The Best Dog Harnesses Guide For 2018

There are many different types, but the best–rated dog harnesses wrap around a
canine’s chest and over one or more places to attach a lead, or leash. It’s a little like wearing a parachute instead of a noose – rather than putting all of the pressure on the neck the way collars do, harnesses spread the force out to reduce its impact.

When a dog tries to move too far against the lead, the harness stops them in their tracks. The best–selling harnesses have at least two connection points for the lead – this discourages a dog‘s opposition response and prevents them from pulling.

How Do Dog Harnesses Work?

There are several major benefits to using harnesses.

First, and perhaps most importantly, it removes pressure from the neck. Collars often restrict oxygen from reaching your dog‘s brain, which can cause physical harm (including on the eyes), increase their anxiety, and reduce their cognitive functions. Harnesses are particularly helpful for dogs with a collapsed trachea and dogs with neck problems. An aging dog can also benefit from a harness.

All good harnesses are “no choke” models, which means they never tighten around the neck. There are a few more specific advantages worth mentioning.

Improves Communication

Rather than merely tugging to ‘stop,’ you can reinforce verbal commands and tell them what you want them to do, rather than what you don’t want. This helps encourage no pull behaviour.

Improves Comfort

If a dog wasn’t raised with a harness, they might be bothered at first, but distributing pressure across less-sensitive body areas is considerably more comfortable for a dog than having all of the pressure around their neck.

Improves Positioning

This is especially true with harnesses that o!er two points to connect a lead since they encourage dogs to walk beside you rather than out front. Since the dog isn’t leading, they’re much less likely to dart out at everything that catches their interest.

What Should I Look for In A Dog Harness?

There are several important things to check for when deciding on a harness.


If the harness doesn’t fit, it’s useless. Most harnesses are sized both around the neck and around the chest, so you’ll need to measure your dog to see which fits. If they’re between two sizes (as there’s often some overlap), err on the side of caution and get the bigger size.

Points of Adjustment

A good harness has at least two points to attach your lead. Some harnesses come with 5 or more places to attach the front lead, and more points are better. The front clip is the most common choice.

Buckle Type

Plastic buckles are ideal for casual walks and calm canines. Metal buckles are better for energetic companions. Note that plastic buckles have been known to get caught in fur, while metal largely avoids this problem. If you’re not sure which type of buckle to get, go for metal.


Harnesses come in two major styles. The first is a “Step in Harness,” which requires your dog to get inside it. “Over-head harnesses,” in contrast, slide over their heads and are secured in the back. Overhead harnesses tend to be more padded and have more places to adjust sizing…


Most harnesses are made of products like polyester or nylon. Leather harnesses are rare, but not unknown. This is partly for safety and partly for strength since leather can be chewed through more
easily than most fabrics.

Finally, aside from all of those details, you should look for a harness from a reputable brand. The last thing you want is for the harness to break when you need it most, especially if you’re trying to control a large dog

How Do Dog Harnesses Work?

There are several major benefits to using harnesses.

Putting an over-head harness on your dog is easy once you get used to it. Start by making sure the harness is nice and loose in every area so you can easily slip it on. Once you’re ready, follow these instructions:

  • Slide the harness over your dog‘s head, making sure the neck and chest straps are in the right places. When the harness is loose, it can be hard to tell which is which, so pay close attention as you’re putting it on.
  • Move the chest piece up, so it touches your dog‘s belly and chest areas. Most over-head harnesses have two buckles here (one on either side) that you should bring up and attach to the back of the harness.
  • Adjust the sides of your harness so it fits snugly. It’s usually recommended to tighten the harness until you can fit two fingers (no more, no less) between your companion and the harness.
  • Adjust the neck of the harness to the same snugness.

Product Reviews

Now that we know a little more about harnesses, let’s look at some of the best products currently on the market.

Rnker Double Layer Harness for Pet Puppy

As the “puppy” in the name implies, this soft mesh harness from Rnker is an excellent choice for any canines who are still growing. Unless your dog is going to stay small, it’s not a good long-term choice – but it’s a great choice for helping them get used to harnesses while they’re growing up.


  • Excellent for puppies and small dogs
  • Designed with canine comfort in mind
  • Available in four sizes
  • Machine washable
  • Thick material


  • No option for large, powerful dogs
  • Plastic buckles aren’t as good as metal ones
  • Velcro can come undone

CoolPets Dog Harness Leash Collar Set

This harness is made of 0.59-inch thick nylon, which is sturdy enough to harness larger breeds without quickly wearing out. The set itself is available in three sizes, from a minimum chest girth of 15.7″ with the small harness to a maximum of 38.6″ with the largest model. A leash is included in the package.


  • Highly durable metal and nylon
  • Comes with a leash
  • Reflective bars improve visibility at
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
  • Easy to adjust


  • No option for the smallest dogs
  • Only one place to properly attach
  • Limited choice of colors

Noxgear Lighthound LED (Illuminated) Harness

This is something unusual for dog harnesses – a product with LED Fiber Optics that can actively illuminate your dog at night. That’s a serious plus if you usually go for walks when there isn’t much light, and the harness allows for USB charging so you don’t even have to worry about bringing extra batteries.


  • Electronic illumination
  • Machine washable
  • Long battery life
  • USB rechargeable
  • Easy to put on and remove


  • Plastic buckles
  • More of a vest than a harness
  • Does not come with a leash
  • Does not come with a power block

Paw Five CORE-1 Reflective Dog Harness

Paw Five’s CORE-1 is an over-head harness designed for dogs of 24-42 inches. I was particularly impressed with the overall design of this product since it includes many features other harnesses lack.


  • Durable and well-sewn
  • Designed with comfort in mind
  • Holds waste bags
  • Adjustable and fits well on most breeds


  • Not available for the smallest dogs
  • Plastic buckles
  • Hard to use all of its features with
    particularly active dogs
  • Limited color options (Red, Green, Blue)

Petjoy-Wiredog Service Dog Harness Vest

Service dog harnesses are designed di!erently from most other harnesses. Rather than just wrapping the neck and chest, they also have to display text on multiple sides so the dog can be easily identified as a service animal.


  • Highly visible
  • Customizable
  • Large vest helps protect dogs in bad weather
  • Lifetime warranty on workmanship
  • Easy to put on and remove


  • Hard to use the accessory rings
  • Limited color options
  • Plastic buckles
  • Narrow sizing options

Core Feature

Now that we know a little more about harnesses,
let’s look at some of the best products currently on the market.

  • no pull / stop pull / pulling / prevent pulling
  • front clip / back clip / front hook / back hook
  • chai’s choice
  • deep chested
  • small dog / large dog / medium dog
  • dog training / leash training
  • lift harness
  • non-restrictive
  • for walking / running / hiking / biking
  • escape proof / escape artist
  • mobility training
  • adjustable
  • car harness / seatbelt
  • front range / front lead
  • to prevent chafing
  • with handle

Specific Dog Breeds

See which harness is best for your puppy



German Shepherd



Golden Retriever

Boston Terrier

Tripod (Three-Legged) Dog



Aging Dog


Siberian Husky

Miniature Schnauzer

Labrador (Labs)


Jack Russel





See which harness is best for your puppy

Overall, PawFive’s CORE-1 reflective harness is the clear winner in this group. I don’t know that I’d go quite as far as “world’s best,” but it’s pretty high up there. This harness is visible, durable, and has a variety of useful features that other harnesses just can’t match. The only real drawback with this harness is that it’s not available for small dogs (who would be better served with Rnker’s Pet Puppy harness).

The part that seals the deal here is the waste bag holder – rather than stuffing bags into your pocket and then carrying the bag for the rest of your trip, you can actually let your dog carry their own supplies. This is a great touch, and we’d like to see other manufacturers follow suit. Whether you’re trying to put a harness on a labrador or a chihuahua, usefulness never goes out of style.

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