- The 10 Best Harnesses for German Shepherds
- 1. RUFFWEAR Front-Range All-Day Adventure Harness
- 2. PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
- 3. Embark Dog Adventure Harness
- 4. Petacc No-Pull Dog Harness
- 5. Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness
- 6. Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash-Tested Dog Harness and Seatbelt
- 7. EXPAWLORER Reflective No Pull Harness
- 8. Babyltrl No Pull Harness
- 9. Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness
- 10. ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness
- Types of Dog Harnesses
- Criteria and Features of a Quality Harness for a German Shepherd
Does your German Shepherd pull on the leash during walks? Do you prefer to walk your German Shepherd on a less-straining harness instead of a collar? Are you interested in training your German Shepherd to track, work as a service dog, or perform law enforcement duties? If you said yes to any of these questions, you’re going to want a harness. In this article, you’ll find the best harnesses for German Shepherds and other large breed dogs. We will discuss all the various types of harnesses on the market, their different uses, and the most important features to look for when purchasing a harness.
There are two primary purposes of a harness, pertaining to both the dog and the handler. First, the harness distributes pressure over the dog’s chest, shoulders, and back. With a collar, all the dog’s pulling pressure is on his neck and could strain his muscles and joints. A harness, especially a padded one, gives the dog more comfort.
The second primary purpose of a harness is to give the handler more control of the dog. If a dog pulls hard on the leash, wearing a collar puts all his pulling power on his strong shoulders. Paired with a proper leash, a no-pull harness that attaches to the leash at his chest direct the dog’s pulling power backwards and slows him down. Harnesses let handlers be the master in the dog/human relationship.
Ideally, a perfect dog harness should have a number of features to benefit your German Shepherd and you, as the handler:
The 10 Best Harnesses for German Shepherds
1. RUFFWEAR Front-Range All-Day Adventure Harness
The RUFFWEAR Harness hits a lot of major points for us with its padded design and comfortable chest strap. It features two leash connection points – one up front and one on the back. You can use the front connection point if you have a hard puller or the back connection point if you have an easy walker.
The buckles are designed for easy on and off by simply slipping it over your dog’s head. All 4 straps are adjustable to perfectly fit his body shape and size. The padded areas allow for all-day wear while walking, running, hiking, and other activities.
This All-Day Adventure Harness is available in 5 bright colors (and gray), which is great for easy visibility while walking along roads. It also features reflective trim for visibility in low-light conditions.
Made of high-quality fabric, this harness is designed with reinforced webbing on the chest pad to withstand strong pulling dogs. The harness is lightweight for your dog’s comfort yet durable for years of wear.
2. PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
The PetSafe Harness features a minimalistic design for those pups who don’t need too many features. The PetSafe harness includes the essential adjustable straps, strong buckles, and a tightening front leash connection point. The tightening sensation persuades your dog to pull less on the leash while the front connection point turns them toward you when they pull. Together, the harness reduces the pulling power of your German Shepherd.
The Easy Walk harness is available in multiple fun colors for easy visibility in low light conditions. The signature black strap lets you know how your dog should wear the harness. Just remember – “black strap on the belly!” Meanwhile, the chest strap rests comfortably on the dog’s chest and stays away from the throat!
The minimalistic design allows you to put a winter coat over top of the harness in cold weather. Adjust the straps to the perfect fit for your dog’s comfort and then place your favorite winter coat on top!
3. Embark Dog Adventure Harness
The Embark Harness is another optimal piece of equipment for German Shepherds and large breed dogs who love all-day outdoor activity. The padded chest and back regions provide necessary comfort for walking, running, hiking, swimming, or playing in the snow.
Similar to the RUFFWEAR harness, the Embark harness features two leash connections points on the front and the back. However, this harness also features a handle on the back so you can easily restrain your dog by hand in a moment of urgency. For example, if an unfriendly dog attempts to lunge at your dog, you can pull on the handle and bring him to safety without harming him.
The design of the Embark harness is quite simple to put on and take off. Just slip the harness over your dog’s head and buckle it around his chest. Adjust the 4 straps for a custom fit.
Embark has spared no expense in building this harness. They use high-quality durable materials that will withstand your German Shepherd’s strength and years of wear and tear. You’ll walk your dog with confidence knowing his harness is quadruple stitched with military-grade nylon thread.
4. Petacc No-Pull Dog Harness
The Petacc Harness is a great no-pull harness for German Shepherds who exceed the average size of the breed. We say this because the front panel of the harness reaches higher on the chest than other harnesses. Smaller dogs may find this uncomfortable. Larger breeds may fit this harness better with careful adjustments.
The Petacc harness features 4 adjustable straps for a perfect fit. Both the front and back panels feature D-ring leash connection points. Another feature we love is the reflective trim for walking in low-light conditions.
Petacc uses high-quality oxford cloth which is 100% body safe. The inside of the front and back panels are made of breathable mesh. All buckles are lockable so you can feel secure while walking a strong-pulling dog. The heavy-duty handle gives you extra control when needed.
5. Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness
The Rabbitgoo Dog Harness offers more coverage over the chest, which distributes your dog’s pulling pressure and reduces strain on his joints. We chose this harness with older German Shepherds in mind. The extra padding provides comforts to senior German Shepherds with sore joints.
In addition to the padding, we chose this harness for its simple and effective engineering. The two leash connection points work for everyday walks and controlling hard pulling. Side release buckles allow for easy on and off. The buckles are strong for security while walking. The adjustable straps give your dog the perfect-fitting piece of equipment. And the reflective detailing on the straps gives you added safety when walking in low-light conditions.
6. Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash-Tested Dog Harness and Seatbelt
The Kurgo Tru-Fit harness is essential for keeping your dog safe while in a vehicle. This harness comes with a seatbelt attachment that attaches to your vehicle’s shoulder belt. As the name states, this harness and seatbelt combo are crash tested and proven to keep your dog safe. Unlike other harnesses, the Kurgo harness has not 4 but 5 adjustment points. It has 2 leash connection points (chest and back) so you can choose which one is best for your dog. The chest plate has extra padding to protect against injury in an accident. This harness is the most broadly sold crash tested dog harness in North America!
If you prefer, Kurgo manufactures two other types of seatbelts to accompany their harness. Both click directly into your vehicle’s seatbelt. One features a carabiner to hook onto the harness. The other features a swiveling carabiner. These seatbelts may be a stronger connection point than the seatbelts that wraps around the shoulder belt. All 3 seatbelts are great safety options!
7. EXPAWLORER Reflective No Pull Harness
The EXPAWLORER Harness is perfect for large dogs, especially German Shepherds. This harness hits a lot of our major points with its wide girth, reflective stripe, large handle, and padded back panel. The EXPAWLORER harness is perfect for the adventure-loving German Shepherd who enjoys hiking and walking. Additionally, the harness is available in 6 fun colors to match your dog’s personality.
The wide girth is made perfectly for German Shepherds with deep chests. The padded back panel fits comfortable over your dog’s spine for all-day wear while walking, running, or hiking. The reflective stripe and bright colors keep your dog visible at night and in low-light conditions. We love this harness for German Shepherds of all sizes.
8. Babyltrl No Pull Harness
The Babyltrl Dog Harness lives up to its namesake. It’s a great harness for large, powerful dogs. This harness is also built for dogs with deep chests and strong muscles. The no-pull feature keeps them from dragging you around while walking or running. The adjustable straps give you a perfect fit for your dog. The reflective features on the chest panel and the straps keep your dog visible and safe.
The two D-rings give you the option of controlling your dog’s pulling power with the front D-ring or allowing him to control his own power with the back D-ring. The strong buckles prevent your dog from breaking free no matter how strong he may be. Additionally, the buckles lock into place so that no one can remove the harness without moving the locking switches on each buckle. Lastly, the nylon handle on the back panel gives you total control when you need it most.
9. Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness
The Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness delivers what we’re looking for in a military-grade tracking harness. The simple, minimalistic design gives dogs the freedom to move while they track. Meanwhile, the chest plate still provides the comfort a dog needs with soft wool padding. The thick leather structure will keep your dog safe and secure. The buckles are strong and the straps are adjustable. You still have 2 leash connection points plus a handle on the back to give you complete control when needed.
This harness is proudly handmade by the Amish in the USA. The leather is tough, handcrafted, and will only get better with age.
10. ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness
The ICEFANG Dog Harness is a true military-grade piece of equipment and we love this harness for tactical work. The alloy metal buckles are tested and proven to hold 1,000 pounds of pressure. The stitching is an “X in a box” pattern on each joint and heavy load point. Your German Shepherd can pull extremely hard on this vest and he will not slip away.
Adjustable points give a custom fit so your dog does not slip out of the harness. The 2 leash connection points give you the choice of redirecting your dog’s pulling power (D-ring on chest) or giving him an easy walk if he doesn’t pull (D-ring on back). If needed, the handle on the back gives you full control. It is double-stitched and highly durable.
Two 1” strips of Molle sewn into each side allow your dog to carry gear in pouches. You can also use carabiners (not included) to attach toys, water bowls, and other gadgets to your dog’s harness.
Types of Dog Harnesses
A No-Pull Walking Harness is engineered for the dog who pulls hard on the leash while walking. The leash attaches to the front of the harness, on a strap that runs across the chest. When the dog pulls on the leash, he is automatically turned sideways towards the handler. This reduces his pulling strength.
A Padded Harness cushions the dog’s joints and muscles for more comfort while walking. This feature is excellent for older German Shepherds. Often, the leash will attach on the back of the harness so it may not be the best choice for German Shepherds who pull hard. Why? Because a pulling point on their back enables all their pulling strength, versus the pulling point on the front of the harness that steers them backwards. Besides the heavy pullers, a padded harness is a great choice for German Shepherds who excel at heeling.
A Car Harness with a Seatbelt acts as a safety measure for car rides with your German Shepherd. The seatbelt clips into the seatbelt buckle in your vehicle. The other end of the seatbelt clips onto the dog’s harness. The harness is padded and comfortable for your German Shepherd to wear.
In an accident, the harness and seatbelt combination prevents your dog from becoming airborne and ejected from the vehicle. The padding in the harness protects your dog’s bones and muscles from being injured in the accident. Additionally, the seatbelt prevents your dog from jumping between seats and potentially causing an accident due to his distracting the driver.
A Reflective Harness is a necessary piece of equipment if you walk your German Shepherd in low light conditions or along roads. Drivers may not see your dog immediately, especially if he is a dark-pigmented breed. The reflective material on the harness sends a signal that a living creature is present and the driver should beware. A reflective harness may or may not have padding for comfort, so do some shopping around if you want a combination of these features.
A Tracking Harness is designed for its namesake: tracking. Teaching your German Shepherd to track scents can be a stimulating bonding experience, but it requires the proper harness. A tracking harness features a minimalistic design that allows for agile movement while still giving you control. High-quality tracking harnesses are often made of sturdy leather that won’t get damaged in intense situations.
A Tactical Vest or Military K9 Harness might make you automatically think of military dogs in camouflage vests chasing enemies in a foreign country. That’s not always the case with a tactical vest. Have you ever seen a service dog accompanying a person in a wheelchair? Was the dog wearing a vest that reads “Service Dog Do Not Pet” and has pockets pull of medical supplies? That was a tactical vest!
If your service dog needs a new tactical vest, consider one with detachable pockets for supplies and patches that read “Do Not Pet” or “Please Give Me Space.” The vest should be made of soft materials and comfortable for your dog to wear for long periods of time.
As for military K9 harnesses, they are often equipped with bullet-proof materials, storage pockets, and safety camouflage. A K9 military harness protects a German Shepherd or large breed dog while he works. You can use this type of harness while training your dog for military or police work. They’re often custom made to fit your dog for life-long use in law enforcement, military work, tracking, or attacking.
Criteria and Features of a Quality Harness for a German Shepherd
Now that we’ve told you how many types of harnesses are out there, you’re probably wondering what you should look for in a high-quality harness for your German Shepherd. No worries, we’re here to break it down for you. Below is a list of critical features of a harness for your German Shepherd to be safe, comfortable, and happy with his equipment.
Thick, heavy-duty material, regardless of the type, should last for years under normal wear and tear. Some harnesses are made of nylon while others are made of leather. Some harnesses may feature fleece for your dog’s comfort. No matter what, the material should be thick and sturdy. If you buy your harness in a brick-and-mortar store, this will be easy to evaluate. If buying online, read reviews of the harness to determine if it is high-quality and durable.
Water-resistant material prevents excess wear and tear on your harness over time. You may be thinking, “How is a water-resistant harness going to prevent my dog from getting wet in the rain?” Well, it’s not. Only a raincoat will do that. But water repeatedly soaking into the material of the harness and then drying increases the aging process of the material. You’ll have to buy a new harness sooner without water-resistance. This feature may not seem critical to you but it’s a good idea if you want a harness that will last for years.
Adjustable straps allow you to personalize the fit of the harness to your German Shepherd or large breed dog. A perfect fit means your dog is comfortable and can move easily during his activities.
A chest strap (which lays across your dog’s chest instead of close to his throat) allows your dog more comfort and easier breathing. A strap that lays too close to the throat reduces the dog’s ability to breath and is frankly inhumane. If possible, put the harness on your dog in the store to ensure it fits properly before you make your purchase. If buying online, make sure the company allows returns in case the front strap cuts off his ability to breath easily.
Hardened plastic or metal buckles are tough enough to keep your German Shepherd securely fastened in his harness. Cheap plastic could break or separate. Additionally, your dog could chew through the plastic and break free while on a walk. Pull on the buckles to make sure they won’t come apart.
A harness suitable for your main purpose is one of the most important parts of searching for a harness. As you can see, there are many different types of harnesses for different purposes. Be sure to do your research (here!) to find the correct harness for the correct use. You wouldn’t use a tactical vest for walking a dog that pulls hard. And you wouldn’t use a no-pull walking harness for training a dog in law enforcement work. Buy multiple harnesses if needed!
As you can see, harnesses have numerous purposes, designs, and features so be sure to purchase the correct harness for your German Shepherd’s activities. Don’t be afraid to buy multiple harnesses if you do a variety of activities (i.e. the No-Pull harness for walking and the Tracking harness for tracking training). We hope you found the best harness for your German Shepherd! Don’t hesitate to ask questions – we’re happy to help!