A dog harness easily fastens around your dog’s body and even shields his neck from muscle strain. As such, using the best dog harness on your dog, especially puppies, is a safer and easier choice for walking and training purposes.
With tons of dog harness products on the market, looking for the best becomes quite a hassle. To help you with the buying process, we have created this buying guide which explains the factors you have to consider when looking for a dog harness. Also, we have compiled some of the best choices you can find so you can easily make an informed buying decision.
How to Choose the Best Dog Harness
As a dog lover, we all want what’s best for our buddy. Buying him a dog harness is definitely a step in the right direction. While dog collars are the popular choice, a harness is undeniably superior, unless your dog already knows how to walk properly on his leash.
In most cases, however, a harness can offer more control. Also, it evenly distributes the force across your dog’s chest once he starts pulling his leash, thereby eliminating any pain or injury.
While buying a harness might sound as easy as entering a pet store and buying the one they have in stock, it actually involves a bit of planning. Specifically, you need to consider quite a few things before you even decide which harness to buy.
We’ll explore what those factors are so you can better understand which harness will work best for your dog. They are as follows:
If you’ve been inside a pet supplies store, you might have already noticed that harnesses for dogs are available in different styles. Most of them come in different patterns, colors, and designs. Also, they are available in different types which are as follows:
As the name implies, the standard harness is the most common type you can find in the market. It features a standard fit and evenly distributes force against your dog’s chest and back while protecting his neck area at the same time. It’s also known as a dual strap harness and is ideal for use only on less aggressive pullers as using it on aggressive ones will most likely result in an injury.
Additionally, it’s not recommended for large and rowdy dogs.
A tightening harness tightens around your dog’s body whenever he pulls or jumps. This type is designed for heavy pullers and jumpers. Due to the application of pressure, putting this on your dog will strongly discourage his jumping and/or pulling behavior.
While it may apply pressure, there’s not much to worry as it’s only strong enough to cause a bit of discomfort for your dog and isn’t intended to hurt or even injure him. However, you have to make sure to use it only on a dog that has undergone corrective training. It’s also not applicable for dogs that have a timid personality as they’ll only associate it with punishment.
Lastly, you shouldn’t use a tightening harness on a dog who has a history of physical abuse as it can only trigger memories of his abuse life and may cause him to react violently instead.
Compared to a standard harness, a no-pull or front-pull harness doesn’t tighten strongly when your dog starts pulling. He’ll feel a bit of force under his front armpits instead. When wearing it on your dog, you have to ensure a proper fit as it may irritate your dog’s armpits if not properly worn.
A mobility harness is designed for dogs who have limited mobility. It is commonly used on dogs with hip dysplasia, joint injuries, and even physical impairment. It’s also ideal for use on dogs which are currently recovering from a recent surgery.
This type of harness comes with a strap which runs the full length of the back of the body strap. There are also models with a wraparound handle, back handle, or a hip-lift handle which all support your dog’s weight, particularly around his joints.
A head harness is pretty much like a horse’s bridle, except that it’s designed for dogs. It works similarly to the tightening harness in the sense that it discourages your dog’s unruly behavior by controlling the direction and movement of his head.
The problem is, there’s a major controversy with regards to the use of a head harness. It’s said that this can damage your dog’s cervical spine, especially when he has a strong and aggressive disposition. As such, the head harness is only ideal for use by experienced dog trainers.
For an experienced trainer, this type of harness is ideally used on persistent but not so aggressive pullers. However, it’s not applicable for dogs with short muzzles and also those with breathing problems. It’s not also recommended for use by short-tempered dog owners or trainers.
The bib harness or vest harness is a padded type which features a strong front piece covering most of your dog’s chest. In most cases, it comes with a back and front clip, or a combination of both.
As this type of harness is padded, you can offer maximum comfort for your dog. It also evenly distributes weight and is ideal for use by people who like taking their dogs on long hikes. Unfortunately, it’s not recommended for dogs that are more prone to overheating.
Mix and match harness
A mix and match harness is a combination type harness wherein you can combine separate segments together to ensure a proper fit on your dog. Due to its customizability, it’s often the ideal choice if your dog isn’t able to fit into a standard harness.
Back clip harness
This is a common type of harness that comes with a D-ring at its back. It’s often the ideal choice for small dogs as well as those who walk using a loose leash. However, it’s not recommended for use on strong dogs who don’t behave properly while on a leash.
Front clip harness
As opposed to the back clip harness, the front clip harness has its D-ring located in the middle of a dog’s chest. This allows you to gain more control and even prevent your pooch from pulling you. It’s also not uncomfortable for him, making it the perfect choice for training your dog how to walk using a loose leash.
Dog harnesses are often made of either nylon or leather. While both of them are perfect for a dog harness, those which are made of nylon are often the more popular choice due to its price. Basically, nylon harnesses are a lot cheaper compared to leather. However, while leather might be expensive, you can certainly rely on its durability and strength.
Some harnesses even have fully padded chest plates to offer added protection and even help with attack training. It can absorb shock during a hit, thereby preventing any serious injuries and damage to your dog.
3. Size and Adjustability
Before you even decide on a harness, make sure you consider the right size and fit as well. Each product will specify its dimension on the product details. The rule of thumb is to leave a bit of room for your dog to breathe properly.
Tight harnesses can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. In some cases, they might even result in chest injuries. Meanwhile, a loose harness will allow your pet to slip through. There are two different types of fit which are as follows:
Roman – a Roman fit type comes with a strap which goes around the shoulder blades and another one around your dog’s chest which then connect under the back and chest area. This type works perfectly with a back clip and is ideal for owners with exceptional motor skills. However, it is not recommended for those with arthritis and cognitive problems.
Step-in – another fit type is the step-in which is quite common in most harnesses. Due to its design, it’s only applicable for use on small and lightweight dogs. Occasionally, you can find ones designed for larger breeds, but they are quite rare. This type is perfect for elderly owners with poor manual dexterity.
Dog harnesses come in different styles, types, and designs. Additionally, their features vary as well. When looking for a dog harness, it’s important to find out what its features are to know if they can be helpful for your dog or not. Basically, these are the features you want to look for in a harness:
A padding greatly helps to keep your dog comfortable with the harness on. We recommend going for a product that is well-padded. A non-padded harness can cause injuries on your dog’s chest as it has a tendency to rub on his body. You’d want to go for a padding that’s made of either fleece or neoprene.
Another feature you should consider is the D-ring along with its strap. Basically, this is what connects the harness to your dog leash. You need a D-ring that is centered properly to make sure that the leash is properly attached.
Also, you should make sure that the D-ring is made of a durable material. For the strap, choose one that runs the full length of the back of the body strap. It should also be stitched under the neckline of the harness. The placement of both D-ring and strap should properly distribute your dog’s pulling force from the center of the harness and not just on his neck. Otherwise, your dog will feel uncomfortable and may even suffer from injuries.
A handle on your dog’s harness might sound weird, but in cases where you have to pull your dog from the water or out of trouble, a handle can prove to be quite helpful. Moreover, it gives you more “close control” compared to one without.
You might want to consider a harness with reflective strips if you love walking your dog at night. Not only will they make you and your dog highly visible, but they also enhance your safety especially when walking on a busy street.
You can find a variety of water-resistant harnesses in the market. In most cases, this feature is not at all necessary. However, if your dog likes to swim a lot, a harness with a water resistance feature is a worthwhile investment.
Our Top 15 Dog Harness Picks
1. Ruffwear – Front Range No-Pull Dog Harness with Front Clip
Ideal for Aggressive Pullers and Pups in Training
This front range harness from Ruffwear features a heavy-duty hardware and double stitching to provide you with a strong and durable harness. It comes with two leash attachments points and can be adjusted in four different points. It also comes with a reflective stitching for added safety and visibility during the night.
Since it comes with a padded chest, you can ensure your dog’s comfort. Overall, the Ruffwear harness is an excellent choice for both walking and training purposes.
Why We Like It:
- Padded chest and belly panel ensures maximum comfort
- Quick and easy to adjust
- Reflective trimming provides better visibility at night
2. PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
A Simple Yet Extremely Comfortable Choice
The PetSafe easy walk harness is an excellent and affordable choice for your pet. It’s very adjustable, thus you can easily find the best fit for your dog. It comes with three adjustment points located at the back, stomach, and chest area. It also comes with a point where you can attach a leash at the front, thus allowing your dog to face you while walking.
This harness is designed to get rid of choking hazards. As such, your dog won’t choke while walking, and you can even prevent any harm or injury to your dog’s throat area.
Why We Like It:
- Comes with four adjustment points for easy adjustability
- Designed to prevent choking
- Comfortable and very affordable
3. Wiggles Wags Whiskers 2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness
Optimum Control with Four Adjustment Points
This 2-hound harness from Wiggles Wags Whiskers is an excellent harness that discourages aggressive pulling behavior on your dogs. It comes with a martingale loop located at the back to allow your dog to walk straight without straining or twisting.
Aside from that, the harness is also extremely comfortable and durable due to its soft velvet lining on its strap. Since it comes with four different adjustment points, you can ensure easy adjustability and maximum comfort when walking your dog.
Why We Like It:
- Ideal for puppies and adult dogs
- Works perfectly on dogs with arthritis and other forms of injury
4. Kurgo Tru-Fit No Pull Dog Harness
No-Pull Feature for Aggressive Dog Pullers
The Kurgo harness is designed to prevent your dog from pulling aggressively. It’s fitted with a halt ring on its chest plate that will prevent your dog from wandering too far in the event he starts pulling on his leash.
As it’s designed to be a heavy-duty harness, you can expect it to be extremely durable and offer excellent control. It comes with five different adjustment points to ensure that you can achieve the perfect fit for your pet. Thanks to its vest-shaped design, you don’t have to worry about putting pressure on your dog’s throat in the event he tugs hard.
Why We Like It:
- Features five adjustment points for a perfect fit
- Quick and easy to get on and off with its quick-release buttons
5. Blue-9 Pet Products Balance Harness
Total Comfort and Mobility in One
The balance harness from Blue-9 Pet Products comes with 6 different adjustment points, thus allowing you to customize it to allow maximum comfort and complete mobility. Its unique design makes sure that your dog is comfortable, safe, and can freely move around.
Additionally, it’s made of high quality and durable materials to ensure that it can last for a long time and withstand wear and tear which is common in most poor quality harnesses. Also, it’s designed to be worn and taken off quickly and easily. All you need to do is to simply snap its strap around the neck of your dog.
Why We Like It:
- Comes with 6 adjustment points for easy adjustability and maximum comfort
- Quick and easy to wear and take off
6. Puppia Dog Harnesses
Made of Soft Air-Mesh Material for Maximum Comfort
This dog harness from Puppia features a padded neck rim along with an adjustable chest belt to ensure a comfortable and perfect fit on your dog. It comes in over a dozen color choices and a variety of size options as well. Therefore, you can be able to find the right size for your pet.
It’s also breathable and stretchy while still being strong enough to handle an aggressive puller. It’s made of 100% polyester, so you can rest assured that aside from being durable and sturdy, it will also feel soft on your dog’s skin. Lastly, it’s machine-washable but the manufacturer recommends hand washing and air drying to ensure it’ll last.
Why We Like It:
- Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes
- Comes with an adjustable chest belt for maximum comfort
7. RABBITGOO No Pull Dog Harness
A Perfect No Pull Harness for Walking
The Rabbitgoo harness is no doubt one of the best no pull dog harnesses you can find on the market. Aside from its hassle-free design, it’s also easily adjustable to offer a custom fit for your pet. There are 2 sturdy attachment points located on both its front and back area.
As it’s made of a soft and breathable material, you can provide a comfortable fit for your dog. Additionally, it comes with reflective strips to provide better visibility and safety when walking your dog at night. Although it’s durable and has a thoughtful design, the only problem with the Rabbitgoo is that it’s only available in one color – black.
Why We Like It:
- Includes reflective strips for better visibility at night
- Features a breathable mesh padding
- Comes with two leash attachment points at the back and front
8. Noxgear LightHound
Reflective Threading for Better Night Visibility
The Noxgear harness is available in four different sizes to cater to dogs of varying breeds and sizes. Aside from that, it’s also fitted with 8 bright LED colors to provide better visibility for your pet, especially when walking at night. The colors are interchangeable with the help of a button.
Compared to other harnesses with reflective threading, the Noxgear Lighthound actively keeps your dog safe by alerting drivers and traffic ahead of time.
Aside from that, its neck and chest area are easily adjustable so you can provide a perfect fit for your dog. All you have to do is simply slide it on and it’ll be ready to go. You also don’t have to worry about rubbing and chaffing.
Why We Like It:
- Its reflective lighting comes in 8 different colors
- Easily adjustable and easy to fit on your dog
- It’s made of military grade Condura fabric to ensure maximum durability and resistance from wear and tear
9. EXPAWLORER Big Dog Soft Reflective No Pull Harness
The Ideal No Pull Harness for the Big Guys
The Expawlorer is yet another excellent no pull harness that comes in a variety of sizes and colors for your dog. They have medium, large, and extra large sizes available, thereby making it ideal only for medium to large dogs. It’s easily adjustable and is fitted with reflective straps to make walking at night safe for you and your dog.
It also comes with extra padding to make sure your dog remains comfortable while having it on. There’s even an extra handle included so you can maintain full control of your pet. Overall, it’s a really durable and comfortable no pull harness.
Why We Like It:
- Its reflective straps ensure safety while walking your dog at night
- It has paddings to prevent any possible injuries
10. Lifepul TM No Pull Dog Vest Harness
Unique and Comfortable Design for Easy Training/Walking
This no pull harness from Lifepul is designed to work like a modular system except that its chest piece isn’t detachable from the main harness. Nonetheless, its unique design comfortably wraps around your dog’s body to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness.
It’s made of a durable nylon, thus making it ideal for use on even the toughest dogs. Despite being tough, it’s proven to be really comfortable on your pet due to its built-in padding attached in its panels. Lastly, it has a quick-release buckle to allow you to take off the harness with just a press of a button.
Why We Like It:
- It’s made of a premium quality nylon
- Its quick-release buckle makes putting on or taking off the harness quick and easy
11. Ruffwear – Web Master Dog Harness with Lift Handle
Versatile and Dog-Friendly Design with a Padded Handle
The Web Master is yet another quality harness from Ruffwear. It comes with two attachment points located at the middle and rear section of its back. Moreover, it has an aluminum attachment ring to secure a safe and durable connection.
As it has padded straps, your dog will remain comfortable even when doing extended walks, hikes, and any other physical activity. Its five adjustment points make sure that you can provide the perfect fit for your pet. Lastly, it has a padded handle to provide you with a balanced lifting so you can safely and securely handle your dog whenever necessary.
Why We Like It:
- Fitted with reflective strips for enhanced visibility at night
- Comes with a padded handle to help you lift your dog with ease
12. Chai’s Choice Outdoor Adventure Dog Harness
Ergonomically Designed Harness for Superior Comfort and Ease of Use
This dog harness from Chai’s Choice is closely similar to that of Ruffwear’s with the exception that it’s a more practical option. It’s made of durable Oxford fabric which is quite different from most dog harnesses on the market which are made of nylon. In spite of that, it’s extremely comfortable for your dog, which is partly the reason why it’s one of the best products there is.
It also comes with reflective strips to ensure better visibility and safety at night. Meanwhile, its body panel is fitted with a cushiony and comfortable material. Lastly, the Chai’s Choice harness comes in 9 different colors and 5 sizes to provide you with a range of option.
Why We Like It:
- There’s a wide range of colors you can choose from
- It’s fitted with reflective trimmings
- Its ergonomic design makes it easy to put on and take off the harness
13. The Original EcoBark Maximum Comfort & Control Dog Harness
Ultra-Soft Harness with a Variety of Designs and Colors
If you want a harness with a more colorful personality for your pet, then you might want to consider the EcoBark. It’s available in 8 fun colors and 6 different sizes for you to choose from. Aside from its assortment of colors and sizes, it’s also eco-friendly and non-toxic.
The harness’ polyester material ensures that your dog remains comfortable while keeping it extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear. The straps are made of an eco-friendly material and feature double stitching to ensure durability. Meanwhile, the panels are padded with a soft material to ensure comfort for your pet.
Why We Like It:
- The straps are made of recycled water bottles which are a plus if you’re an eco-friendly individual
- Available in fun colors that suit your dog’s lively personality
14. Pawaboo Dog Safety Vest Harness
Adjustable Harness Designed for Travels
The Pawaboo is a durable and lightweight harness that comes with a simple yet durable design. It has easily adjustable straps to make it easy to put on your pet. Additionally, its built-in snap hook is made of stainless steel and is electroplated to make it resistant to abrasion.
It’s marketed as a car safety harness to ensure that your dog remains safe and seated while traveling. Its fully padded chest plate is soft, comfortable, and made of breathable fabric. Of course, it functions perfectly as a walking harness without bringing any discomfort to your pet regardless of how strong he pulls his leash.
Why We Like It:
- It’s designed for use in cars
- Suitable for walking your dog without the risk of choking
15. Voyager Soft Harness
Plush Design for Added Warmth and Comfort
The Voyager harness is somehow similar to the Rabbitgoo harness in terms of design and to the EcoBark with its non-adjustable neck girth. It also features a Velcro mechanism to make sure that you can provide a secure and comfortable fit for your dog.
The best part with the Voyager is that it also features a buckle closure which connects the two D-ring attachments to form a unitary system at the top. The problem is that there have been some reported issues when unlocking the buckle closure.
Nonetheless, the Voyager has a body panel that’s made of a durable, comfortable, and breathable fabric. It also has rounded edges, so you can guarantee that it won’t chafe your dog’s skin.
Why We Like It:
- It has a strong Velcro strap for a quick and comfortable fit
- It’s designed to provide comfort and warmth for your dog during cold weathers
Benefits of Using a Dog Harness
There’s been an ongoing debate regarding which is the better choice between a dog collar and a harness. Perhaps the biggest drawback with a harness is that it’s far more expensive compared to a collar. That aside, let us talk about the benefits of using one.
Pretty much like well-designed dog head halters, dog harnesses have some amazing benefits which are as follows:
Reduces neck pressure
One of the biggest benefits of a dog harness is that it reduces the risk of trauma on your dog’s neck mainly because it “hugs” the chest of your dog. Neck pressure is a common scenario that happens on aggressive pullers. If left unchecked, it can lead to breathing difficulties, and in some cases, anxiety.
Perhaps the most common issue with a collar is that it gets tangled easily. It’s not just harmful to your dog but for you as well if you have a large dog. Meanwhile, a leash removes such issue by having a secure place where you can attach a leash as well as a strong buckling so as to prevent breaking.
Compared to collars, harnesses offer more control of your dog. A dog, especially a large one, can pull on a collar with ease and even create some degree of resistance. Meanwhile, a harness provides you with a high level of control, hence making it suitable for use by inexperienced dog walkers.
Q: How to measure a dog for a harness?
A: To measure your dog for a harness, you need to measure the girth around his chest. The measurement you get is the size of the harness you should buy. However, sizing instructions may differ from one manufacturer to another, hence it’s best to refer to the product details for a more accurate sizing.
Q: Can a dog harness hurt your dog?
A: Most harnesses on the market are fitted with paddings to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety. As long as it’s neither too loose nor too tight, your dog should be safe from rubbing it on his skin thereby preventing injuries.
Q: Can dog harness be worn all the time?
A: We recommend putting the harness on your dog only when training and/or walking. Although it can be worn at all times, doing so may lead to potential issues such as chafing, skin irritation, or sores.
Q: Can a dog harness be used on a cat?
A: Yes you can, but only if it’s of the right size. If you have an adult cat, you might find quite a number of options. In fact, harnesses that are designed for smaller breeds will work just fine on an adult cat.
Q: Is it machine washable?
A: There are a number of harnesses nowadays which are machine-washable. However, it depends on the fabric used for their construction. In most cases, manufacturers recommend washing them by hand unless it’s stated in their product details.
With the long list and buying guide above, you should now have an idea of which harness to buy. Just keep in mind that when looking for the best dog harness, you have to consider the comfort it can give your dog, the type of material it’s made of, and if there are any safety features included.