Pugs have a reputation for being loyal and playful, but they can also be a bit reluctant to quit their day jobs as couch potatoes. But a bit of exercise is great for your pup—if you can keep them safe and under control while adventuring.
Here we’ll cover the best harnesses for pugs, including what to look for when shopping and what to consider when it comes to your dog’s unique personality and physical traits. You’ll want to consider several variables, especially if your Pug is a puller.
Keep in mind that the harnesses we cover below are what we recommend for Pugs, but they are also great for pug mixes like the Porgi or the Chug, who are similar in size to the traditional Pug. If you have a larger pug mix, stick with a harness that’s geared toward a medium sized dog like a bulldog.
- 1 Buyer’s Guide
- 2 Our Favorite Harnesses for Pugs
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Final Thoughts
Pugs are a unique breed—favored for their adorably squishy faces and square shape—but fit issues can pose a problem when it comes to buying a harness for your pup. Here’s what to look for in a harness that fits your dog and keeps him safe and comfortable.
Some harnesses are one-size in the neck area—particularly the models which fit over your pup’s head and often go on easily. But for a Pug, adjustability in the neck area is essential, since their bodies are often narrower than their chests.
Part of the Pug breed standard is symmetry and a square, “cobby” build. Therefore, the more fit options, the higher the odds your dog’s harness will fit without restricting their movement (or breathing). Plus, if your pup is still growing, adjustability helps prolong the life of the harness.
Low-Lying Neck Position
Like many other breeds of small dogs, and especially those with flat faces, Pugs are brachycephalic and often have breathing problems. But their facial structure isn’t the only threat to their ability to breathe. A harness which is too tight in the neck area or lies too high—across the trachea—can cause your dog discomfort and even injury.
If you’ve ever noticed your dog straining against her collar or harness and then coughing or choking afterward, that’s an indicator of trachea issues. Namely, it’s an indicator that you should opt for a lower-cut harness which allows for comfortable breathing and less strain.
Although most no-pull harnesses are for bigger dogs who need training to learn how to walk with a leash, looking for a no-pull harness for your Pug might be beneficial. The structure of a no-pull harness will keep the material from choking your dog even if they get ahead of themselves with excitement on a walk.
Multiple attachment points—another perk of no-pull harnesses—means you can lead your pup from the front if you prefer. Extra attachment points might also help secure your dog in the car while you’re driving.
Speaking of riding in the car, plenty of harnesses come with either handles for threading a seatbelt through or a separate connector for vehicle safety. Whether or not your pup needs assistance via the handle—or if they’re rambunctious and require restraint sometimes—the feature can have dual functions when you’re traveling.
If your dog will wear his harness instead of a collar, or if he doesn’t have a microchip with your information connected to it, a spot for ID information is another feature you should look for. From an extra D-ring for tags to a special pocket for identification info, your pup’s harness can make them stand out from the crowd.
Comfortable Fit for Potty Time
Because Pugs need to go potty often, you’ll want to make sure your dog’s harness doesn’t interfere with bathroom time. Especially if your dog is house-trained to use a litter box (many Pug owners do this!), it’s worth ensuring the harness will stay clean if your dog wears it while in the bathroom.
More of a concern for male dogs than females, harness fit comes down to where the straps lie on your pup’s tummy. Because their bodies are relatively short, some harnesses might not fit their midsections well.
Because Pugs are sensitive to both heat and cold, you want to keep your dog’s temperature as consistent as possible. This means avoiding walks during extremely hot or severely cold temperatures, keeping the indoor environment consistently comfortable, and not using doggie sweaters or other accessories unless the weather calls for it.
Similarly, a heavy or excessively warm harness can cause your dog extra stress and irritate pre-existing health problems. Look for lightweight materials, breathable construction, and streamlined designs when shopping for a Pug harness.
Plenty of dogs chew, but Pugs are notorious for it. Especially because many Pugs spend their time indoors, it’s easy to understand why use chewing and other bad habits to stay busy. Aim for durable materials on your dog’s harness and features like double-stitching or reinforced panels.
Also keep in mind that because your Pug is a social critter, she likely won’t enjoy being left alone—especially if she’s wearing an uncomfortable harness. You can expect your dog to become more agitated when left alone, so keep that in mind when choosing equipment for your pup as well as when you’re planning your day.
Our Favorite Harnesses for Pugs
Now that you’ve been briefed on the different features you should be considering when you buy your Pug a harness, let’s take a look at our favorites that are on the market today.
Keep in mind that this is by no means an all-inclusive list, but it should put you in a great spot to find the right harness for your little pup!
Bolux Dog Harness
A simple no-pull design and no-frills features make the Bolux harness an excellent choice for Pugs who tend to get excited about walks. The wide front strap lies low on your dog’s chest, preventing choking and coughing, and each size adjusts to fit a range of body types.
And if your pup has a special designation or you want to add their name or patches to the harness, there’s plenty of space on the side strap. Velcro paneling makes it easy to add or remove the included patches (which say “Service” and “In Training”).
Putting the harness on is simple: it goes on over your dog’s head and has one buckle. Once it’s on, you can tighten or loosen the front strap via the hook and loop strip and adjust the tummy strap by the buckle.
Things We Like
- Built-in handle helps with assisting older dogs and buckling in the car
- A flashlight holder can let your pup light the way on dark walks
- Reflective material enhances nighttime visibility and safety
- Velcro panel makes it easy to attach any type of patch
Puppia Authentic RiteFit Harness
One of the more affordable choices for smaller dogs, Puppia’s RiteFit harness is a lightweight and adjustable solution for calmer pups. The reinforced buckles (there are also Velcro closures) prevent dogs from wiggling out, but this isn’t a no-pull model.
Slight padding and a trim butterfly design keeps the harness breathable and comfy. There’s no extra bulk, which also means no added features, but the trimness is a huge perk for some pet owners. The RiteFit also lies low on your dog’s chest, below where a collar would fit, which makes it ideal for dogs with breathing challenges.
The sizing adjustment also means bigger or awkwardly shaped Pugs can still find a good fit (and one that’s flattering, too).
Things We Like
- Variable neck and breast straps allow for up to two inches of adjustment
- Lightweight design doesn’t cover the dog’s entire back, letting their skin breathe
- Can unbuckle completely so it doesn’t have to slide over the dog’s head, making it easier to get on and off
- Lies low on dogs’ chests so doesn’t interfere with breathing
Juxzh Truelove Dog Harness
If your Pug is a runner (or a puller), you can’t go wrong with Juxzh’s no-pull harness. It’s lightweight but features tummy and back padding for when your Pug gets overeager and pulls away, but the clasps are durable and don’t rub against the dog’s skin.
Reflective threading helps keep your dog visible, and multiple connector points let you use the leash conventionally or from the front lead to work on no-pull training. Even though the harness is sturdy, it’s also low-profile, so it won’t overheat your pup while you’re out on walks.
The one caveat is that you must slide the neck portion over your dog’s head to get it on (there are no buckles on the neck strap). For Pugs with larger heads (which is common!), it could be a struggle to fit the harness properly, especially if your dog doesn’t like having her ears or face touched.
Things We Like
- Four adjustment points allow you to customize the fit up to four inches
- Built-in handle helps with controlling your dog and buckling in the car
- Two leash attachment points let you switch up the lead or connect your dog’s ID tags
- Minimal design doesn’t overheat dogs by covering their chests/backs
Blueberry Pet Dog Harness Dress
I’ll be honest: dog dresses and clothing are not always on the top of my list when it comes to pet supplies. But for those Pugs who care about their appearance—and let’s not lie, that’s most of them—most harnesses are disappointing.
If you have a Pug with a big personality who insists on looking their best, you’ll love the Blueberry Pet harness—which doubles as a dress. Lay the dress/harness over your dog’s back, snap the chest and tummy buckle, and you’re ready for a (fashionable) walk.
Size adjustments are simple with hook and loop closures plus overlying buckles, and the webbing ensures there won’t be any rubbing along the strap path. The neck strap lies low on your dog’s chest, too, which reduces worries over breathing issues.
The floral and tulle skirt design, along with a flower embellishment, doesn’t get in the way of the harness’s function, and a metal D-ring allows you to attach the leash securely.
Things We Like
- Dogs who like to dress up won’t mind wearing the harness/dress combination
- It’s both functional and fun for pets that like attention
- Helps keep pups warm during cold weather walks
EzyDog Quick Fit Harness
Whether you just need a functional harness for quick outings or you’re looking for the least coverage possible to keep your Pug cool, EzyDog’s harness delivers. It’s easy to get on—with a single “One-Click Fit” system—so you can get out the door faster.
There’s a bit of adjustment necessary on the first fitting, but after you get the size right, it stays on that setting. One leash attachment (on your dog’s back) limits the possibilities as far as no-pull training, but the plastic ring for ID tag attachment is a functional addition.
Overall, the EzyDog is a utilitarian harness with just the right features for basic comfort and daily use. Even chewy pups likely won’t overpower the thick straps, and you won’t spend a ton of time struggling to get the fit right at every walk.
Things We Like
- Reflective safety stitching enhances your dog’s visibility at night
- A single buckle makes it easy to put on and take off
- Strap padding prevents chafing while maintaining the streamlined design
- Front strap goes straight across the lower chest, avoiding the trachea area
- Built-in handle gives you a spot to grab if your pup needs assistance or tries to escape
- Plastic clip gives you a place for ID tags
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are commonly asked questions about pugs and their leash habits (and needs).
Q: Can Pugs Wear Collars?
A: With their flat faces and potential breathing difficulties, it’s not always ideal to put a collar on your Pug. Many pet owners opt for harnesses for their pets’ comfort, and like other small dogs who often have trouble breathing, some Pugs likely prefer a harness over a constrictive collar.
Q: What Size Harness Does My Pug Need?
A: Harness sizes vary by manufacturer, so you should always read the brand’s sizing information before purchase. But when it comes to Pug breed sizing, these pups are typically 12 inches tall or under. Full-grown Pugs often weigh between 14 and 18 pounds.
Overall, with their loaf-shaped bodies and large heads, Pugs need adjustable sizing to suit each unique animal. Whether your pug is average or overweight and the size of his head relative to the rest of his body will impact the fit of the harness.
Q: Should My Pug Wear a Harness All the Time?
A: Most Pugs, while social and excitable pets, tend to do better indoors most of the time. With their breathing issues and potential for wheezing and allergies, most Pugs will enjoy short walks or games, so they likely won’t need to wear a harness all the time.
Since Pugs are susceptible to ailments like canine hip dysplasia, your dog might need some assistance with walking or climbing, especially as he ages. Young dogs, however, will probably be more willing to go on jaunty walks without worries—as long as the weather isn’t extremely humid or hot.
Q: Is It Hard to Train a Pug to Walk with a Harness?
A: Pugs are typically happy and well-meaning dogs, and they want to please their owners. But at the same time, Pugs can have a short attention span and lose interest in activities—unless there are treats involved. You don’t want to encourage bad habits with your pup—like overeating—but using treats sparingly to teach good habits is an excellent idea.
Teaching your dog to walk on a leash might be a challenge if they’ve never worn a harness before or if they are older. Still, using positive reinforcement and a few treats can help them become comfortable and obedient on a leash.
When it comes to top-heavy Pugs who need lightweight harness solutions for comfort, the Puppia Authentic RiteFit Harness checks all the boxes. It’s lightweight and flexible, adjusts to multiple size pups (even ones with weight challenges), and doesn’t have to go over your dog’s head to go on.
If your pup is a puller or a chewer, however, you may want to opt for a more robust harness. For dogs who need a functional harness that can stand up to some tough love, the EzyDog Quick Fit Harness is a suitable alternative. It offers an excellent fit for most dogs without the padded mesh coverage that is so attractive to teething puppies.
Whichever harness you choose for your Pug, the right fit is essential, so always measure and consult each brand’s size chart before ordering. If your dog has existing breathing or other health issues, check with your vet before embarking on new and adventurous outings with your new harness!