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Investing in the best dog harness for your canine companion puts you in greater control when you and your buddy are out and about. You'll feel less of a pull when you're taking your pup for a walk because a harness will distribute their weight across their body. Harnesses also put much less pressure on your dog's neck than a collar, so they tend to be much more comfortable.
Which one you choose, however, will depend very much on the type of dog you have and the way they behave. As you can imagine, there are lots of different harnesses on the market – some basic and some advanced – and you're going to have to make a choice between those with front clips, back clips, head collars and even models that need to be stepped into.
The latter is a consideration, for instance, if your dog doesn't like objects to be placed over their head or if they’re likely to try and back out of a harness. They're put on by placing a dog's legs through the holes before fastening them at the back. Front-clip harnesses, meanwhile, attach the leash on the strap that goes around a dog's chest. They're best for dogs who yank forward and they're particularly great during training.
We look at all such styles in our guide, examining products with lots of padding, those suitable for hiking and those that clip front or back. If you're using one with a new dog, then read our guide on how to train a puppy to walk on leash. And if you have feline friend, then why not take them for a stroll too? Check out our guide to the best cat harness for help getting your moggy all kitted out.
PetsRadar's pick of the best dog harnesses
- Best overall dog harness: Julius K9 - IDC Powerharness
- Best front-clip dog harness: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
- Best step-in dog harness: Blueberry Pet Step In Back Clip Dog Harness
- Best dog harness for travel: VavoPaw Dog Vehicle Safety Vest Harness
- Best back-clip dog harness: Buddy Belts Classic Leather Back Clip Dog Harness
- Best dog pack: Outward Hound DayPak for Dogs
Julius K9 - IDC Powerharness
Best overall dog harness
Features: Reflective; water-repellent; custom tags | Type: Back-clip | Suitable for: All breeds
If you're looking for a hardwearing dog harness, then look no further than the Julius K9 brand. Their IDC Powerharness is a sturdy and reliable dog harness that offers peace of mind to pet owners looking for the most durable option for their canine.
It comes with a price tag, but there are some great features on offer here that can make it worth shelling out the extra money. One of the key features is its unbreakable buckle; no matter the size of your dog there's no fear here of them slipping out or chewing through. The safety feature in the strap is also a nice touch as it allows the handle to be closed so your dog doesn't get caught up. Plus, the harness features reflective areas and the top layer is water-repellent too. We also love that you can add a custom tag to the harness to personalize it for your dog and there's a few colors on offer here, including a snazzy American design.
For dogs who are wary of putting a harness on, there's no need to lift up their legs to put on: simply pop their head through and buckle underneath. Whether you have a large dog or a small canine like a Maltese, French Bulldog or a Pug, the harness comes in a range of sizes, including mini and extra small, to get that perfect fit; be sure to check the measurements before you buy.
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
Best front-clip dog harness
Features: Quick-snap buckles; dual color straps; front loop | Type: Front-clip | Suitable for: All breeds
Often recommended by dog trainers, a front-clip dog harness is ideal for teaching dogs good walking habits; the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is great for "pullers."
One of the key features is just how easy is to put it on your dog in the first instance. It features quick-snap buckles that allow you to put it over their head and buckle up and is easy to adjust, perfect for growing pooches.
If you have a dog who's likely to pull you off your feet at any opportunity this harness really can work wonders when it comes to training.
Available in a range of different colors and sizes, there's plenty of options to choose from for all breeds, but getting the perfect fit can be an issue for some dogs.
Generally, the product is quality-made, but the very nature of the design can pose a challenge in the durability department, especially according to your dog's temperament. This dog harness is not suitable for aggressive chewers, while plastic clips and thin straps might not be sufficient enough to give larger dog breed owners peace of mind that their dog will stay inside for long.
Blueberry Pet Step In Back Clip Dog Harness
Best step-in dog harness
Features: Eco-friendly plastic; metal D ring; adjustable straps | Type: Step-in | Suitable for: All breeds
If you're looking for an easy way to get your dog harness on your pup, the Blueberry Step In Back Clip Dog Harness lets your canine companion simply step on in, then fasten the clip around their shoulders.
If you have a canine escape artist in your family, rest assured that this dog harness is much more durable than it may look at first sight. The harness is comfortable, safe and secure for most dog breeds, but beware if you have an aggressive chewer as this dog harness can be chewed apart.
Fortunately, it comes in at a great price. If you have a growing puppy and don't want to fork out a lot of money to buy an expensive harness they could potentially outgrow, this is a perfect choice, while also being fully adjustable.
The harness is available in a range of sizes from small to large, but run a little big on some dogs.
VavoPaw Dog Vehicle Safety Vest Harness
Best dog harness for travel
Features: Adjustable safety seat belt; carabiner | Type: Car safety | Suitable for: All breeds
For keeping your pup secure in the backseat, VavoPaw Dog Vehicle Safety Vest Harness is ideal. At a great price, you get good quality and a few nice extras too.
Included is an adjustable seat belt and the brand has opted for a carabiner style of attachment to fit most cars.
Made from polyester and Oxford fabric, there's a solid D ring on the back for security, while it's soft enough around the chest area to ensure optimum comfort for your canine. Simply slip it over their head and it clips on both sides. An added bonus is is that you can use it for walking too, then clip it in the vehicle once their long distance walk is complete.
It's durable enough to withstand pulls from large breeds, but if you have a puppy it can be a little on the stiff side. If you do own a large dog, one drawback is that the attachment can be too short, but at the price, many pet owners opt to buy another.
Sizing can run small; but be sure to measure your dog using the manufacturer's provided instructions on the site for the best fit.
Buddy Belts Classic Leather Back Clip Dog Harness
Best back-clip dog harness
Features: Durable leather; one buckle | Type: Back-clip | Suitable for: All breeds
Whether your dog suffers from trachea problems or you're specifically concerned about unnecessary strain around your pet's neck area, Buddy Belts Classic Leather Back Clip Dog Harness is specifically devised to alleviate the tension in this area.
It comes with a fairly lofty price tag but for your buck the durability is great. It's made from leather and welded metal hardware designed to last for years. Whatever activities your dog loves to embrace, this dog harness will go the extra mile.
It's easy to put on too, with the snap located underneath the chest. Plus, the chances of your miniature Houdini getting out of this one is rather low; the product is snug providing you get the perfect fit. Some pet owners recommend sizing down to ensure the excess strap doesn't hang down too much.
One of the drawbacks of leather is that is can be on the stiff side, which won't be to every dog's liking. If this sounds like your canine companion, you can opt to add in a soft liner for an extra layer of comfort.
If you have a puppy or a particularly aggressive chewer in the family, this might not be the best option for them as tiny teeth can cause quick destruction in this expensive harness, but senior dogs with a laidback attitude should have little problem.
Outward Hound DayPak for Dogs
Best dog pack
Features: Reflective; water resistant | Type: Day pack | Suitable for : All breeds
If you and your dog are frequently on adventures together, you'll need the best dog harness for the job.
The Outward Hound DayPak for Dogs allows your pup to comfortably carry extra gear and essentials like their favorite comforter toy, plus it has a leash attachment that allows you to attach your pup’s leash directly to the D-ring clip.
You've got to admit it looks pretty cute to boot, too. Available in a vibrant green from Chewy, it not only looks the part by turning your dog into a mini-me hiker, but enhances visibility in the dark.
Sadly, it's not available in a small size for teacup breeds, but medium to larger breeds will be able to wear it with style.
It's lightweight enough to carry around but this can pose a challenge to the durability of the product. Be sure not to overpack the bag as this can lead to the material being ripped, while it does have a tendency to slide a little.
How to choose the best dog harness
Type of dog harness
Be sure to kit your dog out with the best type for their temperament. Styles of dog harness include front-clip, back-clip, step-in, no-pull, a head collar and a safety harness designed specifically to be used in the car. You can also buy a dog pack harness if your dog is particularly adventurous.
No-pull, front-clip dog harnesses are ideal for dogs who pull or tug at their leash, with the clip located at the front; while back-clip harnesses tend to have a D-ring located at the back so dogs are less likely to become entangled, plus it can be ideal for preventing unnecessary strain around their neck. Step-in options are great if you foresee a struggle placing a dog harness over their head.
Special types of travel dog harness include ones for the car or dog packs, while a head collar, also known as a head halter, is a device that fits over your dog's nose to give more control.
Much like choosing the type of dog harness, it's important to think about your dog's temperament too when it comes to durability. If you have a puppy or an aggressive chewer, you'll want to pick a product that can't easily be chewed through, while plastic clips can be prone to breakage.
Is your pup frequently hitting the road or the puddles? Some dog harnesses feature a waterproof layer, while if you're looking to keep them secure in the car you'll need a secure attachment and the ability to walk with it too is a handy feature.
If you love hiking, a dog pack can store their essentials. If you plan to take them on the trail at night, you'll want to consider reflective material or features that can glow in the dark for greater visibility.
Getting a great fit is essential for any dog harness as you don't want your pup to wiggle their way out nor to experience any pain with too tight a fit. Ensure you measure around your dog's ribcage before you buy and check in with the manufacturer's sizing advice.
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