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Ditch the Collar, Up the Comfort: A Guide to the Best Dog Harnesses

Updated: Mar 15

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A dog harness is now a common sight on a dog walk with plenty of dog lovers opting to clip their leads to a harness rather than a collar.


The truth is that harnesses can help keep dogs under control whilst ensuring they are comfortable.


Dog harnesses also appear more humane than a collar as they can eliminate pressure on the neck and spine by spreading pressure across the whole of your dog's torso.


Comfort Fit Dog Harness

We've feature the best dog and puppy harnesses on the UK market for 2024. You can judge for yourself whether you like the look and we'll fill you in as best we can - how easy they are to put on, how adjustable they are and which harnesses suit which types of dogs.

FEBRUARY 2024 : UPDATE After a new round of testing, we’ve added the sighthound harness from UK company Snootiful Hound

Whether you're looking for a harness for a puppy, flat-faced breed, 'puller', escape artist or a great all-round harness, we've got you covered.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Our Picks of the Best Dog Harnesses for 2024

How We Picked


dog paw graphic


Buying Guide for Dog & Puppy Harnesses


For certain breeds, dog harnesses are highly recommended. These include flat-faced breeds who suffer with respiratory problems, so if you have a French Bulldog or Pug definitely consider using a harness.

If you have a serious puller, a dog harness can certainly help to stop pulling on the lead. We offer some great options for specifically designed no-pull harness in our review.

There are methods of attaching a double lead to a harness which can provide further control. Many dog lovers swear by double leads and if you have a constant puller they can revolutionise your dog walks overnight.

Double Lead Harness

When it comes to playful puppies, harnesses can provide better support for their growing frames whilst acting as a positive training tool for puppies that haven’t yet learned to walk beautifully on a lead.


What's more, a puppy harness will prevent them from getting tangled up in the lead and possibly hurt in the process.

It's not all positive when it comes to harnesses. It's really important that you remember to remove the harness immediately after a walk, especially if your dog's wet, as the harness can become uncomfortable and cause rubbing.

Sleeping in a harness is also potentially risky for puppies sleeping in crates. Their harness may get caught on their dog crate and become a choking hazard.


dog paw graphic


Features to Consider


Before you jump straight in and buy your dog a harness, there are a few important features you might want to bear in mind -


Fit

It’s essential that the harness you choose fits properly. At the end of this article we provide a step-by-step guide on how to measure your dog for a harness.


Over the Head

Some dogs, particularly puppies with their first harness, don't always appreciate the sensation of the harness slipping over their head and ears.


If you think that this may be the case with your four-legged friend, consider a harness which is designed to wrap around your dog. We feature a wrap around harness by Doodlebone.


No-Pull

Some harnesses are designed with a front mounted 'D' ring in addition to an attachment point mounted on the back. These types of harnesses are designed with 'pullers' in mind.


They can offer you more control with the option of using a double-ended lead. We explore double-ended leads later in the article.


Escape Artists

Designed to prevent those dogs that love to wiggle free, some harnesses have three body straps. Take a cloer look at the Sighthound Harness from Snootiful Hound or Ruffwear Web Master.



Design

There are a massive range of harness options available to you. From the number and positioning of fastenings to colours and patterns. In some cases coordinating leads and collar sets are available so you can walk the streets in style.


dog paw graphic


Our Picks of the Best Dog Harnesses for 2024



1. Best Puppy Harness Overall

Puppia Soft


This is the first of three puppy harnesses we feature. Puppia's original and best selling harness in the UK, the Puppia Soft is recommended by vets and we think it's the best puppy harness you can buy.

Puppia Soft Harness

The first thing to say is that it's extremely lightweight and comfortable for young puppies and smaller breed dogs.The harness fits over the head and incorporates two adjustable points - one at the neck and the second on the chest.


Ultimately the Puppia soft harness design aims to avoid unnecessary tension on your puppy's delicate neck area. The harness sits slightly lower on your dog than a collar so that it sits more around the shoulders.


Available in 6 sizes and lots of colours to suit your gorgeous pup.


Made using a plaid fabric with a soft lining for comfort and a mesh finish, it really helps keep your puppy cool especially during those warmer summer months.


Of course you can coordinate Puppia harnesses with their collection of colourful leads for the ultimate chic look at the park.


Just be aware that this harness hasn't been designed with major pullers in mind. If your puppy is a strong puller, another harness, such as the Rabbitgoo featured later, maybe more suitable.


Pros

+ Vet recommended

+ Designed for puppies

+ Wide range of colours

+ Lightweight & comfortable


Cons

- Over the head

- Not suitable for 'Pullers'


Buying Options

 


2. Best Harness for Puppy Style

Hugo & Hudson


Hugo & Hudson dog harnesses are available in a gorgeous collection of designs from laidback tweeds for a 'Country Gent' look to this modern, bright star pattern

Hugo & Hudson Puppy Harness

Designed to fit comfortably around your puppy, their harness incorporates strong polyester webbing and adjustable sides for a custom fit and will avoid unnecessary rubbing under the legs.


The special D rings on the back provide you with extra security when attaching the lead.


As with Puppia, the Hugo & Hudson harness hasn't been designed for the strong pullers in mind, however their ranges are suitable for a whole range of dogs from puppies up to large breed adults.


We recommend Hugo & Hudson harnesses because they are a great combination of a high quality finish, comfort and style. You can even complete the look with a matching collar and lead.


Pros

+ Gorgeous range of designs

+ Matching leads available

+ Comfortable for small frames


Cons

- Over the head

- Slightly pricier than Puppia

- Not designed for strong pullers


Buying Options

 


3. Best Easy Access Harness

Doodlebone Snappy


We are huge fans of Doodlebone dog and puppy harnesses and their Snappy harness has one major selling point!

Doodlebone Snappy Harness

If your puppy just isn't happy with a regular harness that slips over their head, Doodlebone have the solution.


Their harness is specially designed to wrap around your dog really easily and snap into place on their back. Simply step in and step out.


This may sound like a small detail but wriggling puppies can be notoriously difficult to get into harnesses, so this way you can enjoy your walks without a fight getting the harness on in the first place!


We recently fostered a miniature Dachshund and we loved the quick-release fastener on the back rather than the side which is easy to fasten when you're in a rush to make it to the garden for toilet training.


It also has a double D ring to attach to your lead which is great for peace of mind.


The harness has a velcro strap which provides some adjustment but we'd recommend that you carefully check your measurements to get the perfect fit. Choose from ten stunning colours.


Pros

+ Step in harness

+ Range of colours

+ Velcro and clip fastening

+ Comfortable and breathable


Cons

- Limited adjustment


Buying Options



RECOMMENDED READ New Puppy Checklist

Welcoming a puppy to your family ? Congratulations ! We offer a new puppy essentials checklist to help you prepare before the big day.

 

Now we turn our attention to Dog Harnesses. These featured harnesses are aimed at adult dogs but some brands offer very small sizes which may well fit puppies too.



4. Best No-Pull Dog Harness

Halti


If you dread heading out on a walk with a dog that simply loves to pull on lead, allow us to introduce your to our favourite No-Pull dog harness. It's the best we've tested for many reasons.

A dog wearing a Halti No Pull dog harness

Halti are our top choice of 'No-Pull' dog harness. It's really difficult to find a well-designed, functioning No-Pull harness that's comfortable for your dog.


Halti have cleverly managed to combine control and comfort in their No-Pull harness specifically designed for strong dogs.


In testing, we found it incredibly easy to put on before a walk, the straps slacken to offer plenty of room to fit the harness over your dogs head and legs. Once in place, simply tighten it to fit.

Halti dog harness padded sleeves

The ingenious design includes padded sleeves slotted over the chest straps so it's soft and comfortable around the chest even on the longest walks.


It's worth noting that the back lead attachment has been designed with a special lifting feature which automatically activates if your dog starts to pull (shown in photo).


Crucially, this No Pull dog harness has two attachments for a double-ended dog lead, which we would recommend for extra control when out and about.


The second attachment point - the D-ring on the front chest panel, is discreet and offers additional control when teaching your dog to heel.


The chest plate is padded and designed to stay put and not slide sideways when your dog pulls.

Halti dog harness chest plate

In testing we found that the whole harness was surprisingly lightweight but exceptionally strong.


The only flaw we could find in testing was that it seemed loose when we removed the lead. Although our tester tightened the straps pre-walk they seemed to loosen.


Halti have incorporated an elastic loop in the design to secure the leg straps to the back of the harness when your dog is off lead.


However we'd recommend this harness primarily for on-lead walks.


All the above adds up to mean that if you have a strong puller in your life, the Halti No-Pull harness could be a great investment.


Ultimately it's a well designed and exceptionally well built dog harness created to achieve the ultimate, relaxed dog walk.


Pros

+ Quality No-Pull harness

+ Lightweight design

+ Excellent value

+ 3 sizes available

+ Premium materials

+ Attachment points for a double lead


Cons

- Looks a little functional

- Use for on-lead walks


Buying Options

​The Halti harness works best with a double lead. We recommend the PetSafe anti-pull dog lead which we feature later in this article.

 


5. Best Escape Proof Harness

Snootiful Hounds


When it comes to sighthounds, like Greyhounds and Whippets, a regular harness may simply slip off their lean body, particularly as they are renowned for their escaping skills. They are the masters of the 'wiggle-free' and 'back out' bids for freedom.


So Sighthounds benefit from a uniquely designed harness. Although, don't dismiss this anti-slip harness if you have another breed - it may well help your little escape artist too.


Julius k9 reflective dog harness

This harness from UK company Snootiful Hounds is cleverly designed with a smaller third strap which fits behind your dog's chest.


Offering no less than five points of adjustment, it creates a secure fit which is almost completely customisable to your dog's unique frame. Once adjusted to fit, it offers a safe and secure dog walk.


Plus the comfortably padded and breathable chest piece and belly straps are suitable for all day wear and won't hinder movement.


Close up of padded sighthound harness

Our tester Dorothy is a volunteer at Danaher Animal Home, so she knows a thing or two about dogs. She offered to put the Snootiful Hound harness through it's paces with a gorgeous Lurcher - Little Jem.


She was really impressed ! Not only did she find it easy to adjust and fit her lurcher's frame, but felt it was really high quality harness for a great price.


Testing a dog harness for sighthounds

Other design features include two multi-function handles for complete control and quick release buckles which sit on the fabric to avoid rubbing.


Machine washable and quick drying, it's easy to keep this harness looking clean and smelling fresh.


Available in 4 sizes in a range of four colours - red, black, olive green and grey.

Our Verdict - If you've got a sighthound or are looking for an escape-proof harness, we'd suggest taking a closer look at Snootiful Hound. Their great value harness is uniquely designed.

Pros

+ Designed to be escape proof

+ All important third strap

+ Padded for comfort

+ Great value


Cons

- No coordinating accessories


Buying Options


For 10% OFF, use discount code SMARTBARK

 


6. Best for Stylish Accessories

Woof Inc


If you are looking for coordinating dog walking accessories, take a closer look at UK company Woof Inc. We loved testing their range of harnesses, because not only do they come in a wide range of 5 sizes but they offer gorgeous coordinating accessories.

Woof In harness bundle

Their great value bundles include a matching set of :-

⭐️ Harness

⭐️ Collar

⭐️ Lead

⭐️ Poo bag dispenser


It's worth noting that the bundles offers a £10 saving on buying the accessories separately.


The range is available in some gorgeous patterns - tartan, floral and leopard print alongside their Pawtones collection.


Fairly new to their range, the Pawtones collection offers three on-trend solid colours like this stunning dusty blue.


Available in five different sizes, there is an XXS harness to suit pint-sized breeds up to a large size for bigger breeds.

Best Harness for small dogs  - Woof Inc

Unlike the puppy harnesses we feature, Woof Inc harnesses have three adjustment points - two at the neck and a further one on the chest.


We love that three adjustment points provide an opportunity to fully customise the harness to fit your dog and avoid any potential rubbing.


Woof Inc have a handy online measurement guide to help you achieve the perfect fit.


Their harness is made from neoprene, which as well as being super comfortable, is water resistant and quick-drying so perfect for the unpredictable British weather.


We've tested a variety of harnesses over the years and found the Woof Inc harness is lightweight and easy to adjust and fit. We particularly liked the premium finish with all the attachments colour-coordinated with the harness (no ugly metal or black fittings).


Nevertheless, Woof Inc harnesses aren't designed for determined pullers so you won't find a front D point to attach a double lead. If you have a puller, you would be better opting for Embark, Eagloo or Julius K9 harness.

Finding a quality harness that looks good too, can be trickier than you think. If you'd like to strutt the streets in style, we'd recommend taking a closer look at the collection from Woof Inc.

Pros

+ Coordinating accessories

+ Great value bundles

+ 3 adjustment points

+ Range of 5 sizes

Cons

- Not suitable for big pullers


Save 20% with discount code SMARTBARK

 


7. Best Matching Set

 Top Dog

NEW FOR 2024

The latest addition to our best harness review is this gorgeous harness from small UK company Top Dog.

Dog wearing adjustable harness and lead

Like Woof Inc. featured above, Top Dog offer coordinating dog walking sets.


This unique Woodland Treasures design caught our eye. With red toadstools, autumn leaves on a rich cream background it really is a very distinctive.


You'll definitely stand out at the park as this is an original Top Dog design so very exclusive.


In terms of functionality, we were particularly impressed by just how adjustable the neck and chest straps were. This means it's easier to get the perfect fit for your dog.


Dog harness adjustable straps

The harness is constructed from soft neoprene fabric and padded in a coordinating breathable mesh right across the chest area for comfort.


What's more it comes with good quality, quick release buckles and double stitching to ensure it's safe and secure.


Additionally, it has a black metal D ring to fasten your lead.


So a unique design that's matched by a well built harness, although in testing we felt it may not stand up to the pressure exerted by very determined pullers.


Top Dog offer a collection of designs in adjustable, reversible and nylon harnesses.

Coordinating dog walking accessories from Top Dog

The coordinating designs are available in -

⭐️ harnesses

⭐️ collars

⭐️ leads

⭐️ dog walking bags

⭐️ poop bag holders


All their harnesses can be hand washed and are quick drying so you're always ready for the next dog walk. It's worth mentioning that the matching dog walking bags and poop bag holders are made from neoprene too.


Top Dog have a sizing guide on-line to help you select the best harness fit for your dog.


Pros

+ Coordinating accessories

+ Range of designs

+ Adjustable neck & chest straps

+ Range of 5 sizes ( X small – X large)

Cons

- No bundle savings


Save 10% using discount code SMARTBARK


 


8. Best Harness Set for Fun

Julibees


Another new addition to our best harness review is this absolutely gorgeous Flora Dog Walking Set available from Julibees in four different sizes from XS–L.

Julibees Harness and dog walking set

To be truthful, this harness set was ordered for testing based solely on just how implausibly cute it looked.


A coordinating flower-themed harness, collar, lead, poo bag dispenser and pink poo bags - now that will make heads turn.


The first major surprise was just how much thought had gone into the design and crafting of each component. This set is definitely functional as well as fun!


Firstly, the collar features a stunning flower decoration and a strong durable buckle.


The harness is padded for comfort with wide straps and it's adjustable both at the neck and chest to help get the best fit for your pup.

Testing the dog walking harness from Julibees

Our favourite part of the whole design is the unique floral backpack attached to the harness.


Designed to be removable, we found it super useful for holding that spare roll of poo bags on walks.


The only flaw we could find was in the lead design. Made from durable and easy dry polyester, ideally, we would have preferred a bigger, padded handle section for comfort.


It measures a maximum 120cm long, so shorter than some dog leads but it does feature a fully rotational clip for collar or harness attachment.


You can opt to buy this as a complete set or :-

🌸 Poo Bag Dispenser and poo bags (7 rolls of 15 bags) only

🌸 Collar & lead only

🌸 Harness with backpack & lead

🌸 3-in-1 Walking Set - Harness with backpack, collar & lead

🌸 Super Save Bundle - Harness with backpack, collar, lead, poo bag dispenser & poo bags


Ultimately, the 3-in-1 Walking Set and the Super Save Bundle offer significant savings compared to buying the accessories individually.


Clearly this unique Flora Dog Walking Set is not designed with pullers in mind or some serious muddy adventures however, what's undeniable is that it is beautifully designed, fashionable and fun.


Pros

+ Coordinating accessories

+ Great value bundles

+ Range of 4 sizes

Cons

- Not suitable for big pullers


For 15% OFF all purchases

Simply enter the discount code SMARTBARK at checkout

 


9. Easy Fit Harness

Kurgo


If the one thing that puts you off swapping to a harness is getting it on and off you dog, then take a look at the Kurgo RSG Townie Harness

Kurgo RSG Townie dog harness

Designed with a single buckle it's super easy to click and go. Adjustable chest and belly straps help you get that perfect fit.


It's incredibly lightweight but still strong and well made as you'd expect from dog adventure kit specialists Kurgo .


The RSG harness is also compatible with Kurgo's MOLLE design so everything from panniers to hydration flask can be attached to the harness.


If you're interested, the Townie harness features a top handle and its sister design the County, has two handles. Available in blue and black in a range of 5 sizes.

This is the perfect dog harness if you love heading way off the beaten track with your best friend.

Pros

+ Single buckle design

+ Easy on & off

+ Range of 5 sizes

+ Strong back handle

+ Compatible with MOLLE designed products


Cons

- Only available in blue or black

- Very functional design


Buying Options

 


10. Best Harness for Large Breeds

Rabbitgoo


The best harnesses are designed to take into account the way in which dogs bodies move with padding to protect their pressure points.

Rabbitgoo dog harness in yellow

We love this dog harness by Rabbitgoo as it's specially built for larger dogs to distribute pressure evenly and safely around your dog's chest.


The design incorporates some soft padding in the chest so the harness won't rub your dog's skin and it's worth mentioning that Rabbitgoo have incorporated a handle for instant control into their clever design.


Suitable for use with double-ended dog leads , Rabbitgoo's collection of four harness sizes include a large degree of overlap and adjustability.


The bright colours help visibility (don't worry, it also comes in black if you prefer something a little more low-key).

A great quality, highly recommended harness which can be used to control strong dogs.

Pros

+ Suitable for large breed dogs

+ Big size overlap

+ Double D ring

+ Range of colours


Cons

- A very functional design

 


11. Best Harness for Adventures

Ruffwear Web Master


If you're planning an adventure with your dog, completely off the beaten track then you can't go wrong with this well designed harness by Ruffwear.

Ruffwear web master blue dog harness

The Ruffwear Web Master Harness is more than a simple walk in the park harness.


It's been created as a secure and supportive harness for manoeuvring and assisting dogs up and over obstacles (from Dachshunds over steps to Border Collies over boulders)


The harness itself is very slim fitting to ensure it doesn't hinder your dog's full range of movements.


It offers considerable padding on the straps and back plate and is available in a wide range of colours.


Incorporating no fewer than 5 points of adjustment (2 girth, 1 chest & 2 neck adjusters), you can fully customise this harness to fit your dog.


Pros

+ 5 sizes - x-small to x-large

+ Thin lightweight material

+ 5 adjustment points

+ 2 girth straps


Cons

- Pricey option


Buying Options

 


12. Best Harness for Car Safety

Car Safe Dog Harness


We strongly recommend a properly crash tested harness for your dog whilst riding in a car.


Dog in a Car Safe crash tested  harness

This harness from Car Safe is fully certified crash tested. In testing we found it incredibly easy to fit with two side release clips and then it simply connects to your car seat belt.


From the fitting, straps, breathable mesh to the stitching, the design and materials are top quality. The chest plate is extra padded for comfort and the straps are wide so don't dig in.


The harness also has a D ring on the front and back, so you can connect your lead and head off for a walk when you reach your destination.


Available in four sizes with a handy sizing guide available online, it takes into account the chest, neck and the weight of your dog to help you select the best fit.


Our verdict - A well designed, easy to fit, safe and good-looking car harness.


Pros

+ Crash tested

+ Range of sizes

+ Easy to fit


Cons

- A little functional looking


Buying Options



dog paw graphic


FAQs


How do double ended leads work ?


Double ended dog leads give you the option to fasten the lead to two positions on your dog's harness.

One end is attached to the D ring on your dog's chest (front) and the second is attached to the D ring on your dog's back. This can help considerably with dogs that pull and lunge.

Labrador dog wearing a harness with a Petsafe double lead

We tested the Anti-Pull Dog Lead from PetSafe with the utterly gorgeous 2 year old Labrador Retriever - Molly.


Our tester commented that she liked the thickness of the strap and when coupled with the Halti harness featured earlier, she felt more in control of the walk.


The lead has a floating, padded handle for comfort which adjusts as you walk.


We loved that whilst it's essentially a double-ended lead, it is multi-purpose so can easily be altered to use as a more traditional 1.2m lead when needed.



If your dog is a 'puller', you suffer with painful arthritis in your hands or your dog is a 'Houdini', it could be a great investment.



How do I measure my dog for a harness ?


If you're buying online, you will need to know your dog's measurements. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to recording accurate measurements and selecting the right size harness.

  1. Either use a fabric tape measure or if you don’t have one, a piece of string works. If you have a ‘wriggler’ then get some help, fit their collar first to hold onto and if you're still struggling use some dog treats.

  2. One tip which can work exceptionally well is to stand your dog on an ironing board. By lifting them up to your height it will make your job of measuring easier and your dog is more likely to stand still.

  3. First measure the chest. Take the tape measure/string around your dog’s chest just behind their front legs which is usually the widest part. You're looking for a snug but not tight fit for the harness.

  4. If you are using a piece of string, simply lay it alongside a ruler to record the measurements

  5. Some harnesses incorporate a neck measurement too, so don’t forget to make a note of that.

  6. Lastly weigh your dog. This can be done at the vets or with scales at home. Simply weigh yourself with your dog in your arms, then weigh yourself and hey presto! the difference is your dog’s weight.

  7. Now check your measurements and weight against the manufacturers sizing chart.

  8. When faced with multiple measurements, chest/girth should always take priority over neck and weight.

PRO TIP

If your dog is between sizes opt for the bigger size. You can always adjust the harness to make it fit tighter, but if it is too small then it will be uncomfortable and rub.


​If you're looking to upgrade your ID tag too, we'd recommend taking a look at Pet 24. The Pet 24 Visible ID tag is so much more than a basic dog name tag. It's a unique solution for reuniting you with your missing dog around the clock.


dog paw graphic



How We Picked


Our final choices for which harnesses to include on our short list, comes from a mix of reputation and reviews from other experts we trust. This was then combined with our hands-on experiences with our team of testers.


We selected harnesses which would be suitable for the widest range of dog breeds and sizes. It was also important that the chosen harnesses reflected price points to suit everyone's pockets.


Lastly we only included harnesses in our selection process with great customer reviews and ratings.


If nothing here takes your fancy, checkout our latest Spring Post for floral harnesses


dog paw graphic


Thanks for stopping by and reading our Guide to the Best Dog and Puppy Harnesses UK.

4 Comments


Guest
Sep 02, 2023

Thank you so much for this brilliant, thoroughly written article. The best I have seen for years! Many thanks, Van xxx

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Smart Bark
Smart Bark
Sep 28, 2023
Replying to

Thank you Van

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Guest
Feb 28, 2022

What an informative post about the different types of harness avaliable. In the end we chose a soft neoprene harness from www.Pawfectpuppyboutique.co.uk because of the adjustable neck and chest area. The design is by far the cutest little woodland print too!

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Smart Bark
Smart Bark
Apr 25, 2022
Replying to

Thanks for commenting. We’ll take a look at their range

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