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Harnesses are a great option for taking dogs who like to pull on a walk, and can be helpful for training. They not only help prevent an excited walker from straining their neck (like a collar might) by spreading the load over your pup’s shoulder and chest instead, but also give you a much better angle and more control.
You might even be surprised to find that you’re able to walk your dog on a loose leash while using a harness. Harnesses can be pretty darn stylish too and come in many different colors and textures, and of course sizes for every breed of dog. A well-fit harness should be comfortable enough on your dog's shoulders and chest to be worn for hours.
Here are the best dog harnesses.
Best Overall: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness
The Rabbitgoo Dog Harness is made with versatility in mind. The soft, padded harness has a place to clip a leash on both the front for correcting dogs who like to pull, and the back for taking jogs, hikes, or runs with dogs that are already leash trained. There are a several points where you can adjust the fit, to make sure the harness sits just right across your dog's chest and back.
We really like the study top handle for those times when you need to keep your pup extra close and the reflective stitching helps make nighttime walks a little safer. If your pup is hesitant to wear a harness, with two buckles that need clipping, note that this one can be a bit tricker to get on.
Best No-Pull: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
With a loop for the leash to attach front and center on your pup’s chest, when your dog pulls this classic harness redirects their attention to the side and toward you. The harness offers four adjustment points for a fit that’s always secure, plus a Martingale loop in the front to prevent any twisting. Owner’s like that the belly strap is a different color than the rest of the harness so it’s easily identifiable when you want to put the harness on your pup. One downside is that owners of larger dogs say it’s too narrow for their more powerful pets.
Best for Hiking: RUFFWEAR Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness
If you plan on taking your dog along with you on regular hikes, it’s worth it to spend a bit more on a harness that they’ll be able to wear for extended periods in total comfort and safety. The Ruffwear harness has foam-padded construction that won’t chafe or irritate your pup. With four adjustment points, you can ensure you always have the proper fit and your dog won’t be able to escape it.
It has an aluminum V-ring on the back, which is perfect for hiking and a fabric loop on the chest for leash training (though we recommend using the Ruffwear with dogs who are already leash trained and/or only need mild correction.) Other thoughtful touches are that the harness has 360 degree reflection and there’s an ID pocket for your dog’s info should their collar or tags get lost.
Best for Walking: PoyPet No Pull Dog Harness
Whether you’re headed for a stroll around the neighborhood or taking a power walk, both you and your pup will enjoy this harness. It has two sturdy aluminum alloy leash attachment points with reinforced webbing, one on the chest and one on the back and is made of a breathable mesh. The dual elastic construction on the belly straps offer a little bit of give, so if your pup should lunge at that squirrel, it will help absorb the jerk. It’s highly reflective for extra safety on night time walks and has a padded and comfy handle that can double as a seat belt attachment in the car.
Best for Small Dogs: Wild One Harness
Smaller dogs will simply prance when you slide them into this attractive harness from a Brooklyn-based company. The body of the harness is inspired by performance materials. It's soft, lightweight, stretchy, and easy to adjust at both the neck and the chest. It has three coordinating plastic loops for the leash attachment, one on the chest and two in the back, so you can experiment to find which one works better for you and your pup. You’ll definitely want to pick up a matching leash and poop bag carrier in one of eight chic shades.
Best for Large Dogs: HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
Everything about this harness is designed big—so big even giant breeds can walk comfortably in it. It starts with the wide padded design that helps to distribute the pressure evenly, the large center D ring that allows for increased control and freedom of motion, and the large coated grip handle for anytime you need to hold your dog extra close. It has three adjustment points and a single hard plastic clip for a closure. The polyester harness is recommended for older breeds, too, as the padding takes the strain off of their bodies.
Best Budget: EcoBark Classic Dog Harness
If your dog is new to harnesses and you’re not sure how they’ll react, or they’re a still growing puppy, this affordable harness makes a great entry point. It has a chest loop for leash training and a back loop for everyday walks. The harness has double-reinforced stitching for extra comfort, and is available in six different sizes. It’s made of a soft, double layered mesh that’s made of non-toxic fabric with anti-rub technology. If you do move over to another brand or need a larger size, you won’t feel too guilty knowing that the straps are made with recycled plastic bottles. It comes in 17 different colors and prints.
Most Attractive: Awoo Roam Harness
Awoo is a women-owned business created by two designers. These streamlined harnesses not only look stylish with matching plastic clips and high quality brass hardware, they’re also good for the planet. The harness is made of recycled polyester, and the brass hardware is finished without any chemicals and is intended to patina naturally.
When the harness gets dirty, pop it into a pillowcase or lingerie bag and toss it in the wash. At the end of the harness' life (even if it has been chewed a lot), you can return it to Awoo for recycling, and receive a credit towards your next order.
The Rabbitgoo Dog Harness is a versatile harness that helps prevent pulling and has ample padding making it comfortable for your pooch (view at Amazon). The reflective stitching is an added safety feature for evening walks.
For more stubborn pullers, the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness features a unique front loop that prevents twisting and turning on your walks (view at Chewy).
What to Look for in a Dog Harness
When it comes to selecting a dog harness, keep these factors in mind:
First and foremost, a harness must fit your dog properly. A too-small harness can chafe your pup and if it’s too big, they may be able to escape it. You’ll want to measure them according to the manufacturer’s suggestion to order the corresponding size. Most harnesses are adjustable with room for growth. You’ll know the harness is properly sized and fitted if you can slip two fingers between it and your dog.
The best harnesses are made of durable materials such as nylon or polyester. You’ll want a stainless steel, aluminum, or other type of metal loop for attaching the leash. Reflective night stitching is a nice addition for those who walk their dogs in the dark (which is almost everyone in the winter months).
Where the Leash Attaches
Harnesses will either have a chest loop or a back loop where you can attach your leash. A chest loop is better for leash training and dogs that pull, while a back loop works for calmer dogs.
Harnesses come in a range of colors and finishes. In addition to picking one that appeals to you, consider what size and shape will best fit your individual dog. If you have a dog that’s skittish about having things put over their head, look for a harness that fastens around the back.
Is a dog harness better than a collar?
Harnesses are a better choice than a collar for most dogs. Because they go around the dog’s chest and back and behind their front legs, they won’t choke a dog who pulls like a collar would. Harnesses also provide you with better leverage to control a large dog or a dog who likes to pull.
How do you measure a dog for a harness?
You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for measuring for a harness. In general, you’ll measure your dog’s neck circumference and chest girth with a tape measure to find their size.
How do you prevent pulling with a harness?
If you’re purchasing a harness to stop your pup from pulling on a walk, you’ll definitely want to select one with a chest loop attachment for the leash. The placement helps to gently correct by pulling your pup to the side if they get too far out ahead of you.
Why Trust the Spruce?
This roundup was written by Anne Fritz, who has been researching pet products for The Spruce for more than two years. Before writing this article, she gathered information from customer reviews, third-party articles, and brand websites' details. She has a fetching Awoo Roam Harness for her 10-year old mixed breed who is past his pulling days.