According to the American Kennel Club, using a collar alone to walk your dog could end up resulting in "back pain, throat damage, and other discomfort[s]." By contrast, harnesses tend to be more comfortable, offer more security and control and (in conjunction with proper training) can even help curb leash-reactive behaviors, like pulling. If you have adopted a furry, four-legged friend and you're still using a collar alone to walk them, it might be time for a change.
Unfortunately, the market is awash with seemingly hundreds of dog harness options, and it can be extremely difficult to tell which ones are worth your money and the cheap, rip-off imposters. However, since we know you love your pup(s) just as we do, we've done the digging and a good deal of firsthand testing to help pare down the many, many options out there. And we've narrowed them down to the following collection of the best dog harnesses for any dog. Big or small, old or still a puppy, city-bound or trail-ready, you'll find the perfect harness for your dog right here.
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Thankfully, our testers are also largely dog owners — with a multitude of canines of varying sizes, shapes, ages, activity and energy levels, etc. So, over the course of several months, we had them utilize these harnesses — some for daily walks, others for outdoor adventure and a few for both — to see if they could stand up to regular and, in some cases, heavy usage. We've also taken into account the dogs' comfort levels, the durability of the fabrics, the ease of use (especially regarding putting them on and taking them off, as well as adjustments) and more.
With a lightweight construction of durable-as-hell ripstop nylon, a slim overall profile for added comfort without sacrificing on security, a debris-resistant liner, easy strap adjustments, a collection of handsome colorways and more, Ruffwear has clearly set a high bar with the aptly-named Hi and Light dog harness. This offering is exemplary of what dog harnesses should be and further solidifies Ruffwear's status as one of the best makers of dog gear around. You're going to love it and so will your dog.
There is a lot to love about Ruffwear's Front Range dog harness. For starters, it comes from a brand that's beloved by dog owners around the world. It also has a durable yet lightweight and breathable construction consisting of ripstop polyester, closed-cell foam, nylon and aluminum. Pair that with reflective accents, two attachment points (one on the back and one on the front, with the latter perfect for leash-reactive pups), four adjustment points for the perfect fit and rear-mounted clips that don't get mucked up quite as bad as belly-clipped competitors, you've got one of the most formidable all-around options available perhaps ever. If your dog needs one solid harness for all your activities (and you don't mind the relatively high price point), this is likely it.
With sizing that goes down to XXXS, a comfortable and breathable mesh exterior with a soft lining and a very easy step-in single-buckle closure, this might be the perfect daily walk-ready harness for small dogs. It's fairly no-nonsense and certainly budget-friendly, which makes it approachable and accessible, as well. While we wouldn't necessarily recommend it for outdoor activities like hiking and camping (the fabric just isn't durable enough for heavy-duty usage), it certainly gets the job done for city and suburban walks and some light off-road adventuring.
With a very simple three-strap format, a front-mounted D-ring leash clip (which deters leash-reactive behaviors, like yanking), dual release clips (for easy on and off), this might be the best no-nonsense harness for larger dogs. And that makes sense since it was designed by an actual veterinary behaviorist. However, if you have a smaller breed (even one as small as, say, a chihuahua), the size options run the gamut — so you can still pick this one if you like its simplicity.
If you spend a lot of time near bodies of water or out on boats and you like to bring your dog along with you, a traditional harness probably isn't going to do the trick. This one, however, is actually a bonafide life jacket, meaning it will give your pup some extra buoyancy if they happen to take a dip. While we probably wouldn't recommend it outside of seafaring usage, you could clip your leash to the rescue straps for those long walks down the pier. And, though it's perhaps obvious, it must be noted: this option could actually save your dog's life.
There are some types of dogs that, through selective breeding, have been specialized to help out with tasks. And while you might not be a farmer in need of a shepherd, you might still have one of these workhorse breeds. If you do, you might want to actually put them to work with the Kurgo Dog Saddlebag Backpack, which is part harness, part pack. It still has a leash attachment (which doubles as a bottle opener) and benefits from reflective trim, a heavy-duty handle, tough-as-nails materials and more. Especially for hiking and camping trips, this is a superb option.
Obviously, with its colorways and designs, this dog harness looks like it was made to take into the great outdoors. Well, guess what? Its durable materials, superb stitching, reflective accents, dual D-ring attachment points (one at the front and one at the back) and quartet of adjustable straps mean that it's exactly tough and capable enough for outdoor usage. In fact, that's precisely what Wilderdog made it for. As if that's not enough, the brand also donates a portion of profits to animals in need in the form of dog food for shelters — so buying this harness also means you'll, by proxy, be doing some good. And that's not for nothing.
Interestingly, the Kurgo Journey Air is actually a follow-up to the brand's Journey dog harness. If you're assuming the "Air" in the name refers to the fact that they made it even more lightweight and streamlined, you'd be exactly correct. In fact, the brand says they took everything about the original and made it better. That includes things like swapping the hardware for rustproof, ultralight aluminum, adding a little more padding for additional comfort and more. It also features reflective accents, four adjustment points, dual leash attachment points (front and back) and much more. If you have a speed demon dog that never wants to slow down, this is the perfect harness.
Let's just put this out there: not all animals are adopted exclusively for companionship. Some, in fact, have very important jobs as service animals, helping their owners live a more comfortable, accessible life. It's for these dogs that we've picked this service dog harness. It's crafted from double-stitched nylon for durability, comes with two removable "Service Dog" patches, has a large control handle (bigger and tougher than handles on most other harnesses) and comes with a 50-pack of ADA cards (for sharing service animal information).
Generally speaking, just about any harness can be clipped to a seatbelt attachment if you have the right accessories. However, this one from Kurgo is actually crash-tested and was specifically designed with car rides in mind. And that makes this the perfect harness for anyone that likes to take road trips with their dog. Along with its five adjustment points, D-ring attachment points (both front and back), dual colorways and five available sizes, this harness also comes with a carabiner accessory made to work with literally any seatbelt — so you can feel confident about your canine's car safety.
Leash reactive behaviors are extremely common amongst dogs of all breeds and sizes, but these behaviors can also be dangerous for both you and your dog. If you're trying to train your dog to chill out a little while you go on walks, a no-pull harness might be a good investment — like this one from 2 Hounds Design. A true "set it and forget it" harness, this one comes with a patented control loop to help keep your rowdy pup in line, thus keeping you both out of harm's way. It's also comfortable, lightweight and made in the USA.
If you were already aware that Carhartt, one of the most legendary names in workwear, makes dog gear, it should probably come as no surprise to see one of the brand's harnesses on this list. Even if you don't care about the clout of the Carhartt name, this is still a worthwhile harness for its rock-solid 500D nylon canvas construction — which is built to take a licking and keep on ticking. It's also equipped with neoprene pads for your pup's comfort, reflective accents for low-light safety, a trio of adjustment points, wear-resistant edge binding and so much more.
With its remarkably clean design, eleven available colorways, quartet of sizes and a bunch of available matching accessories (like leashes, toys, poop bag holders, etc.), Wild One's simply-named Dog Harness is one of the most beautiful, luxurious options available on the market. But the real kicker is that, despite its elevated styling, it actually isn't all that expensive — clocking in at just $48. Sure, it's not a bargain piece, but it's definitely more affordable than we would have believed when we first laid eyes upon it. If you (and your dog) are big into style and design, this is probably the harness for you. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it is also well-built, comfortable and resilient.
Give your furry four-legged friend(s) a proper place to rest, just like you would any other family member.