The best dog harnesses in 2021 come in various designs, materials, thickness of straps, and have different levels of breathability. The expert DogGear team of vets, dog lovers, researchers, medical doctors, and professional dog handlers have dedicated hundred of hours to determine the right ones for you and your dog to feel comfortable and enjoy an active life together.
A dog harness is a welcome alternative to collars. Ideal for excitable dogs and puppies in training, a harness makes it easier to keep your dog safe, secure, and comfortable on a leash.
There’s a variety of harnesses to choose from, and each type is designed to fit and function in different ways. We know that the wrong fit may do more harm than good, so we’ve come up with this simple guide to help you pick the right harness for your dog.
What should you know before you purchase a harness?
Prior to getting a dog harness, there are a few things to know to make sure you’re getting the best for your dog.
Firstly, keep in mind that different materials factor into how harnesses function and how durable, comfortable, and secure they can be for your dog.
Nylon is the most popular material used to make harnesses. It’s light to wear, durable, and chew-proof to boot. Nylon harnesses are easy enough to clean and let dry too. If you have a service dog, you need to make sure you buy a material that can be ironed on for service patches.
Leather is also optimal, especially for bigger breeds. Leather harnesses prove extremely sturdy and provide ample cushion, making them suitable for shorter-haired dogs.
Whatever the material of the harness, make sure you purchase the appropriate size and fit for your dog, picking harnesses that can be adjusted to accommodate weight changes or growing puppies.
With this in mind, you’re ready to choose the best type of harness. See more information about different types of harnesses below.
What are the types of harness?
There are several types of harnesses. One of our top picks, the Rabbitgoo Dog Harness, is fully adjustable and has fast-release buckles for your convenience. Another favorite, the Voyager Dog Harness, is lightweight and breathable for your dog’s comfort.
What you end up choosing should cater to what you and your dog usually do. Does your dog need further training, or do you have a well-behaved dog who’s used to walking on a leash?
Firstly, you’ll need to consider where you can attach a leash to the harness. Take a look at these different attachment types, to start with.
Some harnesses have front hooks, others have back hooks, while some are hybrid types that provide two attachment points.
A front hook allows you to attach a leash to the center of the dog’s chest area. It’s ideal if you want to lead the way when you’re out on a walk, especially if your dog is prone to pulling or jumping. Take note, though, that dogs can easily chew on the leash given its position, and rambunctious dogs can get tangled in the leash, too. This attachment type is best suited for shorter leashes, in general.
A back hook keeps your leash attached to the dog’s upper back. It’s ideal if you walk or run alongside your dog. It’s easy to put on a leash given this attachment type, and it’s easy for dogs to get used to it, too. However, this leash placement may not provide as much control for bigger or aggressive dogs, and it doesn’t offer directional steering.
The hybrid type has a front and back hook, with some variations that offer multiple attachment points. This type is useful if you need to switch between the front and back hooks for when you’re training your dog, or if you need something suitable for a wide range of activities.
Once you’ve figured out which attachment type is best for your dog, consider the various fits available.
Harness Fit and Design
Aside from attachment types, harnesses come in three types of fit.
Webbed harnesses consist of straps that fit over your dog’s chest and upper back area. They’re ideal in hot weather. Webbed harnesses are more secure than a dog collar, but they may not be suitable for big, strong dogs who tend to pull on their leash.
The vest-type harness, as the name might imply, fits like a vest around the dog’s chest and upper back area. These harnesses offer optimum support and security, able as they are to distribute force over a larger surface area. However, they may not be suitable in hot and humid climates.
The head halter has a unique look to it and is best suited for reactive or stronger dogs. It’s a wonderful alternative to anti-pull harnesses. While it may look like a muzzle, it doesn’t restrict your dog in any way. However, some dogs might not respond well to this unique configuration, and it may take them several days or weeks to get used to it.
That’s all of the harness types you need to know about.
Choosing a harness
With myriad options, choosing a harness can be daunting, so you can start by narrowing down your choices to a harness that fits your dog correctly, meets your needs, and works well with your leash.
Mind your measurements
Prior to getting a harness, you’ll need to get your dog’s measurements. Keep in mind their age and breed. If you’re getting a harness for a younger dog, remember that some of them can quickly outgrow their harness.
Plain or padded?
Padding is especially helpful if you have a dog with short hair. The padding protects your dog against excess friction, which can cause irritation. The padding can also keep your dog from hurting itself if it tends to pull on the leash.
Don’t forget about durability
When it comes to your dog’s harness, don’t skimp on quality. Select a harness made of high-quality materials that won’t wear out quickly. Look at the stitching as well to ensure quality of construction.
These are all you need to primarily consider when selecting a harness.
Why should you buy a new harness?
A collar is usually the go-to for most dog owners. But with a harness, you can prevent injuries while keeping your dog under control.
Whether you have a large dog or a small one, there’s a harness to fit your varying needs. There’s no one style or type required here for harnesses, but remember to include your dog in every stage of the harness selection process.
By Jarett Gilpin
Jarett and his vapor wake dog, Toxi, help keep the students and public safe on the University of Notre Dame’s campus. Jarett knows what equipment, food and toys to keep Toxi safe, productive and still able to have fun.