If you’re still walking your dog with just the collar around his neck or if what you’re currently using just isn’t the best dog harness, then you’ve come to the right place.
As someone who has owned a pet shop and sold a lot of dog harnesses, I can tell you that not all harnesses are created equal.
A harness is meant to serve a purpose, and that purpose is to keep your pet safe while walking. This is particularly true for smaller pets that are susceptible to trachea collapse (read more on this in our post 5 Reasons Your Dog Should Wear A Harness).
For these reasons it’s of the utmost importance that you choose a dog harness that meets a high standard of quality, and is comfortable for your pet to wear.
Because why buy a dog harness if it is just going to pull on your dog’s neck, feel scratchy or rub their skin raw?
Your dog doesn’t just need a harness, he needs the best dog harness there is.
Today I’m going to give you my two cents on 4 of the best dog harness styles for small to medium sized dogs including the pros and cons of each.
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Best Dog Harness Pick #1
The Puppia Soft Vest Harness is a worldwide bestseller, thanks to the brilliant doggie designers at Puppia International. This dog harness fits snugly like a jacket around the dog’s body to provide a sense of security. It is extremely soft, made of 100% polyester air-mesh, and will not dig in or rub harshly against your dog’s skin and fur. The mesh fabric breathes easily, keeping your pet cool.
Using this harness is quick and easy – have your dog step into it and then fasten both the Velcro and quick-release buckle at the dog’s back. At the back is where you will attach your pet’s leash also, so when you walk, the leash will not tug at the dog’s neck. For this reason, many vets recommend this as the best dog harness for pets with neck injuries.
The Puppia Soft Harness Vest comes in 13 awesome colors and is available in sizes XS to XXL, making it the best dog harness for puppies and other small to medium dog breeds such as Yorkie, Chihuahua, Pomeranian, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, Pug, Boston Terrier, Bichon Frise, Dachshund, French Bulldog, Pekingese, Miniature Schnauzer, Mini Pin, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
The Puppia Soft Vest runs smaller than most other harnesses and only has room for minimal adjustment at the Velcro, which sometimes makes it harder to determine which size is best for your pet. Because of this inability to adjust more than 1-2 inches, some pets may find themselves between sizes.
The best way to determine if this harness will fit your pet is to measure your dog’s chest girth and neck girth and follow the size chart provided when purchasing online.
The picture below sent in by a customer along with her 5 star review of the Puppia Soft Vest Harness helps demonstrate the sizing model.
“I bought 3 of the harnesses for my 3 pugs, with the matching leashes. I love them! They are so easy to put on, and so comfortable fitting. I was concerned with buying an XL for a smaller dog, but these harnesses are for small dogs. Thanks! Our dogs are the happiest and cutest on the block with their new walking attire!!”
You won’t find anything quite like these Step in Harnesses from Susan Lanci Designs. What makes these dog harnesses so unique is the premium Ultrasuede fabric that they’re cut from.
Ultrasuede is manufactured from ultra-microfibers not seen to the human eye to create an amazing, non-woven, fine fabric that is soft and sensuous to the touch, resistant to stretching, fraying, shrinking, stains, discoloration and abrasions, spot-cleanable and washable, and animal friendly.
So what about this puts these on our best dog harness list?
Susan Lanci Designs combines this thin, yet extremely durable fabric with a very low below the neck cut to create a super lightweight, no-choke dog harness. These two features alone make it the best dog harness for teacup puppies and other small dogs that have fragile, little bodies and necks and can be easily weighed down by other harnesses.
The pros don’t stop there though. We all know that small usually equals cute, so when you’ve got a small dog that’s already adorable, you’re still thinking of how you can make her even more adorable, right?
Not only do these step harnesses offer protection for your pet, there are more than 30 unique Ultrasuede colors to choose from including cheetah print, “perfect pink”, and “tiffi blue” to name a few. There’s also multitude of designs from basic to darling featuring bows, flowers, paw prints, cupcakes and more.
And when you’ve got premium fabric, you don’t just stick any old crystal on there as an accent, you use genuine Swarovski crystals for the most glitz and glam, which is exactly what Susan Lanci Designs uses on the embellished styles. Gorgeous! This harness truly has it all – fit, function, comfort and style.
The bad news is that Susan Lanci Designs only makes these harnesses for small dogs, so as unique and darling as they are, dogs over about 15 lbs won’t be sporting one any time soon. You’ll also pay a higher price for these due to the premium materials used to make them, but in the long run they will last much longer than other brands, so you’ll get your money’s worth.
And then there’s the old saying “good things come to those who wait”…
Because these step in dog harnesses come in hundreds of color, size and style combinations, it would be impossible to stock them all. For this reason they are typically considered a “special order” requiring a period of production time before your order ships.
Many online retailers also consider special order items non-refundable, so the best thing you can do is check the retailer’s Returns Policy and measure your dog’s chest girth prior to purchase to make sure that you are ordering the correct size.
The American River Ultra Choke Free Dog Harness by Doggie Design captures it’s most prominent feature all in the name. Choking your pet while out walking can be worrisome especially for small dogs who are prone to trachea collapse as a result of leash pulling on the neck over time.
This soft, mesh dog harness avoids this problem by using conforming shape fit seam technology which causes the harness to conform to the curve of the dog’s chest. The result is a choke free walk by means of pulling across the chest only.
Choking your pet as they pull on the leash isn’t the only worry though when out for a walk. For dogs that like to pull a lot, there’s always the fear that they may break lose. This quality dog harness has been strength tested to 386 lbs, so even if you’ve got a big dog that likes to pull, you can be confident that he’ll stay secure.
The Doggie Design harness comes in over 10 colors and ranges in sizes from XXS-3XL to fit 1 lb puppies up to a 90 lb. large dog. This dog harness has a double safety closure that secures with Velcro and a patented, high strength, sliding quick-release buckle that allows up to 3 inches adjustment. This extra flexibility in sizing adjustment makes the American River Dog Harness easy to fit, putting it on our list as the best dog harness for small, medium and big dogs alike.
On top of it all, this dog harness has two reflective strips on the front, so if you and your pet love to go walking under the stars, rest assured that you’ll be more easily seen by passing cars.
Some customers report a clanking sound made by the double “D” rings while walking pets wearing the smaller sizes.
The Puppia Harness “A” style is a versatile dog harness, designed to fit small puppies to medium or larger dogs due to it’s capacity to adjust. This harness slips over the dog’s head and fastens with a quick-release buckle around the dog’s chest, which can be tightened or loosened for a proper fit.
One of the things I love most about this adjustable dog harness is that it comes in tons of colors and patterns, which changes each Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer season, so there’s always a style to compliment your pet’s coat and personality. From polka dot, plaid, stripe and argyle patterns to camouflage, brocade, flowers and ruffles, you’re sure to find more than one style to love.
Along with great colors and patterns, each Puppia dog harness is made with high quality materials, which becomes apparent when you touch and feel these soft harnesses. Natural cotton, polyester or linen are used to make most styles, but some designs also blend acrylic or wool to create warm and cozy harnesses for the Winter season. The superior quality materials are an important detail in how comfortable your pet is when wearing a harness, and this one is top-notch.
The sizing of the Puppia harness is based upon the dog’s chest girth and neck girth, and in some cases, the dog’s head may be too large to fit through the neck hole for the size that would fit their chest girth best. To avoid this, just be sure to measure your pet before ordering.
The best-selling Puppia “A” harness, which is the Puppia Soft Harness, comes in sizes XS-XXL to fit dogs from 4 lbs. to dogs over 60 lbs., however, all other styles are not available in every size and may be limited to S,M,L or XS-L or S-XL.
The quick-release clasp used to secure the Puppia harnesses can also be difficult to undo for people with arthritic fingers.
What do you think about this list of 4 best dog harnesses? Is there a harness you love that you think deserves to be on the list? Let us know in the comments!