best harnesses for German Shepherds

Best Harnesses For German Shepherds | 5 Harnesses Compared

If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, I suggest you check out the RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness.

German Shepherds are large, athletic, and highly energetic dogs. As such, it could be quite challenging to find a comfortable yet secure harness that can withstand a German Shepherd’s strength. But I’d like to make it simple for you. In this article, I discuss the best harnesses you can get for your German Shepherd along with a complete buying guide, so you can finally hook your GSD up to its leash with no problems.

Overview: The Best Harnesses For German Shepherds

Why Should You Use A Harness Over A Collar?

best harnesses for German Shepherds

Harnesses offer a safe and secure way to hook your German Shepherd up to its leash. They’re designed to disperse pressure over a larger area of your dog’s body instead of just its neck and thus prevents choking or any damage to the trachea.

They also offer better control over your dog’s movement. Some harnesses, for example, help discourage and eventually stop pulling, making them ideal for training. 

What To Consider When Buying A Harness For Your GSD

Different Types Of Dog Harnesses

There are three different types of harnesses. They are as follows:

Front-Clip Harnesses

Front-clip harnesses are those which have the attachment point located on the chest area. With such positioning, these harnesses allow for better control of a dog’s movement and helps prevent pulling. For instance, when a dog pulls on a front-clip harness, the owner can simply turn the dog around back to its original position. With that, front-clip harnesses are generally the go-to harnesses for training.

Do note however, that front-clip harnesses prevent pulling by preventing your German Shepherd from feeling rewarded when it does pull. So, they won’t actually stop a hyper-aggressive or reactive dog from pulling instantly. Instead, it will take time for your dog to realize that pulling is futile, and that it should stop doing so.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that with this type of harness, leashes are more likely to get tangled around the dog’s legs. So, it can get annoying.

Back-Clip Harnesses

Back-clip harnesses are very common as they are easy to use and comfortable for dogs. As the name implies, these harnesses have the leash attachment point placed in the back area. This allows the harness to remove pressure from a dog’s neck and prevent damage or choking.

The downside to these harnesses, though, is that they don’t provide better control and don’t generally help when it comes to pulling.

Dual Or Multi-Clip Harnesses

These harnesses have more than one attachment point. Typically, it’s a combination of front-clip and back-clip harness, with one attachment point on the chest, and the other at the back. With that, these harnesses provide the best of both worlds, and you can use the back-clip for general walks or the front-clip if you need more control.

As you would expect, however, these harnesses are typically more expensive than single-clipped harnesses, and may thus be out of the picture if you’re on a budget.

Which Type Of Harness Should You Get For Your German Shepherd?

It will depend on your dog. If your German Shepherd’s well-trained and not a puller, then you can get a back-clip harness and have no problems. Otherwise, you might need a harness that will provide you with more control, and thus a front-clip would be more ideal. Now of course, you can also go for the versatile 2-in-1 option with a dual-clip harness, that is, if you don’t mind spending a bit more.

Other Considerations

Aside from type, you would also have to consider other factors, size, security, comfort, convenience, and durability.

Size

One of the most common issues when getting a harness is sizing. Especially now when we make most of our purchases online. And so it’s important that you know your German Shepherd’s exact measurements before making a purchase.

So, get that measuring tape and measure the following areas:

  • Neck. Measure the neck by circling the tape around the base of your dog’s neck or where its throat meets its chest.
  • Girth. Measure the deepest point of your dog’s girth by wrapping the tape around its body. This deepest point is generally located just behind the dog’s front legs.

Once you have these measurements, be sure to compare them with size charts to avoid any sizing issues.

Security

When getting a harness, always consider if it’s designed well enough to prevent your dog from escaping. You want one that will be able to hold your dog reliably, as inferior and poorly made harnesses can be dangerous and even life-threatening. For instance, it wouldn’t be ideal if your German Shepherd escapes its harness when you’re out near a busy street.

Comfort

You should also consider your dog’s comfort. Avoid tight harnesses that rub against the skin as these may end up hurting your German Shepherd. Instead, look for ones that are well-padded in the belly and chest areas and those that are size adjustable.

Convenience

Also opt for harnesses that provide convenience and ease of use. These are typically the ones with quick-release buckles and easily adjustable straps.

Durability

Lastly, make sure that you get a harness that is tough and durable. Your harness must be able to withstand the constant movement and pulling of a big and strong German Shepherd. So, look for harnesses with metal leash attachment points held by strongly reinforced cloth, or thick industrial-grade plastic for buckles and clips. Never go for ones with thin plastic, as they will surely not last.

The Best Harnesses For German Shepherds

RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness

For my top recommendation, we have the RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness. It’s made from durable material and perfect for everyday wear. It features, in my opinion, everything you need from a harness.

This harness comes with two attachment points. It has a sturdy aluminum v-ring at the back and a reinforced webbing attachment point at the chest. The back attachment point is perfect for relaxed and well-behaved walks, while the chest attachment point allows for better control and makes it a no-pull harness. This versatility will allow you to use it on your German Shepherd whether it’s well behaved or not.

The harness is also well-designed for comfort. It’s foam-padded across the chest and belly, and comes with four adjustable points that you can adjust for the harness to fit your German Shepherd perfectly.

Lastly, the harness also includes additional convenient features such as an ID pocket for your dog’s tags and reflective trim lights for increased visibility and added safety.

The only problem I found about this harness is that while it is generally secure, the best escape artists can wiggle out of it. That said, Houdini dogs are quite special and rather uncommon. 

Pros

  • No-pull
  • Easy to put on and remove
  • Customizable fit
  • Padded for comfort
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Reflective trim lights

Cons

  • Houdini dogs may be able to wiggle out of it
  • A bit pricey

RUFFWEAR Webmaster Multi-Use Support Dog Harness

As another RUFFWEAR harness, the RUFFWEAR Webmaster Multi-Use Support Dog Harness is very similar to the Front Range Model. 

Like the Front Range, this harness has foam-padded straps and adjustment points for a customized fit. It also has 2 leash attachment points, an aluminum v-ring and the other a reinforced webbing loop. Furthermore, it also features reflective trim lights for better safety during night walks.

Where they differ, is in the fact that instead of being an everyday harness like the Front Range, the Webmaster is a super-secure harness designed for working dogs, service dogs, amputee dogs, and even avalanche rescue dogs. This harness is, by all means, escape-proof. Thus, if you own an escape artist of a German Shepherd, then this harness would be perfect for you.

That said, there is one drawback I found with the Webmaster, and that’s the fact that it isn’t a no-pull harness. It has no front attachment point or any other feature that discourages pulling and thus might be unideal for untrained German Shepherds.

Pros

  • Lightweight and durable
  • Padded for comfort
  • Sturdy aluminum connection point
  • Reflective trim lights
  • Padded reinforced handle designed to help your dog up and over obstacles

Cons

  • Does not discourage pulling
  • Can be quite difficult to fit and adjust

Rabbitgoo No-Pull Adjustable Dog Harness

If you’re looking for a competitively priced yet highly effective harness, then the Rabbitgoo No-Pull Adjustable Dog Harness is for you. This is a no-pull harness packed with pretty much all the features you and your dog may need.

It has two attachment points, one on the back and the other on the chest, which means that this is a no-pull harness. It has four adjustable straps for a customized fit and is made of soft, breathable, and padded nylon Oxford fabric for maximum comfort. Furthermore, it also has two fast-release buckles for easy use and removal. And finally, it has reflective strips for increased visibility and safety, especially on night walks.

With all those features and its price, the Rabbitgoo No-Pull Adjustable Dog Harness could easily be one of the best harnesses that you can get. But, it too has its drawbacks. For one, the leash attachment rings are made of plastic, which may break more easily compared to metal variants. Also, the straps are quite rigid and can be challenging to adjust. But other than that, this harness would work very well for your German Shepherd.

Pros

  • Competitive pricing
  • No-pull harness
  • Adjustable for a custom fit
  • Made for comfort

Cons

  • Plastic leash attachment rings
  • Rigid straps can be quite challenging to adjust

Chai’s Choice Best Outdoor Dog Harness

Next up is the Chai’s Choice Best Outdoor Dog Harness, of which I consider to be an upgraded version of the Rabbitgoo harness.

This harness is a no-pull, no-choke harness made of scratch-resistant oxford material and lightweight duraflex buckles for durability. It’s built for comfort with well-padded mesh linings in the chest and belly area and fully adjustable straps for a customized fit. Furthermore, it also includes safety features such as reflective material for increased visibility and a sturdy handle and seat belt attachment.

Overall, this harness is similar to the Rabbitgoo, but it differs in terms of the quality of the material. Unlike the Rabbitgoo, which has plastic rings, the Chai’s Choice harness has two leash attachment points, with a Zinc-alloy D-ring on the back and Zinc-alloy O-ring on the chest. Effectively making it much more durable and reliable compared to the Rabbitgoo.

That said, it does cost a bit more, but is still competitively priced compared to most harnesses on the market.

Pros

  • No-pull harness
  • Adjustable for a custom fit
  • Made for comfort
  • Metal attachment points for durability
  • Nylon webbing with 3M reflective material for good visibility

Cons

  • Can be quite difficult to fit and adjust

Sporn No Pull Harness

Last but not least, we have the Sporn No Pull Harness.

This harness is made from high-quality, nylon mesh with nickel plated hardware for guaranteed durability and longevity. It’s also well-designed for comfort with features such as padded Sherpa sleeves and an elastic and flexible mesh that stretches along with your dog’s natural movement, allowing for control without compromising comfortability. Finally, it’s also quite convenient as it’s easy to put on and remove.

One thing to note about the Sporn Harness, though, is that while it’s no-pull, it actually doesn’t have a front attachment like other harnesses. In fact, this harness has only 1 attachment point, an O-ring located at the back. So, how exactly is it no pull?

Well, instead of allowing you to turn your German Shepherd around when it pulls, this harness tightens its sleeves and applies light pressure under your dog’s front legs. And while that may sound awful, the harness won’t hurt your dog at all. Instead, this feature actually prevents any damage or harm to your German Shepherd’s neck.

As for drawbacks, while the Sporn Harness is an overall great no-pull no-choke harness, it does lack features compared to the other harnesses on this list. For example, this harness has no reflective strips for night visibility or built-in pockets for your dog’s tags.

Pros

  • No-pull and no-choke harness
  • Durable and weatherproof
  • Padded sleeves and flexible mesh for comfort
  • Easily adjustable to fit

Cons

  • Lack of certain features such as reflective strips

Conclusion

That concludes my list of the best harnesses for German Shepherds. I hope you found the information helpful and that it provided you a better understanding of your next purchase.

To reiterate, I highly recommend that you get the RUFFWEAR Front Range Harness. It’s durable, comfortable, and most importantly, secure.

That said, you really can’t go wrong with any of the five. So choose one you find most suitable for your needs, and enjoy your walks!

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