The Australian Shepherd is a highly intelligent dog breed that’s become extremely popular over the last decade. Aussies love to be the center of attention, no matter where they go. This charismatic canine is also very active and loves to explore with their family on walks. This means leash training is imperative, as is finding the best dog harness for your Australian Shepherd’s very unique body.
Considering the amount of time this breed spends outside, investing in a high-quality harness is a great idea. Not only will it make walks more enjoyable, but it will also make them safer. And it can also make your time as a dog owner far easier as well. Owning an Australian Shepherd isn’t cheap. You’ll be buying high-quality Aussie kibble, dog toys, Aussie-sized crates or kennels, and more. The last thing you need is to spend money where it doesn’t need to be spent.
Here in this guide, we will walk you through how to choose the perfect harness for your Aussie. We will also walk through our favorites, with a more detailed review of each. With something here for every budget and size, you’re bound to find the perfect fit for your pup. Let’s jump into all the doggy details!
At a Glance: Our Favorite Harnesses For Australian Shepherds
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Here is the part where we show you how to pick the best harness for your Aussie. Although Aussies are similar, just like us humans, they are all unique in their own way. Some prefer larger harnesses, and some feel more comfortable in a simplistic one. So, whether you need a harness for everyday use or a more durable one, there are several considerations that you need to take.
All harnesses are designed to take the weight and pressure away from his neck. And distribute it around his chest and shoulders. But there are various types of harnesses that are better suited to different pups. Read through the following harness types, and this will help you identify what he needs.
Back clip: This type has a clip on his back for his leash to attach to. They are designed for seasoned harness wearers who do not pull. This makes walking more comfortable for both you and him.
Front clip: This type is the best option for Australian Shepherds that pull on the leash. Or for pups who need leash training. The clip is placed on the front of his chest, and it will give you more control over which direction he wants to go.
Front & back clip: This type is one of the most popular, as it gives you both options. This is ideal for those owners who want to train their Australian Shepherd to walk on a leash. But expect that once he has picked it up, they can proceed to the rear clip for a more comfortable walk.
Step in vs. overhead: Harnesses are either designed to slip over the top of his head or for him to walk into them. If he is young and sprightly, both are ok. If your Aussie is in his golden years or he is recovering from an injury, an overhead model will be the best type. It means that you can place it over his head without him having to move.
Lift: Lift harnesses are for dogs who are lame on their rear end. Either through a CCL injury, old age, or recovering from surgery. They are designed to fit just in front of their rear legs and allow them to comfortably walk while you take the weight of their back end. If you need a lift harness, see these models here, as the models below are for general use.
Now that you’ve nailed down the different types of harnesses that you can consider for your pup, it’s time to learn a bit about the features you’ll likely need. Some of these features will be more important considerations than others. All of them are important, however, so let’s take a look at each.
Adjustability is one of the most important aspects. A top-quality harness will have at least three adjustment points. For an active dog, the clips and buckles need to be strong and durable to stay locked under any pressure. Think tough plastic or metal clips.
Dogs come in all different sizes and shapes. Adjustment clips will allow you to tailor the harness to fit his exact body shape. Not only will this make it more comfortable for him, but it will also ensure that he cannot slip it and make off.
A good quality harness will be made from high-quality material. The Aussie is a boisterous and fun guy, so the material it’s made of needs to keep up with him. But they also need to be comfortable. Finding the right balance is easy with the right materials. Look for harnesses made from nylon or neoprene, with polyester coming in third.
The durability of the material will also ensure longevity. And stitched panels rather than glued panels will take his energy better, reducing the risk of ripping. They will be slightly more expensive than budget store harnesses, but you can be sure that you will get better value for your money. A well-made harness can last a few years, or maybe more, if you look after it well.
Comfort is another important consideration because if it isn’t comfy, he isn’t going to want to wear it. Harnesses with padding are super comfortable, and they prevent any rubbing and hot spots too. It also needs to be breathable. Otherwise, he will get too hot and stuffy.
If it doesn’t fit correctly, it will also add discomfort. Too tight, and it will rub the Aussie’s skin, causing friction burns and injury. And if he escapes with it on and gets caught up on a fence, it could suffocate him too. If it is too loose, he is bound to escape, which is a danger in itself. For optimum comfort, find the best fit according to the product’s measurement instructions.
The whole point of a harness is to increase his safety in various ways, as outlined above. High-quality models will also have additional safety features. For example, a handle is a great safety feature for two reasons. Firstly, you might need to carry him if he has injured himself, and a handle will help to steady him in your arms. Secondly, it also allows you to gain extra control over him in difficult situations.
For those times when he requests walkies in the early morning or late night, or any time with lower visibility, reflective material, and bright colors are ideal. Reflective trimming or piping is used, both front and back, to help him remain visible to both you and others. Clips for LED light attachments are beneficial. As are pockets for you to place your contact details in should he do a runner.
Top Harnesses For Australian Shepherds
Hopefully, you now feel confident in picking the best type of harness for your pup. Despite their longer body shape, fitment usually isn’t a problem. Most Aussies will fit into a medium-sized harness, but you’ll want to measure your dog to be sure. Here we have seven of the best harnesses, with one to suit every need and Aussie want. And all owner budgets too. Let’s take a closer look.
Chai's Choice Reflective Harness
- Perfect blend of quality & price.
- Five different sizes.
- Nine different color choices.
- Reflective stitching.
- Rear and front leash attachments.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
- Padded for breathability.
Chai’s Choice has created this harness with almost every Australian Shepherd’s needs in mind. It has both a front and back clip for various training needs and for more comfortable walks. The rear back clip is positioned between his shoulder blades, and it is a sturdy metal D ring. Just underneath is a handle for extra control. The front clip is an O ring for better control when he is pulling.
With four adjustment points and strong clips, you will be able to achieve his best fit. The main harness is made with polyester, but it is woven with nylon to make it more sturdy and breathable. The straps around his belly and shoulders are padded for extra comfort. The edges have reflective 3M trimming for high visibility. It also comes in nine neon color designs, catering to everyone’s favorite color.
We love that this harness ticks all of the boxes mentioned in our buying guide. So, it is a great option for most, if not all, Australian Shepherds.
Rabbitgoo Reflective Harness
This simplistic design is more effective than it looks. It is designed with strong-pullers in mind. Designed as a front clip harness with a martingale loop, it steers your dog and redirects pulling. It has quick-release buckles, which is ideal for excitable dogs, who cannot get out of their harness quick enough. It’s also equipped with a two-way color system, which makes it easy to put on.
Rabbitgoo has added padded straps for comfort. Made with nylon and neoprene, it is both strong and durable. It has reflective strips throughout, which means your dog is visible from the front and behind. This harness comes in nine colors and four different sizes. It’s also budget-friendly.
We love that this particular model is designed specifically for dogs that love to pull.
HDP No-Pull Harness
- Two strap design.
- Promotes less choking during pulling.
- Wide padded design for comfort.
- Durable polyester construction.
- Rear attachment only.
- Four different sizes.
- Six different color designs.
This is a budget-friendly pick that is also highly functional and durable. It has a thick adjustable chest strap with an adjustable belly strap too. This also ensures extra security, and it is made of polyester and nylon for extra strength. The harness itself is padded throughout and completed with meshed material for extra breathability and comfort.
It has a metal D-ring on the rear, making for a much more comfortable walk as long as he is trained well. This option gives you ultimate control over your dog. It is as close to a lift harness as you can get, without it actually being one. It is an overhead harness, which is ideal for elderly Aussies.
We love that this harness has a sturdy and ergonomic handle. So if your Aussie is forever lunging, or you need to lift him a lot on your adventures, this strong handle is super comfortable for you.
ICEFang Tactical Harness
- Four different sizes.
- Six different color combinations.
- Velcro sided for molle pack attachments.
- Metal buckles have 1000 pound load test.
- Maximum control due to thicker design.
- Rear handle for additional control.
- Four adjustment points.
This is a premium harness, made by ICEFANG tactical. Built to last, it is made with reinforced nylon that’s both breathable and comfortable. This is a dual clip model that is designed for dogs that like to move. It also has a rear handle for additional control.
It has a thick chest strap with velcro pads that allow for Molle pack attachments. The ICEFANG tactical harness is an overhead style, which is great for older Aussies. With a variety of adjustment points, you will be able to achieve a great fit. It comes in six colors and four different sizes.
We love that this harness has Velcro stitched onto the side. This allows your Aussie to carry additional Molle pouches around, giving them some extra work that they’ll love.
MightyPaw Padded Sports Harness
- Premium weatherproof construction.
- Fiver different sizes.
- Dual clip attachment.
- Non-restrictive design.
- Quick-release buckles.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
- Comfortable padding.
This harness is made for sporting dogs, which is definitely the Aussie Shep. With its strong and durable design, it can take hours of hardcore exercise. Made with weatherproof material, it will not soak up water, making it ideal for rainy walks. It has reflective stitching throughout, so he is visible in low lighting too.
It has both attachment points, so you can use it for training and more comfortable walking. The handle is strong and sturdy and padded for your comfort too. The straps are adjustable for a better fit. And with quick-release buckles, it comes on and off instantly, but only when you want it to.
We love that this model is padded with soft but sturdy material, providing ultimate comfort and safety.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
- Five different sizes.
- Crash tested up to 75 lbs.
- Compatible with all seatbelts.
- Designed after linesman harnesses.
- Reduces stress on the trachea and sternum.
- Breathable patting for comfort.
This harness is built with ultimate safety in mind. It is crash tested up to 75 pounds in weight, and with a car harness, it is ideal for Aussies who spend lots of time traveling in the car. It comes with a carabiner and a 10inch dog belt seat loop compatible with all car safety systems. The chest plate and straps are all padded for extra comfort, and there is also a handle for your control.
It has five adjustment points, which are made of nesting metal. Which are the same clips that rock climbers use. This option doesn’t come with reflective features, so it isn’t the best choice for low-visibility walkies. But it does come with a lifetime warranty, so you can be sure it is up to the test of your Aussie.
We love that this harness has five adjustment points, meaning that it achieves the best fit.
Auroth Tactical Adjustable Harness
- Eleven different color combinations.
- Six different sizes.
- Multiple adjustment points.
- Velcro for Molle pack attachments.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
- Reflective material.
- Non-abrasive padding.
The Auroth Tactical harness is an excellent pick for owners that want to have maximum control. With its durable design, it gives the owner plenty of control over an active dog like the Aussie. It will fit itself perfectly around your dog and protects against more crafty escape artists. It’s easy to put on, and the quick-release clasps will have your dog in and out of it in no time.
This harness is made of heavy-duty 900D nylon and sturdy stitching. It’s available in six different sizes and has many different color variations. While some of the Camo colors are more popular, there are also some solid-colored options for owners who prefer to stay fashionably minimal.
We love that this harness is the best option for super-strong Aussies. It provides maximum control for owners that want to make sure they don’t let their pups run astray.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I use a harness on my Australian Shepherd?
Harnesses are much safer to use than a leash to the collar. This is because they take the strain away from your Aussie’s neck. And instead distributes the pressure across his chest and shoulders. This also prevents him from pulling and tugging as much, giving you much more control.
What is the best size for my Australian Shepherd?
The Australian Shepherd is a medium to large-sized dog. So you can expect that he will need either a medium or a large-sized harness. Although this isn’t that helpful, the best way to find the best size is to measure your dog. Most harnesses will instruct you to measure the circumference of his chest and sometimes his neck too. If your Aussie is between sizes, it’s better to opt for the larger size, as you can make it smaller.
Can a harness hurt my dog?
As long as the harness is the correct size, it cannot hurt him. He might not find it comfortable at first, but as soon as you say “walk”, he’ll quickly forget about it. If you can fit two fingers between his skin and the harness, it is the right tightness. Anything more snug and it will restrict him, and any looser he will likely slip it.
Are these harnesses suitable for running?
Most of the models we’ve reviewed are suitable for hiking and running. If you are specifically looking for a harness while running with your dog, these are some great options.
The Aussie Shepherd is one of the most active and hardworking dogs in the canine kingdom, and so he needs a harness that can match his energy. Whether it’s an everyday walking harness that you are looking for, or a durable, heavy-duty one, you can be sure that there is something here for everyone.
Remember that the most important factor is to find one that fits him correctly and is comfortable too. Any additional safety features above this are a bonus. But thanks to our high-quality recommendations above, you can be sure that they will tick all of your harness needs and more.