Though your dog might not be the most graceful of animals when he’s ready to go for a walk, a Great Dane offers up an engaging personality that matches his larger-than-life breed.
But when it comes to managing your dog’s behavior, especially when there are exciting things to see and do, you need to have a backup plan beyond obedience training. You’ll want to find a larger harness, because large dogs like the dane or the mastiff pretty much require giant “everything.”
Here we’ll look at the best harnesses for Great Danes which can help you to keep them safe and contained when necessary.
- 1 Harnesses for Great Danes: Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Our Favorite Harnesses For Great Danes
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
Harnesses for Great Danes: Buyer’s Guide
Walking your Great Dane is no easy feat, even when they are obedient and relatively well-behaved. From excited wiggling while getting leashed up to complete overwhelm when the harness comes out, you can expect your big dog to have a big reaction to going out. To make walking easier and more enjoyable for everyone, here’s what to look for when shopping for the best harness for your Dane.
Perhaps the most important consideration for your Dane’s harness is heavy-duty materials. Even if your dog doesn’t chew, the fact that these gentle giants can get moving fast (and take you with them) means you should prepare for lots of stress on the harness.
While mesh harnesses are often ideal for smaller dogs or those with sensitive tracheas, Danes need heavier materials and reinforced straps and seams to prevent breakage. Multiple buckles are better than Velcro closures for big dogs like Danes, and polyester or other materials are preferable to mesh.
At the same time, a harness that’s tough to slip out of is helpful for dogs who tend to have big reactions when something exciting or scary happens. If your dog is an escape artist, thicker straps and full-coverage harnesses might be a better choice than Velcro options with lightweight mesh.
Most Danes pull on their leashes at some point, though the more obedient dogs tend to calm down when you remind them to. But for most bigger dogs, a no-pull style leash is ideal, especially those which feature a front attachment for the leash.
If your dog needs training on walking with a leash, the front attachment could help you train him more effectively by keeping him on track while walking behind you. At the same time, a no-pull harness helps distribute pressure along your dog’s body, rather than placing all the force on a single point.
Overall, evenly distributing the force is healthier for all dogs, but it’s especially crucial for rambunctious dogs who could hurt themselves (or you). Plus, it’s less likely an entire harness will fail, while it’s more likely a collar could slip off or tear with a bit of force.
Though the breed has many color variations, the most common Danes are darker colored, which can make them difficult to see in dark conditions. Reflective thread or highly visible panels on the harness means your pup has a better chance at being seen during nighttime adventures.
Other light features such as a flashlight holder can also help with visibility for both you and your dog. Fortunately, plenty of tactical-style harnesses have extra features which help prepare you for emergency scenarios, including having flashlights on hand.
Narrow Chest Panel
Because your dog has such a narrow body, wider-panel harnesses may not provide the best fit. Most harness sizing depends on neck or chest and girth measurements, so keep an eye on both the measurements and the structure of the harness to determine the best fit.
A thick front panel could wind up rubbing your Dane’s chest or legs since it won’t lie flat on their narrow body. Similarly, a shorter-bodied harness may ride up under your dog’s front legs if the fit isn’t right. A fuller-coverage harness can help keep everything in place, too.
Lifting and Safety Handles
A handle may not seem like a must-have for your Dane, especially once she’s out of the puppy stage. But a handle can help with rehabilitating dogs who have had injuries or surgery, and it can also prove helpful if your dog gets overly excited and tries to escape.
Handles are also ideal for car rides, as you can string the seatbelt through the handle to keep your dog somewhat contained while in the vehicle. Depending on your dog’s size, you might be able to hold onto the harness handle without bending or leaning, which can also help with maintaining control in adventurous scenarios.
Buckles and Straps
Wrangling a rambunctious pup into their harness can prove complicated no matter their size. But with Danes, it can become a trial! Looking for a harness that’s easy to put on is essential when dealing with a Great Dane who is a bit impatient.
Side- and top-buckling harnesses are easiest since you don’t have to slip anything over your dog’s head or fight their paws through a gap. A harness you can put on once and adjust, then remove without loosening is ideal, and it can also save you time and frustration while getting ready to go out with your dog.
Our Favorite Harnesses For Great Danes
Looking for a harness that’s durable for your Gentle Giant? Check out our top choices for Great Dane harnesses.
Rabbitgoo No-Pull Harness Vest
A no-pull design with full chest coverage makes Rabbitgoo’s harness an excellent option for active Danes. A front D-ring allows you to train your dog on no-pull leash walking, and fast-release buckles cut down on the time you spend struggling to get the harness on or off.
Four adjustable straps (two on the neck and two on the chest) let you customize your dog’s fit without choking or slipping. Plus, the materials—nylon oxford with cushioning—are durable yet lightweight for bigger dogs.
Streamlined reflective strips help enhance visibility at night, so even if you choose the subtle black color (orange, green, and red are also available), passersby can still see your pup at night. Though there are only four size options, each size varies up to eight inches, so you can achieve a great fit no matter where your dog’s measurements lie.
Things We Like
- Reflective stitching keeps your dog more visible in dark conditions
- No-pull leash attachments allow you to train your pup not to pull
- Adjustable straps mean the fit of each size varies widely
- Top handle for maintaining control over your dog (or buckling in the car)
EXPAWLORER Big Dog Harness
For the biggest Danes, EXPAWLORER’s big dog harness is comfortable and effective for maintaining safety and control on walks. The no-pull style evenly distributes pressure along your pup’s chest, and padding helps keep them comfortable no matter what adventures you go on.
The padded back panel includes a handle and D-ring attachment, plus a wide reflective strip for enhancing visibility. The material is nylon, which is breathable and fast drying but also more durable than mesh or similar material.
Each strap uses parachute clasps, which are heavy-duty, and the straps are wide to ensure comfortable chest and stomach coverage. The harness does lack padding on the front strap, but because it’s so wide, this won’t be an issue for most dogs.
Things We Like
- A rubber handle makes training and controlling your pup easy and comfortable
- Sturdy nylon material resists weathering and chewing for longevity
- Wide reflective strip gives amazing visibility in dark conditions
- Side buckles are easy to attach on larger dogs (in contrast with under-belly buckles)
Friends Forever Dog Harness
Wide adjustability (there are only two sizes available) and easy on and off styling make Friends Forever’s harness a great option for larger Great Danes. Padded coverage along your pup’s back features a handle with a grip, helpful for keeping them close.
The stitching along both the chest and body straps features 3M reflective material for better visibility at night, and there’s also a reflective panel on the back portion. One D-ring attachment is the only leashing option, as the front of the harness is a strap only.
Although the manufacturer suggests it’s a no-pull harness, it isn’t ideal for training your pup not to pull. It does, however, distribute the pulling force along your dog’s body so they don’t choke themselves while walking.
Things We Like
- Wide adjustability in each size (up to ten inches of adjustment)
- Molded handle lets you get a good grip without hurting your hands
- Easy on from your pup’s back, no need for slipping it over their head or paws
- Broad straps don’t cut into pets’ skin
OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest
For Great Danes who take their jobs seriously, the OneTigris tactical harness will make them feel like a real guard dog. The structure is nylon, so it’s durable, and padding ensures it’s comfortable for long-term wear.
Four quick-release buckles allow you to put the harness on easily and take it off just as quickly. And if you have equipment or identification to take along, you’ll appreciate the hook and loop panels, which accept compatible pouches or other items with ease.
There’s even an X-shaped bungee for securing small items for your pet, like fresh water or treats. Also on the top is a handle to control your dog as necessary, along with a V-ring on the front for alternative leash attachment or hanging an ID tag.
Things We Like
- Hook and loop strips to attach compatible MOLLE pouches, ID information, or patches mean the harness is customizable
- Multiple quick-release buckles make it easy to place the harness over your pup and then secure it (no paws or head through holes)
YOGADOG Heavy Duty Harness
For Danes who are particularly squirrelly on walks (or who just like to go after squirrels!), a more accessible handle is ideal—and YOGADOG’s harness delivers one. The padded harness has a high pull resistance (450 pounds, per the manufacturer) and stays comfy for your dog thanks to the layers of material.
The handle also attaches directly to the chest strap, so your dog can feel when you pull them back, which can help with obedience training for excitable dogs.
Each size of harness (there are three options) fits a wide range of chest measurements, so you can always adjust as your dog grows. Quick click buckles get the harness on fast, though it might take some practice to get the straps where they need to go.
The webbed nylon straps are heavy-duty and have reflective stitching for visibility, and though there’s plenty of padding, the harness doesn’t feel or look bulky on.
Things We Like
- Longer handle allows you to maintain control of your pup without leaning or stooping
- Plenty of padding to cushion against the pressure of pulling the leash
- Thread is highly reflective, giving great visibility in dim conditions
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are frequently asked questions about harness-related issues with Great Danes.
Q: What Size Harness Does My Great Dane Need?
A: Great Danes are big dogs, but they’re also lean and narrow. Typically, a full-grown Great Dane is between 28 and 32 inches tall and weighs anywhere from 110 to 175 pounds. You’ll want a larger harness to match that giant dog crate if you plan to use a harness on your dane.
Keep in mind your Dane’s chest and neck measurements when shopping for a harness, but also the fit for their body type. Unlike other large dogs, Danes don’t have wide chests, and their relatively small heads can pose fit issues with over-the-head type harnesses.
It’s typically easier to find a smaller harness breeds like the french bulldog, so don’t get discouraged if it takes you a little longer to find one that’s the right fit. Dane mixes like the lab/dane might be a little smaller, so keep that in mind.
Q: Are There Any Great Dane Health Issues That I Should Be Concerned With?
A: Many pet owners seek out harnesses over collars for their dogs because of breathing and other trachea issues. But does the same apply to Great Danes? Not exactly.
Because they are so large, Great Danes often have health issues like hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis. Unfortunately, they also have relatively short lifespans, with the average expectancy around ten years. To keep your pup healthy, a good diet and plenty of exercise are essential.
However, because Danes are also susceptible to a disease called bloat, many veterinarians caution pet owners against involving their dogs in lots of exercise around mealtimes. Of course, you should consult your dog’s vet for advice specific to your pet and her health needs.
Other health issues which can affect your dog’s ability to go for walks or use a harness include hip dysplasia, which shows symptoms like lameness, stiff back legs, a “bunny hop” like run, stiffness, difficulty getting up, and muscle tone loss.
If your dog has already seen the vet and is working on recovery after health issues, a harness with a handle is most helpful for assisting them in getting around.
Q: Are Great Danes Hard to Train on a Leash?
A: Going for walks and getting adequate exercise is a crucial part of keeping your Great Dane healthy throughout his life. But a dog this size can give you a run for your money when it comes to walks on the leash!
It can be difficult to train an adult dog, but if you start when your Dane is a puppy, it will be much easier to establish healthy habits and patterns. Even if your dog is already an adult, training isn’t impossible. Your Dane is eager to please, but also eager to explore, so leash training needs to involve a comfortable and sturdy harness and lots of patience.
Keeping a Great Dane under control while on a leash isn’t always easy, but with any of our top harness choices, you’ll probably have an easier time of it! And as far as features go, I think the Rabbitgoo No-Pull Harness Vest is an excellent option for most Dane owners.
The Rabbitgoo harness has two leash rings—one in front and one on the back—so it’s truly a no-pull leash ideal for training your Great Dane to walk more docilely. The Y-shaped harness slides over your dog’s head and buckles easily, and adjustments are practically infinite.
In contrast with harnesses for smaller breeds, Rabbitgoo’s version is nylon oxford with cushioning to prevent chafing. While no material can truly resist chewing by pets, the nylon oxford is one of the heavier fabrics I’ve seen on a dog harness.
The only potential drawback is with dogs who don’t appreciate putting the harness on over their heads. In that case, an excellent alternative is the EXPAWLORER Big Dog Harness, which goes on the dog’s back and then buckles—avoiding those often irksome slip-on tasks with big (and excitable) breeds.