Looking for the best harness for your Lab? Picking the right one for your Lab can drive some owners crazy because of how active the Lab is. Labradors are one of the top family dogs and are the most popular breed in the United States. Labrador Retrievers are high energy dogs, with field Labs having more energy than bench Labs.
Because this breed is a sporting breed, they will require at least 60 minutes of exercise daily. Because of their activity level, Labradors are known to resist training with a harness early on, with their need to pull you along for the ride of wherever they decide to go. Labs are surprisingly strong, which is why outfitting them with the right harness is so critical.
Below we’ve compiled our research into finding the top harnesses for your Labrador, and we compare the top brands in several categories, including cost, durability & more. If you stick with our recommendations, your Lab should be good to go for your next outdoor exercise adventure. Let’s jump in!
At a Glance: Our Favorite Labrador Harnesses
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- Labrador Harness Buyer’s Guide
- Our Favorite Harnesses for Labs
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Thoughts
Labrador Harness Buyer’s Guide
Before you buy a dog harness for your Labrador Retriever, there are a number of things to consider. Labrador Retrievers love to pull, so if you are trying to snap your older Lab out of a bad pulling habit, you’ll want to look at no-pull dog harnesses. If you are starting from puppyhood, you can start with a more comfortable option. Age plays a factor, as does the type, adjustability, comfort, safety, durability, and lastly cost. Let’s jump in and learn more about the types of harnesses, followed by the remaining factors you’ll want to consider.
Depending on how active your Labrador is, you’ll want to weigh each of the following options fairly equally when determining what harness is the right option for your Lab. Age will also be a factor. If you have a Lab puppy or older lab, you’ll likely want to prioritize comfort over style.
No-Pull: No-pull models are designed to help your dog stop pulling, just like the label says. These can be good if you have a Labrador that’s already picked up some seriously bad habits. They typically aren’t the most comfortable though. These should be considered more for Labs that pull as adults, rather than puppies or older dogs.
Vests: Perfect for puppies and older dogs, the vest variant is typically engineered around comfort with additional padding. Vests will typically fit Labrador Retrievers very well, as they are traditionally shaped dogs. This is in contrast to other dog breeds dogs with longer bodies or thinner chest cavities like Greyhounds who have different harness needs.
Front Clip: This is a popular option, and it really refers to how it clips onto your dog. The clip is at the front, and the leash attachment is also located at the front. These are usually slightly better for pullers since the control is at the front.
Back Clip: These sit at the back, and are more suited for lighter breeds that perhaps can be handled a little easier if they take off. Typically Labradors shouldn’t be equipped with a back clip because the leash attachment is at the back, and your Lab may pull harder, feeling like they need to do so.
Dual Clip: This is the best of both worlds, with a clip at the front and the back. Leash attachments are also up top and in front. We typically recommend dual clip harnesses because you can choose to latch in wherever is most convenient for your pup, depending on their walking style.
Step-in: Our least favorite model is the step in. Many dogs don’t like the fact that they have to step in, and that leaves you guiding a stubborn dog into a harness they may not want to wear. We typically recommend avoiding step-ins, especially for higher energy Labs. These are better for small dogs.
Adjustability matters when picking a harness for your Labrador, especially if your pup is young. Adjustable harnesses will allow you to resize them as your dog grows. This will save you money in the long run if your Lab is just a puppy. It also contours uniquely to their body shape when adjusted. If your Labrador is a little heavier, it should allow you to properly fit to that body type.
The clips need to be well made, because if they are cheap, it will be more likely to break. This is especially true with a strong dog like the Lab. The same goes for the adjustable areas of the harness. You want as few weak points as you could possibly have at all adjustable points to keep your Lab safe and secure.
More important for older dogs and younger dogs, you should be looking at Harnesses that have additional padding. If your dog loves to pull, then this should also be a factor, as you don’t want your dog to pull hard against something that’s completely uncomfortable against their skin or body. Some younger Labs will lunge in an effort to see another dog, and you don’t want them injuring themselves during that process. You may also want to consider additional comfort features if you take your Lab running. In fact, we’d recommend that you consider a harness specifically for running if you plan to do it frequently.
Most high-quality brands will have several safety features. The biggest feature that we would say is a “must-have” would be some type of reflective material. This is extremely important for early morning or late night walking, as you want your pup to be visible. This is especially true for headstrong dogs that may have a will to try and escape.
Some dog harnesses come with a handle attached at the back, making for a great failsafe option. While these harnesses aren’t exactly considered escape-proof harnesses, they are by nature more secure as you’ll have the option to grab your Lab in the event they try and take off. Some models will have seat belt features built-in as well.
Durability of any pet product is likely a concern, but definitely so with a harness because of the abuse they tend to take. While this may be less important to you if you have an older dog, you’ll definitely find yourself needing to buy another harness at later in life if your Lab is a puppy. As long as you pick one that’s fully adjustable and has a higher durability rating, it’s likely that you can have a single harness from the time your Labrador is a puppy and able to go on walks, all the way through adulthood.
Obviously your budget is important. But you shouldn’t necessarily sacrifice quality for budget. Buying cheaper usually means that the product may be lower in quality, and you may end up buying a higher-end model in a year if your Lab happens to break it. That means you just delayed the financial pain, bought a cheap harness and ended up buying the more expensive/durable model anyways. We recommend getting the best quality you can afford for your lab, rather than having to buy multiple models over the course of your dog’s lifetime.
Your Labrador Retriever’s age will also have an impact on what you’ll likely buy. We typically recommend smaller soft vest type harnesses for puppies and seniors, as they need more comfort. Young adult and adult labrador should have a rear, front or dual clip harness that provides safety and security.
Our Favorite Harnesses for Labs
The Labrador Retriever has a standard body style, which is very good news for their owners. Most dog harnesses will fit them well without major modifications or adjustments. You’ll want to make sure you buy for the appropriate size of your dog based upon their life stage. Most Labradors are in the 50-90 pound range, as are most labrador mixes, so the choices below can freely apply to them as well.
The best thing to do is measure your Lab’s physical traits, and follow manufacturer guidelines as to which size you should get. Most Labradors will fit into a size Large, but you may need an extra-large if your Lab is heftier. It’s also possible that smaller Female Labradors will fit better into a medium size. Below you’ll find all our favorites for Labrador Retrievers. Let’s jump in!
Chai's Choice 3M Reflective Harness
- Multiple Color Options
- Rear Clip Harness
- Reflective 3M fabric for low visibility walking
- Padded chest and belly for comfort
- Fully customizable fit
- Rear Handle for more control
- Front and rear D-ring attachments
The Chai’s Choice harness is one of our favorites for many reasons. First and foremost, it looks pretty slick. There are multiple color options, so you can color-coordinate your pets if you have more than one. Thanks to the 3M reflective padding that it’s equipped with, it’s the perfect choice for late evening or early morning strolls. The built-in handle at the top can double as a seat belt strap-in system, or as a safety fallback if your lab somehow manages to get loose.
This harness has an excellently padded chest, making it very comfortable for your Lab during long walks. Chai’s choice is a back-clip harness, but we love the fact that there’s included D rings on both the top and the front. This means if your pup loves to pull, you can slap the leash to the front. If your dog is well behaved, you can attach the leash to the back for a more leisurely stroll. Chai’s choice is completely adjustable, so if you purchase it when your pup is younger, it will likely carry you into adulthood.
We love that the Chai’s Choice harness has all the bells and whistles. It’s the complete package, with front and back clips, and highly reflective piping for safety.
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
- Crash-tested for car rides
- Includes carabiner for seat belt attachment
- Fully adjustable for all sizes
- Great for pullers
- Five adjustment points
- Design based on rock climbing harnesses
- Steel buckle system
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is another excellent choice for Labrador Retrievers. While it looks like a step-in type, it’s actually not. It has clips at the top on both sides. This allows you to feed the rest of the harness through either side of the chest. It’s extremely tough to escape from this model due to the attachment points of the buckles. This harness was based on the engineering that rock climbers use and comes equipped with a carabiner for car travel so it can attach to a seatbelt.
This harness has five adjustment points, which means you can get a great fit on your Lab, no matter the size. It was created for comfort and everyday use, no matter your Lab’s age. The chest pad was designed to reduce stress on your Lab’s trachea and sternum, which is extremely important for Labs that love to pull. Surprisingly it’s also crash-tested, which is interesting as crash testing dog crates is usually more common.
We love the innovative design of the Kurgo Tru-Fit, the durability and the adjustability. This is a harness that will last your Labrador through most of their life if purchased at a young adult age.
PetSafe Easy Walk Harness
Our budget pick, the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is a great option if you can’t invest in purchasing a pricier model, and need to save some budget for a few Labrador dog toys. This harness is back clip model, and attaches the leash to the front, making it a better option for Labradors that pull. There is little in the form of padding though, so it’s better for correcting bad habits than it is for comfortable walks.
The quick strap buckles make it easy to get on and off. The martingale loop at the chest tightens at the front, discouraging pulling behavior. It also prevents twisting, so your leash won’t get tangled up if your Lab decides to lunge. The pressure is across the chest of your dog, so it’s better than a collar that puts pressure on the trachea when your Lab decides to pull.
We love the budget-friendly nature of the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness. If you have a younger or older dog with better manners, though, comfort and padding may be a slightly bigger priority.
Sporn Dog Harness
While we typically don’t endorse step-in harnesses for Labradors, this one is an exception. This harness is unique in the fact that it’s very engineered towards pullers, which is why it has soft meshing at the front that constricts as your dog tries to drag you along. This is a veterinarian-approved and patented system that allows your dog to move flexibly without putting unwanted pressure on sensitive areas that are likely to cause injury.
The Spron is specifically designed for hardcore Labrador Pulling. We actually recommend it for breeds like the Pitbull, also notorious for pulling. The leash attachment is at the back of the harness. So, the only thing you’ll have to consider is the size of your dog. While this harness discourages pulling behavior, if you have a larger dog to your own size, it may be slightly more difficult to manage. Unfortunately, there’s no handle at the back. But the way the it’s designed makes it extremely tough to pull it apart, so an accidental break free is unlikely.
We love the simple design of the Sporn, and if you have a serious puller, it’s worth giving this harness a shot. It’s also budget-friendly and in fact, is one of the cheapest options on our list.
HDP Big Dog Harness
- Designed for larger breeds
- Thick straps for maximum control
- No choke harness design
- D-ring attaches to the center ring
- Durable polyester construction
- Handle to grab during tight situations
- Additional shoulder and chest padding
The HDP Big Dog No Pull Harness is a beast that’s meant for bigger breeds. Labradors are not small dogs, and this harness is not meant for smaller breed dogs. This harness goes all the way up to XX-L, which means the harness has sizes that will fit Giant Breed dogs as well. It has extra padding as well, and is extremely durable which is important for larger breeds. The Large-sized harness should fit most Labrador Retrievers with ease, but you should always follow sizing recommendations.
The D Ring is only attached at the back on this particular harness. This might be an issue if your Lab is large and likes to pull. With that being said, the straps are incredibly thick, and the padding makes it very comfortable for larger dogs. This harness is made from comfortable polyester that allows your dog to move around while the harness flexes around its body.
We love this harness for people that need extreme control over their dogs. It’s heavier duty and allows you to grab your dog by the back handle when in difficult situations, making it great to control Labs that may lunge.
Voyager Mesh Trim Dog Harness
This back clip harness is good for dogs where comfort is the most important thing. The Voyager is basically a cross between a vest and a harness, and it fits around your dog comfortably as they walk. It’s a comfort fitting option for your Labrador, and will provide a secure fit. This is a great pick for smaller puppies that are just starting out. The cost will make it easier to stomach if you are looking at it as a temporary solution.
The harness will attach to your leash at the back, near the clasps, acting as a double failsafe in case your pup starts to try and wiggle out. It does not attach at the front, so it’s really meant for dogs that are already comfortable with walking, as well as Labrador puppies that may just be learning proper walking etiquitte.
We love the budget-friendly comfort that the Voyager offers. We would consider alternatives if you have a pup that’s a challenge to walk due to pulling or lunging.
Puppio Camo Dog Harness
Another budget-friendly vest crossover, the Puppia Soft Trim Dog Harness is a comfortable option for Labradors. It’s perfect for pups that are either just learning to walk on a leash, or are already leash trained. The padding is adequately comfortable for larger breeds, and the Puppia will do just fine for calmer Labradors. It comes in four different color combinations. This includes Camo, which can make your Lab a little more stylish when out and about!
If you are looking for a temporary solution when your dog is a puppy and don’t want to break the bank, this is an excellent alternative to the Best Pet Supplies Voyager. The softer air-mesh padding makes it a comfortable harness for younger dogs and older seniors.
We love that we have another budget-friendly pick for people with younger or older dogs. Puppia does a good job of blending cost and quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I use a collar or harness for my Lab?
A: This is a personal decision. Most pet experts will advise that a harness puts less pressure on your dog’s trachea. This is very important if your dog pulls. Standard collars do not typically work well for pullers, so take that into consideration when choosing for your Lab.
Q: Should I use a harness or vest for my Lab?
A: Vests are a great option for young or older Labradors. Harnesses should be used for any Lab that’s in the later puppy stage. They can also be used during adulthood, all the way through their senior years. Vests are typically more engineered around comfort, and less on training & control.
Q: What kind of leash should I buy to go with my Harness?
A: This is a personal choice. We usually recommend a good strong nylon leash, as they can be purchased usually fairly cheaply. Leather also works well and is strong for most dogs if you don’t mind spending a little more.
Q: What size harness should I buy for my Labrador?
A: Follow the manufacturer measurement recommendations. Most Labradors will fit into a large size. Smaller Labradors can work in a medium size. Some bigger males may need an extra-large depending on how much the dog weighs.
Now that you’ve learned all there is about finding the best harness for your Labrador Retriever, we hope we’ve given you enough information to go on! There’s something to consider for your Labrador at every life stage. Labrador puppies and seniors usually have a little more flexibility as they are usually a little easier to control. No matter what age range your Labrador is, if you stick to the recommendations we’ve provided, you should be in great shape on your next outdoor adventure!