Taking your dog for a walk is one of life’s great pleasures — assuming that they behave along the way, of course. If your dog likes to pull or otherwise misbehave, then a simple leash and collar won’t do. You’ll need a harness instead.
Harnesses give you unparalleled control over your dog, making them a great choice for unruly pups. They’re great for well-behaved dogs as well, keeping them safe and secure even when things take a turn for the worse.
In the reviews below, we take a look at the best harnesses out there today. The options on this list can keep your dog safe and you in complete control, so you both can start enjoying walks again.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||PetSafe Easy Walk||
|Best Value||Best Pet Supplies Voyager Mesh||
|Premium Choice||Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness||
|Sporn Mesh No Pull||
|Chai's Choice Reflective Front Clip||
The 10 Best Dog Harnesses — Reviews 2021
1. PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness — Best Overall
The PetSafe Easy Walk loops around your dog’s chest, putting absolutely no pressure on their neck, so you can control them without putting them in any physical danger.
This also gives you plenty of control over your dog, so if things get hairy, you can quickly steer them out of harm’s way. You’ll both feel free and confident, no matter what you encounter on your walk.
It also helps cut down on pulling and lunging, teaching your dog how to behave properly on walks. It’s easy to put on and take off, with a Martingale loop on the chest to keep the straps from twisting.
Even large-breed dogs can easily be controlled with this thing. Just be careful how you adjust it, though, because it can cause sores around the armpits if not properly fastened (especially on bigger pups).
But that’s easily correctible, which is why the PetSafe Easy Walk is at the top spot here.
2. Best Pet Supplies Voyager Mesh Dog Harness — Best Value
One of the easiest harnesses to use, the Best Pet Supplies Voyager is a one-piece mesh option that hugs your dog’s torso. It has an easy-to-use fastener and quick-release buckle that allow you to put it on and take it off in a flash, and it’s a cinch to adjust for a fully customized fit.
It’s a lightweight harness, and the mesh is extremely breathable, making it suitable for use in the summertime. It’s also unlikely to irritate your pet’s skin.
Best of all, though, it’s one of the most affordable options out there, so you can control your dog without losing control of your finances. We consider it the best dog harness for the money.
Be sure to measure your dog properly, though, because the fabric doesn’t have much “give” to it. While it shouldn’t chafe, it may be uncomfortably tight for larger dogs. Also, if you leave it lying around, it won’t take long for a determined chewer to make mincemeat out of it.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive option that’s easy to use, the Best Pet Supplies Voyager is the best one we’ve found.
If you’re concerned that your dog will bust loose from their harness, then the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart should help put those worries to bed.
It uses steel nesting buckles to keep your dog securely locked in, so even the most ingenious Houdini pups won’t be able to wriggle free. The entire system is based on the harnesses used by rock climbers, so keeping a dog in check should be a breeze.
There are five different adjustment points on the harness, ensuring that you can give your pup a truly custom fit. Also, lest you worry that all this security will make things uncomfortable for your dog, the padded chest minimizes stress on the trachea and sternum.
It can also double as a car harness to keep your pooch in place while driving, giving it added versatility.
Of course, all that security and versatility doesn’t come cheap, and this is one of the pricier options on the market. It can also be a bit of a beast to figure out, although we think that it’s worth the effort.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart is a premium option with a price tag to match, but if you want your dog to have the best, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better.
4. Sporn Mesh No Pull Dog Harness
The Sporn Mesh No Pull is a model intended to curb unwanted behavior, and the mesh chest piece ensures that your dog will have plenty of slack even when they’re being restrained.
Every part of this harness is designed to protect your dog from harm, and even the restraint arms are padded. This keeps your dog comfy and reduces the risk of chafing. The whole thing was designed by a veterinarian, so it makes sense that it would place your dog’s safety first.
It’s a one-piece option, so you can get it on in seconds, even if you have an unruly pup on your hands. The nylon construction also allows for plenty of give when you’re putting it on, regardless of how big your pooch is.
However, nylon isn’t the most durable fabric, so it may show wear and tear after a while, especially if you have a heavy puller. Also, it will last approximately 2 seconds if your pup starts gnawing on it.
Proven escape artists may be able to wriggle out of it if it’s not tightened properly, which is something that may add to your stress on walks rather than subtract from it.
The Sporn Mesh No Pull is a good option, but it has a few flaws.
5. Chai’s Choice Reflective Front Clip Dog Harness
Anyone who likes taking their pup for a late-night stroll will appreciate the Chai’s Choice Reflective, as it has reflective piping interwoven into its exterior. This makes your dog more visible at night, keeping both you and your best friend safe.
It’s available in nine different colors, so you can pick one that your dog won’t be ashamed to wear on those midnight walks.
There’s plenty of padding on the neck and chest, so your dog should be comfortable while wearing it. The chest-mounted O-ring gives you plenty of control over your pooch, and the built-in handle on top lets you grab your dog if needed, or you can loop a seatbelt through it on car rides.
This is a sizable harness, so smaller dogs may struggle while wearing it. Also, while the harness itself is stout, the plastic buckles can snap if you apply pressure in the wrong place at the wrong time.
You may have to send it back a few times after ordering it as well, because the sizing isn’t accurate. It tends to run a little small, so keep that in mind before you buy.
Overall, the Chai’s Choice Reflective is a quality model that has several useful features, but it also has a few flaws.
6. HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
The HDP Big Dog is an option designed for teaching a larger-breed pup not to tug on the leash, and since it redistributes force throughout the dog’s chest and shoulders, it’s safe as well.
There’s both a D-ring and a handle on top of the harness, and they rest between your dog’s shoulders. This gives you plenty of control over your pup, allowing you to lift them out of trouble (or if they have mobility issues). It’s great for senior dogs for that reason as well.
It’s debatable how well it serves to stop pulling, though. It just gives you more control over your dog, without discouraging their behavior in any way. If anything, it might make it more comfortable for them to pull, which may exacerbate the behavior.
The D-ring also isn’t the sturdiest piece of equipment in the world. If you have a big dog, they may be able to bend or even break it, which obviously isn’t ideal.
The straps tuck under the armpits in such a way that they may chafe on larger dogs, and since the thing isn’t designed for smaller pups, that’s a bit of a problem.
If you just want a regular harness for your large dog, the HDP Big Dog is a good option. If you’re hoping to discourage pulling, though, it’s unlikely to be of much help.
7. Frisco Vest Step in Back Clip Dog Harness
The Frisco Step-In Vest is a good budget option, but it’s better suited as a backup plan than for full-time use. It’s designed solely for small breeds, so if you have anything bigger than a Corgi, this might not be the best fit.
It’s easy to put on, as all your dog has to do is step into it. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword — if your dog can put it on easily, they can get out of it easily. It’s not super-secure.
The vest is a little bulky too, and it can interfere with your dog’s gait on walks. The mesh is breathable, though, so your dog shouldn’t overheat.
The strap connects on top of your dog’s back with a buckle and D-ring. It’s fairly secure, but it’s also huge and tends to snag on everything, which gets annoying quickly.
The Frisco Step-In Vest is not ideal for a long hike, but it may be a good option for keeping in your car for vet trips and the like.
8. Puppia Polyester Back Clip Dog Harness
If you want a minimalist option, the Puppia Back Clip is a good option. It has little fabric to it, so it won’t cover too much of your dog’s body, making it sleek and streamlined (and cool in hot weather).
As you might expect, though, that lack of fabric translates into a loss of durability, especially if your dog is a determined puller.
It’s also hard to customize the fit, as there’s little slack to work with. You’ll need to get the measurements right before you buy, because there’s not much room for error here.
Getting the measurements right is difficult because the brand doesn’t provide the size of the head opening. As a result, dogs with massive heads (think Pit Bulls and similar breeds) may not be able to get their big noggins through the hole.
The Puppia Back Clip is a decent choice if you don’t want to deal with a bulky monstrosity, but it’s just not substantial enough for everyday use with most dogs.
9. OneTigris Tactical Vest Dog Harness
The OneTigris Tactical lives up to its name, as it looks like something that your dog could wear into a battle zone.
Hopefully, that’s not an issue for you, but it has other flaws that may cause problems. It doesn’t stay in place well, regardless of how much you adjust it, so get ready to watch it flip and flop all over the place during walks.
It’s bulky and dense, so it may swallow up smaller dogs or cause overheating on hot days. The former is an especially big concern, as it’s not made for very large breeds.
There are several plastic clips on it that can break if abused, so it’s not as durable as it looks.
The good news is that the MOLLE system lets you load up your dog with a variety of supplies. This can range from their poop bags to cans of food or other weights if you’re looking for a way to tucker them out while on the go.
The OneTigris Tactical looks cool, but it has a few issues that keep us from recommending it too strongly.
10. Mighty Paw Reflective No Pull Dog Harness
The Mighty Paw Reflective is a tough and durable option that can handle all kinds of abuse. Unfortunately, it has other problems that limits its suitability.
The neck hole is small, so it may be snug on your pup, especially if they’re on the larger side. You can’t adjust it either.
It also tends to twist while walking, which can be uncomfortable for your dog.
The clips on the front are hard to operate, making it difficult to put on and take off. It’s especially bad for users with arthritis or similar issues.
The leash attachment rides low on your dog’s back, which makes it harder to stop pulling and difficult to teach loose-leash walking. It’d be much better if it were nearer the dog’s neck.
The Mighty Paw Reflective is a hardy harness, but unfortunately, there are other concerns that outweigh its durability.
If you’re like many dog owners, you may think that a harness is a harness and that there’s not much difference between any two models. Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and buying the wrong one could end in disaster.
Below, we go over questions that you should ask yourself before purchasing a harness, so you have the best chance of buying one that works for both you and your dog.
Why Does My Dog Need a Harness?
They might not. If your pup is a master of loose-leash walking, and they don’t react to any sort of distraction (like another dog or a cat), then you can probably stick with a leash and collar for your walks.
However, if your dog tends to pull against their leash or chase after anything that moves, then a harness will give you greater control over their momentum while reducing the risk that you’ll injure their necks in the process.
Many harnesses will actually discourage pulling, so over time, your dog will stop trying to drag you through the neighborhood. These harnesses can be used as training aids with the intention of switching back to a leash and collar once the problematic behavior stops.
Harnesses are also much more difficult to wriggle out of. This allows you to walk your dog with confidence in high-traffic areas, as you know that they won’t be able to escape and potentially run into traffic or other trouble.
Are There Different Types of Harnesses?
Yes, there are several different types. The biggest difference often involves the location of the clip that the leash attaches to.
On front-clip harnesses, the clip is on the dog’s chest. This gives you control over their direction, and most no-pull harnesses are front-clip models. These are great for pullers and jumpers, but they’re not ideal for dogs with serious aggression issues, as you won’t be able to pull them away from the target of their rage.
Back-clip harnesses have their clips between the dog’s shoulder blades. This gives you less control over the dog’s progress, so if you put one of these on a strong puller, they’ll drag you behind them.
However, back-clip models are better for smaller dogs or animals with throat or neck problems, as they redirect all the force to the dog’s shoulders.
Finally, there are dual-clip models that have D-rings on both the front and back of the harness. This makes them extremely versatile, as you can switch back and forth as needed. They offer the best of both worlds, but they also tend to be the most expensive options.
What Else Should I Look For in a Harness?
There are a variety of features available, and each has its own benefits.
For example, some harnesses offer reflective piping stitched into the fabric. This makes your dog (and by extension, you) more visible on nighttime walks. This is an important feature for anyone who likes to take their dog out after the sun has gone down.
Others have sturdy handles stitched onto the back of the harness, near the dog’s shoulders. These handles allow you to grab the dog and lift them out of trouble if they turn aggressive, so they’re great for leash-reactive pups. They can also help you lift senior dogs with mobility issues.
Many harnesses have padding all over the place. This is good for pullers, as it reduces the stress on the dog’s body and lowers the risk of chafing where the vest digs into the skin. These also seem to be more comfortable for the dog, so they may be a good choice if your dog balks at putting the thing on.
Some harnesses have pockets all over them. These can be used to hold supplies like poop bags, but some owners of extremely energetic dogs also load them up with weights to make the walk more challenging and tucker the dog out more quickly.
What Are the Most Important Things to Consider When Buying a Harness?
The absolute most important consideration is your dog’s safety. You want to make sure the harness doesn’t put too much pressure on the dog’s neck and throat, and it needs to be snug enough that they can’t escape from it.
Fit is also extremely important (and one of the biggest factors in determining if your dog can wriggle out of the harness). It should be snug without restricting the dog’s movement, and it shouldn’t dig into the skin or chafe your dog anywhere.
Durability is also important if you plan on using the harness often. Some harnesses are made of thin fabric, while others are made of multiple layers of durable fabric. Keep in mind, though, that the thicker the harness, the hotter it will be for your dog in the summer months.
Another thing that is often overlooked is how easy it is to put on and take off. If it’s a hassle, you’ll be less likely to use it, which means the money spent on it will be a waste. Many models can be put on or taken off in seconds, so there’s no reason to struggle with one that’s difficult to use.
The PetSafe Easy Walk is currently our favorite harness, as it discourages pulling without putting your dog’s safety at risk. It’s also easy to use, which is a nice bonus that many other harnesses can’t match.
For a high-quality budget option, consider the Best Pet Supplies Voyager. It’s a one-piece mesh option that’s extremely breathable in hot climates, yet it also gives you plenty of control over your dog.
Picking a harness for your pup isn’t easy, but we hope that these reviews have taken some of the stress out of your decision. If you find the right one, it can make walking your dog fun again, so it’s worth doing your research.
Of course, you can always stick with just a leash and collar — but don’t blame us when your dog drags you all over the neighborhood simply because that squirrel taunted them.
Featured Image Credit: Piqsels
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Dog Harnesses — Reviews 2021
- 1. PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness — Best Overall
- 2. Best Pet Supplies Voyager Mesh Dog Harness — Best Value
- 3. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness — Premium Choice
- 4. Sporn Mesh No Pull Dog Harness
- 5. Chai’s Choice Reflective Front Clip Dog Harness
- 6. HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
- 7. Frisco Vest Step in Back Clip Dog Harness
- 8. Puppia Polyester Back Clip Dog Harness
- 9. OneTigris Tactical Vest Dog Harness
- 10. Mighty Paw Reflective No Pull Dog Harness
- Buyer’s Guide