Not because he snaps but because they are worried he will. Suggestions?
Generally for larger brachycephalic breeds we need to do a custom muzzle, which I know is a pain in the rear! 🙁
Hi Kayla, I have a 16 month old male shar pei that is going to be starting a class for leash reactivity. he needs a muzzle and training harness for the class. Which would you recommend? Tia
Hi Lisa, I hope the class goes well! Without knowing your dog’s exact measurements, I can’t really say. Shar peis can be quite difficult to size for muzzles, so you may need a custom option. For a harness, he might like a Balance Haarness. They’re quite adjustable.