Oct 20, 2023
19 best dog harnesses for every kind of dog in 2023, per an expert
Submit Δ Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission. Whether you recently adopted a new pup or are going all-out on new pet essentials and accessories, a dog harness is something you
Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.
Whether you recently adopted a new pup or are going all-out on new pet essentials and accessories, a dog harness is something you should always have on hand.
“Whichever harness you decide to use one thing to keep top of mind is fit,” Zach Neumann, a leader and product expert on Chewy’s merchandising team with expertise across merchandising, supply chain and operations, tipped off to the New York Post. “If it doesn’t fit properly you may have an escape artist on your hands.”
Neumann provided an overview of what to look for in a dog harness, different types (a no-pull dog harness, a dog harness with handle, options for small dogs, big dogs, etc.) you can buy and more notes about sizing in our in-depth FAQ section. But before then, we turned to our pet expert to hand-pick the best dog harnesses of 2023 (for every dog size and purpose, too).
While you shop, be sure to check out our vet-backed guide to the best dog shampoos, along with the best dog food brands on the market to treat your fur baby.
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“This highly adjustable and top reviewed harness discourages pulling by naturally redirecting your dog’s attention back to you without causing neck strain,” Neumann told The Post. “The high quality nylon, padded chest piece and O-ring leash attachment all aid in comfortable walks and training sessions for you and your four legged bestie.”
Not to mention, its less-than-$20 price tag is too good to pass up.
“Designed for maximum comfort, this training halter features padded restraint sleeves that go under the front legs,” Neumann says. “The Sporn Training Dog Halter is made from high-quality braided cord and nylon webbing with nickel-plated steel fasteners, so it’s sure to last through many walks.”
Nearly 2,500 shoppers rave about this harness in particular, saying it’s durable, sturdy and comfortable when worn by your pup.
“In a two-for-one product combination of a harness and leash, the double connection training leash provides two points of contact with your dog, allowing you to steer your dog from the front connection,” Neumann highlights. “Its patented design reduces twisting, straining and pulling, providing a more enjoyable experience for you and your dog.”
With a multitude of colors and more than 7,000 applauding review, this set offers great control and helps you train with ease.
“These colorful harnesses have easy on/off rust-proof buckles, perfect for your outdoorsy water dogs!” Neumann says. “The deep V-neck design and padded chest plate reduce strain on your pal’s neck, and the leash can be attached on the back or the front of the harness for training sessions.”
Even better, this leash comes in six colors.
Is your pup looking for a pop of color with your functional harness? Luckily this less-than-$35 harness is here to help.
“The Chic Easy Walk No Pull Harness was developed 15 years ago by a veterinary behaviorist and is a top choice for trainers and pet parents alike,” Neumann explains. “Not to mention the bright designs — you ‘donut’ want to miss this!”
“With over 1,400 reviews, this veterinarian approved, patented harness ‘gives’ with your dog’s natural movements and is designed to stop pullers without any choking,” Neumann notes, recommending the Sporn Mesh No-Pull Dog Harness. “It offers your pup comfort through padded restraint sleeves without sacrificing your handle on control.”
More, it’s ultra-comfortable when worn by your pup, thanks to its mesh material.
“Designed to fit extra small and small breed dogs, this harness comes in five different sizes starting at an 11-inch chest girth,” Neumann says. “Its step-in design makes it easy to get on and off and it has a fast-release buckle and two D-rings for leash attachment.”
Plus, this is a popular small breed harness with over 1,300 reviews (and, it comes in four colors).
“This harness starts at a 9-inch girth to fit the extra small pups, and features soft inner padding for superior comfort,” Neumann highlights.
The best part? It’s less than $20 and offers ample coverage for your dog to feel nice and secure (without restricting your pet’s walk).
“Buddy Belt has a unique patented design that makes it easy to use and it’s designed for extra small breeds weighing 2 to 4 pounds,” Neumann notes. “It has only one buckle and slips on in seconds.”
Namely, the most important aspect of the design is the “reduction of pressure on the throat or trachea,” as pressure on this area over time has been shown to cause problems, per Neumann.
“This harness is a great solution for large dogs, especially pups that like to pull and it fits up to a 42-inch chest girth,” Neumann says. “Its no-choke design is specially made for large dogs, determined pullers and senior dogs who need a gentler walking solution.”
More, its wide, padded straps with high visibility piping help to distribute pressure evenly, without tightening around the sensitive neck area, to help keep your pet comfortable during their walks.
“This harness features a patented martingale loop design to safely stop pulling by placing gradual pressure on dogs’ shoulders,” Neumann highlights. “With over 2,700 reviews, this harness is highly rated and fits up to a 50-inch chest girth.”
Plus, there are eight colors, so you can find the style that suits you and your pet best.
With big dogs, often easier, the better.
“This harness is easy to put on with dual quick-snap buckles and a belly strap, and also helps control your dog’s pulling,” Neumann shares. “It’s available in five sizes up to a 50-inch chest girth with four adjustment points to help you find the most comfortable fit for your dog.”
“Make sure your pup is ready for any outdoor adventure with this ergonomic harness made from durable canvas, and waterproof fabric to withstand the elements,” Neumann advises, recommending the Chai’s Choice Rover Scout Tactical Military Backpack Waterproof Dog Harness.
It even boasts 3M reflective material throughout for increased visibility.
“Your pup will be ready for whatever adventure is waiting as the harness is constructed with high-strength nylon for extra durability and has a loop surfaced webbing for morale patches and MOLLE pouches,” Neumann says. “The front-slip design makes this harness easy to put on and take off your furry friend while the quick-release buttons provide extra security.”
To top it all off, it also has a heavy-duty grab handle and is resistant against dirt, water and abrasion — so feel free to take it wherever adventure brings you and your sidekick.
“This harness has a comfortable, non-restrictive design allowing for natural shoulder movement for your dog,” Neumann notes. “Its durable, nylon fabric with soft, padded cushioning helps protect your sidekick’s skin, too.”
Additionally, the soft handle with a rubber protection cover helps give you more control when needed.
“This harness has a few unique product attributes, notably the aviation aluminum fittings on the neck that allow you to place or remove the harness without constant adjustments,” Neumann says. “There’s also high-density nylon webbing for strength and 3M reflective material for nighttime safet.
It comes in eight colors, impressively. Its handle allows more control when you need it and as one customer noted that it’s especially helpful when your dog is “trying to chase a squirrel, bunny, or anything else that moves.”
“This harness features a premium look and feel your pup will appreciate out on the trail, around the block or wherever your travels take you,” Neumann says, painting the picture. “The body of the harness is made with lightweight, ripstop nylon and both the chest and back pieces have soft padding inside for added comfort on long walks.”
For dusk or nighttime walks, its reflective accents increase your dog’s low-light visibility. “Great for outdoor utility, it has two expandable zipper pockets, a rear waste bag dispenser pocket to take care of business, and a comfort handle on the back that helps you easily help your getting in or out of the car or over obstacles on your adventures,” he adds.
“This harness comes in six colors and four sizes, featuring a top handle to help guide or redirect your pup when you need — giving you an extra degree of safety,” Neumann says. “The padding and elastic neckline move with your dog for a more comfortable fit during every adventure.”
We love all of its vibrant colors — one of the most vibrant of options on this list.
“For the fashion forward pup in your life, this ombre dog harness is under $12 and provides a pop of color, rainbow metal finish buckle and fully adjustable straps,” Neumann highlights. “For full coordination, FRISCO offers a matching leash and collar.”
Designed for control and ease, its step-through design makes it easy to put on and take off, too, and comfort is built-in with the rounded buckles.
Ahead, Neumann gives us the 411 on dog harnesses — including what to look for and all about them (for new dog moms and dads, especially.
“Our customers keep durability, adjustability and comfort at the top of their list when looking for a harness,” Neumann tells The Post.
What he recommends? Choosing a harness that fits your dog’s specific needs, whether it’s specialized for small dogs, adventurous pups, long car rides, is water-proof or apt for just a simple walk around the neighborhood.
According to Neumann, it’s a preference, not necessarily a use case.
“Small dogs and large dogs are often great candidates for a harness, as they create less stress on a pup’s neck,” he explains. “Some trainers prefer harnesses to collars and vice-versa. If a pet parent is unsure of their ability to direct a pup on a collar, then a harness is good option.”
When it comes to harnesses, there’s no one-size-fits all.
“Finding the best harness will depend on your pup’s body type, whether or not they pull on walks and style preference,” he says. “As a best practice, we recommend a dual-clip harness, which offers both a front and back clip, to find what works best for your pup.”
“Tactical dog harnesses are developed specifically to meet the needs of working K9’s in military and law enforcement capacities to aid in training and operations,” Neumann shares. “Many tactical vests offer mounting points for carrying equipment and large handle grips for extra control in extreme working environments, and metal hardware that won’t break during working dog activity.”
Tactical harnesses aren’t just for working dogs, though – the extra control and strength is great for outdoor activities like hiking.
“If your pup is only wearing an ordinary dog collar, she can put a lot of tension on her throat as she strains forward, especially if you grip the leash or yank it back,” Neumann says. “This kind of pressure can hurt your dog’s neck regardless of her size, but especially if she belongs to a smaller breed.”
The best no-pull dog harnesses have straps that cross above your pup’s shoulders and can be fastened at center of your dog’s chest and behind her front legs. The dog harness will also have a clip in front for the leash.
“Once you clip the leash to the front ring and begin walking, your dog has to stay by your side in order to keep moving forward,” he adds. “If she does pull, the leash goes off to the side — not straight back —which directs your dog back towards you. That gives you greater ability to control and guide your dog back to your side by applying a little pressure,”
How do you know what size dog harness to use? How do you typically apply a dog harness?
Regardless of which type of harness you choose for your pup, whether it’s a step-in harness or a non-pull option, you will need to make sure the fit is right. Here are some tips for measuring your dog so you can pick out the right harness size the first time around:
“In order to find the right size, you will need to know the weight of your dog and to take some measurements of their chest and neck,” Neumann adds. “To get the most accurate measurements, use a flexible cloth tape measure, like the ones that tailors use. When measuring your dog’s chest, you should place the end of the tape measure at the bottom of the rib cage, behind the front legs, and loop it around their back to bring it back to the bottom of their rib cage. To measure your pup’s neck, find the thickest part of their neck and take that measurement.”
When you look at harness sizes, you will notice that most of the size charts are broken into two measurements (neck and chest girth), and they sometimes have a weight sizing guide. You will use the two measurements you have taken to find the best fit, per Neumann.
“It’s suggested to size up if your dog is right on the cusp because you can always tighten a harness,” he adds. “You don’t want to limit your dog’s range of movement by putting him in a too snug harness. A tight harness can also cause chafing and hair loss.”
According to Neumann, to make sure your pet’s harness is not too tight, stick two fingers under the harness while it is on your dog. “You want to be able to fit those two fingers under the harness and have it be snug,” he advises.”Signs that your harness is not fitting properly include chafing, hair loss, your dog wiggling out of it, the back piece rotating to the sides or your dog just refusing to walk in it.”
Nylon, Polyester, and synthetic fabrics are the most common harness material, per Neumann. However, harnesses come in plenty of other options, including leather, cotton, rubber, natural fabrics, neoprene and fleece.
“There’s no ideal age for a harness, nor are there specific non-use cases, but remember that some harnesses have hooks on the back, which can actually help train your dog to pull you, which is the opposite of what you want,” Neumann notes.
What do you recommend for dogs with weaker necks?
Above all else, use a harness! “Just make sure that the fit is snug, but still accommodates two fingers’ width when you test the fit,” he recommends.
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