Not every dog is suited to wearing a collar and lead, especially if they are prone to pulling a lot while out on a walk. Instead, a harness can provide them with a lot more comfort, as well as give you extra control when your dog sees something particularly exciting.
Dogs with broad chests like Akitas, Boxers, Basset Hounds, and German Shepherds tend to really benefit from harnesses too, so it’s something that you should consider carefully.
Whether you are looking to try a harness out, or you already know it’s the best choice for your pooch, we have gathered the best dog harnesses along with the relevant dog harness reviews, so you can make an informed choice when you go to buy.
How to Choose a Dog Harness
It’s not always easy to choose a dog harness, after all, there are so many on the market that you can choose from. In this section, we look at some of the criteria that will help you to know how to choose the perfect harness for your dog.
The first thing to look at is how much you are willing to spend. There can be quite a range of prices for harnesses, especially if you select a model from a designer band, so setting a budget will really help you to narrow down your options.
The size of your chosen harness is incredibly important. After all, you need to make sure it will fit your dog comfortably.
After all, there is no such thing as a one size fits all option for your dog. Take precise measurements and compare them with those given in the sizing guide for your chosen harness.
The size is key – you don’t want to find that it is too small and cutting into your dog’s skin, or so big that it slides off them.
A harness that is adjustable is also a good thing to have. This means you can change the tightness around the shoulders and chest area.
This can help to prevent uncomfortable digging into the skin, but also ensures that the harness is tight enough to keep hold of them if they decide to pull hard or struggle.
Padding is an absolute must for dogs who pull a lot or if you plan on them wearing the harness for prolonged periods of time (such as hiking or long walks).
The padding prevents rubbing against their skin, providing some additional comfort for your dog, as well as preventing irritation and potential sores.
Typically, you will find the padding across the chest area as well as the shoulders, as these are the areas that suffer the most strain when pulling.
As always, the reviews can tell you a lot about a product. While it is always wise to take them (good and bad) with a pinch of salt, knowing what others customers thought and experienced is a great way to help you make up your mind when deciding if it’s the right one for you.
So, when you go to choose a harness, make sure you check out the reviews before you buy.
Things to Look for
There are a few additional features to consider when it comes to choosing a harness for your dog. The first of these is whether or not there is a handle attached to the harness.
This is a useful feature for incredibly powerful dogs that need a little extra strength to hold, but it also assists in the training process for those who are just learning how to behave and is an alternative to a dog barking collar.
The front clip makes an excellent alternative to the usual clip that rests around the shoulder area.
They offer a little extra control, as well as improved steering when it comes to telling your dog where it needs to go. Plus, it helps to stop encouraging the act of pulling due to the front lead.
Some harnesses will also feature reflective strips. This is especially useful if you will be walking at night and need to ensure that your dog is visible to road users when you are on your way home or just setting out for your walk.
It keeps them safe, but also helps you to find them if they wander off or get lost in the dark.
Now all that’s left is for you to choose the perfect model for you. Take a look at our dog harness reviews below.
What Makes a No Pull Harness Different?
The main thing that makes a no pull harness different from a regular one is the strap that goes across their chest. It can also be referred to as a chest-led harness, and you will often find a clip on both the chest strap and the one that goes across the dog’s shoulders.
The reason these are used to help eliminate pulling is because a dog’s centre of gravity is located at their chest, and so when they go to pull with this form of harness on, they are unable to and will simply turn around or stop. They don’t cause any pain or discomfort, and act as a great training aid.
Harness or Collar?
This is a hotly debated topic, and one that sees pet parents everywhere solidly divided on the issue. There are situations where one works better than the other, but in this section, we are going to take you through the basics to see which one is the best choice for your dog – a harness or a collar?
If you have a dog that is very well trained, rarely pulls, or goes for shorter walks, a collar is usually a good choice to make. They can also be easier for attaching ID tags in case your dog goes missing.
Some rescue dogs (or those that are typically nervous) are better suited to wearing collars than harnesses because they cause them less stress. If your dog needs training or pulls a lot, a harness is a better choice because it does not push on the neck.
Instead, it presses against the chest which does not cause any discomfort, and instead lets them know that they are pulling too much. They also tend to give you more control over your dog, and are very well suited to those that are quite large and strong – thus needed that extra level of control.
Some dogs will find a collar more comfortable than a harness, and others will be the complete opposite. It is all about finding something that works for you and your dog.
Hopefully, the little tips above have given you some food for thought when deciding what’s going to be the best decision. Below, you can find out more about measuring your dog for a harness, as well as the fitting process.
How to Measure Your Dog for a Harness
Before you start, you are going to need the following in order to get an accurate measurement for your dog’s new harness:
- A tape measure
- Your dog’s weight
- A pen and paper
Step One: Measuring
For this step, you need to take the tape measure and use it to measure the broadest part of your dog’s chest – usually the area right behind the armpits.
Wrap it over the back and ensure it is snug, but not too tight, and record the measurement. Some manufacturers will also want you to measure their neck and body length as well, so make sure you double check things before you buy.
Step Two: Calculating
Write down the measurements and the weight of your dog and use it for reference when you are buying the harness. The weight helps to determine the comfort and strength of the harness, and this is why it is an important feature.
Step Three: Picking the Harness
The harness that you choose should be around two inches larger than your measurements, allowing for a comfortable gap and enough room for adjustment if it is needed in the future.
If your dog is between sizes, you should always go for the larger one as it can be adjusted whereas the smaller one cannot.
When the harness is on, you can check for the tightness by sliding two fingers underneath. If they fit comfortably, the harness is a good size, but if it is tight, it is likely the same for your dog.
How to Fit a Dog Harness
Fitting the actual harness can be a little tricky at first, especially as they often feel much more complex than a standard collar.
However, there is no need to fear as we have not only grabbed an excellent video guide for you, but also a quick step-by-step to ensure that you feel comfortable getting the harness on your dog.
As you can see from the above video, there are five main types of harness on the market. The step-by-step guide in the video has been sourced to help you realise that there doesn’t always have to be a lot of hassle when you actually go to put the harness on.
Just to recap quickly for you, these are the five forms of harness you are most likely to come across (with a few diagrams to give you a visual reminder):
Dual Strap Harness
Chest Plate Harness
Why is it important to know how to fit a harness though? The main reason is your dog’s comfort, as a harness that has not been secured properly or is too tight may cause them to pull more in an effort to readjust things – leading you to think that they are just misbehaving.
It could also rub against their chest and underarms, causing soreness and irritation over time. Putting a harness on incorrectly can cause the dog’s gait to become restricted, resulting in the muscles becoming tighter – causing them severe discomfort as well as structural imbalance if left as it is.
Similarly, if you don’t make sure that you get the sizing correct, there is the risk of them slipping out of the harness, risking their safety and increasing the risk of them running away or becoming lost – especially if spooked.
Best Dog Harness Reviews UK - Comparison Table
Hopefully, this guide has given you some help when it comes to choosing a harness for your dog. With such a wide range to choose from, you are sure to find a harness type that suits what you are looking for.
Whether you want something sweet and stylish, or solid and functional, there is something here that will work for you.
Of course, with so many different types, it’s impossible to discern which is the best dog harness, but each of the ones we have picked is certainly top in the categories.
What did you think of our dog harness selection? Are there any that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so feel free to leave us a message in the comments below.