Dog harnesses are one of the most valuable accessories you can snag for your pet. Truth of the matter is that there are a lot of cheap options on the market which will end up falling apart super quickly.
We’ve put together five of the best harnesses around but if you’re in a hurry then we recommend you just take a look at the PUPTECK No Pull Dog Harness in order to make sure you end up with a tight harness that will fit most dogs.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to make sure you end up with the right harness for you and your pet, then you may want to read all the way through our handy guide to make the best choice for you and your canine companion.
For the average person, this affordable nylon harness is exactly what you need to ensure that they’re safe and sound on your walks. It’s a great and affordable way to ensure that they’re in good hands.
Top 5 Dog Harnesses
|No Pull Dog Harness Adjustable Basic Nylon Step||Standard No-Pull Harness||5/5||Check Price|
|Ruffwear – Front Range No-Pull Dog Harness with Front Clip||Padded No-Pull Harness||4.5/5||Check Price|
|Ultrafun Dog Harness for Pitbulls Medium Large Dogs||Leather Standard Harness||4/5||Check Price|
|Gooby Soft Mesh Harness||Small Mesh Harness||4/5||Check Price|
|Big Dog Soft Reflective No Pull Harness||Large No-Pull Harness||4/5||Check Price|
1. Best Overall
No Pull Dog Harness Adjustable Basic Nylon Step
It’s not super specialized, but this no-pull dog harness is a great solution for the average person. If you’re looking to ensure that your dog loses the pressure on their neck and they’re already fairly well-mannered then you’ll be in good hands.
This is just a basic nylon harness, so you may want to make sure that your dog doesn’t have odd proportions but there’s a size to fit all but the most massive of dogs available.
The best part is that it’s an easily adjustable harness overall. You can tighten it to make sure it’s snug without pushing your dog to the limit as well. It’s available in a ton of different colors if that’s your thing too.
The only real problem is the fact that it’s not suitable for dogs which aren’t already pretty well trained on the leash. If your animals aren’t already reactive this isn’t a good training collar.
Pros and Cons
- Durable nylon construction
- Three sizes available to fit nearly any dog
- Several colors available for customization
- Quick-release buckle
- Not suitable for leash training
- Dogs with odd proportions will have trouble fitting
2. Best All Day Harness
Ruffwear Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness
If you’re into hiking or camping, basically any activity where your dog will need to be wearing a harness for an extended period, then you’ll want to make sure that you have something comfortable.
This mesh, padded harness will provide all day comfort while being durable enough to stand up to all but the most brutal of activities without giving up any complaints. If you’ve been seeking the collar to let your canine come along on outdoor adventures then this is it.
It’s also available in four sizes, although the largest isn’t suitable for truly mammoth dogs.
It’s easy to put on as well, simplifying the whole process to make things easier on both you and your dog. It’s even got a couple of pockets for you to keep your dogs ID in.
On the other hand, it’s also a bit expensive. But can you really put a price on the memories you and your dog will make with it?
For those who are planning on longer adventures with their animals, you’ll find that the Ruffwear Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness is the perfect way to keep them safe and under control.
Pros and Cons
- Extremely durable for a mesh harness
- Available in four sizes and several colors
- Super well padded for all day comfort
- Comes with a pocket for your dog’s ID
- Sizes run a little bit small
3. Best Leather Dog Harness
Ultrafun Dog Harness for Pitbulls Medium Large Dogs
Leather dog harnesses are strong and fashionable, as well as expensive. They don’t stretch or budge, which makes them great for dogs with a strong pull like pit bulls. They’ve also got that old-school aesthetic which some people love.
If the above sounds like something you’d be interested in, then take a closer look at the Ultrafun, it’s a high-quality leather harness which you’ll find is of just the right thickness to handle your dog while remaining comfortable.
It’s quite adjustable as well, ranging from 31.5”-37.4”. It’s definitely not a solution for everyone but if you’re looking for a leather harness and don’t want to worry about accidentally picking up something terrible this is it.
If you insist on a leather harness, then this is exactly what you’ve been looking for. It’s strong and durable, but it’s also expensive and its single size makes it a fairly specialized harness overall.
Pros and Cons
- High-quality leather construction
- Strong enough for pretty much any medium-large dog
- Riveted construction for maximum strength
- Not sized for all dogs
4. Best Small Dog Harness
Gooby Soft Mesh Harness
For smaller dogs, a specialized harness is sometimes necessary. This one is made primarily for those tiny terriers that have won their way into our homes and you’ll quickly find it’s one of the best around.
There are three different sizes available, but don’t let the “large” moniker fool you: these are made for smaller animals and even the large isn’t useful for a dog weighing more than twenty pounds.
These are mesh harnesses, which allow for breathability and comfort while also being lightweight and easy to put on. While we don’t recommend them for some of the bigger dogs out there, they’re a great solution for smaller animals.
If you want a comfortable small dog harness, then the Gooby Soft Mesh Harness will provide your little guy with a ton of comfort and a perfect size.
Pros and Cons
- High-quality mesh construction
- Made specifically for smaller dogs
- Easy to put on
- Three sizes for specialized fit
- Mesh isn’t super durable for strong dogs
- Only for the little guys
5. Best Large Dog Harness
Big Dog Soft Reflective No Pull Harness
Just like the little guys, bigger dogs need a special harness. Thick nylon straps are a great way to get started, add in some padding on the back and a reflective strip for high visibility and you’ve got a winner.
This is our favorite of the commonly available big dog harnesses, but make no mistake: there isn’t one available for small dogs here. Instead you’ve got a range covered from medium-large to really big.
It comes in three different colors to allow you to make sure that you’ve got things exactly where you need them and you’ll quickly find the thick straps come in handy with large and strong animals which might get cut with a thinner harness.
If you’ve got a big dog and you’re in need of a harness you’ll be well served with this one.
Pros and Cons
- Specialized for large dogs
- Extra-thick straps to avoid cutting
- Reflective strip along the top
- Three sizes available for the right fitting
- Not for smaller dogs
- Dogs can escape, be careful with adjustment
How to Put on a Dog Harness
Of course, if you’re not used to using a dog harness instead of a collar, then you’ll need to know how to put one on.
It’s a relatively simple process.
- Get your dog to sit down or stand. The important thing is that they’re calm since fighting a harness on a riled up dog is going to be extremely hard.
- Slip the harness over the top of their head, making sure the D-ring attachment is on their back to orient the harness properly.
- Slip your dog’s leg into the first hole of the harness. Their leg should now be sitting in between the harness and the loop that goes around their head.
- Get the second leg into the harness, then buckle up the harness.
- If you can’t buckle it, then you’ll need to loosen the straps on the harness.
- Once you have everything buckled, adjust the straps until you have a proper fit. It should be snug, but allow you to get a finger underneath it.
For a standard dog harness this will work, for those which buckle on the front or are entirely slip on things will be a little bit different.
The general principles are the same however.
Why Use a Harness Instead of a Caller?
While collars are still “standard” for many people and their pets, harnesses offer quite a few advantages.
There really is only two situations in which a harness is less beneficial than a collar:
- When a dog absolutely refuses to wear a harness.
- Overly aggressive dogs may need the extra pressure that a collar can apply in order to ensure their good behavior.
So, when you’re taking your dog for a walk you should definitely consider investing in a good harness. Most of them will also allow you to keep a set of identification tags and other things which you would hang off of a collar on them as well.
The advantages are numerous. One of the biggest ones is that harnesses discourage dogs from pulling and jumping while on a leash.
Harnesses also make it less hazardous for the dog to do so. Think about it: a collar provides only a single point of pressure across your dog’s neck while even the worst harness will spread that pressure out quite a bit.
On top of that, when a dog pulls on a collar it increases the pressure in their eyeballs. This increase of intraocular pressure can worsen glaucoma symptoms and also be hazardous for specific breeds of dogs like pugs.
Truth is, even if your dog doesn’t like a harness they’ll usually be able to get used to it in time.
Consider a harness an investment in your pet’s safety and you’re on the right track.
How to Pick the Best Dog Harness
Like all pet products, the market is pretty well flooded with dodgy knock offs of dog harnesses. There’s simply a ton of them out there that are barely worth the nylon or other material that they’re weaved from and that’s not good for the consumer who’s doing their best.
Rather than just taking our word for it, let’s dive into the differences in harnesses, what kind of animal they’re ideal for, and how to pick the right one to make sure your dog is in good hands.
Type of Harness
There are three main types of dog harness to look for.
A standard harness is an arrangement of two loops. They’re fairly useful, but most of them will clasp in the back which isn’t ideal since tugging your dog straight can cause them to face away from you.
They’re not bad, they’re just not as useful for training purposes as the other types. They do tend to be pretty cheap, but you’ll only want to pick one up if your animal has already been trained pretty well in the first place.
Front closing harnesses are our personal favorites. They clasp in the front and you’ll be able to get your dog back on track with a tug of the leash. As a general rule, they tend to be a little bit higher-quality as well since they take a bit more care to construct.
Tightening harnesses can be used for dogs which are a bit problematic while on the leash. They’re not a replacement for a good training collar, but if your dog just occasionally has trouble then you may want to look into picking one of these up.
They’re great for dogs who just pull occasionally. The pressure added will keep them in line, but they’re still not suitable for aggressive or poorly trained pets.
Dog harnesses, like collars, are made of a wide variety of different materials. The most common are made of nylon, like lower end collars, which is a great material overall.
If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, then leather is available but you’ll need to be careful when purchasing a leather harness: terms like “bonded leather” and “genuine leather” usually point to an inferior product which only superficially resembles real leather.
The biggest indicator for leather harnesses is going to be the price. If it looks good to be sure, then you’re not going to end up with real leather.
On the other hand, there are also cloth harnesses available which usually come in the form of broader webbing. These are nice, but not really suitable for super large dogs or even medium and small dogs which can pull particularly hard.
Stretchy materials are one of the best around for smaller dogs, but we recommend that you don’t use them for dogs much bigger than fifteen pounds. They’re available, but they tend to fail much more quickly than more rigid counterparts on larger animals.
It can be hard to tell online, but the stitching on a harness makes a huge difference. It’s particularly important around the D-ring which you attach the leash to.
The reason is fairly obvious: your D-ring represents the single most important point of failure on your dog’s harness. When they pull, nearly all of the pressure is going to be on the stitching around that ring, especially with a non-tightening harness.
We’ve picked out the best we could find, but if you go off-script make sure that no one is reporting failure of this vital point. If your dog breaks off the stitching around the D-ring, then they’re likely to be off on a run before you can catch up with them.
In addition to the types we mentioned above, there are quite a few different kinds of harness. While we can’t recommend all of them, we feel the consumer should definitely be aware of their presence on the market.
Padded harnesses are particularly good for dogs with low body fat. They’re a bit more expensive on average, due to the extra material, but for super athletic dogs without loose skin or a lot of hair they can be a godsend. Bulldogs, for instance, will benefit greatly from the additional material.
Camouflage harnesses also exist for hunting purposes, usually with some blaze orange as well. If you have working dogs, then take the time to invest in one of these. Even if they’re off-leash, that extra bit of visibility is great for their safety when they’re in the brush.
Cooling vests are sometimes integrated into harnesses. These are useful for hot climates, but they’re a bit too in-depth of a subject for this article. Just make sure the harness is up to standards in all other areas if you choose to pick one up.
For people with multiple dogs, some harnesses have D-rings on the sides. IF you’re using a split leash, it makes sense to pick up a pair of harnesses with a ring on the right and left side respectively to keep your dogs from getting tangled during your walk or run.
The durability of your harness is going to be a function of the material and how well it was put together in the first place.
For the most part, stitching is going to fail before the more common materials out there. This isn’t necessarily true in the case of cloth webbing harnesses, however, which can sometimes give up the ghost much more quickly than the stitches if used on larger canines.
Any kind of stretchy material isn’t going to last quite as long either. The truth of the matter is that material which repeatedly stretches is going to develop some weak points over time.
Durability is a big concern with your harness, but most materials will wear down over time instead of suddenly failing so you’re likely to have plenty of warning. Just inspect them periodically.
Sizing is also super important. For most harnesses, you’ll want to measure around your pet’s chest to make sure that it’s the right size.
This is pretty easy to do, just use a tailor’s tape behind the front legs and close it over the back to get the right size. Then compare it to the harness you’re looking at and make sure it’s available in the size you’ll need.
Length is something of a secondary consideration in most cases.
One thing to watch out for: dogs with super broad chests and narrow waists need a harness which can be tightened sufficiently at both points to work well. If you have a bulldog, for instance, you may need something a little bit more specialized to make sure that they’re comfortable.
For the most part, dog harnesses are fairly cheap. When they get too much up in price, you’re usually paying for a name brand or a special material like leather rather than the quality of the harness.
You still shouldn’t go too cheap, however, since there are a lot of fairly sketchy products on the market being sold. These undercutting harnesses are often made without proper quality control and may even have decent reviews for the most part, but if you end up with one that fails quickly you’re not going to be well off.
As a general rule, the ones in the middle are going to serve most people the best.
Making sure you have the best dog harness possible is a great way to keep the pressure off your dog’s neck while the two of you are on a walk. It’s not that difficult to find a truly great one, and if you take the time to make an informed decision you’re going to be a lot happier than if you just picked one at random from the store. It’s a purchase for both you and your pet, so make a wise one.