German Shepherds are often considered one of the most trainable dogs on the planet, but any owner knows that no two dogs are created equal. Some love to pull and tug on their leashes to no end, which is why using a harness comes in handy.
Not only do these products help with training, but they also eliminate the stress on your dog’s throat and skeletal system from the pressures of tugging. Harnesses generally are not a “one size fits all” solution, so the harness needs for a giant breed will be different than what a beagle needs or what a medium-sized dog needs from a dog harness.
So, how do you find the best harnesses for German Shepherds? You look right here! We’ve put together a list of what we feel are the best products for this breed on the market. We also include a buyer’s guide in this article to help you make the best decision for you and your pooch.
At a Glance: Our Favorite German Shepherd Harnesses
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There are plenty of reasons to use a harness for every dog breed, but German Shepherds (like most breeds) have a list of benefits all their own. First, harnesses discourage them from pulling on their leash while protecting against damage to the trachea, neck, and spine.
Second, any German Shepherd with a medical condition reaps those benefits tenfold. Eliminating coughing and gagging is vital for congestive heart failure, lung problems, and relative skeletal pain. For this breed, in particular, it also heavily discourages jumping. Finding the best harness for your dog isn’t easy, but this guide highlights some features to look for and aspects to consider.
There are four types of dog harnesses to choose from when buying one for your dog. Each offers a different purpose and benefit, but all provide the same protection. Choosing between them is a matter of what works best for your dog and yourself while training or walking them.
Front clips are a trainer’s best friend. They provide the most control over your dog as you teach them how to walk by your side and ignore distractions. The leash clips to the dog’s chest, eliminating pulling and distributing pressure evenly across the body. If your German Shepherd is prone to spontaneous dashes when it spots a rabbit or squirrel, then the front clip might not be the best option. Depending on your ability to control the dog, they could end up flipping themselves around.
Back clip varieties offer less control but increase the level of comfort for the dog. These are often reserved for the trained dog who occasionally pulls on their leash when excited. For the German Shepherd, however, the back clip should be saved for a well-trained dog. This breed is prone to the opposition reflex, which is an instinct that causes them to pull harder against the pressure of the chest piece. This can increase their aggression, encourage lunging behaviors, or simply stop them from listening to your commands at the moment.
Dual clip models offer the best of both worlds with a clip in the front and one in the back. This allows you to quickly switch between lead positions for a variety of situations and is often a cost-effective investment that your dog can use while training and after (provided they do not outgrow the harness).
Vests are the luxury variety of harnesses thanks to their extra padding for comfort and snug fit. Anxious dogs will benefit from the way a vest hugs their body, creating a calming effect. Senior dogs and those with spine or other issues also benefit from the added support a vest provides. High-end vests, like the ones you might see a police dog wear, are also beneficial for the German Shepherd. These models feature incredibly durable materials and provide a higher level of control.
Harnesses for larger breeds often feature a handle on the back that is reinforced or made from a stronger material than the padded areas of the product. Aggressive dogs require this feature for their safety and those around them. While not all German Shepherds are aggressive, the breed’s raw strength is enough to make playtime dangerous when they’re untrained or still in training.
That handle also helps you keep them from pulling you, despite having a tougher harness, keeping them safe from traffic or an aggressive animal. The positioning of these handles allows you to pull hard without placing excess pressure on the dog’s body. Your force is equally distributed throughout the harness, making an exceptional safety feature for everyone and every animal involved in the situation.
Budget is important for any type of canine product, especially for expensive breeds like these. These pups already cost north of $1,500 for a purebred puppy, so making sure you balance your purchases is going to be important. You’ll be spending your fair share on proper German Shepherd nutrition, a German Shepherd-sized dog crate, dog toys, and more.
Top Harnesses for German Shepherds
After careful consideration and research, we feel that these are the best harnesses for German Shepherds you can find. Each listing explains the pros and cons behind every product while highlighting their benefit to the breed.
Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list. Depending on what your plans are for your GSD, your needs may vary. If your dog is a trained service dog, the need for a vest is going to be higher than just a basic no pull dog harness. Let’s take a deeper look at our favorite models.
Chai’s Choice Dog Harness
- Five different sizes.
- Nine different color combinations.
- Reflective piping.
- Dual-clip attachments.
- Four different adjustment points.
- Durable nylon construction.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
The Chai’s Choice reflective dog harness is a budget-friendly dual-clip harness that doesn’t sacrifice quality for the price range. In our opinion, this harness is one of the best products you can purchase for the money. The harness comes in nine different color combinations and five different sizes.
With four different adjustment points, fitment becomes quite easy. Most adult dogs will fit into a large, with younger dogs probably fitting into a medium. The sturdy metal D-ring attachment on the front and back, allow you to have control over whether this harness is needed to prevent pulling, or for a leisurely stroll.
The Chai’s Choice harness also has reflective stitching. Many German Shepherd owners tend to take their dogs on walks in low-light conditions. Making sure you and your pup can both be seen should be a priority, if that’s your typical walking time.
We love the Chai’s Choice as an excellent pick for both quality and budget. It’s one of our favorites for smaller dogs, up through large canines. It’s tough, and durable enough to withstand years of abuse.
OneTigris Tactical Harness
- Three different tactical colors.
- Molle webbing and velcro attachments.
- Adjustable neck and chest straps.
- Front control loop.
- Durable rear handle for more control.
- Four different clip-in points.
- Can use velcro areas for service dog patches.
Looking for a more tactical fit? Maybe you want to have more control over your dog than a standard harness? The OneTigris Tactical Harness provides maximum control of your canine companion in a tactical package.
The molle velcro on the side is a nice touch. They provide your dog with the ability to add a couple of molle pouches to the sides and carry them around. You can also use them to sport badges on the side of the harness if you intend to own a service dog.
The harness is durable enough to withstand even the most ardent working dogs. It comes in three different color combinations, all with a more military look and feel. It has fully adjustable neck and chest straps, which help ensure that your pup gets a snug fit. Overall, this harness is a high-quality tactical setup that offers maximum control of your dog.
We love the tactical nature of this dog harness. The durable nylon material can handle abuse, and will last your pup for a very long time.
Rabbitgoo No-Pull Pet Harness
- Durable nylon construction.
- Twelve different color combinations.
- Four different sizes.
- No-pull design.
- Engineered to eliminate choking.
- Four adjustable straps.
Rabbitgoo offers a fully adjustable design with straps that connect the top and bottom pieces of the harness. Padded air mesh on each side creates a breathable and comfortable fit to keep your dog cool while alleviating pressure from pulling.
The waterproof design is great for all-year use, while bright reflective strips make this an excellent nighttime walk choice. There’s no chest piece to create an opposition reflex, which is essential for this breed. Finally, the back clip and added handle offer plenty of control.
We love that this dog harness is fully adjustable, highly reflective, and has a back handle for additional control. There are also quick-release buckles for safe removal in any situation or circumstance.
WINSEE No-Pull Pet Harness
- Five different sizes.
- Thirteen different color combinations.
- Adjustable chest and neck girth.
- Designed to reduce pulling.
- No-choke design.
- Quick-snap buckles.
Two sturdy metal rings on this model provide durability and added control over your dog, all while alleviating pressure from pulling. Quick snap buckles allow for easy removal, 1680D Oxford fabric is virtually tear-proof, and a leather handle on the back gives you complete control when you need it.
The chest piece includes a metal D-ring for training and scoops at the neck to prevent choking. Separate from the back part, which has its own D-ring, you can completely adjust this harness for the perfect fit. It also comes with a collar for double-leash training. Plus, it’s also highly reflective.
We love that this dog harness is fully adjustable, and the fabric is incredibly durable. It also has a back handle for added control. It also has a locking snap with buckles and has a warranty for the first year you own it.
Big Dog No-Pull Harness
- Four different sizes.
- Twelve different color options.
- Larger chest girth for strong dogs.
- Made of lightweight material.
- Padded chest area.
- Reflective stitching for low light conditions.
Like the WINSEE, this model features quick release snap buckles with a locking mechanism for even the toughest leash puller. Oxford nylon makes this another highly durable model, while reflective surfaces make this excellent for nighttime use.
D-rings on both the front and back allow you to switch from training to a leisurely walk with ease, and the design is fully adjustable like the other models above. With an added handle on the back, you can gain full control over your dog any time it’s needed.
We love that this strap is fully adjustable and comes with locking snap buckles. It’s highly reflective and it has a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee, so if you aren’t satisfied with the product – just send it back.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Dog Harness
- Engineered after rock climbing harnesses.
- Extremely durable design.
- Rear attaching strap acts as a handle.
- Crash tested up to 75 pounds.
- Breathable front padding.
- Front and rear attachment points.
- Secure metal adjustment points.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Dog harness is designed for active dogs. It’s made of extremely durable material, and was designed by engineers that focus on harnesses for rock-climbing and line work. It comes in both large and extra-large for larger german Shepherds.
There’s a carabiner that’s included with your harness purchase, that allows you to attach your dog’s harness to a safety belt in your car. This feature has been crash-tested for dogs up to 75 pounds. This harness attaches at the front and at the rear, with steel metal D-rings that keep your pup from pulling. For the adventure dog, this harness is an excellent choice.
We love that the Kurgo dog harness was made specifically to secure very active dogs. It’s a great option for hiking if you plan to take your pup on outdoor adventures.
Eagloo No-Pull Harness
- Nine different colors.
- Four different sizes.
- Safe & Comfortable.
- Easy to put on and remove.
- Anti pulling design.
- Prevents choking during walks.
Featuring two zinc-alloy rings on the chest and back, this durable dog harness allows for training as well as leisurely walks. Adding to that durability is nylon webbing that stretches when your dog does decide to pull. That mesh is also highly breathable, making it excellent for summer days.
There’s plenty of reflective surfaces on this model, along with multiple points of adjustment for a comfortable fit. Added padding protects your dog even more as it tugs and pulls at the leash. Finally, there’s a 100% Quality Warranty that replaces or fully refund your purchase.
We love that this dog harness has double zing alloy rings on the back clip and has multiple points of adjustment. The highly durable nylon mesh stretches for added comfort and allows your dog to stay restrained but in a comfortable fashion.
Bolux No-Pull Harness
- Pulling weight is evenly distributed.
- Reflective straps.
- Thicker front strap for security.
- Six different sizes.
- Wide variety of different colors & styles.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
Made from high-quality, waterproof Oxford nylon fitted with an enormous reflective strip, this durable product from Bolux is also an excellent nighttime companion. Pressure is evenly distributed across the chest strap instead of a chest piece, eliminating opposition reflex. The nylon construction is also breathable.
A heavy-duty handle on the back offers instant and full control, while the D-ring on the back provides plenty of control otherwise. With a performance-engineered plastic buckle, your pup isn’t going anywhere you don’t want it to. Plus, there’s a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.
We love that this model has insanely durable construction from the Oxford nylon it uses, through the D-Ring. It has a back handle that’s perfect for dogs with perfect strength like the German Shepherd. It’s reflective and fully adjustable and comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Lifepul Dog Vest Harness
- Unique design.
- Thick padded straps.
- Rear handle for maximum control.
- Rear leash connection point.
- Comfortable padding.
- Less material means more breathability.
A D-ring in the back provides plenty of durability and control on the Lifepul, while high-quality nylon construction bolsters that durability. Nickel plated hardware keeps straps from snapping under pressure, soft padding makes this comfortable for your pet, and adjustable locks make this a simple fit.
There’s no chest piece, eliminating opposition reflex, which is replaced by a larger front strap with padding. A handle on the back of this vest gives you total control when you need it, as well.
We love this option because the hugging vest design is excellent for anxious dogs. The durable nylon protects your investment and the nickel plating handles even the toughest pullers who don’t behave out on walks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my German Shepherd need a harness?
No dog requires a harness when walking them, but these products do provide several benefits. Not only do they protect your dog’s spine and throat, but they also offer you more control as the owner. This is a handy benefit when training your dog not to chase after animals or jump up on people.
Dogs with harnesses are also less likely to get tangled up in their leashes. Senior dogs almost always require a harness, as do those with medical conditions.
How Can I tell which clip style to buy?
The right clip style depends on the dog, the activities you do together, and what health considerations they might need. For German Shepherds, a front clip is ideal for training. If your dog has health issues to consider, then a back clip may be the best option depending on what those conditions are. However, the vest and front clip works best when training this breed on any level.
How do I Size my German Shepherd for the right fit?
Sizing a dog for a harness is a challenge, but there’s a surefire way to get as close to the mark as possible. Start by measuring your dog’s neck and chest with a cloth measuring tape. The chest measurement is taken just above the shoulders around the neck and again just behind the legs and around the back.
Keep the measurement loose to allow room for growth and sizing differences between brands. It’s always better to choose something larger than something too tight.
How can I tell if the harness is too tight or too loose?
You want the harness to fit snug for support and control, but anything too loose eliminates the benefits of the product. Finding that happy medium is often more challenging than finding your dog’s exact measurements, but there's a simple rule of thumb to follow.
After adjusting the straps, place two fingers between your dog and the harness. If you can’t fit them underneath the harness or you begin to lose circulation, then it is too tight. If you can fit three or more fingers underneath, then the harness is too loose, and you need to readjust it.
With German Shepherds, you want the harness to fit as tight as possible without it causing any discomfort to your dog. This provides you with the control you need to reign them in and curb any unwanted behavior before it becomes an issue.
Do I need a handle on my harness?
You might not need one if your dog is docile, but it is highly recommended that the harness you choose has a handle with this breed. A German Shepherd’s strength is enough to overwhelm most owners at times. So, the ability to fully control their actions in any given moment is vital during training and beyond.
German Shepherds are some of the most loyal, trainable dogs on the planet. They also possess raw strength that’s essential for any owner to control. That’s why a harness is an excellent option for anyone who owns this breed. When it comes to the best harnesses for German Shepherds, we recommend the Chai’s Choice dog harness. It is fully adjustable, features locking snap buckles, and highly reflective. Even better, the handle on the back is incredibly strong.
If that’s not up your alley, then we suggest the OneTigris Tactical harness. It’s just as durable, and provides your dog with tactical functionality. There’s minimal opportunity to create an opposition reflex, and the D-rings offer plenty of control. Both of these harnesses are high quality, and should provide years of use for your German Shepherd pup.
May 22, 2022 at 9:35 pm
Looking for a no pull German Shepherd, service vest. (Medical)