While collars are often the default choice for many pup parents, increasingly more owners are opting for harnesses.
Harnesses protect your dog’s throat and can offer more control than a standard collar, but choosing the right harness for the job is key!
We’re highlighting the best dog harnesses here (most of them we’ve tried ourselves), and breaking down how to pick the right harness for your pup’s specific needs.
The Best Dog Harnesses: Quick Picks
- #1 2Hounds Design Freedom Harness [Best No-Pull Dog Harness]: Pulling pooches can make owners dread walks, but this harness a front and back-clip attachment, along with a martingale loop with a constricting design that provides added control and stability.
- #2 Rabbitgoo Dog Harness [Best Value Dog Harness]: This is likely one of best value harness on the market – it’s a solid and comfortable dog harness that won’t break the bank!
- #3 Ruffwear Web Master Harness [Best Harness for Outdoor Adventures]: This super durable, padded harness is designed to withstand even the roughest outdoor adventures. Complete with a sturdy handle for navigating rough terrain and multiple belly bands, it’s a favorite of hikers and avalanche rescue dog programs.
- #3 Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness [Best Harness for Small Dogs]: This ultra-lightweight harness is perfect for small and medium sized dogs who don’t pull much on the leash. The step-in design also makes this a good choice for dogs who are fearful of putting a standard harness up and over their heads.
The Best Dog Harnesses on the Market: Our Favorites!
The best dog harness depends on you and your dog’s day-to-day needs, but we’ve gathered up some of the top dog harnesses to help you narrow down your options.
1. 2Hounds Design Freedom Harness
About: The 2Hounds Freedom Harness has universally been declared one of the best options out there for dogs who pull and yank you across town (OK, it’s not official yet, but we think a universal declaration is coming up any day now).
It offers a back and front-clip attachment point (which is pretty standard in most harnesses for pullers). But, it also features a one-of-a-kind martingale loop on the back-clip section.
The martingale loop allows the harness to constrict slightly when your dog pulls on the back-clip attachment point, effectively preventing your dog from wriggling out of the harness.
But that’s not all – this baby also features several points of adjustment to get that sweet spot fit. The belly strap is made of soft velour fabric, which feels ultra cozy against your dog’s skin and prevents armpit irritation.
If you get the harness and leash combo set, you’ll also get the 2Hounds Design Dual Leash. This actually enables you to clip to both your dog’s front and back-clip attachment points simultaneously, offering unparalleled control over your dog’s movement.
Does it get any better than that?
- Includes front and back leash clips
- Has martingale loop for slight constriction effect
- Cozy velour fabric covers the belly band portion
- Includes dual leash setup to attach to both leash clips at once
Options: Available in 4 sizes ranging from medium to XXL, and comes in several bright color options. Order from 2HoundsDesign.com and you can get even more pattern and color options, including some epic holiday designs!
- Pretty much the best design for any dog who pulls
- Constricting martingale loop is ideal for some added security
- Tons of colors and pattern options (on the official website)
- It can be a bit challenging to get the hang of putting this harness on your dog, at least at first
- No handle, so not great for hikers who want to lift their dogs over rocky areas
2. Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
About: Rabbitgoo’s Dog Harness is one of the best-rated, best-selling harnesses on the market. While it’s not doing anything special, it has all the important basics covered – front and back leash clip options, adjustable straps, reflective strips, and a handle.
Plus, it’s a fraction of what some of the higher-end harnesses cost. It’s a real win in terms of value.
- Made with 4 adjustable straps for a secure fit
- Features both chest- and back-mounted leash attachment rings
- Handle for additional control, when needed
- Features reflective strips for safer walks in low-light conditions
- Cushioned, breathable design for cozy all-day wear
Options: Offered in 4 sizes, ranging from small to extra-large, and 14 colors, including neutral tones like Black and Honey Wheat and brighter hues of Vibrant Lime and Lemon Yellow.
- Overhead style is easy to put on.
- No-pull capabilities due to the front clip.
- Comes with all of the basic safety features you could want.
- Available in scads of sizes and colors.
- Some say the sizing and design of this harness runs a bit small.
3. Embark Urban Dog Harness
About: Embark’s Urban Dog Harness is another solid pick for any owner, combining sturdy construction, tons of bonus features, and a variety of fun color patterns you won’t find elsewhere.
This harness boasts military-grade nylon thread with reinforced stitching, along with metal front and back-clip d-rings and a sturdy handle.
- 4 adjustable straps for a custom fit
- Includes front and back-mounted metal d-rings for a variety of leash attachment options
- Includes cushioned chest panel for improved comfort
- Sturdy built-in handle to help dogs navigate tough terrain
- Unique and colorful patterns
Options: Offered in 4 sizes, ranging from small to extra-large, and four fun, colorful patterns like “Baja” (pictured here).
- Easy to put on and adjustable fit
- Ultra sturdy metal d-rings on both the front and the back clip areas
- Convenient built-in handle for when you need extra control
- Unique color patterns that are super fun
- Only a few reflective elements, not as many as some others
- Some report that the backplate is a bit short on longer dogs, causing the girth straps to ride up
- Harness can become heavy and water-logged when wet. For a waterproof version, check out Embark’s Sports Harness.
4. Ruffwear Front Range Harness
About: The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is one of those dog harnesses that regularly gets a top spot on many lists highlighting the best dog harnesses and it’s no surprise why – Ruffwear’s one of the biggest names in premium dog gear, and their harness is subpar to none in terms of quality.
This sturdy and handsome dog harness features front and back clips, reflective stitching, and ample chest padding for a sturdy composition that holds up even in the roughest of conditions.
It tends to be popular among outdoor enthusiasts and dog sport folks due to its durability. The only thing we don’t love? Well, it’s definitely on the pricey side. It also lacks a handle, which we think is key for most rugged, outdoor harnesses.
It’s also worth noting that the front clip attachment is fabric – not a metal D-ring. This would make me a bit wary of using this as a no-pull harness for any strong or rougher canine.
Still, this harness has hordes of fans, so if you’re looking for a really high-quality harness but don’t need a handle or a lot of front-clip use, you can’t go wrong with the Ruffwear Front Range.
- 4 adjustment points to get a good fit
- Includes front and back leash attachment points
- Has a cushioned chest area for comfort
- Reflective stitching keeps your dog visible at dusk
- Ultra high-quality and durable enough for the outdoors
Options: Offered in 4 sizes, ranging from small to extra-large. Has several color options too.
- Super durable, premium materials and quality.
- Has front and back attachment points.
- Looks handsome as heck.
- No built-in handle.
- Front clip attachment is cloth, rather than d-ring (which is honestly pretty surprising).
5. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
This harness does everything you’d want during walks, and it’ll keep your four footer safe on the go with its included car seat tether.
About: If you and your pooch regularly hit the road during your adventures, it is important that you keep him safe while en route. Crash-tested car crates are the best option, but short of that, you’ll want to be sure to pick up a harness that keeps your pet safe during travel.
Kurgo’s Tru-Fit Smart Harness makes this easy, as it is a full-function harness that also includes a short seat belt tether, you can keep your dog safely secured while zipping from point A to B.
This harness doesn’t have a back-clip option, instead relying on its front-mounted leash clip to help address leash-pulling. It has five adjustment points to ensure a good fit, along with reflective trim.
Overall, this is a great pick if you want a harness that does double-duty as a car safety harness — so long as you’re OK not having a back-clip option.
- The harness features 5 adjustment points to ensure a great fit
- Includes anti-pulling front leash clip
- Over-the-head design includes two plastic waist clasps
- Doubles as a car safety harness
Options: Available in 5 sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large and three colors: Black, Blue, and Gray.
- Works great walks as well as car rides.
- A plethora of adjustment points to achieve a truly custom fit
- The harness’ lightweight, low-profile design is comfortable for dogs to wear.
- No back-clip option — you will have to use the front-clip option only
- Not a ton of color options
6. BABYLTRL Big Dog Harness
About: BABYLTRL isn’t exactly a familiar brand name for most dog owners, but their BABYLTRL Big Dog Harness may change that over time. Similar in many ways to the Rabbitgoo Harness, this harness offers a similar (and in some ways better) set of features, and it does so for a slightly more affordable price.
Like the Rabbitgoo Harness, BABYLTRL’s Big Dog Harness features twin attachment points (one on the back and one on the chest), it features four adjustable straps, and it comes with reflective stitching for maximum visibility.
And as mentioned, there are a few other features that offer extra value, such as locking buckles for added security. It also has a wide chest area, making it popular with more barrel-chested dogs, like pitties.
- Made with a breathable nylon Oxford material
- Nylon back handle for more control as needed
- Water-repelling exterior material
- Reflective stitching for safer walks in low-light conditions
- Locking buckles help prevent accidental escapes
Options: Offered in 4 sizes from small to extra-large and 12 colors, including Black, Red, Camo, and more.
- Dual D-ring hookups offer added versatility.
- Easy on/off design makes walking time more convenient.
- Locking buckles provide additional security and peace of mind.
- The long-term durability of this harness was a problem for some owners.
- Isn’t available in quite as many colors as some similar options.
7. Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness
About: Looking for a high-quality harness that’ll help you save a few bucks? The Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness may be just the ticket!
A step-in harness, the Voyager is not only easy to put on your dog thanks to the Velcro fasteners, it’s also easy to adjust and achieve a perfect fit. Don’t worry, it doesn’t just attach with Velcro – there’s a standard buckle attachment too! But the velcro allows for some find-tuning in terms of tightness.
Made from breathable mesh fabric, it’s a comfy harness that also provides great visibility, thanks to its reflective stitching.
Since it only has a back-clip attachment and no front clip, we also think this is a great harness option for puppies who might otherwise chew on a front-clip attachment. But due to the lack of a front-clip attachment point, it’s probably a poor choice for pullers.
- Convenient step-in style is easy to slip on and off
- Made with a breathable mesh fabric
- Double fastener with Velcro and a buckle
- Reflective bands for added visibility
Options: Available in 7 sizes, ranging from triple-extra-small to extra-large and 29(!) colors, including basic tones like Black and Blue and bright hues, like Lime Green and Fuchsia.
- You just can’t beat the pricing of this harness.
- Step-in harnesses like this one are some of the easiest to put on.
- This harness is pretty lightweight, making it excellent for small pupperinos.
- Escape-minded dogs may be able to slip out of this harness.
- Some dogs experienced armpit irritation after wearing this harness.
- No adjustment points, so may be a poor choice for dogs with unusual body shapes.
8. PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
A gentle and effective way to stop your dog from incessantly pulling on the leash, without resorting to aversive techniques.
About: Leash-pulling is a common problem many dog owners face, and while training your dog to walk loosely on the leash is the ideal long-term solution, no-pull harnesses are very helpful for getting quick results.
But while there are a million no-pull harnesses on the market, only a few are very effective. And of these, PetSafe’s Easy Walk Dog Harness clearly sits atop the pile.
Featuring a front-loop clasp, this harness curbs pulling behavior by turning your dog’s chest around when he pulls. This not only gets results, but it protects your pooch’s delicate neck, unlike some other no-pull devices.
The Easy Walk Harness is a staple across most animal shelters, as it’s just so darn effective at controlling a pulling pup. That being said, there’s no back-clip attachment, so if you’re looking to walk your dog on a standard back-clip, this won’t be the harness for you.
- Designed specifically to help with pulling issues
- Secures with quick-snap shoulder and belly straps
- Lightweight design makes the harness comfy for your canine
- Made of nylon for durability
- Sits high on your dog’s body, leaving his belly free of straps
Options: Available in 8 sizes, ranging from petite to extra-large, and eight colors, including Teal, Black, and Purple.
- Great no-pull design for less stressful walks
- Easy-to-clean, no-fuss design is a win for cutting down on maintenance
- The no-slip design is great for preventing escape artists from slipping free.
- While comfy for most dogs, the thin design of this harness can cause skin irritation for some.
- Works great for pulling pooches, but there may be better options for dogs who lunge at people or other dogs (such as the Gentle Leader Head Halter).
9. Bulldog Grade Harness
About: Unfortunately, the short-and-squat builds of bulldogs, Frenchies, and some other breeds presents serious challenges for owners shopping for a dog harness. Most standard harnesses simply aren’t made with the barrel-chested build of bullies in mind!
Never fear! The Bulldog Grade Harness is deliberately designed with stockier dogs in mind, ensuring you find the right fit for your bully buddy.
Securing in place with four strong buckles and adjustable straps, it’s tough enough for even the most stubborn escape artist.
As a bonus, this harness will keep the pressure off your dog’s neck — something very important to do with brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds.
- Larger chest area designed to accommodate barrel-chested dogs
- Made with nylon and oxford cloth
- Reflective stitching for safer nighttime and early morning walks
- Handle for added control when needed
- Reversible top panel allows you to pick between front or back leash attachment
Options: Offered in 4 sizes from small to extra-large and 9 colors and patterns, including Purple, Blue Flowers, and Camo.
- Excellent choice for stockier breeds, including Staffies, pit bulls, and Frenchies.
- Lightweight, breathable design won’t overheat your pooch.
- Backed by a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Costs about twice as much as some of the budget models discussed here.
- Owners reported some durability issues regarding the stitching.
10. Ruffwear Webmaster Harness
About: Unfortunately, some dogs develop a talent for slipping free of typical harnesses, but there are a few models available that can help prevent this problem from happening.
One of the best harnesses for escape-prone dogs is the Ruffwear Web Master Harness. Although not specifically marketed as an escape-proof harness, this tight-fitting device features two belly hands for added security.
If you liked the Ruffwear Front Range but wished it had a handle, you’re in luck – this harness does include a durable, padded handled for helping your dog over rough terrain.
- Comes with 5 adjustable points for a secure, ultra-customized fit
- Features padded straps for comfortable wear
- The extra-durable back handle provides added control and maneuverability over difficult terrain
- Reflective strips will keep you and your pooch safer after dark
Options: Offered in 5 sizes from double-extra-small to large/extra-large and three colors: Red, Blue, and Black.
- Effective at preventing escapes.
- Overall quality is very impressive.
- Comes from the very reputable Ruffwear brand.
- This harness is pretty pricey compared to other models.
- Harness doesn’t come with a front clip.
11. ThinkPet No Pull Harness
About: Like hiking with your dog? You probably already know that a run-of-the-mill harness may not be up to the job. Fortunately, we’ve found an option for dogs who love trail life!
ThinkPet’s No Pull Harness is a hiking hound’s dream with its lightweight and thin-yet-durable design that ensures your canine will remain comfortable for mile after mile. As a bonus, this harness’ front clip will put an end to pulling, and it includes reflective strips to provide added visibility in dark conditions.
- Made out of breathable nylon, Oxford cloth, and EVA
- Metal front and back-mounted D-rings for leash attachment
- Included handle for lifting or added control
- Secures in place with a lockable plastic buckle
Options: Offered in 12 color options and 5 sizes, ranging from small to double-extra-large.
- Durable metal d-rings and tough fabrics
- Owners heaped tons of praise on this harness’ comfort (and canines appear to have concurred).
- Handle’s placement makes it more natural to grab than some others.
- Some owners reported their dog was able to slip free of this harness.
12. ICEFANG Tactical Dog Operation Harness
About: Do you and your dog go on adventures that are a little more involved than a simple jaunt around the block? Do you need your dog to be ready for anything the world may throw at you? If so, you’ll need a harness that’s up to the job — like ICEFANG’s Tactical Dog Operation Harness.
Equipped with heavy-duty clasps, a rock-solid back handle, chest and back attachment points, and added Velcro molle strips for attaching bonus gear, this harness will ensure your doggo is ready to take on the world. And with seven adjustable points, it’ll also ensure a super customized fit.
- Comes with one front-mounted clasp and two back clasps for leash attachment
- Added handle for additional canine control
- Velcro panel included for ID patch insertion
- Made with durable, easy-to-clean nylon
Options: Available in 5 sizes ranging from extra-small to extra-large and 6 colors.
- Most owners praised the quality, durability, and craftsmanship of this harness.
- The harness’ large buckles provide more security than the ones on some other vests.
- For a tactical vest with all the bells and whistles, the pricing is pretty reasonable.
- Deep-chested breeds may present some fit challenges.
- It’s a tad heavier than simpler harnesses, so it may not be ideal for dainty doggos.
13. Voyager Step-In Plush Harness
Voyager Step-In Plush Harness
Comfort is king with this plush harness that’s easy to put on your dog, super affordable, and pretty good-looking to boot!
About: While some owners need a harness that’ll stop their pup’s pulling or prevent escapes, others simply want the most comfortable harness they can find.
If you’re one such owner, you needn’t look further – the Voyager’s Step-In Plush Harness is for you!
Providing comfort and cuteness for your canine’s walks, this harness also keeps your doggo safe, as it features three different types of connectors — including a hook and loop fastener, buckle, and metal loops — to make it one of the safest options out there.
The Voyager Plush had considerably more padding than the Voyager Air, which is focused on using less material to keep it more lightweight.
While it’s certainly a cozy wear, it won’t be durable enough for larger sized dogs- this one’s for petite pooches only!
- Made with a plush suede material
- Includes sewn-in metal D-rings in a back mount position
- Step-in style is simple to put on and take off
- Two reflective strips for added safety
Options: Offered in 5 sizes from extra-small to extra-large and 14 colors.
- The plush lining and padding make it supremely comfortable for dogs.
- Owners loved how simple this harness was to put on.
- Only offered in sizes suitable for small breeds.
- Harness’ plush lining may be too warm for some dogs living in hot climates.
14. Domi Light Up Dog Harness
About: After-dark walks are often a necessity, but they can also be dangerous, as it can be hard for motorists to see you and your pooch.
Avoid this problem by opting for an illuminated harness like the Domi Light Up Dog Harness. Featuring six embedded LEDs, this harness will enable you and your doggo to walk around the neighborhood without any worries of drivers seeing you or your pooch.
Best of all, this illuminated harness is actually machine-washable (just remove the battery pack first).
- Two flashing modes let you pick between continuous or flashing lights
- Charges in 2 hours, supplying 3 hours of steady glow or 8 hours of flashing
- Fastens with two plastic buckles
- Made with a soft, breathable mesh
Options: Available in 4 colors and 3 size options: small, medium, and large.
- Great visibility for night walks.
- Affordably priced harness, considering that it comes with its own lighting system.
- Owners reported that the harness’ battery life was quite impressive.
- The included battery pack makes the harness a little bulky.
- Some quality issues were noted by a handful of pup parents.
15. Pupteck’s Soft Mesh Harness
About: Some dogs and owners don’t really need any super-fancy features or a problem-solving design — they just need a capable harness that looks fantastic!
If that sounds like you and your dog, just slip your canine into something cuter with Pupteck’s Soft Mesh Harness.
An over-the-head harness that comes in a multitude of patterns and colors, this harness will turn your dog into the center of attention anywhere he goes. And because it’s made with breathable air mesh inserts, it’s as comfortable to wear as it is fashionable.
This harness is a primo pick for canine fashionistas, but it won’t be sturdy enough to withstand rougher use from larger-sized canines.
- Made with a soft polyester construction
- Closes with a single plastic buckle
- Comes with a matching leash
- Comes with a back-mounted metal D-ring
Options: Available in 15 patterns and 4 sizes, ranging from extra-small to large.
- Just look at it — it’s adorable.
- Easy to put on and take off thanks to it’s one-buckle design.
- When you factor in all the included features, this harness’ price tag is quite reasonable.
- Appears to run small.
- The non-adjustable over-the-head portion isn’t ideal for dogs with big heads.
- Likely not tough or durable enough for heavy pullers.
16. Expawlorer Big Dog Harness
About: Some dogs don’t mind wearing a harness, but they struggle mightily when it’s time to put their harness on. In these situations, it is crucial to select a harness that’s easy to slip on without a struggle.
Expawlorer’s Big Dog Harness fits the bill perfectly, as it is easy to slip on and off with its plastic buckle and over-the-head design.
With two adjustable straps, it’s also a breeze to fit it to your doggo’s frame, and the breathable nylon material will keep your canine comfy during walks.
- Made of easy-to-clean, breathable nylon
- Reflective strap for added safety during morning or evening walks
- Rubber handle for increased control or support as needed
- Welded metal D-ring sits high on the back for easy access
Options: Offered in 5 colors and 3 sizes: medium, large, and extra-Large.
- Putting this harness on is easy, as there’s only one buckle to worry about.
- Fit works great for medium and large dogs.
- The harness’ pricing is reasonable compared to other, similar harnesses.
- Not available in sizes appropriate for small puppers.
- A few owners complained that it wasn’t secure enough.
17. EcoBark Classic Harness
About: You obviously care about your doggo, but if you’re like an increasing number of owners, you also care about your dog’s impact on the planet.
Don’t worry! You can extend your environmentally conscious pet owner ways into the world of harnesses by picking up EcoBark’s Classic Harness. Featuring straps made of recycled water bottles, it’s less wasteful than other products while still providing great quality, value, and a snug-yet-comfy fit.
- Made with a soft, lightweight neoprene mesh
- Large plastic waist buckle for a secure fit
- Over-the-head front portion meets with an adjustable waist strap
- Thick metal back ring for comfortable walking
Options: Available in 7 sizes ranging from extra-small to double-extra-large and 17 colors.
- This harness helps the planet!
- Owners raved about how easy it was to slip this harness on and off.
- Despite being made of recycled materials, this harness appeared very comfy for most dogs.
- The cut is a little thicker than most harnesses.
- Some owners felt the neck portion was a bit too large and provided potentially worrying “wiggle room.”
- Likely not durable enough for heavy-duty adventuring.
18. PoyPet No Pull Harness
About: Are you an early adopter? Do you like jumping on new, innovative trends as soon as they hit the market?
If so, PoyPet’s No Pull Harness definitely deserves your attention. This harness is not only equipped with relatively standard features like dual leash attachment points, but it comes with several nifty features not commonly seen on harnesses.
Specifically, we’re talking about the harness’ elastic strap construction, which helps protect your arms and shoulders from your dog’s sudden lunges and jerks. It also features extra handle padding and a locking connector for safety.
- Aluminum alloy leash hooks
- Heavily padded handle provides more comfort and control
- Includes three plastic buckles (including a locking buckle) for a secure fit
- Made with a breathable non-toxic mesh
Options: Available in 23 colors and 5 sizes, ranging from extra-small to extra-large.
- According to most pup parents, this harness actually lived up to the no-pull promise.
- The elastic cord makes for more comfortable walks.
- Owners also praised how easy it was to slip this harness on and off their pupper.
- The added lock feature on the neck buckle is nice for your peace of mind.
- The plastic clips may not be strong enough for large doggos, so caution is definitely advised.
- The harness’ long-term durability was an issue with some reviewers.
How to Pick the Right Harness for Your Dog: Buying Considerations
To ensure you get the harness that works best for your pup, you should follow a few steps, including:
Always measure your dog
Never go by weight alone when picking a harness, as dog bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Most harnesses wil have you measure your dog’s girth and neck circumference to achieve a proper fit. A 45-pound Aussie is going to have a very different build than a 45-pound bulldog, for instance.
Opt for top-notch hardware and quality stitching
Flimsy buckles and D-rings are more than a waste of money; they’re safety risks too. Pick a harness with well-constructed, hard plastic fasteners that snap and un-snap smoothly.
Also keep an eye out for quality stitching, as better stiching will make the harness less likely to wear down and come apart over time.
Make sure it’s adjustable
The best harness on earth won’t do your pup any good if it doesn’t fit her properly. Select a harness equipped with adjustable straps, preferably around the chest, abdomen, and neck. Harnesses can vary when it comes to adjustment points – some harnesses may have just one or none, while others have up to four or even five points of adjustment!
Seek out reflective features if you walk at dusk
Reflective panels or stitching are must-have safety features if you plan on walking your dog in low-light conditions. Reflective trim can shine back light from cars, ensuring that you and your dog stay visible for those twlight and early morning walks.
Look for handles
Handles give you a bit of extra control when you need it, which can come in handy with reactive dogs or those with mobility issues. Handles are also helpful for hiking across rough terrain, when you may need to help give your dog a boost up large boulders or want to hold your dog close at narrow stretches of trail.
Focus on D-ring locations
Most harnesses come with D-ring placements on the back for leash attachment, but a front placement on the chest is a better option for leash pullers. Some of the best dog harnesses feature d-rings at both the front and back of the harness for multiple leash attachment points.
Also look for sturdy metal d-rings, as the cheaper fabric versions may not be tough enough, especially for ultra-strong pullers.
Most harnesses have D-rings to which you can attach an ID tag, but others offer pockets for ID cards.
Consider optional accessories
Some harnesses come equipped with extra velcro panels or pockets, making them ideal for use during hikes or long walks. The harness above has a very small mesh pocket that could allow you to stash a poop bag for a walk.
Padding can be trick in a dog harness. Padding adds considerable comfort to a harness, but too much can weight down a harness – especially if it gets wet!
Activity-based harnesses usually use a lighter-weight mesh padding that dries quickly, while everday urban harnesses may opt for cushier padding that works well so long as your pup won’t be swimming.
Colors and patterns
While it’s not as important as some other features listed here, some owners prefer harnesses with a pop of color or style that stand out from the common everyday harness design.
Collar or Harness for Dogs: How Do You Choose
The great debate over picking between a dog collar vs a harness for walks shouldn’t be a fur raiser. Both tools have their own sets of pros and cons to consider, and as with any doggo device, what works for one pooch may not work for another.
Harnesses are better suited for:
- Brachycephalic breeds: Sometimes called “flat-faced breeds,” this group includes bulldogs, pugs, Boston terriers, and more. A short muzzle already makes breathing difficult, and a collar can only worsen this by putting pressure on the airway.
- Pullers: Leash tuggers can injure more than your arm while wearing a collar; they can hurt themselves too! Prolonged pressure on the neck can lead to damage, making harnesses a better fit for persistent pullers.
- Escape artists: Houndinis who slip out of collars typically can’t wiggle out of a properly secured, escape-proof harness. Just make sure it’s fitted correctly with no escapable gaps.
- Dogs with neck issues: Pups experiencing neck issues like spine injuries or tracheal collapse should always wear a harness to reduce neck pressure. This also applies to breeds prone to them, such as toy poodles, dachshunds, and Chihuahuas.
- Travel: Car trips and flights are a breeze with a harness’s added control and peace of mind. With the lack of a choking risk, they’re ideal for crate travel too.
- Maintaining control: A harness typically gives you more control during a walk than a collar, as you’re steering your dog’s core instead of just her neck.
- Helping with mobility: If your dog struggles with getting around, a harness with a handle can aid in guiding him safely. This is especially helpful with older dogs with stiff joints or blind pups.
On the flip side, a collar may be a better fit than a harness for some pups and parents because:
- They’re less likely to tangle: Collars aren’t as likely to snag leashes or trip your dog up.
- Pup preference: Some dogs dislike putting on a harness, particularly those that slip over the head.
- Convenience: Slipping your dog in and out of a harness isn’t easy, especially if she’s older, stiff, or grouchy.
Deciding between a harness or collar is a matter of personal preference, though most dogs handle harness-wearing just fine once they’re used to it.
Different Dog Harness Styles
Harnesses come in a wide array of styles which can be as helpful as it is hurtful since there are just so many to choose from. Thankfully, they can be broken down into smaller subgroups, making the decision a little easier on you.
Standard Back Clip Harnesses
Most dog harnesses feature the standard back clip, where your dog’s leash attaches to your dog’s back, usually between her shoulders.
Standard back clip harnesses work great for most dogs, though they’re especially beneficial for puppies, as they keep the leash out of chewing range. They’re also less likely to get tangled up in your dog’s legs.
Standard back clips are less successful with pullers, however, and some of the over-the-head versions can be difficult for big-headed breeds, like pit bulls and mastiffs.
Front-clip harnesses have the D-ring for leash attachment located on your dog’s chest. Harnesses with a front-clip option are usually the best harness design for dogs who pull. This style of harness can help curb pulling behavior, making them ideal for pups still undergoing training.
The front-clip style can be tempting for puppies to chew and is a trip hazard for your pooch, however.
Dual-clip harnesses feature both front and back clips, letting you pick which works best for you and your dog on any given outing. These are excellent choices if you’d like a harness for everyday use as well as training sessions.
Truthfully, most harnesses with a front-clip setup are usually dual-clip harnesses, with both a back and a front clip option.
Designed to provide added security, this style of constricting dog harness features a tightening design that constricts your dog slightly if he tugs hard on the lead. This prevents your dog from wriggling himself out of the harness and escaping, so it’s ideal for dogs with odd-shaped frames who can slip out of standard harnesses.
This harness type requires you to slip your pup’s legs through two holes before you fasten it with a back clip. Compared to other styles with multiple buckles, they’re easy to put on and take off. They’re also great if you have a blocky-headed breed who struggles with over-the-head styles.
That said, if your dog has a hard time standing or dislikes her legs touched, this style can be tricky.
This type of harness is intended for securing your dog during travel, making it a great dog harness for car trips. These harnesses usually have additional D-rings and other features that hook into your car’s seat belt system. They’re also usually a bit stiffer than traditional walking harnesses and may have additional padding. These are best suited for use during car rides and aren’t recommended for long walks in the woods.
Intended for working dogs, these devices feature heaps of added features like molle strips, pockets, and even zippers. Most dogs don’t need these, but they’re ideal for police dogs and sometimes those that practice Schutzhund training.
Getting the Most from Your Dog’s Harness: Tips and Tricks
When it comes to dog harnesses, there are a few must-follow rules to keep you and your pup happy, including:
- ID attachment: Don’t forget to add your dog’s identification tag to her harness. This allows for fast reunification if she happens to make a break for it while wearing her harness.
- Fit checks: Examine the fit of your dog’s harness periodically to ensure she’s comfortable during walks. Too tight of a harness can lead to skin irritation, while too loose of a harness risks your dog slipping out.
- Maintenance: As with collars, harnesses can get funky and should be cleaned per the manufacturer’s instructions as needed.
- Offer breaks: Wearing a harness for too long can lead to skin irritation and hair loss. Let your doggo go “naked” every so often around the house.
- Be aware of allergies: Some dogs (like my Maya) are allergic to nickel, a common ingredient in metal buckles. This can cause severe skin irritation, so always try out a material before committing to it long-term.
If you ever notice skin rashes or hair loss from your dog’s harness, discontinue use and contact your vet.
Dog Harness FAQs: Your Questions Answered!
You might still have some questions about dog harnesses, and that’s understandable. There’s a lot to know about them! We’ve compiled the most commonly asked questions in one spot for you.
How tight should a dog harness fit?
Similar to a collar, a harness should allow you to wiggle two fingers comfortably beneath any point to avoid discomfort. For this reason, always pay close attention to size charts and check your dog’s harness for a proper fit before each walk.
Do no-pull dog harnesses work?
No-pull harnesses are often a solid solution to prevent pulling, but should be used in conjunction with loose-leash training. The best no-pull harnesses usually rely on a front-mounted clip which steers your dog around and away from what they are pulling towards.
However, it’s important to note that long-term use of front-clip harnesses or any harness that affects your dog’s gait can be problematic, especially for dogs with bones that are still growing and developing. Ultimately, the goal should only be to use no-pull harnesses on walks where you don’t have time to work on loose-leash training.
Eventually, the end goal should be to not require a front-clip harness or any kind of no-pull tool, as your dog should learn how to walk politely on lead.
What is the best type of harness for dogs?
The best type of harness is the one that works for you and your dog. A simple step-in or basic clasp harness with a back-mounted clip will suffice for most average dogs, but for those with escape artists, a specialty harness featuring double bands may be necessary. Examine your dog’s walking style to determine what would work best for her.
Are harnesses better than collars?
For some dogs, yes. Harnesses provide more control and apply less pressure to the neck, making them ideal for pullers or those prone to neck injury. For other dogs who hate feeling constricted or who are afraid of objects being placed over their head, a harness may be out of the question.
Do harnesses work for long-haired dogs?
Yes, your long-haired dog can wear a harness just fine. Just use caution when buckling to prevent accidental snagging any strands, and make sure you account for her fuzz during sizing. We’d also recommend avoiding Velcro attachment harnesses if your pup has extra-long fur so it won’t get snagged.
What is the most comfortable harness for dogs?
The most comfortable dog harness is one that fits properly. You can have all the bells and whistles out there, but if the fit stinks, your dog won’t be comfy.
Many of the best dog harnesses feature several adjustable attachment points, allowing you to tighten or loosen various strap sin order to achieve the best fit.
Always closely follow a manufacturer’s sizing charts or ask customer service if you’re not sure about sizing. Seeking lightweight, breathable materials is also ideal to prevent overheating.
Are there any downsides to harnesses?
There are some drawbacks to using harnesses, but they are fairly minimal. Harnesses can be tricky to get on and off your dog, especially if the style features several straps or buckles to contend with. Harnesses also require special fitting, which can be difficult with odd-shaped dogs, like bulldogs. Luckily, the market is catching up and is now offering some bully-friendly options.
Do harnesses make your dog pull?
No, a dog is capable of pulling on any harness or collar, if they’re determined to do so. Harnesses help protect your dog’s neck and offer better control as you work on training your dog to not pull on the leash (with training being the only surefire strategy to stop your dog from pulling).
Does your dog have any of the harnesses on our list? Does she have another that works great? Let us know in the comments.