Are you dreading walking your dog a little bit because he or she pulls and lunges? A harness can make walking your dog easier on you — and your pup. You gain better control over a puller or exuberant dog and relieve their neck from pressure that can harm their muscles or tracheal. If you are harness shopping, you have lots of great options. There seems to be a design for every kind of scenario. Some feature padding, no-pull front leash attachment points, or reflective strips. So which one is perfect for you? Because of all the different harness types, StudyFinds compiled the best dog harnesses according to experts in a handy top five list. You’ll be sure to find your best match here!
Dogs are highly intelligent pets. Researchers from Dalhousie University in Canada discovered that the average dog knows around 89 words and phrases. However, the smartest dogs respond to over 200 words! According to the study, the most responsive dog breeds include the Australian shepherd, border collie, German shepherd, bichon crise, cavalier king Charles spaniel, and Chihuahua. Conversely, popular breeds like the beagle and boxer actually finished among the dogs with the smallest vocabularies. The researchers further found that the common commands are among the words a dog will most likely know. These include “sit,” “come,” “down,” “stay,” “wait,” “no,” “OK,” and “leave it.” But most frequently, dogs respond to their names, the researchers noted. If only that meant they always listen…
The List: Best Dog Harnesses, According to Experts
1. Ruffwear Front Range Dog Harness
Seven out of ten experts recommend the Ruffwear Front Range Harness and out of those seven, two say it’s the best harness you can currently buy. One of them is the expert at The Dog Outdoors, pointing out that this is an “everyday harness constructed for walks around the neighborhood or the toughest mountain trail.”
The Spruce also is a big fan of this harness, calling it the “best overall:” “The well-constructed harness has two leash connection points: a beefy aluminum V-ring on the back and a reinforced webbing loop on the chest to correct pulling […]. The harness is suitable for daily walks, easy to wipe clean, and durable enough to handle most outdoor activities. For low-light adventures, the built-in 360-degree reflective piping keeps your dog more visible to other humans you come across. And for additional safety, there is an ID pocket where you can stash your contact information as a backup to their collar with tags.”
Because it’s easy to use, comfortable, and comes in many sizes, “the Front Range is a perfect go-to harness for any dog,” states The Dog People. “It slips over your dog’s neck, and with one sturdy clip, you’re ready to go. The softly padded chest provides comfort and a secure fit, and its rugged materials keep it safe in all weather.”
2. 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness
The 2 Hounds harness also got seven out of ten recommendations, but holds no “best overall” title. Nevertheless, it comes with some great features — including “a chewing warranty, so customers can ship their used harnesses back to the brand in exchange for replacements,” says The Strategist.
While this harness comes in many sizes, iHeartDogs loves it for big pups: “If you have a large dog, you’ll love the control the 2 Hounds Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness offers. This harness provides sizing to fit dogs with a chest circumference of up to 44 inches and down to 14-inch chests. The straps adjust in four places allowing for an optimal fit to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Plus, you can help your pup learn leash manners because this harness offers leash attachments on the back and chest. As veterinarians and trainers recommend, this provides better training control. And 2 Hounds designed this harness to be durable with quality nylon and stainless steel hardware.”
Wirecutter also recommends this harness for large dogs: “The 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness is the harness we recommend for dog owners who want greater control over a rambunctious or large dog. It has a belly strap behind the armpits and a horizontal attachment point along the lower chest […] rather than at the neck. That lower attachment point grants dog owners greater control over their pets because it more evenly distributes the force of a dog’s movement. Or, if you prefer, you can use the back attachment ring for a traditional walking experience.”
3. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness
Six out of ten experts recommend Kurgo’s Tru-Fit harness. It’s Wirecutter‘s favorite thanks to its comfort: “The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness stands out in part because it has a vest shape that doesn’t constrict a dog’s neck like a traditional harness does when someone tugs on the leash to get the dog’s attention away from, for example, a dashing rabbit or an enticing scent. And this harness is made of tough, durable materials that won’t easily pill, tear against sharp dog nails, or fray from normal pulling and play.”
The Kurgo Tru-Fit is another harness that’s great for large dogs (our experts like the Puppia Soft Harness for small dogs, but it didn’t make the list). “The last thing you want to worry about on a walk is whether the harness will withstand the journey,” knows Insider about walking “an 80-pounder.” “Kurgo approaches this problem right: Its vest-style Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness is constructed with rip-stop fabric, heavy-duty stitching, and strong D-rings at the chest and back for connecting the leash. It also has a padded chest plate that can be fit snugly at four different adjustment points, two at the neck and two at the chest.” However, this model isn’t necessarily a no-pull harness: “Although the Kurgo Tru-Fit Harness has a front leash clip, this isn’t our first choice as an anti-pull harness because the vest is prone to shifting and riding up on some dogs.”
A neat bonus of this harness is that it can be used to secure your dog in the car. “The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is a solid choice for large dogs that need to be restrained while in the car. It comes with a sewn loop of webbing and carabiner expressly for that purpose, which you can girth hitch to a rear seatbelt, and also has a no-pull clip-in point on the front for added options,” writes GearLab.
4. Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness
Number four on this list is another Ruffwear harness. The Web Master “is a supportive, multi-use harness built for maneuvering and assisting dogs up and over obstacles,” which makes it a good choice for older dogs — or working dogs. As The Dog Outdoors points out, its “thin, durable foam provides support without hindering range of motion and a platform for attaching patches and signage for working dogs.”
“Older dogs still enjoy walks in the woods or on the trails, even if outings need to be a bit shorter and slower. For taking your elderly friend hiking, it can be beneficial to have a dog harness with a big handle to give them an assist when they need it […]” knows GearLab. For active seniors, “the Ruffwear Web Master features a vertically oriented suitcase-style handle so you can help Fido out when he or she needs it, and Ruffwear also adds an extra strap under the belly to assist in the weight distribution when being helped.”
While it’s great for senior dogs, this harness isn’t exclusively for them, Insider mentions: “The Ruffwear Web Master is made for comfortable everyday wear for dogs of all abilities. Foam padding is sewn into the panel that rests on your dog’s spine and on two of the adjustable straps. Reflective material lines the edges of the harness, and the leash clips to a sturdy aluminum ring on top. The flexible and lightweight harness can be easily adjusted in five places to accommodate all ranges of mobility. But it’s the reinforced, padded handle at the top that really makes a difference for pups with special needs.”
5. Tie: Rabbitgoo Dog Harness AND PetSafe 3-in-1 Harness
“The reasonably priced Petsafe 3-in-1 is the best dog harness” according to Insider, “because it works well for both dogs that pull on leash and confident loose-leash walkers. […] When the leash is clipped to the D-ring at the chest for use with dogs that pull, the 3-in-1’s V-strap design won’t restrict the movement of their front legs. When attached to the D-ring on the back, the harness is great for walking or jogging with dogs that do not pull on leash or for safely attaching a long line for recall practice.”
The Petsafe 3-in-1 harness “comes in four sizes and has five adjustable buckles to tighten or loosen it at different points. It has a top-mounted handle for extra control, front and back metal rings for leash hookup, and reflective stitching for safety, and it comes with an adjustable car-control strap to keep your pup seated when you’re driving,” adds The Strategist.
You might also like:
- The Spruce
- The Dog Outdoors
- The Dog People
- Good Housekeeping
- The Strategist
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.