Pit bulls are a breed with boundless love, but they also tend to have boundless energy. With their stocky stature, pit bulls can also be powerful as well. To walk your pitty safely, you need to make sure that you have the right equipment in hand.
One of the best ways to stop dogs from pulling and keep them comfortable during walks is to opt for a harness instead of a collar. There are plenty of harnesses out there that offer the strength, security, and durability that you need as a pit bull owner.
The best harnesses should provide peace of mind when walking your pup out in public. Choosing the right product will help you to enjoy more quality time together and improve walking time for both you and your pit bull.
- 1 Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Our Favorite Harnesses for Pit Bulls
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
Choosing the right harness for your pit bull can be a challenge. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to proper pet gear, but there are a few main features to look out for when shopping for pit bull harnesses.
First let’s take a look at why harnesses can be a better choice than collars, even for breeds that notoriously are pullers, like the pitbull. Keep in mind that these harnesses can swap out and are a good option for pitbull mixes that are similar in size.
Harnesses vs. Collars
Traditionally, most people use a leash and collar to walk their dog. These days, though, more and more trainers are recommending that owners swap out collars for harnesses, especially with large and powerful dogs.
Several issues can arise when using collars with a dog such as a pit bull. Our four-legged friends can suffer severe neck injuries from pulling on a collar, which can lead to long-term damage to the windpipe or trachea. In some cases, collars can even lead to choking and strangulation.
For pit bulls, some owners also find that collars aren’t durable enough to handle their dog. Collars strain and snap much more easily than a harness, increasing the chances of your dog breaking loose and causing damage.
In past years, some trainers have recommended choke chains as a way of getting powerful dogs to respect the rules of the leash. Choke chains tighten as a dog strains against them, in theory teaching your pup to stop pulling during walks.
In reality, however, choke chains aren’t always effective, and in some circumstances, they can cause permanent damage to your dog’s throat and trachea. Only use choke collars as a last resort, and only do so under the supervision of a professional dog trainer.
For an easy and safe solution that doesn’t require extensive training, many pit bull owners turn to harnesses instead of collars. Instead of placing strain in a single area around the neck, harnesses distribute your dog’s weight to reduce pressure against sensitive regions such as the neck.
Switching from a collar to a harness can help to reduce the chance of neck or spinal injuries, especially for dogs who are prone to pulling. Harnesses are effective for other short and stout breeds like the English Bulldog. It can also help to give you more control and reduced the chances of your pitty breaking free during a walk.
One of the main reasons to use a harness is safety. Pit bulls are powerful dogs with a strong prey drive, and it’s crucial that you keep them under control when out in public to prevent accidental injuries or property damage.
The right harness should fit your dog snugly so that he or she can’t wriggle out and break free. It’s best to look for models with an adjustable fit, especially with puppies. You can resize your dog’s harness as it grows, ensuring a perfect fit year after year.
It’s also a good idea to outfit your pit bull’s harness with ID tags. Each year, the American Humane Association estimates that around one in every three pets, or more than 10 million cats and dogs, are lost in the U.S. every year.
In the event that your pit bull manages to break free and run off, it will be much easier to locate your pet. Both the harness and its handle should have separate tags in case they happen to split apart.
Pit bulls have a lot of power behind their muscles, and as most pitty owners already know, this often means a short life for pet gear. Because they are aggressive chewers, everything from chew toys to food bowls needs to be robust enough to hold up to heavy wear and tear.
Harnesses are no different, especially considering that many pit bulls are prone to pulling on their leash during walks. You should always opt for a heavy-duty model designed for larger dogs.
The material is one of the most important considerations when it comes to durability. Some of the best fabrics for harnesses include nylon, polyester, and leather.
It’s also a good idea to look closely at the stitching of a harness. Whether machine or man-made, the stitching on harnesses should use strong, high-quality thread, there should be no sign of missed stitches or frayed edges. Otherwise, excessive straining may break the harness.
A harness that doesn’t fit right or is made of the wrong material can end up making walks unpleasant for your pup. You want to find an option that doesn’t chafe, overheat, or cause hair loss.
It’s best to look for a harness that offers interior padding, especially around rough edges and sensitive areas. Padding should be made of a gentle material such as cotton, lined foam, or fleece.
In addition to being soft, a harness should also be breathable. Each year, hundreds of pets suffer from heatstroke that can lead to long-term damage or even death.
While pit bulls have short hair, it’s still easy for them to overheat in hot or humid climates. It’s best to look for a harness that uses fabrics that allow for airflow over the back and torso to keep your pup cool and comfortable.
While a collar forces you to lead from the neck, different types of harness attachments give you options. There are harnesses specially designed to stop your pit bull from pulling against its lead during walks with a front or side attachment point.
While an attachment point at the back of the neck can strain a dog’s spinal cord, a frontal or side attachment translates energy to the side. It allows you to keep your dog under control by working actively to prevent forward motion. This harness style is designed to go to the side when your pit bull pulls, directing your pup back toward you.
Our Favorite Harnesses for Pit Bulls
No matter what type of pit bull you have, we’ve got you covered. Here are our favorite harness options for pit bull owners who want to spend some time outdoors with their four-legged friend.
As mentioned earlier, these harnesses are also good choices for some types of pit mixes that are the same size, including the pit/boxer mix.
Chai’s Choice Outdoor Adventure Dog Harness
This stylish lead is designed to handle even the wiliest of dogs, with an escape-proof design that includes four adjustable points to help you get a snug, comfortable fit. The Chai’s Choice harness is suitable for pit bulls with a chest size between 27 and 32 inches.
The chest piece is padded with a soft sponge material, helping to prevent chafing and evenly distribute weight – a lightweight mesh lining around the chest and belly help to keep your pup cool during warm-weather walks.
The outer layer of the harness is made of a durable and scratch-resistant Oxford material. A lightweight Duraflex buckle allows for control over even large pit bulls by helping to improve the strength and dispersion of the harness.
The Chai’s ergonomic design is not only made to be comfortable for your pit bull but also you. You can easily put on and remove the harness simply by slipping it over your dog’s head and attaching the straps with a single click.
Nylon webbing with 3M reflective trim helps to make you and your dog more visible when walking at night or in low-light conditions. This feature can help to reduce the risk of an accident, especially if your route takes you near any major motorways.
Things We Like:
- Four adjustable points allow for a snug, custom fit
- Foam padding and mesh lining keep your dog cool and comfortable
- Ergonomic design allows for an easy, single-click fit
- Reflective trim makes you and your dog more visible in low light
Babyltrl Big Dog Harness
This harness is highly adjustable and designed to accommodate larger dogs such as pit bulls with a chest size between 22 and 35 inches. Its design distributes weight evenly to help prevent choking in dogs that tend to pull.
The harness is made of a lightweight nylon Oxford material that won’t weigh your pup down or overheat them during walks. Reflective accents make it easier to see both of you during walks in low light.
Unlike most harnesses, the Babyltrl has a triangular anti-tear design that places straps closer to the neck instead of around the body. This makes the harness more resistant to straining and snapping when a dog pulls against it.
Quick-snap buckles make the Babyltrl easy to take on and off without a hassle. Both snaps can be locked for a more secure fit.
The harness features a D-ring leash attachment that’s slightly further back than that of competitors, putting less pressure on your dog when they pull. For even more control, the Babyltrl also offers a sturdy nylon handle in the back. This feature gives you an easily accessible point to handle and control your pup when necessary.
Things We Like:
- Fits a wide range of sizes, making it ideal for growing pups
- A D-ring leash attachment and back handle both give you enhanced control
- The triangular anti-tear design helps to prevent escape and improves safety
- Easy to take on and off thanks to quick-snap buckles
Ruffwear Front Range Harness
This harness boasts an easy, everyday design that’s intended for extended wear in all weather. Materials are lightweight and durable, while foam-padded strips across the chest and belly help to reduce pressure and enhance comfort. This feature makes the Ruffwear ideal for an all-day outing.
This harness easily slips over your dog’s head and can be fastened with one quick clip. There are 18 leash attachment points that you can use depending on your pit bull’s walking tendencies, and 4 points of adjustment to allow for the best possible fit.
An aluminum ring in the back and a webbing loop on the chest help to keep your dog comfortable and contained during walks. These features stand up to pups that pull and give you just a little bit more control while on the move.
For peace of mind, this harness offers an ID pocket to allow you to store your dog’s tags for easy identification. There are also bright, reflective trim elements that will help to make your dog more easily visible to passing pedestrians and motorists alike.
Things We Like:
- Comfortable materials make this leash a good choice for all-day wear
- 18 leash attachments and 4 points of adjustment give you complete control over fit
- An aluminum leash ring and a webbing loop help to enhance your control
- The built-in ID pocket protects your pet against getting lost or stolen
- Reflective trim makes the harness easy to see
BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness
This everyday harness is made to hold up to overenthusiastic dogs and larger breeds such as pit bulls. It’s made of a strong yet lightweight no-rip 1200D Oxford nylon with padding designed to reduce chafing.
There are four adjustment points that allow you to fit the harness to your dog’s body. You can also choose between four separate sizes that fit dogs with chests between 17 and 38 inches.
The overall design is intended to help discourage leash-pulling and train your dog to walk politely. A metal clip on the front, an additional D-ring on the back, and a handle on the top all help to give you the maximum amount of control.
Carefully placed reflective strips help to make you and your dog more visible, even at night. You can also find the harness in several bright colors for better daytime visibility.
Things We Like:
- Plenty of adjustable size options fit chest sizes anywhere between 17 and 38 inches
- A strong 1200D Oxford nylon make is resistant to ripping or breaking
- Four adjustment points for greater versatility
- A metal clip, a back D-ring, and a top handle all give you more control
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness
When riding in the car, it’s important to keep your dog restrained for both their safety and your own. According to the American Automobile Association, only around 16% of pet owners properly secure their pooch when driving.
This harness functions as both a walking aid and a car restraint system. It’s designed with safety in mind, with crash-test ratings for dogs up to 75 lbs. It’s been engineered using the same tech used in rock-climbing gear, ensuring the harness can withstand significant pressure.
There are two adjustable sizes to choose from, depending on your pit bull’s physique. The medium model fits dogs with a neck circumference between 16 and 25 inches, while the large fits pups with a neck between 18 and 28 inches.
The Kurgo is compatible with just about any car, boasting strong steel-nested buckles and a broad, padded chest plate that evenly distributes weight. The model even includes a 10-inch seatbelt tether with a sturdy steel carabiner.
Things We Like:
- Works as both a car and a walking restraint
- Crash tested for large dogs, including pit bulls
- Uses the same technology in belts and buckles that keeps rock climbers safe
- Includes a seatbelt tether
- Fits a wide range of pit bull sizes, making it ideal for puppies
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I train my pit bull to use a harness?
A: Your pit bull may not like wearing its harness at first, and so you need to take small steps to get your pup used to the idea. First, allow them to sniff the harness and gently play with it. Work your way up to putting the harness on your dog, but don’t go outside for any walks just yet.
Allow your dog to wander around the house in their harness for longer and longer periods until they feel comfortable. Once your pit bull can run around the yard in its harness, you’re ready to start going for walks.
Q: How old does my pit bull need to be to use a harness?
A: Harnesses can be used at just about any age. As soon as your pup is ready for leash training, you can begin harness training. Just make sure to get an adjustable option so that you can increase the harness’s size as your puppy grows.
Q: How long can I leave on my pit bull’s harness?
A: Generally, you can leave harnesses on adult dogs on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. They’re more comfortable than collars and have less of a chance of snagging and damaging your dog’s trachea.
If your dog tends to treat everything as a chew toy, however, leaving its harness on at all times may not be a good idea. Even the most durable options can’t hold up to persistent teeth, and you may find yourself having to replace your dog’s harness more often than necessary.
If you have a puppy, you shouldn’t leave its harness on for more than an hour or two at a time. Make sure to take the harness off when not in use, as it can affect a growing puppy’s bone development.
It’s crucial that you have the right gear for your breed when the two of you are enjoying time out and about in public. While pit bulls are beautiful, loving creatures, they’re also a powerful breed with a strong prey drive. You want to make sure you get a harness that’s not meant for a smaller breed.
For the sake of your own safety, that of your pup, and of anyone who happens to be around you, it’s crucial that you find the right walking gear. A harness is one of the best ways to keep your pit bull secure, comfortable, and controlled as you go about your day together.
If you’re interested in getting a new harness for your pit bull, it’s important that you do your research. For a good everyday harness, we recommend Chai’s Choice Outdoor Adventure Harness. In terms of versatility and durability, it beats out much of the competition. It’s comfortable for your dog while giving you complete control during your walking time.