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Collars are great for ID tags and quick out-and-back bathroom breaks, but when it comes to a serious walk they aren’t always the best dog gear. Collars can potentially inflict strain on a dog’s throat, and they do little to reign in exuberant canines. Humans may have no idea why that far patch of grass is irresistible, but a dog may pick up a whiff of something worth pulling against the leash until they choke. To avoid your dog causing self-harm, turn to the best dog harness. These distribute pressure evenly over a large area, which makes for a more controlled and comfortable walking experience. So, if your dog is still getting a handle on proper walk etiquette, the best dog harness is the kind of dog gear that can gently discourage pulling and limit strain on your pet, helping your dog feel confident and comfortable no matter how far along they are in their training. Whether you have a big dog or one that’s small, we’ll help you discover the best dog harness to match your pet’s walking style.
- Best no-pull: 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Nylon Dog Harness & Leash
- Best for large dogs: Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness
- Best for small dogs: Puppia Soft Dog Harness
- Best dog pack: Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack
- Best budget: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
- Best for evening adventures: Bark Essentials Reflective Harness
Features to consider when selecting the best dog harnesses
There’s more to the best dog harness than a latch and a catch, so keep these major differences in mind while shopping for your pup. A dog harness is a vest designed to secure your dog with maximum comfort, usually with a triangle of fabric that hugs their torso and fastens in the back. A strap harness is a more lightweight option that features thinner bands of material. Whether you opt for a vest or strap design, you will have to choose between a front-clip, back-clip, or dual-clip system. If you’re working with a stubborn dog that loves to tug, a front-clip harness can help keep your pet under control. Dogs that are already professional heelers might not require a front-clip and will do just fine with a back-clip design.
The best combines durability, comfort, and mobility. You will want to find a harness that can withstand doggie wear and tear but isn’t made of stiff or irritating material. It is also important that your harness is tough under pressure a flimsy harness can stretch or degrade when paired with a serious puller. We know that picking out dog products can get pretty complicated, so here are our picks. Let’s find the perfect fit!
What exactly is a no-pull dog harness?
Some dogs pull on a leash like they’re auditioning for the Iditarod. If you’re using a traditional collar and leash, pull behavior can be frustrating and harmful. This tug-of-war match might seem impossible to resolve, but there are harnesses created to ease the difficulty of training the more tenacious puppy personalities. A no-pull harness is designed to pivot your dog’s energy toward you, often by redirecting their movements with a front-clip or dual-clip design. With a leash attachment at their chest, a dog is deterred from lunging forward and encouraged to walk at your pace. The best no-pull harness helps you control your dog without causing pain or discomfort. There are multiple versatile designs available that combine both front- and back-clip designs for maximum command over your dog’s training, like our favorite no-pull harness here.
2 Hounds Design
This no-pull dog harness combines two points of contact with your dog: an included double-connection leash attaches to an action loop between the shoulders and a structural ring on the chest. This unique design enables you to redirect your dog’s attention while also reigning them in from the back. The 2 Hounds Design harness works with breeds of all sizes and temperaments, and its stainless-steel hardware and heavy-duty nylon are built to last.
What dog harness works for larger breeds?
Big dogs can be a lot to handle, and they need a harness that can match their strength and size. A thin harness might dig into a big dog’s skin, so when shopping for a large-dog harness you will want to look for one with wider bands. Harnesses with a vest shape also work well for larger dogs and distribute pressure equally across their chests. The best large-dog harness combines resilient fabric with durable aluminum leash clips. Yours should be able to handle everything your big dog throws at it, from zealous days at the park to muddy treks in the woods.
Best for large dogs: Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness
Designed with optimal comfort in mind, this large-dog harness has foam padding, wide straps, and four points of adjustment. The Ruffwear harness features an aluminum back clip and a reinforced webbing chest loop for training. Reflective trim and a convenient ID pocket make this harness perfectly suited for nighttime jogs. Ruffwear offers this harness in eight nature-inspired shades and five sizes.
What should small dogs wear?
We know that small dogs are infamous escape artists and sometimes slip out of their collars. This might make you lean toward finding the most snug option, but if your small dog is a bundle of energy a collar could also be hurting their neck. A small-dog harness can provide peace of mind while out and about with your tiny pup. Little dogs don’t require the same hardware as big dogs, so you will want to focus on soft fabric, flexibility, and weight when shopping for a small dog. You might also want to consider one that is easily washable little dogs are low to the ground and their gear quickly collects grime. The best small harness should be simple, light as a feather, and soft enough for everyday wear, and our top pick checks all the boxes.
Best for small dogs: Puppia Soft Dog Harness
The Puppia harness is designed to protect your small dog’s delicate skin with soft air-mesh padding and lightweight polyester. This small-dog harness has a back clip leash attachment, an adjustable chest belt, and quick-release buckles for a seamless park-to-couch transition. Puppia offers 14 adorable colors, and its smallest option fits dogs with a neck of 9.5 inches.
What’s the best harness for hiking with my dog?
Long hikes with your furry friend require a lot of equipment. A dog backpack harness is a wonderful solution for those who spend every weekend exploring new trails with their dogs. The majority of dog packs are saddlebags, which distribute weight evenly on both sides of your dog. With a sturdy pannier compartment on each side, your dog can carry his own gear without losing any mobility. Dog backpacks are perfect for carrying a day’s supply of treats, doggie bags, and first-aid materials. Keep in mind that dog packs are best suited for medium and large breeds, and the majority of backpacks do not accommodate dogs with a ribcage girth under 20 inches. The most important attributes to look for in a backpack harness are durable fabric and adjustable straps. The best dog backpack harness is made of water-resistant materials and allows you to customize the position of the pannier compartments. Check out our favorite backpack harness before you set out on your next wilderness adventure.
Best dog pack: Mountainsmith K-9 Dog Pack
This dog pack has all the essentials: two pannier compartments with zippered accessory pockets, an indestructible metal back clip, and mesh panels with perforated EVA foam for increased ventilation. Made with optimal weight distribution in mind, this pack features a four-point adjustable chest harness, an adjustable back harness, and a non-slip buckle system. The pack also has a padded grab handle that enables you to quickly lift your dog in emergency situations. Mountainsmith packs are weather-resistant and can be worn by dogs that weigh up to 120 pounds.
Best dog products if you’re on a budget
Small options tend to be pretty affordable, while dog gear for medium and large breeds can get expensive. There are some options for affordable harnesses that still have all the features you love: reflective fabric, optional front clips, and comfortable padding. When shopping for a cheaper one you will want to ensure that it is still fully adjustable and made of soft, durable material that won’t irritate your dog’s skin. Here’s an affordable, vest-style harness that works with dogs of all sizes.
Best budget: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
This hassle-free harness has fast-release buckles, four adjustable straps, and reflective trim. The Rabbitgoo harness features both front and back metal leash rings for versatile training. Rabbitgoo offers its harness in a wide range of vibrant colors and four sizes.
Another way to harness that great walk potential…
Best for evening adventures: Bark Essentials Reflective Harness
The four reflective straps are fully adjustable and made of a soft and resistant blend of nylon and rubber. This vest-style harness comes equipped with two leash attachments for a convenient switch between front- and back-clip training. Bark offers three harness sizes and its largest option can fit dogs with a neck of up to 34 inches.
Q: How tight should a dog harness be?
It should fit snug enough that your pup can’t get loose, but not so tight that it constricts them. A good rule of thumb When shopping for fitted dog products is that you should be able to fit two fingers between your dog and their harness at all times.
Q: Are front-clip harnesses good for dogs?
Front-clip harnesses are a great solution for dogs that pull. With a leash attachment on their chest, a dog is kindly redirected when they try to bolt forward. A front clip will safely encourage a dog to walk at your side, rather than barging at the nearest squirrel.
Q: Can I leave my dog’s harness on all day?
If your dog is comfortable in his or her harness, there is nothing wrong with keeping it on during the day. You should remove your dog’s harness at bedtime so that your canine companion can get some air. This also prevents matting in long-haired breeds.
The final word on the best dog harnesses
Daily walks with your canine companion should be a breeze, not a battle. The best dog harness enables both you and your dog to enjoy the outdoors without stress, strain, or risk of injury. Whether you’re seeking a solution for a stubborn puller or selecting gear that keeps your dog comfortable all day, a harness is one of those dog products that is a fantastic addition to your beloved pup’s wardrobe.