A good dog harness is one of the essential pieces of equipment recommended for your German Shepherd dog or puppy, along with a leash and collar.
In the guide below, we’ve put together a list of some of the top rated harnesses on the market.
Let’s take a look!
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
Best Harness For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies
Our top picks for the best harnesses for German Shepherd dogs and puppies are:
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- rabbitgoo Dog Harness (on Amazon) – for small through to large dogs
- Embark Active Dog Harness (on Amazon) – Padded, No Pull Harness
- RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness (on Amazon) – comes in XXS through to L/XL sizes
- ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness (on Amazon) – comes in small through to XXL sizes
- Auroth Tactical Dog Training Harness (on Amazon) – comes in small through to XL sizes
- Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness with Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength (on Chewy) – Harness made with extra strength
More harness options …
In this guide, we list some of the other dog harness options across various dog harness types.
Best Harness For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies: Reviews
Ruffwear – Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness for Dogs
This harness is designed to minimise pulling by having a leash attachment on the front and on the back of the harness.
Attaching your dog’s leash to the attachment at the front gives you greater control against pulling.
This harness comes in a range of sizes for small to large dogs, and also comes in a range of colors.
You can use it for walks, runs, and hikes.
It has side release buckles, four points to adjust the harness for your dog’s body size, reflective trim and a padded chest area.
There’s a sizing chart included so it’s easy for you to pick the right size harness for your dog.
View the Ruffwear Front Range All-Day Adventure Harness for Dogs (on Amazon)
PetSafe(R) Easy Walk Harness
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.
View PetSafe(R) Easy Walk Harness (on Amazon)
Embark Active Dog 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.
View Embark Active Dog Harness (on Amazon)
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.
View Kurgo Tru-Fit Crash Tested Dog Harness & Seatbelt (on Amazon)
Signature K9 Leather 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.
View Signature K9 Leather Tracking Harness (on Amazon)
OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Molle Vest 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.
View OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Molle Vest Harness (on Amazon)
Best Harness For German Shepherd Dogs & Puppies: Buyer’s Guide
Purpose & Benefits of A Dog Harness
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.
Protects against things such as pulling when on walks
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.
How To Measure Your German Shepherd Puppy Or Dog For A Harness Size Chest Size and Girth
The harness manufacturer will provide sizing instructions.
Usually you have to measure the chest and neck girth and match it to a size of harness.
But, find out the measurements you have to take, and find out how to translate those measurements to a size of 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
No Pull Harness For German Shepherds
No pull harnesses have a ring at the front and one at the back.
Connecting your leash to the ring at the front helps with pulling as you get more control over your dog.
It’s important to note though that this won’t stop pulling, but can help control it.
The only way to fully stop pulling altogether is to do some training with your dog. When they pull, you stop walking and stand on the spot.
You only continue walking again when your dog sits still.
You stop again as soon as your dog starts pulling again.
You can use treats to reward sitting and a slack leash.
Repetition and patience is the key to this.
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.
What Is The Most Comfortable Dog Harness?
There’s a few things that make a dog harness comfortable:
A foam or fleece padding around the harness so it sits comfortably on your dog’s body and around their neck/back/chest
Loops/harness clips that comfortably on the outside of the harness
A harness that has adjustable straps so it fits to the exact size of your dog’s body
Dog Harnesses For Escape Artists
This guide might list some of the most escape resistant dog harnesses on the market.
Harnesses that both fit to a dog’s body well, and that have a design that prevents a dog from squeezing their legs or head out from the harness holes/openings between the straps and padding, can both make a more escape resistant harness.
More Dog Harnesses
In this guide, we list some of the other dog harness options across various dog harness types.
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