Which Dog Harness To Choose?

There are so many choices when it comes to dog harnesses these days and it can all be a bit confusing for buyers. Here we try to cut through the noise and offer sound advice for anyone looking to buy a dog harness for a puppy or adult dog.....and remember to take a look at our video page and in particular the 'Which harness to choose' video. We also have reviews and demonstrations of our harnesses on the video page.

We'll break this down into lifestyle and some breed and sizing scenarios to get you started. You can then take a look at the different ranges and decide for yourself.

Is your dog a puppy or fully grown?

This will determine if you need to look at a small harness, a starter harness, one designed for a puppy or small dog, or one that will still offer adjustment when your dog is full size. If your dog is still growing, then you'll need to allow for this. If you have a puppy weighing 2 kilos now and it is going to be 12-15 kgs when it is fully grown, then it is very unlikely (actually almost impossible) to get a harness that is going to fit full term. If you have a very young puppy, which is probably going to grow very quickly, it is much better to choose a harness to test - one that is inexpensive to use and simple to put on and take off.

Choices for small breed puppies

Something like a starter harness will do the job for a few weeks or even months (depending on how quickly your dog will grow) and will allow you to put on and take off the harness quickly so you cut down on accidents! These harnesses have an adjustment range of 26-52 cms around the chest/rib cage and covers sizes x small to x large. There is also the added bonus of lead, which is included in the price.

Another harness to look at could be something like a standard mesh harness. This type of harness has a fixed hole for the head (it cannot be adjusted) but is cheap to buy and offers an adjustable strap around the rib cage. These are really good for puppies and small dogs.These harnesses have an adjustment range of 28-74 cms around the chest/rib cage and covers sizes x small to x large.

Choices for larger breed puppies

If you have a larger puppy then a quick fit step in harness is a good choice. These harnesses can be fitted in seconds - you simply put your dog's feet in the two holes, bring the straps together around the sides of your dog's body and clip in. They are slightly padded and reflective and offer a good level of adjustment. In all cases, makes sure that you always check the size guides available on the individual product pages before buying.

Fully grown dogs

When we get onto dogs that have no more growing room, it gets a little easier. All you need to remember is the fact that there are several choices in terms of style and fit and you should always choose a harness that is going to last and will be fit for your particular purpose. Here are a few suggestions.

No Pull harnesses

If your dog pulls then you may want to consider a no pull option. The only thing that determines whether a harness is no pull or not, is usually down to the fact that it has two lead attachment points - one at the top (on the dog's shoulders) and one at the front, on the dog's chest. You can choose to clip a standard lead to one or the other but an additional training aid is a double ended lead. This can help with your training and can be attached the top and front clip simultaneously.

When your dog pulls forward, the front part of a double ended lead goes tight and turns your dog to the side in a gentle action. This throws it off from going forward and with some good training and positive reinforcement (when your dog finally walks nicely) a double ended lead can be a really useful training tool when used in combination with a good harness.

Everyday harnesses

Now remember, all of the no pull options can be used as everyday harnesses. This is because you have two lead attachment points on a no pull harness and you can choose to use the top clip only and attach a standard lead if you wish to do so.

Basically, this is any harness that is suitable for everyday use - a harness you can just put on and you know it is going to last and can put up with the rigours of everyday walking. For that reason we have not included the starter puppy harnesses in this category.

All everyday harnesses will have a top clip where you can attach a lead. This is located around the dog's upper back close to the shoulders and is the standard attachment point for almost all harnesses on the market.

Which harness you choose depends on the size of your dog and also if it requires a more robust harness with padding, a lightweight or lower profile harness and if it is very active in places like rivers and the sea. Here are a few recommendations and we list their main attributes.

Reflective front and top clip / no pull

Our best seller and for good reason. It is a padded, robust harness suitable for dogs that pull and those that don't. It is suitable for all but the smallest of dogs and are designed from small Terrier and up. The smallest size is good for a small Jack Russell and the largest will fit a Leonberger.



Buy it if - you want a hard wearing, padded and robust harness with a handle and reflective properties. Can also be used with a standard or double ended lead.

Adjustment points - Neck and rib cage/chest straps. The neck is a closed loop and will be placed over the dog's head.

Suitable for - small terrier to very large dog breeds. Please check size guide before ordering.

Size range (around girth of rib cage/chest, behind front legs) - 33 - 107 cms

This harness is also available in a quick release neck version. This means that you simply unclip the neck and put it around your dog's neck instead of over its head.



Lightweight / reflective / no pull

Another reflective option, with a little less padding and weight. It is still in the 'robust range' and can also be used as a no pull harness. The smallest size is good for a small to medium terrier and the largest will fit a Leonberger or large German Shepherd.



Buy it if - you want a padded harness with a little less weight.

Adjustment points - Neck and rib cage/chest straps. The neck is a closed loop and will be placed over the dog's head.

Suitable for - small to medium terrier to very large dog breeds. Please check size guide before ordering.

Size range (around girth of rib cage/chest, behind front legs) - 38 - 106 cms.

Comfy / everyday / super lightweight 

A no nonsense, super light option suitable for small terriers to larger breeds.

Buy it if - you want a low profile, very light option. It also comes with a top clip and front attachment point.

Adjustment points - Neck and rib cage/chest straps. The neck is a closed loop and will be placed over the dog's head.

Suitable for - small to medium terrier to large dog breeds. Please check size guide before ordering. This harness dries quickly and as it is low profile it is less likely to become snagged on branches, bushes etc. It is a great choice for active dogs, working dogs or gun dogs or those who like to get wet.

Size range (around girth of rib cage/chest, behind front legs) - 43 - 107 cms.

Quick Fit / Step in harness 

A super quick harness to put on and to take off. A no nonsense, padded option suitable for small terriers to larger breeds.



Buy it if - you want a low profile, very light option. It also comes with a top clip and front attachment point.

Adjustment points - Front and back straps, either side of shoulders/legs. Adjustment buckles can actually be pushed into padded material for even more adjustment. The neck is formed when the two strap clips come together and form the lead attachment point.

Suitable for - very small to large dog breeds. Please check size guide before ordering. This harness is suitable for a small dog like a Chihuahua all the way up to a large Spaniel or medium sized Labrador. As this does not go over the dog's head this may suit dogs that are sensitive to things being placed over their heads.

Size range (around girth of rib cage/chest, behind front legs) - 28 - 94 cms.

Running / hiking / climbing harnesses

In this range, it is all about having a secure fit, as well as being light and agile enough to compliment the active nature of the dogs suitable to wear this type of harness.

Running / hiking / no escape 

A very light harness which is the bigger brother of the comfy, super lightweight harness. It has a good, secure fit around three points and leaves enough room for shoulders when running.

Buy it if - you want a lower profile harness, which fastens at three different points. If you have a larger dog that likes to run, this is a good, very light option. As the lower back strap is so far back it makes it almost impossible for a dog to back out and escape from this harness.

Adjustment points - Neck, rib cage/chest and lower back straps. The neck is a closed loop and will be placed over the dog's head. You can fine tune the fit in all three spots.

Suitable for - small to medium terrier to large dog breeds - especially breeds with longer bodies and/or deep chests like Greyhounds, Whippets, Pointers and Lurchers. Please check size guide before ordering. This harness dries quickly and as it is low profile it is less likely to become snagged on branches, bushes etc.

Size range (around girth of rib cage/chest, behind front legs) - 43 - 107 cms