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.
The harness might slip to the side on some active dogs. Not safe for securing your dog in the car.
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.
Might be snug on breeds with wide chests. Adjustment of the chest belt usually fixes this concern.
The harness straps across the chest, so it doesn't choke or gag your dog like ones around the neck. Huge size range. Snaps on. Complementary color on belly so you can tell which side is which. Four adjustment points for a snug fit.
Some reports of harness snapping after a short time. Fit on some dogs can cause chafing.
Comes in a range of sizes and colors. Easy step-in design. D-rings to simply secure leash. Mesh fabric is breathable. Extra security snaps and easy release to ensure safety.
Some complaints of very small harnesses and needing to buy one or two sizes up.
You want the best for your four-legged friend. Buying him a harness is a definite step in the right direction.
While collars might be the de facto choice for walking a dog, a harness is superior — unless your canine companion always walks perfectly on his leash, that is. In most scenarios, a harness delivers more control. And when your dog pulls on his leash, the harness distributes the force across his chest so he’s not vulnerable to pain or injury.
You might think buying a dog harness is as simple as walking into a pet store and picking up whatever they have in stock. But it's more complex than that. A variety of factors, including your dog's size, shape, strength, and activity level, should play a crucial role in your decision.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
That said, all dogs should wear a collar with ID tags, even if they're microchipped and harnessed. Wearing a collar with tags increases your dog’s chance of coming home safely and quickly should they ever get lost.
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 the 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.
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:
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.
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