When it’s time to take pups for a walk most pet parents automatically think “leash and collar.” While a collar is a fine choice for dogs that don’t pull while on leash, it makes sense to consider using a dog harness for pups that confuse their daily walk with sled dog trials.
Even moderate consistent pressure around the neck from pulling is enough to cause canine discomfort. And in cases where the dog is a committed puller, this pulling could result in injuries to the neck or spine. Not only that, once dogs learn that pulling while on leash “works” for them—meaning that they pull and you follow—it can be difficult to retrain a dog to walk politely on a collar alone.
However, there are a lot of dog harness options available, so it can be tough to make an educated choice. And not every harness works for every dog!
Perhaps you’ve got a hard-to-fit dog breed, or you’re looking for a harness that’s safety rated and does double duty as a seatbelt, or maybe you need your pup to stop pulling now. Whatever the scenario, it’s important to pick a harness that works for both you and your dog. This list of the best dog harnesses will definitely help you get you started!
Understanding Different Types of Harnesses
Even though harnesses all essentially do the same thing (move the leash attachment point away from your dog’s neck), harness form and function vary by manufacturer.
These are how we categorize dog harnesses on the market today:
No Pull Dog Harness
The unique designs of the best no pull harness options reduce pulling, either through subtle pressure around the legs or gently redirecting the dog when attempting to pull.
These colorful and fun designs generally have narrow straps and are made from traditional collar material. They are typically a step-in dog harness design or are placed over the head.
Related to fashion harnesses, these vest-style harnesses are primarily made of breathable mesh fabric.
Dual Purpose Harness
Some harnesses can do double duty as a car seatbelt as well as a walking harness.
Hiking Dog Harness
These harnesses are designed to withstand tougher outdoor conditions.
The Best Harness for Your Dog’s Lifestyle
When considering dog harness options, it’s important to think about your needs and how you will use the harness on walks, travels, or outdoor adventures. These are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best harness for your dog:
How the harness goes on: Some harnesses slip over the dog’s head, which can be a dealbreaker for dogs that don’t like having their heads manipulated. The same goes for some step-in models with dogs that are foot sensitive.
Where the leash attaches: Depending on your dog’s build, some leash attachment points can lead to tangled legs during walks or might even encourage your dog to pull.
What it’s designed to do: It’s important to note that not all harnesses decrease pulling. Only those specifically designed to counter pulling will have an impact on the behavior.
Finding the right fit, both—the way it sits on your dog’s body as well as how well it works for your purposes—can take trial and error, but the following list of our favorites will take away some of the guesswork.
How We Ranked Our Top Picks
After twenty years as a dog trainer and six years behind the counter as the owner of a pet products store, I’ve sourced, fitted, trained, and critiqued dog harnesses on every breed, body type, and behavior.
When compiling my top dog harness picks I considered the following factors:
- My personal trust in a brand and product (from experience as a trainer)
- Availability at both large and independent retailers
- Adaptability for different sizes and breed shapes
- Ease of use for fitting and putting on the harness
- Online reviews and ratings
I first considered my exposure to the brand and style. I’ve used all of the harnesses on the list (with one notable exception), either on my own dogs, foster dogs that have passed through my home, or on client canines.
All of the winners on this list are available in a range of sizes and we wanted all of our recommendations to work on a variety of canine body types. These harnesses can be purchased through major online retailers, and many are also available in smaller independent stores.
While a few of my picks can be a little confusing during the initial stages of fitting, learning curves are minor. Nearly every selection requires adjustments at multiple points on the harness for a perfect fit.
Finally, I also considered the online reviews of my top picks. While I have strong opinions about what works and why, it’s helpful to confirm them with the support of other pet parents as well.
Best Dog Harness: Overall Winner
Our Pick: Hurtta Weekend Warrior
Don’t let the name “Hurtta” put you off (it means “large dog” in Finnish) since this harness checks all the boxes! With six bright color options, high quality comfortable padding, sturdy construction and can’t-miss-it reflective stitching, this harness can do it all.
The Weekend Warrior is a simple over-the-head harness with four adjustment points to fit dogs of all sizes. The long, narrow chest panel makes it an ideal option for hard to fit barrel chested breeds like Pit Bulls. The leash easily attaches to an oversized ring on the dog’s back—so there’s no fumbling trying to find it to quickly leash up your dog.
The Hurtta Weekend Warrior harness fits my slender 18-pound dog, but has sizes that can also comfortably outfit dogs close to 100 pounds. It doesn’t interfere with walking, and the padding makes it a super soft option for dogs with sensitive skin.
I’m a fan of the Weekend Warrior’s cheerful look and my dog Olive loves wearing hers.
- Made of high-quality material with comfortable padding.
- Bright color options make it reflective and easy to see.
- Fits a variety of breeds and sizes, with simple adjustment points.
- The oversized ring makes it easy to get out on walks quickly!
Things to Consider
- This is purely aesthetic, but the handle on the back protrudes several inches and ruins the design’s clean lines.
- The handle isn’t an option for picking up a dog since it’s not centered on the dog’s back and causes the dog’s body to go vertical when lifted.
Sample buyer review: “My dog has always had problems with harnesses not fitting correctly. This harness is by far the best harness I have ever bought for her (out of the 15 I have already). It fits her deep Doberman rib cage perfect along with adjusting to her small neck. The measurements given were spot on to the harness size I chose. I’ve never found a harness that fits her awkward sizing so perfect before. It’s extremely supportive and the ring for the leash attachment is heavy duty.”
See more buyer reviews at Amazon.com.
Best No Pull Harness
Our Pick: 2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Harness
The no-pull harness market is a crowded one, but there’s one brand that rises above the rest; the best harness for dogs that pull is the Freedom No-Pull Harness from 2 Hounds Design. This nylon strap harness wins raves from trainers and veterinarians alike for its ability to safely and gently slow down pullers of all sizes.
However, there’s a learning curve the first time you attempt to put on a Freedom Harness. The secret is to look for the small ring made from a different color strap, which sits on the dog’s back. Once the large loop is placed over the dog’s head and the loop is centered on the dog’s back the t-shaped strap can be fastened behind the dog’s front legs. There are four points of adjustment, which ensures a perfect fit for dogs of all sizes.
The Freedom Harness has a unique double leash connection point construction to attach the harness lead at the chest and on the back, which gives pet parents an extra layer of control and safety when walking a puller.
I’ve used another popular no-pull harness and I much prefer the control I get as well as the dogs’ comfort with the Freedom Harness. I’m currently using it with my nervous, leash-reactive foster dog and it’s been a fantastic help as we work on his leash confidence.
- The double-leash connection points give pet parents of pullers more control.
- This no-pull harness doesn’t restrict movement or get in the way of a dog’s walking.
- It’s sturdy—made of heavy-duty nylon that doesn’t rub or chafe.
- There are lots of colors to choose from for some added fun.
- Made in the U.S.
Things to Consider
- As with most no-pull harnesses, using this one comes with a bit of a learning curve. But once you master it, it’s simple to get on and off.
- Some online reviewers complained that the double leash that comes with the harness is too short.
Sample buyer review: “This is so perfect for my dog. No movement restriction, he doesn’t seem to even notice it’s on, but I’ve got peace of mind that I’m not damaging his throat/trachea/neck. Soft velvet on the belly part so no rough edges scratching into his paper thin skin. My dog is skittish & can freak at the slightest thing, now I don’t have to worry when I need to exert control to keep him safe.”
Best Harness for Small Dogs
Our Pick: Puppia Soft Harness
It’s probably no surprise that the winner of the best harness for small dogs category has the most color choices (Fifteen!). These colorful, comfortable harnesses were originally made for small dogs, but now they come in sizes large enough to accommodate polite, non-puller dogs up to sixty pounds. The mesh panel is soft and breathable, which makes for a comfortable walk for pup and pet parent.
The Puppia harness is simple to put on—it goes over the head with the logo sitting on the chest and has a single adjustment point on the back strap. The leash attaches to the hook that usually lands mid-back on most breeds. It’s not constructed to reduce pulling, and pet parents with committed pullers might discover that the neck hole stretches over time.
That said, there’s a lot to love about the Puppia Soft Harness. Both of my dogs have happily worn Puppia harnesses for years, and they look adorable in them! The brand withstands rough and tumble behavior and cleans up easily in the washer.
- Did we mention that it comes in 15 different colorways? Pick your perfect shade!
- The mesh material is breathable and soft—making it comfortable and cozy for small dogs.
- It’s single adjustment point makes it a breeze to put on.
- It cleans up easily and is machine washable.
Things to Consider
- The lack of customization on adjustments means that this harness may not fit some thick-neck breeds—although pugs are often seen sporting them!
- This harness is not meant to control pulling, so if you have a dog that pulls, consider a different option.
- It can be tough getting a Puppia Soft Harness off your dog, so turn it inside out before you slide it over the head.
Sample buyer review: “This little harness was perfect for our little 11-pound Shih-Tzu. We tried other brands but had to return them. This one is soft and fits her little body just right.”
Read more reviews on Amazon.com.
Best Harness for Large Dogs
Our Pick: Ruffwear Front Range Harness
Large dogs present unique harness challenges, including finding one to accommodate their size that can also stand up to a big-dog attitude without being too heavy or cumbersome.
But the winner of the best harness for large dogs category takes care of these challenges in style. With six bright colors to choose from, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness manages to combine good looks with comfortable styling. However, while the Front Range is the winner of the big dog category, little dogs can enjoy it as well since it comes in an XXS!
The Front Range is an easy-to-use, over-the-head harness that has sturdy construction with a light, wearable design. There are four adjustment points—two of which can be a little tricky (the neck adjustment is almost hidden). However, once the fit is finalized, this harness sits snugly on the body without moving. The neck opening sits low on the dog’s shoulders, preventing any tension around the throat.
Although the manufacturer suggests that the leash can be attached at the chest or on the back, the chest loop is made of reinforced nylon and might not accommodate larger lobster claw-style clasps. The metal loop on the back is also on the small side but is a better option for leash attachment.
The Front Range harness looks fantastic on dogs of all shapes and sizes, including my foster dog Ted! He occasionally wears this harness on walks close to home and seems to enjoy the easy on and off and lightweight construction.
- This is a simple, over-the-head harness that is easy to get on and off.
- It’s durable enough for large dogs.
- The different adjustment points allows pet parents to get the perfect fit.
- The color selection is appealing and fun.
Things to Consider
- The neck adjustment is hard to find and two of the adjustment points can be a bit tricky to use.
- While this harness does have two leash-attachment points (at the chest and neck), I prefer the metal loop on the back for safety and durability.
Sample Buyer Review: “Our dog loves his harness! So comfortable and easily washable. The color is fabulous and we’ve gotten so many compliments. It fits him perfectly and there’s no rubbing sores like his previous harnesses. We will definitely buy another one when he wears this one out!”
Best Dog Harness for Hiking
Our Pick: Kurgo Journey Harness
My Brussels Griffon Millie looks like a delicate couch princess, but she’s a rough and tumble trail dog whenever she gets a chance. The Kurgo Journey Harness lets her be an outdoor tough girl in style! This over-the-head harness has four adjustment points to ensure a perfect fit. It has a low v-neck opening to prevent throat strain and padded chest and back plates.
This is a sturdy hiking harness. The clasps are metal which is fantastic from a safety and durability standpoint. However, they’re heavy and the unique “nesting” action to close the clasps takes some getting used to. Dogs that don’t like fussing as they get ready for a walk might not appreciate the few extra seconds needed to thread the claps.
This harness is tough on the trail and can also take the cleaning necessary to keep it looking good for years.
The Kurgo Journey harness has two leash connection points, although pullers might not do well walking on the chest loop as it tends to shift the harness to the side. The Journey Harness comes in six cheerful colors that show off your personal style.
Overall the Journey Harness is a top pick for rugged durability and streamlined design.
- It’s really durable. The metal clasps hold up and this hiking harness can take some beatings on the trail.
- It’s easy to clean. Dirt and debris come off easily.
- Four adjustment points helps to get the right fit and the low neck opening keeps it comfortable.
- Available in a variety of sizes and colors.
Things to Consider
- Clipping the metal clasps takes some practice and may require some patience for pups who like to get up and go!
- If your dog pulls, the chest-loop connection point probably won’t be helpful, since it shifts the harness from side to side.
Sample Buyer Review: “This was a perfect harness for my 60-pound dog that has broken every harness and collar due to her energetic personality. The metal clips are extremely durable and keep her secure.”
Read more reviews on Chewy.com.
Best Dog Harness for the Car
Our pick: Sleepypod Clickit Sport
It’s easy to believe that because a dog harness is marketed as a seatbelt, it’s safe to use. Unfortunately, there are no safety requirements for testing pet harnesses, and the fact is there are very few car harnesses that actually perform as intended in the event of an accident. That’s why the winner of the best dog harness for the car required some serious scrutiny.
While there are many seat belts that work to keep dogs safe and restrained during routine car trips, the Sleepypod Clickit Sport is one of the few that held up during crash testing performed by The Center for Pet Safety, a non-profit research and consumer advocacy organization. The Clickit Sport manages to combine an attractive colorful design with safety features that passed crash tests with the same requirements used for child safety restraints.
- It’s one of the only dog harnesses that held up in crash testing by The Center for Pet Safety.
- It’s colorful and has a great design—offering the perfect mix of form and function.
- Built with strong ballistic nylon to keep it from breaks and tears.
- Made for both everyday walks and safe car travel—a huge benefit.
Things to Consider
- It can be difficult to adjust and may not fit every breed or size.
- Exuberant passenger dogs that have a hard time staying still can become tangled in the seatbelts attached to the harness.
Sample Buyer Review: “Our 9-month old Goldendoodle adapted very quickly to the Sleepypod safety harness. We introduced it to her on her first long distance road trip–3 hours each way. We were delighted that she was so comfortable in it–able to both sit and lay down throughout the trip. And we were comfortable knowing she was secure. Happy tails, happy trails!”
Read more customer reviews on Chewy.com.
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