They have become very popular in recent times for a numbers of reasons including but not limited to:
- Giving you greater control over steering and controlling your dog during walks or training
- Spreading pulling pressure across the body – protecting your GSD’s joints and neck
- Providing alternate attachment points for a leash on the back or chest (protecting against chewing on the leash)
- Allowing the performance of working activities and more intense activities, with the use of a a German Shepherd vest like a tactical vest for example
- Some harnesses allow you to secure a GSD to a car seatbelt
The following guide has a top dog harness list, buyer’s guide and dog harness review section to help you make the best decision for picking the best harness for your German Shepherd dog or puppy.
Top Rated Dog Harness For German Shepherd List
We understand you might not have time to read through this whole guide. That’s fine 🙂
You can check out our top German Shepherd harness product choices here…
PetSafe(R) Easy Walk Harness (On Amazon) – No Pull, Puppy, Walking & Nylon Harness
Embark Active Dog Harness (on Amazon) – Padded, No Pull Harness
Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness & Seatbelt (On Amazon) – Car & Seat belt harness
Chai’s Choice Best Front Range Dog Harness (On Amazon) – Reflective Harness
Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness (On Amazon) – Tracking & Leather Harness
OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Molle Vest Harness (On Amazon) – Tactical Vest & Tactical Harness
Best Harness For German Shepherd – Buyer’s Guide and FAQ
Purpose of A Dog Harness
As mentioned in the introduction, there are 5 main purposes of the best harness for German Shepherds are:
- Give you greater control over your German Shepherd than with collar attachments, allowing for easy redirection
- Makes welfare and health of the dog a priority by spreading pressure evenly across the body – making walking and training much more comfortable for you and your GSD, and reducing gagging, choking and neck/spinal injuries to your GSD, and to your arm and shoulders.
- Provides you with other attachment points for the lead to prevent chewing of the lead
- Gives you and your German Shepherd the capability to perform specific tasks like tracking for example where pouches or other accessories are required
- Doubles as an attachment device to a seatbelt in the car to secure your dog. IT IS illegal to drive a car with an unsecured dog in some countries.
Harnesses can be multi-functional and used for many recreational and training activities – walking, heeling, tracking, patrolling and more.
Criteria and Features Of The Best Harness For Your German Shepherd
The Best Harness for German Shepherds will meet 5 main criteria:
- Be durable/strong, reliable and safe (for your German Shepherd, you and the public)
- Be water, rust and snap/pull resistant
- Be suitable (and comfortable – sometimes with padding or anti-chafing material) for the main purposes you require it for (recreation or training)
- Be adjustable for all sizes of dogs
- Have a front strap and multiple lead attachments including one that rests across the chest (not throat). A front lead attachment No Pull harness gives greater control to the owner than a back lead attachment.
Remember, although German Shepherds are a large and strong dog breed, you should give your GSD on leash training as a puppy to minimise pulling during walking and other unwanted behaviors.
This is particularly true for the elderly, smaller statured people and those with arm and shoulder injuries.
Parts of a Good Dog Harness
The common dog harness has 4 main parts to it:
- The Straps – The shoulder, belly and chest straps. Should be made of soft, non chafing, comfortable material like nylon.
- The Buckles/Clips – Hardened plastic is both strong enough and durable enough for the longevity and security you need.
- The Rings/Loops – Metal ‘O’ rings on the sides which join the straps and a metal ‘D’ ring on the front and sometimes back to attach the lead clip to. Stainless steel metal works best.
- The Metal Sliders – Once again, stainless steel sliders are best. Used to adjust the size of the harness to the size of the dog.
How To Measure Your German Shepherd Puppy Or Dog For A Harness Size Chest Size and Girth
To measure your German Shepherd for a harness, you can make two key measurements:
1. Chest Width – Stretch a measuring tape across the front/chest bone of your GSD to about 1 inch behind each of the front legs
2. Girth – Just behind the front legs, wrap a measuring tape around the deepest part of your GSD’s rib cage up to its back
This will give you chest and girth measurements for a harness.
What Size Harness For A German Shepherd?
The average GSD usually takes a Large or Extra Large harness – but measure chest width and girth and refer to the manufacturer harness sizing chart for a better idea of what you’re dog will need.
For reference sake, a Large dog harness usually has similar dimensions to the following –
- Chest Width: 16-21 Inches
- Girth: 27-40 Inches
Materials and Fabrics of Dog Harnesses
When it comes to materials of harnesses, there’s really only one worth worrying about for most owners and dogs (although leather and denim harnesses do exist for tracking and tactical harnesses and vests – but are much less common!):
Nylon is really the best material for dog harnesses – very durable, lightweight and strong. Nylon is a man-made fiber, so it comes in different colors.
Nylon is waterproof, so it doesn’t deteriorate from water damage, shrinking, and it also dries out easily. It’s also easy to keep clean and wash to rid odors.
With a German Shepherd’s thick fur, there is little to no chafing or unnecessary rubbing to irritate your GSD’s skin.
Types and Styles of Dog Harnesses
There are several types of dog harnesses and vests, with a walking or no-pull harness being the most common for everyday dog owners:
No Pull Walking Harness
Designed to allow you to easily walk your GSD and minimise pulling, while maximising control by the owner. Excellent for preventing injury to your GSD, while giving comfort to both the dog and walker (less strain on shoulders and arms).
No Pull harnesses are flexible in their application and can also be used for training your GSD.
A padded harness contains padding for both support and prevent chafing. This is particularly helpful for longer walks and adventure hikes for example.
Designed to allow you to easily and safety secure your GSD dog or puppy in the car during travel. Most of these harnesses are also suitable for walking.
Designed for walking your GSD, and provide extra safety in the form of brighter reflective material on the harness to make your GSD more easily identifiable to traffic and people.
A tracking harness for a German Shepherd needs to be sturdy/strong, comfortable or padded for long periods of use, and preferably anti-snag if tracking in enclosed areas with undergrowth or snags.
Leather harnesses usually provide the best combination of durability and comfort for tracking German Shepherds.
Tactical Vest/Military & K9 Harness
Tactical and Military (sometimes called k9 harness) harnesses for German Shepherds are usually made of breathable nylon mesh designs, with lots of velcro and of course pouches (sometimes detachable) for carrying anything from food supplies to utility tools.
A good tactical/military/k9 vest will come in a range of colors (black and camouflage are popular), and be designed to be durable but light and comfortable (no-chafing and allows your GSD to keep cool) for your GSD dog or puppy. Multiple attachment points for leads helps.
Personal Experience of A Large Dog Owner
This writer personally uses a nylon large harness for a 40kg/90 pound dog.
No chafing at all has been experienced on the dog, even with his high activity and long walks. The nylon is extremely resistant to weather and general wear and tear, extremely strong, light weight and easy to put on, take off and adjust if necessary.
There has been no issue with basic training and everyday walking with the nylon harness.
A standard nylon no pull easy walk harness should be the Best Harness for German Shepherd owners for the most common use of walking and training.
Other GSD owners have said they have had no issues at all walking their GSD on a car harness if that is a priority for you and you want the dual use.
Owners with specialty purposes for their German Shepherd Dog or Puppy’s harness have the tracking and tactical/military vest options reviewed below which are extremely high quality.
Best Dog Harness For German Shepherd – Review Of Harnesses and Vests
PetSafe(R) Easy Walk Harness – Nylon, No Pul Harness That Can Be Used For Puppies Aswell
As you can see, this is the most well rounded dog harness on the list. It is very cheap, but possesses a number of features that allow for this flexibility in applications.
Firstly, there is a chest strap that spreads loads across your GSDs chest evenly to protect their neck.
Secondly, the chest strap contains a lead attachment that naturally steers your dog in your direction, minimising pulling and giving you greater control on walks and during training.
Third, there are 4 strap adjustors, making it super easy to adjust the size of the harness to perfectly fit your dog. Generally the large size is best for German Shepherds.
Fourth, the harness nylon material is quite strong and durable.
For this particular harness there is only small drawback, and that is for very short haired dogs (which most GSDs aren’t) with exposed skin, the nylon can rub. For this you can wrap a soft material like cotton around the harness in those spots.
Embark Active Dog Harness – Padded, No Pull Harness
The Embark Active Harness is very flexible – made for walking, running, training and adventures.
There’s a lot this harness is designed for and it has many features which include:
- PADDING: Something is has that most dog harnesses don’t have is lightweight padding that makes wearing a harness extremely comfortable for your dog, and protects them against rubbing or chafing, especially during intense or long activities.
- FRONT AND BACK ATTACHMENTS – There are two attachments/D rings… a front attachment, and also the standard back attachment point for every day use: traditional walking or running with your dog. The back attachment in conjunction with the whole harness is designed to spread the force of pulling across your dog’s neck.
- NO PULL TRAINING FRONT D RING – The front attachment is a no pull leading leash attachment point, only used for training while walking in front of your dog, helping you train them to heel and to stop pulling! The front attachment point is not designed to bear the stress of everyday use.
- QUADRUPLE SEWN ATTACHMENT POINTS – The attachment points are quadruple sewn with military grade nylon thread, and it’s also compatible with seat belt attachments.
- EASY TO ADJUST – The neck and chest straps are easy to adjust before slipping the harness over your dog’s head.
- CONTROL HANDLE – There is a control handle on the back which allows you to either help steer your dog, or halt them.
- RANGE OF SIZES – There are 4 sizes – Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. For perspective, small fits a chest size around of 16 to 24 inches, and extra large up to 41 to 47 inches.
- RANGE OF COLORS – You can choose from three colors – black, orange and teal blue.
- FOR A RANGE OF DOGS – can be used for young or old dogs, and even assistance or service dogs.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness & Seatbelt – Car and Seatbelt Harness
The Kurgo dog harness can function either as a walking or car harness – and is crash tested for dogs up to 75lbs as a car harness.
It comes with a padded vest (for comfort) and 5 adjustment points for the harness size. The seat belt attachment device/tether is a carabiner and 10 inch seat belt loop that is compatible with any car seatbelt system.
The large size fits dogs with 18 to 30-inch neck, 24 to 34-inch chest.
The Kurgo can take a little bit of time to figure out how to adjust and fasten to the seatbelt when you first get it, but it’s not complicated.
For only slightly more than the Petsafe harness, the Kurgo is great value for money.
Chai’s Choice Best Front Range Dog Harness – Reflective Harness
The Chai’s Choice harness is a high visibility, outdoor, heavy duty type harness.
It’s great for walking a dark coloured dog at night, and the handle ontop of the harness is good for additional control of the harness or looping a seatbelt through.
Multiple ring attachments mean you can attach the lead at the front for a heavy puller, or at the back if you want a more hassle free walk.
This harness can need a bit of adjustment and can sometimes slip around if you have a smaller dog, but that shouldn’t be a huge problem with a large breed like a German Shepherd.
Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness – Tracking Harness
This harness is quality made with very sturdy leather and brass buckles.
The breastplate is fleece lined, making it very comfortable for all day use, and there is a low profile handle on the back of the harness to minimise catching on snags.
A very strong harness that is purpose built for tracking, and for larger dogs.
The leather can be a little stiff when you first get it, but it softens up after multiple uses.
OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Molle Vest Harness – Tactical Vest and Tactical Harness
A tactical vest with MOLLE on both sides for accessorising with attaching pouches, bottles, snacks and other items.
The back contains a large patch of velcro, and the vest as a whole still allows for breathability and ventilation.
Two attachment points – one on the front and one on the back.
There are Large and Extra Large sizes available – aswell as black, brown and camouflage colors.
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