The 7 Best Dog Harnesses, According to Pet Experts

It's a walk in the park with these harnesses

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When you and your buddy are heading out for a walk, using a harness is safer and more comfortable than just clipping a leash to a collar.

“Harnesses take pressure off their neck and changes where the dog gets resistance from,” says certified dog trainer and animal behaviorist Susie Aga, owner of Atlanta Dog Trainer. Harnesses give you better control and keep your dog from jerking away painfully if they see something tempting that catches their eye, like another dog or a squirrel that darts across your path.

“If your dog doesn’t pull, pretty much any harness will work,” Aga says. “Just make sure it is fitted correctly.” It has to be snug enough that it doesn’t ride up into your dog’s trachea or flop down between your dog’s legs. When in doubt, call or chat with the manufacturer or visit a trainer.

Here are the best dog harnesses:

The Rundown
A durable everyday harness made of rugged ripstop fabric.
Best for Adventures:
Ruffwear Flagline Harness at REI
Rugged wear for hiking with lift handle, reflective trim, and lots of adjustments.
Best for Puppies/Small Dogs:
Puppia Ritefit Harness at Amazon
Soft, mesh harness is breathable and lightweight.
Trainer-recommended harness has two connection points for extra control.
This front-clip harness for dogs that pull is easy to use and comes in eight sizes.
Made of hemp and organic cotton, this simple harness is easy to wash.
One of only three harnesses that passed crash tests by the Center for Pet Safety.

Best Overall: Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness

Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness

Kurgo has lots of harness options, but this is a great basic choice for everyday use. It’s made of rugged ripstop fabric that you can throw in the washer. You can adjust the harness in five places to get a snug, safe, and comfortable fit for nearly any size pup. The padded chest piece keeps your dog’s legs free for easy movement and reduces stress on both the trachea and sternum. There’s a spot to clip the leash in front or on the back.

The harness is available in three colors and five sizes. It fits dogs with chests ranging from 12 to 44 inches, or weighing from about 5 to 110 pounds.

Best for Adventures: Ruffwear Flagline Harness

Ruffwear Flagline Harness

If you and your dog do more than stroll through the neighborhood, Ruffwear has some serious gear for adventuring. The Flagline harness is kind of an updated version of the Web Master harness (view on Amazon), which is very popular with outdoorsy people. It’s longer and lighter and has a front clip as well as the standard clip on the dog’s back.

Both harnesses have a lift-and-assist handle to help you hoist your dog over crevices, creeks, or anywhere else they might need help. This is also handy for older or healing dogs that might need a boost into the car. There are six points of adjustments, three colors, and reflective trim for safety.

Best for Puppies/Small Dogs: Puppia Ritefit Harness

Puppia Ritefit Harness

If your new puppy is just trying to get the hang of the whole walking on a leash thing, this comfortable mesh harness is a great way to make an introduction. The Puppia harness is lightweight, soft, and breathable, moving easily with your puppy without bulky restrictions. It is adjustable around the neck and body, with Velcro and a snap buckle and D-ring to hold a leash.

The harnesses come in five colors and four sizes. Be sure to measure carefully before ordering, to ensure your dog’s head will easily fit through the neck opening.

Best No-Pull: 2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Dog Harness

2 Hounds Design Freedom No Pull Nylon Dog Harness

A favorite of many dog trainers and behaviorists, the Freedom No Pull harness has two connection points. There’s a front clip attachment on the dog’s chest and a martingale loop on the back of the harness. That tightens gently around your dog’s chest, working in conjunction with the front clip. A split leash connects to both places simultaneously for extra control.

The harness has a velvet-like lining to prevent rubbing on your dog’s skin. It sits below the trachea, but above the leg muscles for easy, comfortable movement. We also like that 2 Hounds Design's "EarthStyle" products (view at 2 Hounds Designs), including some Freedom No Pull harnesses, are made with webbing spun from recycled plastic water bottles.

Trainer Tip:

If you have a dog that pulls, certified dog trainer Susie Aga recommends a front-clip harness that attaches at the chest. When your dog pulls, the leash turns your dog around back toward you. Harnesses that have a back clip don’t discourage pulling, she says, pointing out that it’s like sled dogs pulling against their rigging.

However, harnesses aren’t a magical solution to pulling. You still need to train your dog not to pull and to walk with the leash loose at your side.

Best Budget: PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

This is the harness that trainer Susie Aga recommends to most of her clients. It’s front clip, comes in eight sizes, and is very easy to put on and take off. The chest strap is a contrasting color so you don’t have to struggle with how to place it on a squirming puppy or impatient dog that wants to get out the door for a walk.

Designed particularly for dogs that pull, the front clip redirects them around to you when they start to tug on the leash. One negative is that the front chest straps can loosen and sag if your dog pulls robustly. Aga suggests clipping your leash to both the ring on the front of the harness and ring on your dog’s collar for extra control.

Best Natural: The Good Dog Company Hemp Corduroy Harness

The Good Dog Company Hemp Corduroy Harness

If your dog has sensitive skin or if you just are you prefer more sustainable materials, this harness from the Good Dog Company is a natural alternative made of hemp and organic cotton. The simple style is designed to distribute pressure evenly across your dog’s body and the straps are angled to avoid loosening or puckering.

The harness comes in four sizes and a rainbow of muted earthy colors. They come in basic or corduroy durable yet soft fabric. Harnesses are antimicrobial, antibacterial, and easy to wash. Note: This harness only has a rear clip.

Best for Car: Sleepypod Clickit Sport Dog Safety Harness

Sleepypod

The nonprofit Center for Pet Safety performed independent tests of hundreds of dog harnesses (as well as crates as carriers) using dog crash dummies. Only three harnesses passed the tests, including two from Sleepypod. “Our goal is to ensure the dog is restrained before, during, and after a crash,” says Lindsey Wolko, Center for Pet Safety founder.

The Sleepypod Clickit Sport (for dogs up to 90 pounds) and Sleepypod Clickit Terrain (up to 110 pounds) feature an impact-absorbing padded vest, seatbelt-grade straps, and stress-tested buckles. The Terrain is a little more substantial and was made with working and service dogs in mind.

Note that these don’t fit well on dogs with very slim body types like whippets and greyhounds. My slim border collie mix was able to slip out of the Sport, but is secure in the Terrain.

"Crash-Tested"?

There are no industry standards or tests to verify the safety of pet car restraints. When companies say that their harnesses have been “crash-tested,” that usually means the company did the tests and they don’t meet any guidelines Wolko tells Treehugger.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Walking Harness (view at Amazon) because it’s a durable, comfortable harness with front and back clips perfect for everyday adventures.

If you’re heading on more rugged adventures, try the Ruffwear Flagline Lightweight Multi-Purpose Harness (view at REI) with a lift-and-assist handle, reflective ribbons, and lots of adjustment points.

Why Trust Treehugger?

When researching harnesses, we put pet's needs first, but we also look for sustainable materials. Unfortunately, many of the harnesses with the best features aren't made from the most-eco friendly materials. However, we tested nearly all our recommendations firsthand and made sure they are all durable options so that you won’t have to replace them frequently. We also consulted with a pet safety expert and a certified dog trainer to help guide our picks.

The proud mom of a rescue dog, author Mary Jo DiLonardo has fostered more than 30 dogs and puppies. She’s working on training a lot of puppies and tried a lot of harnesses over the years and has especially worked with her own dog, who has trouble pulling on walks.

For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place. She has spent six years with Treehugger, formerly under the Mother Nature Network brand.