In recent years, more and more dog owners have decided to eschew the traditional collar and leash in favor of the harness – and for good reason. Harnesses put much less pressure on your dog’s neck, reducing the risk of choking or trauma. They also make staying in control of your pooch considerably easier, allowing you to walk with confidence.
Thanks to these benefits, many owners are choosing to put their four-legged friend in a harness from an early age. Since puppies have not yet fully developed, their bodies are more delicate than an adult dog’s, and the harness you choose for them should reflect this. To help you and your pup benefit from this handy piece of kit, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 puppy harnesses on the market right now. We’ve also taken the time to address some common questions and concerns about these harnesses, so you and your pup can use them safely and effectively.
The Best Puppy Harness
Back-attaching puppy and small dog harness
Simple and affordable
Available in 5 different sizes
Available in 16 different colors
Soft, breathable fabric is great in all seasons
Step-in design makes it easy to for dogs to wear
Features a strong velcro fastening and heavy duty metal D-ring
Number one on our list – the best puppy harness around – is this simple and affordable design by petcare power house, Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Available in five different sizes, and 16 different color palettes, this versatile vest is ideal for practically any puppy. It’s made using a soft and breathable mesh fabric, helping your pet to stay cool in the summer, and warm in the winter. The fabric is durable, too, designed to last for hundreds of walks to come.
Thanks to its step-in design, putting your pup in the harness is quick and easy, so you’ll spend less time getting ready, and more time on walkies! With a strong velcro fastening and heavy duty metal D-rings, the harness is guaranteed to stay put, for excellent security. Owners say that the harness is durable, secure, and easy to get pets into – it’s a particularly good option for pooches who don’t like things being put over their heads.
Front-attaching harness for puppies and small dogs
Available in a range of colors and sizes
Bright colors make for great visibility
Polyester fabric is soft, durable, and breathable
Features a quick-release mechanism
Adjustable straps and sturdy clips make it easy to put on and remove
Comfortable for pets to wear over extended periods of time
The next puppy harness to earn a spot on our list is this super lightweight option by Bing Pet. Available in four different sizes, and seven different colors, it’s a perfect fit for the majority of pups. The bright colors lend your pet excellent visibility when they’re out and about, and the wide variety of options ensures you can choose a color that suits their personality.
Each harness is made from durable polyester fabric – known for being touch, yet soft. The mesh design helps pups keep their cool in warm weather, and makes it comfortable to wear for extended periods. The harness also features a quick-release mechanism, so it’s easy to get your dog in and out of, as well as a fully adjustable chest belt. Overall, you can count on this harness for a comfortable and secure walking experience.
Back-attaching harness ideal for puppies and small dogs
Features two attachments points, one for roaming, and one for tighter control
Made from durable but soft polyester fabric
Adjustable padded straps make it comfortable for dogs to wear
Padded handle allows owners to pick up their dogs easily, and without hurting them
Features a reflective trim for walking in the dark
Ruffwear’s puppy harness has also earned itself a spot on our list. The versatile ‘Web Master’ harness features two distinct leash attachment points – one at the middle of the back, and one at rear. This allows for excellent control, making the harness a great option for more rebellious pooches. Each attachment point takes the form of a strong aluminum ring, reinforced with webbing. This provides a sturdy and long-lasting point of connection.
The carefully crafted harness is designed to cradle your dog’s natural body shape, and features a padded handle that allows owners to lift their pet with ease. The straps are also padded, making it comfortable for dogs to wear – even for long periods of time. Since these straps are adjustable, you’ll be able to fit the harness to your pup’s unique shape, preventing any escapes. Finally, a reflective trip makes the harness easy to see, even at night, helping to keep you and your pup safe during road walking.
Back attaching harness for small dogs and puppies, available in 3 sizes
Weather proof and breathable fabric for maximum comfort
Offers owners excellent control
Non-pulling design is comfortable for dogs to wear
Adjustable straps fit perfectly, and stretch with your dog’s movements
Sporn have also earned a coveted spot on our list, with their mesh vest-style harness. Made from premium quality nylon, the harness is guaranteed to retain its strength wash after wash. The fabric is also weather proof and breathable, making it ideal for sunny days and rain storms alike.
The non-pulling design offers dogs great comfort, and owners great control. Its elastic webbing stretches laterally as your dog moves, keeping them comfortable however they play. Its adjustable chest straps make it easy to fit to dogs of all shapes and sizes, while a one-piece structure makes it a breeze to put on and take off. Sporn say that the harness is ideal for small and toy breeds, as well as puppies.
Back-attaching harness for small dogs and puppies
Stylish plaid design available in 6 colors
Available in 5 different sizes
Made from air-mesh polyester
Soft and breathable
Features a fully adjustable chest strap
Quick-release mechanism allows you to remove the harness fast
Coming in at number six on our list is this stylish harness by Pupteck. The plaid-style design is ideal for pooches and owners with a flair for fashion, and it can be had in six different colors. But it doesn’t just look good; the harness is practical, too. Available in five different sizes, it can easily accommodate for almost any dog. It’s also made from air-mesh polyester, which is soft, durable, and breathable.
The vest-like design has been carefully assembled, so as not to cause your pooch any irritation. The back buckle and strap have been extensively tested to ensure maximum security, too, so your four-legged friend won’t be able to squirm away. The chest belt is fully adjustable, guaranteeing a great fit, while a quick-release mechanism makes it easy to remove in a hurry if need be.
Front-attaching harness for dogs and cats
Available in 3 different sizes and 7 fun colors
Made from 100% breathable polyester
Mesh design helps pets stay cool
Padded for comfortable wear
Easy to clean
Another harness to catch our eye is this colorful and budget-friendly offering from Paccomfet. The front-attaching harness is available in three different sizes, and seven different colors, so there’s something for every puppy, no matter their size and style.
Each harness is made from 100% polyester, featuring a mesh design that makes it highly breathable, helping your pup to keep their cool during exercise. The padded vest design is safe and comfortable for both dogs and cats to wear, even for long periods of time. It’s also easy to clean, and features a durable metal ring at its attachment point in the center of the chest.
No-pull & no-choke mesh harness
Soft, breathable and padded for comfort
Anti-rub technology prevents chafing
Durable, double-reinforced stitching
Available in 6 sizes and various colors
Eco-friendly straps made from recycled water bottles
If you’re searching for an eco-friendly dog harness, look no further than EcoBark’s innovative design. Their harness is constructed from double layered mesh fabric, making it significantly stronger than other options on the market. It also features anti-rub technology, helping pups stay comfortable as they walk. Its carefully placed straps are designed to sit comfortably against your dog’s body, and they’re padded for optimal comfort, too.
Each harness is made using only recycled, and eco-friendly materials. As well as being sustainable, these fabrics are highly durably, and guaranteed to last for walk after walk. EcoBark’s vest-like design is virtually escape-proof, too, so even Houdini-like pups will have a hard time squirming out of it. This is due to the fact that the harness sits a little higher on their body than other designs would. Finally, a custom-built buckle ensures the harness stays shut, and also makes it simple to remove.
Back-attaching harness for small dogs and puppies
Comfort fit design spreads any tension across a very wide surface area
Hugs your dog’s body for a comfortable fit
Includes strategically placed padding
Features an extra-long velcro strap for excellent adjustability
Leashes can be attached with 2 sturdy metal D-rings
Designed in the USA
The next puppy harness to earn a spot on our list is this compact, American-designed option. Its unique Comfort Fit design effectively hugs your dog’s body, evenly spreading any tension from the leash, and keeping your puppy safe and comfortable in the process. An extra-long velcro strap on the back of the harness makes for maximum adjustability, while a quick-release clip allows you to take it off in a hurry should the need arise.
Each vest-style harness is constructed from lightweight and breathable material, strategically padded to promote comfort, and machine washable for your convenience. This harness also gives owners optimal control when a leash is attached – two durable metal D-rings come together to provide an excellent attachment point. To help your pet reflect their unique sense of style, the harness can be had in six different colors. You can also choose from four sizes, ensuring an accurate fit.
Back-attaching harness suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes
Available in 4 different sizes, and 13 bright colors
Step-in design is ideal for dogs who don’t like things being put over their head
Easy to put on and remove
Made from highly reflective fabric; ideal for low-light conditions
Leash can be easily attached to 2 durable D-rings
Last, but not least, comes Pawtitas, with their lightweight and colorful harness. The highly adjustable design can be purchased in a range of sizes, and will fit dogs throughout their lives. The harness’ step-in design makes it a great option for pooches who don’t like having accessories passed over their heads. It’s also easy to put on and take off.
Each harness is highly reflective, so it’s ideal for owners who need to exercise their pooches in the dark – especially if you’ll be walking near roads. The ergonomic design wraps easily around dogs’ bodies, helping to reduce any strain from the leash. Two durable D-rings at the back of the harness make for an incredibly secure attachment point, too. Finally, the harness is also available in 13 bright colors, so you’re sure to find a shade that matches your pup’s taste.
Best Puppy Harness Buying Guide & FAQ
With so many great options to choose from, we’re confident there’s something on our list to suit almost every puppy and owner. To help you work out which one is right for you, we’ve compiled this useful buying guide.
Below, we discuss how to spot a good harness, find the right fit, and use it safely and effectively.
What Makes a Good Puppy Harness?
When it comes to choosing a harness for your puppy, your choices might seem a little overwhelming. Luckily, there are some fairly simply indicators of quality you can look out for:
Fit is one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a harness for your dog or puppy. Highly adjustable options are usually your best bet for achieving a fit that’s snug, without being too tight. Look out for harnesses featuring adjustable straps to ensure your dog is held firmly inside.
Chances are, your pup will be spending a lot of time in their new harness, whether they’re playing in the park, or hiking in the forest. For this reason, it’s important to choose a harness that’s comfortable. Some key indicators of comfort include: adjustable straps, padding, breathable fabric, a lightweight design and even tension distribution when a leash is attached.
- Good Materials
Like most petcare products, a puppy harness is only as good as the material it is made from. Look out for synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, when choosing a harness, since it’s much stronger and more hard-wearing than a natural option like cotton, without compromising on softness. However, since polyester isn’t naturally breathable, good harnesses work it into a mesh fabric to compensate. A mesh design is especially important for pooches in warmer climes, as it helps them to stay cool.
- Strong Attachment Points
Finally, a good harness will allow you plenty of control over your pup. This necessitates strong and durable points of attachment for their leash. Look out for metal rings, sewn directly into the harness. This provides a strong anchor point, and, in turn, good control over your pup.
Collar Vs. Harness: Which Is Best For Your Puppy?
Although we’ve sung the praises of harnesses in this guide, it’s worth taking a step back to consider its conventional counterpart; the collar. Although we’d recommend a harness in many cases, collars do have their place. Below we outline the pros and cons for each:
Dogs have worn collars since around 3,000 BCE, and the tradition has remained strong ever since. The main advantage of collars is that, unlike harnesses, they can be worn at all times. This makes them ideal for identification purposes, since many US states now require dogs to wear some sort of identification at all times. Collars are also inexpensive, available in a huge array of designs, and easy to use. On the other hand, collars can put undue pressure on your dog’s neck when they’re on a leash, which can sometimes result in injury. They also offer much less control than harnesses do. Take a look at our review of dog collars for more options.
Harnesses used to be the preserve of working dogs, but they have now filtered down into everyday usage. The main advantage of harnesses, is that they evenly distribute pressure when your dog is on a leash. This helps to prevent injury, and also offers you better control over your dog. Harnesses are also much harder for escape-artist pooches to slip out of. Like collars, they’re available in myriad colors and styles, so you’re sure to find a design you like. Conversely, wearing a harness can take some getting used to, and you’ll have to take them on and off your dog a lot more often than a collar. Find out more about dog harnesses and dog lift harnesses here.
Because puppies aren’t yet fully developed, we’d recommend protecting their trachea by using a harness rather than a collar.
What Age Should I Start Walking My Puppy on a Leash?
The American Kennel Club recommend that puppies learn to walk on a leash between the ages of eight and 12 weeks.
Walking on a leash will be a vital skill throughout their life, but fortunately it’s fairly easy to teach:
- Getting used to the Equipment
New things can be scary for a puppy, so before you get started, allow them to acclimate to their harness and leash, wearing it around the house for gradually longer periods of time. To forge positive associations with the harness, give your puppy a treat whenever they wear it. Check out our guide on dog leashes for more info.
- Practice Inside
Before venturing to the outside world, take a few strides in your living room on hallway. Coax your puppy to follow you with treats and praise, and they’ll quickly become used to the lead, and understand that they should walk by your side when wearing it.
- Go Outdoors
Next, you can take your pup into the larger world! Keep treats on hand, like before, and keep the walks short at first. Going outdoors will expose your puppy to a lot of new sounds, sights, and smells, which can be overwhelming, so building up slowly is vital.
Q: How do I measure my puppy for a new harness?
To fit your puppy for a harness, you’ll need to take the following measurements, using a tape measure:
Chest: Wrap the tape round the widest part of the torso, which is usually just behind the front legs
Lower Neck: Measure around the base of their neck, since this is where harnesses tend to sit
Q: Can a puppy wear a harness all the time?
No. Whether you have a puppy or an adult dog, harnesses should only be worn when it’s time for a walk. Wearing a harness for too long can result in uncomfortable chafing, especially around your dog’s ‘armpits’ (just behind their front legs). Leaving a harness on your dog for too long can also disrupt their natural shedding.
On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to leave a collar on your dog for most of the time - provided it is loose enough for you to slide two fingers between it and your dog’s neck. As mentioned earlier, collars are a simple and effective way to display vital information about your dog, such as their address and your contact details.
Q: How do I put on a harness correctly?
This will depend on the style of harness you select, and you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you get the best possible fit.
A standard harness is slipped over your dog’s neck from behind. Next, slip their two front legs through the leg holes, fasten the buckles, and adjust. You should be able to comfortably slide two fingers between the harness and your dog’s skin - if you can’t it’s too tight, and needs to be adjusted.
Other harnesses, such as number 10 on our list, feature a ‘step-in’ design. Rather than looping the harness over your dog’s head, have them step into it, before fastening it together at their back.