If you’ve had enough of your dog pulling on the leash, check out our guide to no-pull dog harnesses. With three leading designs and must-read advice, it’s got all you need to know!
If you’re fed-up with your dog pulling you around the park or sidewalk, a harness could help you to regain control. Although it’s not a magic solution, for many dog-owners a harness is far preferable than the traditional collar.
Just like a collar, a harness clips onto the leash and is made up of several straps which loop around your dog’s body, typically using snap buckles.
Different styles are available so it’s possible to pick a harness which best suits the shape and weight of your pooch. There are also designs which specialize in a particular function, such as anti-pull harnesses.
If you’re still in two minds about the benefits of a harness and how it could help, you’re in luck. This handy guide looks at how to use a harness on your dog as well as some of the best ones to buy.
Dive right in and in next to no time, you and your furry friend could be enjoying much more relaxed walks.
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The Top Harnesses Compared
Before we get onto our in-depth reviews of each product, see how they compare in the comparison table below.
OUR TOP PICK
Julius-K9 Power Harness
-Breathable, skin-friendly inner lining
Ruffwear All-Day Harness
- Sturdy and lightweight nylon material
- Robust woven straps adapted from mountaineering technology
Hurtta Active Harness
- Adjustable collar and chest strap ensure a comfortable fit
No-Pull Dog Harness Reviews
Take a closer look at the three harnesses that we recommend over all others.
We'll start with our favourite.
OUR TOP PICK
Julius-K9 Power Harness for Dogs
The Julius-K9 162PO K9 Power Harness is one that’s extremely popular with larger dogs, but it’s also available in smaller sizes too.
This means that if you’ve got a spaniel or similar-sized pet, you should be able to find a suitable size to fit. It’s also available in puppy sizes so you can start off your life together on the right foot - quite literally.
On first appearance, the Julius-K9 looks almost like a saddle but we promise you, it’s not intended to provide a ride! Instead, it provides a wide and comfortable fit that sits over the top of the back, delivering support without digging into your dog’s skin.
The design of the harness is deliberately sturdy so that it’s capable of holding even large dogs such as Newfoundlands. A ring on the top allows the leash to be easily attached for maximum convenience.
There’s also a handle on the top which is adjustable; this is a useful feature if you need to control your dog more firmly, or for additional support when lifting him.
Of course, if you’ve got a larger hound you’re unlikely to be picking him up too often unless you’ve got the muscles of Hulk!
The harness is made from a waterproof fabric which has an inner, breathable layer that won’t rub or irritate the skin. This ensures that your furry friend will be comfortable even in warm or wet weather. The outer layer is scratch-proof to help keep the harness in tip-top condition even with repeated use.
The whole thing comes together with a belly strap that’s secured with a heavy-duty plastic buckle. Across the chest there’s a hook and loop fastening which is adjustable for a snug fit. The chest strap also has a reflective strip for added safety during the dark. Dogs need walking on those dark winter evenings too after all!
The Julius-K9 is strong enough to support attachments and offers the capability to add a torch and saddlebags. If you’re planning on a spot of extreme dog-walking, this harness fits the bill but it’s just as good for peace of mind while you’re walking around the park.
This harness is a high-quality product and delivers flawless design with a reliable performance. As well as giving you control and peace of mind, your pooch will feel comfortable too.
The harness has been deliberately designed to sit comfortably across the dog’s back and won’t put stress on the neck while you’re walking. A balanced load distribution is the secret to its success and just one of the reasons why this is such a popular choice.
The final killer point is the hook and eye patches across the sides of the harness. Although your main priority will be comfort and control, we think it’s pretty cool that you can customize the harness with patches too.
Ruffwear All Day Adventure Harness
Ruffwear is a brand that’s perhaps best known for its outdoorsy gear for dogs, and this harness is another addition for pooches that like to be active.
This harness is available in six different colors and Ruffwear also sell matching leashes for dog owners who like to co-ordinate their accessories.
The All Day Adventure Harness is designed to be worn for long periods, allowing owners and their dogs to escape and enjoy a day away from the city. This means that comfort is key because even the slightest irritation can become a big problem when worn for long periods.
The good news is that comfort is one of the best features of this Ruffwear design; this is primarily due to the clever system that delivers a close fit. If you’ve been frustrated with harnesses in the past that lift and curl up, the four-point fitting of this design will be a complete revelation.
To put the harness on, first loosen all of the straps and then slip it over your dog’s head. If you haven’t loosened the straps first, you might think the harness looks too small so don’t forget this step! The logo side should be facing up.
Clip the side buckles together first and then adjust the straps to fit, not forgetting the ones which go under your dog’s belly.
With all the straps clipped securely and the straps adjusted in all four places, the harness should be close and comfortable with no slippage points. You’ll need to make sure you’ve ordered the right size of course and to do this, you’ll have to measure the girth.
This is the widest part of the rib cage. This harness is possibly more suited to smaller dogs but does go right up to large sizes too. The range begins with the XXS which has a girth of 13-17 inches and goes up to L/XL and 32-42 inches.
When your dog is in a standing position, the harness straps come up over the ribcage in a straight line without rubbing the armpits or the legs. The top section is padded for extra comfort but it’s also fairly narrow, allowing a complete range of motion and no restriction at the shoulders.
The harness is made from a durable woven material which is lightweight and strong. The straps are inspired by mountaineering technology, offering a strength even for dogs which like to really pull.
The webbing on the chest is reinforced to provide greater support and there are two rings for leash attachments, one on the front and one on the back.
The front attachment helps to control the dog without straining the neck. For this reason, it’s a good choice for owners looking for an anti pull harness.
A pocket for ID tags is a nice touch that owners will appreciate as it means not having to listen to the irritating jangle of metal tags while you walk! A reflective trim completes the package, helping to keep your pooch easily visible even in low light.
This no-pull dog harness offers a lot more than just encouraging good habits.
It’s great for hiking and wearing for long periods without causing your dog discomfort.
The fit on this harness is simply superb and the only small niggle we can find is that those with really large dogs might prefer a handle as well for extra control.
Hurtta Active Harness
If you liked the look of the Ruffwear harness above, the Hurtta Active Harness is another one which might appeal.
Designed to be lightweight and comfortable for your furry friend, it’s a style that your dog can wear for long hikes and walks.
The exterior of the harness is smooth and scratch-resistant so even if your dog likes to rub up against trees and rocks while you’re out walking, it won’t end up looking ragged.
The chest has reflective patches and the back has reflective piping so it’s a good choice if you regularly walk in low light conditions.
The harness is made from two pieces joined together, a large chest panel and a back panel. These two panels join together are joined with adjustable straps, two of which are at the torso and the other two at the neck.
Unlike many other designs, the straps are made from one continuous loop so there are no dangling ends from various buckles. For dogs which enjoy exploring, this reduces the risk of snagging or getting caught up.
This smooth profile means that the harness can be used with a jacket in colder weather without creating bulkiness or altering the fit of the clothing.
All of the buckles and clips are found on the back of the harness; this is where the leash attaches via a strong D-ring too. There’s a tough woven-fabric handle on the harness; this is useful for situations where you want extra control or restraint. If you’re covering uneven terrain it can also be used to help your dog navigate obstacles more easily.
If you’ve got a smaller dog, it’s important to emphasize that this isn’t a carry handle! Although it might look the perfect size to pick your pooch up it shouldn’t be used to bear the full weight of your dog as it’s not designed to be a full-body harness.
As well as cherry, this Hurtta harness is available in five other colors and a total of five sizes.
The only drawback is that this shape isn’t ideal for dogs with a narrow chest. Many puppies gain length before widening in the chest area while other breeds remain narrow even when fully-grown. This harness has a broad chest piece which makes it unsuitable for these dogs.
However, although this means that not every breed can wear the Hurtta, it does mean that it’s an excellent anti pull dog harness. The broad chest piece is excellent at both preventing your pet from backing out, as well as acting as a non-pull dog harness.
The Hurtta Active Harness is another top pick for dog-owners but it’s essential to consider the shape of your pet as this one certainly won’t fit all.
For those who suit the design, this padded harness offers comfort and won’t chafe even on the longest hikes and walks.
It's also amazing value for money and considerably cheaper than the other harnesses on this list.
A dog harness is a great choice for walking your pet but not all designs will suit every breed. It’s essential to check the key components in each to find the best dog harness for you.
The above three harnesses all offer great value for money and come with a raft of great features so which one should you choose?
Although much depends on the size and breed of your dog, our money goes on the Julius-K9. It's strong enough to hold even the largest dog and doesn’t have a complicated array of buckles and straps to manage.
We like the fact that the Julius-K9 delivers on performance but can be easily customized too with the side patches. The ability to carry a torch and saddlebags is an added bonus too.
However, if you have a smaller dog you might find the Ruffwear harness is a better pick, especially with the multi-point adjustment to make sure there’s a snug fit.
The third harness on the list, the Hurtta has the advantage of being very smooth with few seams; this makes it a good choice for short-haired dogs whose skin is easily irritated.
Although our money is on the Julius-K9, all of the above harnesses offer excellent quality and your four-legged friend will appreciate the comfort.
So without further ado, grab your leash and set off on a new adventure in the big wide outdoors!
No-Pull Dog Harness Buyers’ Guide
An increasing number of dog owners are switching to harnesses because of the superior comfort they offer to their pets, as well as the better control they gain.
A dog harness can encourage even the most excitable pet to walk in the correct position, reducing the constant tugging at the lead and jumping around.
Sizing it right
One of the biggest benefits to a harness is the placement of the straps on your dog.
However, with different shapes and sizes for various breeds, don’t make the mistake of assuming one size will fit all.
Dogs with respiratory problems - such as Boston terriers, pugs, bulldogs and Pekinese - particularly benefit from wearing a harness rather than a collar as it reduces the stress on their windpipe and neck.
Although these brachycephalic breeds will all find harnesses a more comfortable option, it’s still essential to pick the right one.
Look out for harnesses that dogs of the same breed and stature are wearing to get an idea what will suit your pet. Some harnesses fit fairly well right across the range of breeds but it’s not necessarily the case so do remember to check.
If your dog is large and heavy, a bit of extra restraint wouldn’t go amiss so look for a harness with a handle on the top. If you need to keep a tight grip of your pooch, using the handle provides you with the confidence of knowing that they aren’t going anywhere.
Front or back clip?
You’ve probably noticed that some harnesses allow the leash to clip onto the back, while others also offer a second attachment point on the chest. These perform different functions so it’s useful to understand which is which.
Leash clips on the back reduce the pressure on the windpipe and neck, making a better option for short-nosed breeds. If there’s any tension on the leash, the pressure won’t be on the throat and neck.
It is however essential that the chest straps sit comfortably in the correct position. Back clips are also an excellent choice if your dog has a habit of trying to wriggle out of harnesses backwards; this design makes it almost impossible!
A front clip is popular with dog trainers as it’s a useful way of teaching your pooch to walk on the leash properly. Proper training methods are key but if you pull on the leash while walking, a front clip will cause the head of the dog to naturally turn towards you.
This is a useful mechanism and allows you to gain their attention or divert your dog away from something in its path.
Comfort is key
Even if you do a good job on measuring up your dog against the harness when you first make the purchase, don’t forget to check in from time to time.
Dogs can put on or lose weight and pups very quickly grow, so it’s essential to make sure that the harness still offers a good fit. Even if your dog hasn’t changed size, the materials of the harness can stretch and warp over time so don’t assume that the harness will always fit exactly as it did when it was new.
An ill-fitting harness will rub and hurt your dog, but so will a harness that isn’t designed with comfort in mind. Short-haired breeds in particular will feel any strap that chafes or rubs so pay attention to your dog’s demeanor when he’s wearing the harness.
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Choose the features that matter
Other than the basic essentials, there are many features on harnesses so look for those that work for your lifestyle.
Do lots of walking in the evening or at night?
Make sure you pick a harness that’s highly reflective. If you’re more likely to be hiking across countryside, look for a design that’s anti-scratch and has a protective coating; this won’t be as important if your pooch has his daily walks in the local city park.
Harnesses offer lots of benefits to both the owner and the dog, and with the extra features available, it could transform your outdoors adventures.
Why Get a Dog Harness?
Even if your pooch usually walks calmly on the leash, there may be times when there’s a risk of them dashing off.
If a squirrel or a cat crosses your path, your dog could be tempted to race off in hot pursuit, and could damage their windpipe, back or neck in the process.
A non pull dog harness doesn’t just encourage calm walking for those who are prone to tugging at the leash, it can also provide valuable protection for any four-legged friend.
Reducing the strain and tension on vulnerable areas, harnesses distribute the load more evenly and are extremely comfortable for dogs to wear.
If your dog has a tendency to pull at the leash or is nervous while out walking, there are even more benefits to wearing a harness. For some animals, the sensation of the harness on the back is extremely comforting and can help them to relax.
A no pull dog harness also helps to prevent the constant tugging by holding the animal in the correct position while walking. Compared to collars, a harness is extremely difficult to back out of too so nervous dogs will stay firmly by your side!
How to Use a Dog Harness
Using a dog harness can be a bit trickier at first than a standard collar but with a bit of practice you’ll be able to slip your dog in and out of it with your eyes shut (although we don’t recommend it!).
For most designs, it’s better to sit directly behind or slightly to the right rear side of your dog; trying to approach your pooch from the front can get them over-excited.
Once you’re out walking with your dog in the harness, you’ll notice a difference in how it feels. With a wide and distributed load balance, you’ll feel more in control and it’s easier to prevent pulling. You’ll also be removing the possibility of damaging your dog’s neck or windpipe with tugs on the leash.
The handle that many harnesses have on the top provides the ability to restrain or help your dog more easily. If you’ve got an older dog that needs a bit of a helping hand over obstacles, or you simply want to hold your pup close to you to avoid a hazard, the handle can help.
To take a closer look at the features you might see in a harness and how to use them for best effect, here are three of the leading designs in the market.