In a lot of ways, small dogs are much easier to care for than their larger counterparts.
Small dogs require less space than their larger counterparts do, they make smaller poops than big dogs and they are much cheaper to feed than their wolf-sized cousins.
But there are a few unique challenges small dog owners face, and finding a good harness is one of the most common. We’ll share seven of the best small dog harnesses below, but first, let’s talk about the kinds of things you want in a harness for your small dog first. After all, you can’t always carry your Pomeranian in your purse… although it’s definitely the most stylish (and cutest) way to get around!
See our quick picks below, or continue reading for full reviews of several harness options!
Quick List: Small Harness Top Picks
Picking Out a Harness for Your Small Dog: Things to Consider
Some dogs require harnesses designed for specific tasks. Some need a harness that provides the owner with excellent control of the dog, while others, such as service, police, or therapy dogs, require harnesses that communicate a specific message.
However, these are rarely issues for small dogs. While a 75-pound Malamute may drag you around the neighborhood if you use the wrong type of harness, you should be able to control a 10-pound Yorkie just about any well-made harness. And while there are a few small dogs who work for a living, most working dogs are probably in the 40-pound-and-up range, leaving smaller dogs to enjoy the easy life.
Instead, small dogs require harnesses that do three specific things very well:
Small dogs require harnesses that keep them safe. While you won’t need a special harness to prevent your Shih Tzu from dragging you around, you do need to ensure that the harness is strong enough to work when you need it. You don’t want to find yourself looking at your little pup running off into the distance because the harness broke.
Small dogs require harnesses that fit comfortably and properly accommodate their body shape. Obviously, you’ll need a small harness for a small dog, and this can be tricky for those with Chihuahuas or other ultra-tiny canines. But aside from being suitably small, owners of pugs and a few other oddly shaped breeds will need a harness that can accommodate their unique dimensions and avoid pulling on their neck.
Small dogs require harnesses that are extraordinarily stylish. Scientists have long known that small dogs become 38.5% healthier and 72.8% happier when festooned in the fanciest of gear. For some dogs, this means lots of sparkles and flair, but others are content with simpler, yet still fashionable, styling.
Features and Characteristics You Want in Any Dog Harness
In addition to the specific things you’d want in a harness for your small dog, there are a few things you’d want in any harness.
Always look for the following things when selecting one for your dog:
To prevent chaffing, harnesses should always be made from comfortable materials. Soft mesh and plush fabrics are featured by some of the best products, but even nylon webbing can provide adequate comfort, if it is properly designed.
Secure, Yet Easy-to Operate Closures
Any clips, buckles or fasteners used in your dog’s harness must hold securely when engaged to keep your dog from slipping free, but they should also be easy to connect and disconnect as necessary.
To keep your dog safe while walking during low-light conditions, you’ll want to make him as visible as possible.
To that end, you’ll want to look for harnesses that feature reflectors, reflective tape or reflective stitching. Strap on an LED dog collar for good measure!
When choosing a harness, it’s also important to make sure you know how to properly put on and adjust the harness to ensure a good fit. The video below is a great demo of how to do this properly!
The Seven Best Harnesses for Small Dogs
Most major manufacturers produce harnesses in sizes small enough for itty-bitty canines, and a few even make harnesses specifically designed for small dogs.
However, harnesses vary widely in terms of quality, so you must be sure to select one that will fit well, keep your dog safe, and look good.
Below, you’ll find seven great options, including a few that are primarily designed to be functional and a few that prioritize fashion above all else.
1. Puppia RiteFit Dog Harness
: The Puppia RiteFit Dog Harness
is a polyester mesh dog harness with nylon straps that is designed to provide the best possible fit and most comfort possible. Although Puppia’s Soft Harness
has been around a little longer and has received plenty of acclaim, the RiteFit is a better option for small dogs, thanks to its adjustable neck section.
- Adjustable at both the neck and the chest for a snug fit
- Available in nine great color patterns, including Camo, Sky Blue and Pink, among others
- Fits dogs with neck circumferences between 9.5 and 11.5 inches
PROS: Most owners loved the Puppia RiteFit Harness and praised the quality of the product and the degree to which it could be adjusted to fit their dog. Most dogs seemed to like the way the harness fit, and the soft fabric and smooth seams kept the harness comfortable and prevented chaffing.
CONS: Some owners had trouble using this harness with big-headed dogs, so pug and bulldog owners may want to look elsewhere. The neck opening on the smallest RiteFit harness is about 1 inch larger (in circumference) than the neck opening of the smallest Puppia Soft Harness, so this may not be a great choice for the very smallest dogs.
2. Comfort Fit Dog Harness
: The Comfort Fit Dog Harness
relies on an innovative design to keep your canine secure, safe and comfortable while wearing the product. Available in sizes small enough for dogs with 7-inch necks, this harness is very easy to put on or take off, thanks to the adjustable strap that buckles on your dog’s back.
- Double D-rings provide extra security
- Available in four great-looking colors: Black, Blue, Pink and Red
- Backed by the manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee, so you can shop with confidence
PROS: Most owners were very happy with the way the Comfort Fit Harness fit their dog, and most dogs seemed to love wearing the harness. Phrases like “Perfect!” and “Best Harness Ever,” appear time and time again in owner reviews. Several owners also praised Comfort Fit’s customer service department and explained that they were very courteous, responsive, and helpful in addressing any problems.
CONS: Some owners found a significant size difference between the extra-small and small versions, which made it difficult for some to obtain one that fit their dog well. Additionally, a small number of owners experienced problems with the stitching, but because it is backed by a lifetime guarantee, this shouldn’t be a big problem.
3. EcoBark Dog Harness
: The EcoBark Dog Harness
is a premium dog harness, made with high-quality materials and a no-choke design. Made from recycled plastic water bottles, the EcoBark Dog Harness lets you walk your dog in comfort and style, while helping take care of the planet at the same time.
- Available in 10 different great-looking color patterns, including Blue Nautical, Camo and Orange among others
- Ultra-padded polyester mesh material provides a comfortable fit
- Adjustable chest strap
PROS: Most owners reported that the EcoBark Dog Harness worked very well for their pup. Owners praised the soft material used in the harness and found that it looked great on their dog. A few owners even explained that this harness put an end to their dog’s leash-pulling behavior, despite not being specifically designed to do so.
CONS: Some owners were disappointed that the EcoBark Harness doesn’t provide any way to adjust the neck opening, which made it hard to get a proper fit with odd-shaped dogs.
4. Coastal Pet Lil Pals Dog Harness
: The Coastal Pet Lil Pals Harness
is a great-looking harness, designed specifically for small and extra-small dogs. Made from comfortable materials, this minimalist-style harness will keep your pup secure while not infringing very much on his ability to move around.
- Available in five color patterns, each of which feature complementary trim
- Velcro fasteners make it easy to put on or take off
- Wrap-around design does not require you to put in on over your dog’s head
PROS: The Coastal Pet Lil Pals Harness was well-received by most owners. It seems to fit most small dogs – even those with unusual anatomy – very well, and it is easy to put on or take off. Finally, the harness comes in a variety of awesome color patterns, which will help keep your pooch looking his best.
CONS: Some owners expressed problems obtaining a good fit, so it is very important that you measure your dog’s neck carefully and consult the manufacturer’s sizing chart before making a choice. Additionally, a few owners complained that the Velcro was not strong enough for dogs who really like to yank against the leash. For most dogs though, it shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Alfie Couture Sailor Harness and Leash
: The Alfie Couture Sailor Harness
is a ridiculously cute dog harness that will certainly make your dog the center of attention anywhere he goes. Made with a pair of high-quality D-rings and a quick-release buckle to make it quick and easy to get your dog suited up and ready to go, this harness is both functional and fashionable.
- Comes with matching leash to complete the ensemble
- Harness designed to distribute the force of the leash across your pet’s chest
- Made from soft, comfortable and machine-washable materials
PROS: Most owners really liked the Alfie Sailor Harness, and found that it not only looked great, but functioned well too. Owners of a variety of different small breeds (ranging from dachshunds to Chihuahuas to pugs) found that it fit their dog well. Several owners reported that they liked the product so much that they purchased additional versions of Alfie’s harnesses.
CONS: While most owners loved the Alfie Sailor Harness, a few experienced sizing problems, so be sure to measure your dog carefully before ordering. Some owners also complained that the buckle used on the harnesses was too large and bulky for very small toy dogs, and that the included leash was too short.
6. Expawlorer Checkered Frills Dog Harness
: If you want an adorable harness that still fits your small pooch perfectly, the Exawlorer’s Checkered Frills Harness
deserves special consideration. But don’t let the super-cute aesthetics of the harness fool you: This is a well-made, high-quality product that will perform as well as most traditional-looking harnesses will.
- Available in three colors: Red, Pink and Purple
- Made from 100% polyester, machine-washable fabric to provide comfort and durability
- One-buckle design makes it easy to put on or take off the harness
PROS: The majority of owners who tried out the Expawlorer Checkered Frills Harness were very happy with their choice. Praise for the aesthetics of the harness was nearly universal, and many owners were surprised at how well it was made. Dogs also seemed to like the way the harness fit, including several who formerly hated wearing other products.
CONS: In contrast to the majority of owners who described the harness as well-made, a few owners experienced problems with the stitching in a few places, although they seemed to be the rare exceptions. Additionally, as with all harnesses, a few owners experienced sizing problems. It appears that these harnesses run a bit small, so take that into consideration when making your purchase.
7. Alfie Couture Shayne Step-In Harness and Leash
: The Alfie Couture Shayne Harness
is an adorable harness that features a convenient step-in design, which makes it easy to put on your dog so he can get out and strut his stuff. Adorned with frills and plenty of other fashion-friendly details, this harness is sure to turn heads, while keeping your dog comfortable while walking.
- Comes with a leash and two different bowties (red and black)
- Made from soft, lightweight, machine-washable materials
- Harness is designed to reduce the stress on your pet’s neck, shoulders, and chest
PROS: Most owners who purchased the Alfie Shayne Step-In Harness were very pleased with the product and found that it fit well and looked great. Several owners reported that this harness fit their dog well, even when other harnesses failed to do so. This includes several owners of pugs and other oddly shaped breeds.
CONS: A few owners complained about the quality of the harness, but such comments were pretty rare. A handful of owners complained that the bowties would come off too easily, while others were afraid that the harness wouldn’t adequately restrain their dog. Accordingly, this is probably only good for dogs that don’t pull on the leash very hard.
We’d love to hear about the harness you use for your small dog. Did you have any trouble finding one that fit your little guy or girl properly? Has it remained durable and stood the test of time? And, most importantly, did your pup look fabulous in it?
Tell us all about it in the comments below!
Last update on 2018-12-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API