9 best dog harnesses to buy for 2021 – stop pulling and keep your pet comfy
WHEN owning a dog, you need to walk them all year round so you definitely need to have the best dog harness to do the job.
We've rounded up the best harnesses on the market so you can pick the perfect option for your pooch…
A harness is a tool used to aid a dog owner with walking their dog. It usually goes around the dog's head and covers the back and chest.
Some harnesses are marketed as 'no pull' which refers to dogs who automatically pull their owners around on the lead. However, harnesses are made for pulling so be mindful of this term when buying your dog's harness.
1. Best harness for small dogs: Pets at Home
- Pets at Home Comfort Padded Dog Harness, from £16 at Pets at Home – buy now
This Y-front harness is soft and durable, with padding giving dogs extra comfort. This was tested on a smaller dog and provided them with comfort when they pulled.
It can be fully adjustable depending on your dog's size or how fast it grows—if you're buying for a puppy. It is equipped with a double lead attachment if needed.
It is easy enough to put on, with an over-the-head hole and slots for the dog's front legs.
The harness is available in sizes small (think Bichon frise, Shih Tzus and Jack Russells) through to large (Border Collies, English Bull Terriers, Golden Retrievers and Boxers).
2. Best harness for large dogs: Ancol
- Ancol/Pure Dog Listeners Stop Pulling Dog Training Harness & Lead Set, £17.87 at Amazon – buy now
This harness is a training aid supposed to encourage your dog not to pull on a walk and also walk at the heel. Walking at heel means the dog walks behind you or to your side – rather than in front of you.
The harness was designed by PURE Dog Listeners and comes with a DVD and instructions on how to use it. We tested it with a larger dog – which would be harder to control with a harness – and after a minute of use, the dog walked by our side by the heel. It also comes with a padded strap to help with comfort.
The harness comes with a long lead to help with the instruction—the setup guides a pulling dog around so they are facing the owner. The lead can be fixed either to the left or right depending on which side you would prefer the dog.
The harness comes in sizes small (44 – 54 cm girth) through to extra large (89 – 118 cm girth).
3. Best dog harness for hiking: Ruffwear
- Flagline Dog Harness with Handle, £74.95 from Ruffwear – buy now
This lightweight dog harness might not look like much, but it's great for hiking in the hills and even mountains. We tested this on a larger dog and the fit will well balanced and comfortable.
The handle is padding, meaning it's not going to rub as much on your hand if you need to lift your dog over harder levels of terrain.
It has six points of adjustment to help you get the perfect for your dog. It also has three leash attachment points – one aluminium V-ring and two reinforced webbing loops.
The fabric has a reflective trim for visibility in low-light conditions and the light loop for attaching a light or Ruffwear's The Beacon.
For the price, the harness is well worth it if you're a hiker – but it may be overkill if you're only using it for the everyday walk.
4. Best dog harness for Canicross: Non-stop Dogwear
- Non-stop Dogwear Pro Canicross Kit, £145 from Non-stop Dogwear — buy now
When running or cycling with your dog, you need to make sure you have the right kit. Or it could all go dog-eared. Canicross or Bikejor is a sport all to itself and that's why brand Non-stop has created some of the best harnesses and accessories for it.
We tried the Pro Canicross Kit which comes with a dog harness, bungee lead and a belt. The Freemotion Harness is ideal for those who want to use their dog for pulling activities—at the end of the day that's exactly what a harness is for.
It has been developed by dog drivers that compete at an international level and thus is tested in the field. The harness uses the dog's anatomy to increase performance, keeping the airways free and using the correct pulling points.
The harness comes in eight different sizes from two (Jack Russel Terrier) to nine (Malamute).
5. Best all-rounder dog harness: EzyDog
- EzyDog Chest Plate Dog Harness, from £19.50 from Pets at Home — buy now
This harness is designed differently than others. Ezydog has paid special attention to control and safety in their products, as well as providing exceptional comfort and custom fit.
The chest plate of the harness distributes the load evenly across the dog's chest rather than the throat.The "one-click snap clips" mean that the harness can be put on quickly and with minimal hassle, and the easy-to-adjust straps ensure that a snug, secure fit can be achieved whatever your dog size.
The harness comes with a free car restraint, so you can reduce any in-car distractions whilst in transit.
6. Best dog harness for walking at night: 3 Peaks X Trail Dog Harness
- 3 Peaks X Trail Dog Harness, from £16.50 from Pets at Home – buy now
This harness is a good pick for those who walk their dog very early in the morning or very late at night. The 3 Peaks X Trail dog harness comes with a high visibility trim – making it easier for cars and other walks to see you when it's not light.
This harness is designed to perform in tough outdoor conditions, has a lightweight breathable design, a padded chest plate to ease pressure on the chest and has neck and chest adjustable straps. This ensures optimal comfort while dog walking.
If you need to grab hold of your dog, there is a handle from added control.
7. Best dog harness for customising: Julius K9
- Julius-K9 K9 Powerharness, from £22.25 on Amazon – buy now
Probably one of the best-known brands for dog harnesses, Julius-K9 has a harness for any dog.
The band on the side can be customised with labels depending on what type of dog you have—anxious, a working dog, assistant dog and more. You can also get bags for the harness to help your dog have a workout while having his daily walk.
8. Best dog harness for the fashionable dog owner: Barbour
- Barbour Tartan Dog Harness, from £25 on Pets at Home – buy now
One of the most well-known country aesthetic brands, Barbour has come into the dog world with some stylist harnesses.
Available in sizes small to large, these tartan harnesses come in countryside green and a gorgeous baby pink and purple. However, one word of warning, the sizes to come in on the snug side – we tried this on our large dog and it was very tight.
9. Best dog harness for travelling in the car: Kurgo
- Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength In-Car Safety Dog Harness, from £24 from Pets at Home – buy now
This harness has been crash-tested so you know it will keep you and your dog safe in an accident.
It has an all-steel "Nesting Buckle System," based on the engineering for harnesses used by rock climbers and linesmen. This ensures strength and safety.
The chest pad reduces stress on the trachea and sternum while distributing kinetic energy across the chest of the dog. This is important for dangerous impact crashes. For maximum crash protection, you can use the included carabiner to attach the harness to your car seat belt system.
Sizes come in extra small through to large.
How to put on a dog harness
For many dogs, including those who have been rescued, a harness can seem like a scary piece of equipment. This is why it is important to seek help from a dog trainer if you're struggling to put on a harness.
For those dogs who know their harness means a lush walk in the sunshine, the best way is to slip the harness over the head and gently move the legs into the leg holes. The harness should not be too tight—if you can fit your four fingers between the harness strap and the dog, it's the right fit.
How to measure a dog for a harness
This can vary depending on the brand. For example, some brands will request your dog's weight to ascertain the correct size and some will ask for the dog's girth to be measured.
Taking the measuring tape, you need to follow the instructions provided by the brand.
If your dog is nervous about being measured, seek help from a dog trainer.
Are harnesses bad for dogs?
A harness is a tool that is used for walking a dog. However, some harnesses are not suitable for certain dogs.
Smaller breeds can suffer from the harness strap pushing against their chest.
How to choose a dog harness
Harnesses can be used for different purposes so it's important to choose the right one for you and your dog.
Look for harnesses with a Y-front—this puts less pressure on the chest and doesn't pull on the tracheal. If your dog is doing a lot of pulling, make sure that the harness has comfort straps and that it works with a bungee lead and belt.
Make sure that any harness you buy is the right size by measuring your dog—a tight harness will be uncomfortable for a man's best friend and can cause damage to the chest and tracheal.
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