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Updated March 2017

Best Dog Harnesses

Updated March 2017
Ruffwear
Front Range Everyday Dog Harness
Puppia
Soft Dog Harness
UNHO
Panda Padded Dog Harness
Kurgo
Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness
Expawlorer
Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
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Bottom Line

Takes its place on the top of the list for its overall quality and wear-ability. A solid choice that will suit both dogs and their owners.

A comfortable dog harness that comes at a surprisingly low price.

Though it might be too much for small dogs, it's a solid choice for dog owners that need a sturdy harness with ample control.

A well-made harness that is a good choice if the UNHO is too rugged and the Ruffwear is too expensive for your needs.

It's not for everyone, but it is a good choice for big dogs in training and for owners who want a rugged harness at an affordable price.

Good

Boasts everything dog owners love in a harness: comfortable wear, easy adjustment, and effortless fit. Has padded chest and belly panel and durable aluminum V-ring, plus reflective areas for early-morning or night walks.

Soft and comfortable to wear, yet made to last. Features durable polyester and an adjustable chest belt. Priced to fit almost any dog owner's budget.

Offers control and padded comfort in an easy-to-put-on harness. Made of sturdy nylon with elastic webbing for enhanced movement. Ideal for large and active dogs.

Stands out for its quick-release buckles that make it easy to put on and take off. Has adjustable fit and chest padding for added comfort.

A well-made harness that offers control and comfort for large, active dogs for a mid-range price. Features a handle for extra control and reflector for added safety.

Bad

It's costly, but you will love what you get for the price.

Might fit snug on breeds with wide chests. Adjustment of the chest belt usually fixes this concern.

Runs on the large side, so precise measurements are a must when ordering. Small dogs might not need such a rugged harness.

The harness might slip to the side on some active dogs. Not safe for securing your dog in the car.

Some reviewers noted that the harness runs large. It's not a practical choice for small dog owners.

Best of the Best
Ruffwear
Front Range Everyday Dog Harness
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Bottom Line
Takes its place on the top of the list for its overall quality and wear-ability. A solid choice that will suit both dogs and their owners.

Bad
It's costly, but you will love what you get for the price.

Good
Boasts everything dog owners love in a harness: comfortable wear, easy adjustment, and effortless fit. Has padded chest and belly panel and durable aluminum V-ring, plus reflective areas for early-morning or night walks.
Puppia
Soft Dog Harness
Check Price

Bottom Line
A comfortable dog harness that comes at a surprisingly low price.

Bad
Might fit snug on breeds with wide chests. Adjustment of the chest belt usually fixes this concern.

Good
Soft and comfortable to wear, yet made to last. Features durable polyester and an adjustable chest belt. Priced to fit almost any dog owner's budget.
UNHO
Panda Padded Dog Harness
Check Price

Bottom Line
Though it might be too much for small dogs, it's a solid choice for dog owners that need a sturdy harness with ample control.

Bad
Runs on the large side, so precise measurements are a must when ordering. Small dogs might not need such a rugged harness.

Good
Offers control and padded comfort in an easy-to-put-on harness. Made of sturdy nylon with elastic webbing for enhanced movement. Ideal for large and active dogs.
Best Bang for the Buck
Kurgo
Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness
Check Price

Bottom Line
A well-made harness that is a good choice if the UNHO is too rugged and the Ruffwear is too expensive for your needs.

Bad
The harness might slip to the side on some active dogs. Not safe for securing your dog in the car.

Good
Stands out for its quick-release buckles that make it easy to put on and take off. Has adjustable fit and chest padding for added comfort.
Expawlorer
Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
Check Price

Bottom Line
It's not for everyone, but it is a good choice for big dogs in training and for owners who want a rugged harness at an affordable price.

Bad
Some reviewers noted that the harness runs large. It's not a practical choice for small dog owners.

Good
A well-made harness that offers control and comfort for large, active dogs for a mid-range price. Features a handle for extra control and reflector for added safety.
How We Decided
  • 86 Models Considered
  • 22 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 167 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Dog Harness Shopping Guide

    We can help you find the perfect harness to suit you and your dog. At BestReviews, our mission is to provide you with honest, unbiased reviews of the products you need. We never accept free manufacturer samples. Instead, we buy test products off of store shelves, experiment with them in our labs, and analyze customer feedback.

    Please see our product matrix, above, for the best dog harnesses available on today’s market. If you’d like to learn more about dog harnesses, read on!

    Nicole Ellis
    EXPERT CONSULTANT

    Nicole has been training animals for over 15 years, from bears and tigers to household dogs. A member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, she has been certified by the American Kennel Club as a Canine Good Citizen evaluator and she focuses on positive reinforcement methods so that training is always fun. Every year, Nicole attends SuperZoo, the largest pet product showcase, to research new pet products from cat litter to electric dog toys and she loves sharing what she finds with other pet parents.


    Nicole Ellis  |  Professional Pet Trainer

    Dog Harness Types

    Is your dog an avid puller? Does he have an unusual shape that might affect the fit of his harness? Do you go on long walks together? Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you explore the different types of dog harnesses available to you.

    Dog harness types

    Back Clip Harness

    This is perhaps the most common type of harness available. It features a single D-ring at the back of the harness, between the dog's shoulders.

    A back clip harness is best for small dogs and those who walk with a loose leash. If you have a strong dog who doesn't walk nicely on a leash, this type of harness may not be for you, as it basically allows him to drag you around with the full force of his weight.

    Dog harness types

    Front Clip Harness

    A front clip harness features a D-ring in the middle of the dog’s chest.

    This type of harness gives you more control and prevents your dog from pulling you. It’s not uncomfortable for him, either — even if he tries to yank. A front clip harness is perfect for training your dog to walk with a loose leash. It’s also appropriate for anyone who needs to walk a strong dog safely.

    Some harnesses have clips on both the front and back. This is ideal if you occasionally need extra control but are typically fine with just a back clip. The Ruffwear Front Range Harness in our product matrix, above, features this type of design.

    Dog harnesses need to be regularly washed, just like your clothes. Check whether the product you are buying is machine or hand washable.

    Dog harness types

    Bib Harness

    A bib harness, also known as a vest harness, sports a large front piece that covers almost all of the dog's chest. It may include a front clip, a back clip, or a combination of the two.

    This type of harness is usually padded for comfort. That’s a plus for people who take their dogs on long hikes, as it could help prevent uncomfortable rubbing and chafing.

    Dog harness types

    Mix-and-Match Harness

    All dogs are beautiful, no matter what their size or shape. But some are harder to fit into a harness than others. If your dog has a barrel chest or disproportionately wide shoulders, he may be able to wriggle out of an average harness. You need something that fits him better than that.

    Mix-and-match harnesses are sold as separate “segments” that clip together. The advantage: you can tailor a harness to fit your unique dog. For instance, you could order a small chest piece, a medium back piece, and a large girth piece to achieve the correct fit.

    Give your dog lots of treats and praise when introducing a new harness. This is give rise to a positive association with harness wearing.

    The Anatomy of a Harness

    Not all harnesses are the same; features vary from product to product. Some designs will naturally suit your four-legged friend better than others.

    Here’s a look at some common dog harness features:

    Dog harness anatomy

    Padding

    We recommend that you choose a well-padded harness. Non-padded harnesses made strictly of webbing, leather, or mesh have a tendency to rub, especially if your dog doesn’t walk perfectly on his leash. A good dog harness could be padded with neoprene, fleece, or another material.

    Dog harness anatomy

    Clips and D-Rings

    It's always wise to inspect the clips and D-rings on your dog harness to make sure they're secure enough — especially if you have a large, strong dog. As explained above, it's best to choose a harness that has a D-ring on the front if your dog tends to pull on his leash.

    If a clip or D-ring breaks at the wrong time, your dog could run into a dangerous area or get lost. It's not worth going for a flimsy model with plastic leash clips just to save a few bucks.

    Dog harness anatomy

    Handles

    You might wonder why you would need a handle on your dog's harness. If you occasionally need to pull your dog out of trouble or remove him from the water, a handle can be very helpful. It gives you more “close control” than a harness without a handle.

    Dog harness anatomy

    Water-Resistance

    Some harnesses are made from water-resistant or quick-dry materials. In many situations, this type of material might be unnecessary. But if your dog is an avid swimmer, a quick-dry harness can be a godsend.

    EXPERT TIP

    Make sure that the harness fits your dog since a harness that does not fit properly will be easy for your dog to back out of. Dogs with broader shoulders may need to find more specialty harnesses.


    Nicole  | Professional Pet Trainer
    Dog harness anatomy

    Reflective Strips

    Crossing the road at night, when you and your dog aren’t clearly visible, can be dangerous. A product like the Expawlorer Big Dog No Pull Harness addresses this risk with reflective strips that allow drivers to spot you after the sun goes down. If you walk your dog at night or in the early morning, a harness with reflective strips is definitely a good call.

    Dog harness anatomy

    Color

    It might only be aesthetic, but there's no reason why you shouldn't care about the color of your dog's harness. Most of our top picks come in a variety of colors. For instance, the Ruffwear Front Range Harness is available in campfire orange, alpenglow pink, twilight gray, and pacific blue. However, some more utilitarian products may only come in black.

    If your dog outgrows its harness, or the harness becomes too old, consider donating it to your nearest pet care facility.

    Harness vs. Collar: What's the difference?

    Some owners might wonder why they should buy their dog a harness if he already has a collar. In truth, there are several reasons why a collar isn't the best choice for walking your dog:

    • A collar can strain your dog’s neck in a way that a harness does not. If you've ever witnessed a collared dog wheezing and spluttering while pulling on his leash, you know what we’re talking about. Dogs don't necessarily realize that their discomfort is caused by them pulling against the collar — and that they could make it stop by walking with a loose leash.
    • A collar can cause lasting damage to the body. Dogs have been known to suffer a range of injuries – crushed trachea, severe bruising, whiplash, vertebrae fractures – as a result of wearing a collar.
    • A harness can give you more control over your dog than a collar alone.
    • Compared to a dog wearing a no-pull harness, a collar can make leash-aggressive dogs feel less secure and more likely to lunge and snap at other dogs.
    • A harness is much safer for dogs with short, flattened noses (such as pugs) or those with respiratory issues. Avcollar could limit their breathing even further.

    That said, all dogs should wear a collar with ID tags, even if they're microchipped and harnessed. Wearing collar with tags increases your dog’s chance of coming home safely and quickly should he ever get lost.

    Nicole

    If your dog has a collapsing trachea or other throat ailment, consider using a harness. The tug and pull of a collar may cause more harm.

    Sizing and Adjustability

    You'll find harnesses to fit dogs of all shapes and sizes, and most are adjustable so you can fine-tune the fit. But learning a little more about how to fit your dog for a harness will help you get the right size first time around.

    With most harnesses, you only need to take one measurement to find the correct size for your dog. Often called the "girth" measurement, this is the circumference of your dog around his ribcage. To get this measurement, you'll need a soft cloth measuring tape. Wrap it around your dog just behind his front legs, at the widest part of his ribcage, and take note of the measurement. Then check the product (or the manufacturer's website) to see what size your dog's measurement equates to.

    Although the harness should be fairly snug to prevent slippage, it shouldn't be too tight, especially around the ribcage. A too-tight harness could restrict your dog's breathing. It’s also really uncomfortable.

    EXPERT TIP

    It might surprise you what a difference a good no-pull harness can make. Not only will your walk be more enjoyable for both of you, but you will also be able to walk longer. More exercise can fix many other issues – a dog with more exercise is less destructive in the home.


    Nicole  | Professional Pet Trainer

    Cost and Durability

    A basic harness could cost you less than $10. A top-of-the-line harness could cost you up to $100. What’s a good price for a dog harness, and does a higher price guarantee higher quality?

    We offer the following shopping tips:

    • “Dirt cheap” harnesses will likely fall apart within a few months. What’s more, they often cause discomfort to the dog. We advise against these products.
    • You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good dog harness. The average dog walker is likely to find success with a product in the $20 to $30 range.

    Please see the five choices in our product matrix, above, for the best choices in dog harnesses today.

    Nicole

    Don't hook the leash onto a ring that isn't designed for this purpose! The clips that the leash hooks onto should be solid metal.

    Questions to Ask Yourself

    At this point, you hopefully have a good idea what kind of harness to buy for your dog. Before making your final selection, we can suggest you ask yourself the following questions.

    Q: Will I be using it every day?

    A: Hopefully the answer to this is “yes,” as all dogs need daily walks for optimum physical and mental health. If your harness will get daily use, it's definitely wise to go for at least a mid-range product to ensure it lasts a good long time.

    Q: Does my dog pull on the lead?

    A: Some dogs are too excited by the mere concept of going for a walk to ever consider walking with a loose leash. If your pup's a puller, pick a front clip harness to make your life easier and give your arm a rest.

    Q: Is it machine washable?

    A: We all know that a dog can appear “spotless” one moment and drenched in mud the next. Check that your harness of choice is machine washable. Most dog owners consider this to be a huge advantage, if not a necessity.

    Q: Will I being going on long walks with my dog?

    A: If you intend to hike with your four-legged friend for hours on end, make sure you choose an extremely well-padded harness.

    Harnesses with minimal or no padding can rub away your dog’s hair, especially on the chest. They can even break the skin and cause nasty sores.

    Did You Know?

    • Some harnesses clip around the dog; others require the dog to step into them. The latter can be tricky for older dogs and those with poor joint mobility.
    • Many harnesses have great features for outdoor enthusiast pups! There are harnesses that will support your dog's ribcage while being carried up a mountain and come with reflective pieces for while out running on the trail.
    • A harness that covers most of your dog's undercarriage and chest can cut down on the cleanup time after an outdoor adventure. 
    • If you regularly walk your dog at night, choose a harness with reflective strips for increased visibility.
    • Some harnesses are available with badges on them where owners can put messages like "I'm friendly" or "I need some space."
    • Make sure your harness doesn't sit too high on your dog. If it fits poorly — or just doesn't suit your dog's shape — it could still be hurting or damaging his neck when he pulls.
    Nicole

    Many harnesses advertised for cars are NOT suitable for a car at all – and many of these are from very reputable companies that I would buy other products from. Check out the Center For Pet Safety’s Crash tests if you are planning on using a harness as a car restraint.

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