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5 Best Harnesses for Active German Shepherds (2021 Review)

Often used as working dogs, German Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and high energy. They are also large, powerful dogs, so an appropriate harness is crucial. The right harness keeps your dog safe and allows you to have the control you need. We’ll look at 5 harnesses, comparing strength, durability, comfort, and quality.

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What is the Best Harness for German Shepherds?

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Comparing the Best Harness for German Shepherds

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES


  • Best overall harness
  • Strong and durable
  • Great for working dogs


  • Best no-pull harness
  • Wide chest strap
  • Handle for control


  • Best tactical harness
  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • MOLLE system


  • Best for additional features
  • 2 pouches on sides
  • Reflective strip


  • Best front clip harness
  • Front and back ring
  • Padded and breathable

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Harnesses for German Shepherds

Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Nylon Reflective No Pull Dog Harness review

Features

  • Best overall harness
  • Strong and durable
  • Great for working dogs

On your search for the best harness for German Shepherds, the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Nylon Reflective No Pull Dog Harness should be at the top of your list. Whether your dog is a working dog or a family pet, this harness is designed to be highly durable. High-quality materials, a water repellent cover, and heavy-duty, freeze-proof buckles mean this harness is built to last.

It’s also very comfortable for your dog, with a breathable inner liner and a shape that allows your dog to move freely. I loved the handle on this harness, feeling it gave extra control when needed. I felt that the D-ring was strong and sturdy.

I appreciated that the chest strap was reflective, which I felt made walks at night safer for my dogs. The harness even has an area to attach your own patch with your dog’s name or their working role.

Pros

  • Most owners found this harness was highly durable and lasted well over time
  • Many said this harness stood up to wear with their large breed dog well and they felt it was high-quality
  • Owners liked that the harness distributed their dog’s weight across their chest evenly, rather than putting pressure on their neck
  • Many owners liked the padding of this harness and felt it was very comfortable for their dog
  • Owners of large, strong breeds with lots of energy found this harness gave them the control they needed, with many mentioning the handle in particular
  • Many said they felt this harness looked very stylish on their dog
  • Owners generally found this harness was easy to put on and take off their dog

Cons

  • Not designed to stand up to tough chewing, with some owners finding their dog could chew through this harness when left unsupervised
  • Some owners of strong dogs found this harness didn’t give them enough control; in particular, mentioning it didn’t help to stop pulling
  • Some found the harness hard to adjust, and therefore they struggled to fit it to their dog
  • Some owners found their dog could back out of this harness, which was a safety concern
  • Some experienced breakage after a period of use, in particular with the ring on the back of the harness with strong pullers

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HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness review

Features

  • Best no-pull harness
  • Wide chest strap
  • Handle for control

If you need the best no pull harness for German Shepherds, the HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness could be the one for you. The wide chest strap is designed to distribute your dog’s weight evenly, reducing choking if they pull and giving you more control. The durable D-ring and additional handle are designed to give you as much control as possible.

I loved that the chest strap was padded as well as wide, to ensure my dog’s comfort. I liked that it didn’t restrict my dog’s movement while they walked. I generally felt that this harness was durable and high-quality.

Pros

  • Owners felt this harness was strong and secure for their large breed dogs
  • Many said this harness gave them plenty of control, with some saying it helped to reduce pulling and other negative behaviors
  • Owners liked the handle on the harness, finding it gave the more control when needed
  • Most owners found this harness was easy to put on and take off their dog
  • Harness is highly durable, with many owners saying it stood up to all sorts of weather, adventures, and wear and tear
  • Owners liked that the harness doesn’t put pressure on their dog’s neck

Cons

  • Some found the adjustable chest strap didn’t stay in place on walks
  • Some said this harness didn’t prevent pulling or give them enough control
  • Some owners experienced breakage after a brief period of use, in particular with the D-ring
  • Some said the size guide was confusing and struggled to get the right sized harness for their dog
  • Not designed to stand up to chewing, with some owners finding their dog could chew through this harness when left unsupervised

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OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness review

Features

  • Best tactical harness
  • Heavy-duty and durable
  • MOLLE system

If you need the best tactical harness for German Shepherds, the OneTigris Tactical Vest Nylon Front Clip Dog Harness is an excellent choice. The heavy-duty nylon is highly durable and water resistant, ensuring it stands up to all your adventures. It’s padded inside and is lightweight for your dog’s comfort.

I loved that the neck and chest straps were adjustable, allowing me to get the exact right fit for my dog. Panels on 3 sides allow you to attach patches, such as your dog’s name or working role. MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing allows you to attach MOLLE pouches, so your dog can carry their own supplies.

There are rings on both the front and back of the harness to allow you to attach the leash in a position to best suit your needs. An additional handle gives extra control when needed. I felt this was a very high-quality harness.

Pros

  • Many owners felt this harness looked very smart on their dog, with some mentioning they liked the choice of colors
  • Owners liked the MOLLE system and appreciated being able to add pouches and patches, feeling it was very practical for all sorts of outdoor activities
  • Owners of large breed dogs (including German Shepherds and working dogs) found this harness gave them plenty of control
  • Some mentioned that this harness helped them to reduce negative behaviors such as pulling
  • Owners felt the harness was well-made and very durable
  • Many felt the harness was comfortable for their dog to wear, in particular mentioning it didn’t put pressure on their neck or rub under their arms

Cons

  • Many found the sizing misleading and ended up with the wrong size for their dog, with owners particularly mentioning the harness runs large
  • Some experienced breakage after a period of use, in particular with the rings on the harness breaking when their dog pulled a lot
  • Not designed to stand up to chewing, with some owners finding their dog could chew through this harness
  • Some felt the harness was too heavy-duty for their dog

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Chai’s Choice Rover Scout High-Performance Tactical Military Backpack Waterproof Dog Harness review

Features

  • Best for additional features
  • 2 pouches on sides
  • Reflective strip

When you’re looking for the best dog harness for German Shepherds, you may want to consider the Chai’s Choice Rover Scout High-Performance Tactical Military Backpack Waterproof Dog Harness, especially if you’re looking for additional features. This harness is made from durable, waterproof canvas to stand up to all sorts of outdoor adventures. It comes with 2 pouches so your dog can carry their own belongings, and has a MOLLE system.

I loved that this harness had 3M reflective material to make walks at night safer. A sturdy D-ring on the back of the harness and 2 handles allow for control, as well as letting you lift your dog if needed. I felt this harness was great quality and comfortable for my dog.

Pros

  • Owners loved the pouches, finding them very useful, especially for working dogs
  • Owners of working dogs in particular loved the ability to attach patches to the harness
  • Many felt the 2 handles gave them plenty of control and appreciated being able to lift their dog when needed, especially when out on hikes
  • Most owners felt this harness was excellent quality and was durable
  • Most felt that this harness looked very smart on their dog, in particular mentioning the color and construction of the harness
  • Owners felt this harness gave them great control, even with high energy, large breed dogs

Cons

  • Some found the sizing misleading and got the wrong sized harness for their dog
  • Some experienced breakage after a period of use, especially with strong dogs who pulled on the lead
  • Some owners felt the pouches weren’t large enough and didn’t distribute weight evenly over their dog’s back
  • Some felt the price was too high for the quality of the harness

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Chai’s Choice Premium Outdoor Adventure 3M Polyester Reflective Front Clip Dog Harness review

Features

  • Best front clip harness
  • Front and back ring
  • Padded and breathable

The Chai’s Choice Premium Outdoor Adventure 3M Polyester Reflective Front Clip Dog Harness is an excellent everyday harness featuring a front clip to redirect your dog if they tend to pull. You can use the back ring or front ring, or both at once for extra control. An additional handle gives even more control when you need it.

I loved that this harness was padded, feeling it was comfortable and prevented rubbing for my dog. I liked that reflective piping made walks in low light safer. I also appreciated the range of color choices.

Pros

  • Owners found this harness gave them plenty of control, with some finding the front clip helped to reduce or stop pulling
  • Some owners found the handle very useful, both for extra control and for helping their dog over obstacles or into the car
  • Many felt that this harness was sturdy, strong, and durable, standing up to wear even with large breed dogs
  • Owners liked the reflective piping, feeling it made their dog more visible and make walks at night safer
  • Most owners felt their dog was comfortable in this harness, in particular mentioning the padding and stating that the shape of the harness allowed freedom of movement
  • Owners felt this harness was excellent value, especially given it’s high-quality

Cons

  • Some found the size guide confusing or misleading and got the wrong sized harness for their dog
  • Some owners found the harness hard to take on and off, with some mentioning they had to loosen the straps to get it over their dog’s head and then retighten them each time
  • Some owners of small dogs in particular felt the harness was too bulky and stiff for their dog
  • Some didn’t find that this harness helped to stop negative behaviours like pulling
  • Some experienced breakage or wear and tear after a short period of use

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Things to Look for in a Harness for a German Shepherd

Looking for the following factors will help you to choose the best German Shepherd harness:

Correct Fit for Your Dog

Of course, you need to make sure the harness fits your dog properly. The correct fit ensures they’re comfortable and the harness doesn’t rub. It also ensures you have the control you need and prevents them from escaping the harness if they’re mischievous.

Always check the size guide and measure your dog carefully. I like to measure 2 or 3 times and take an average, as it can be tough to get your dog to stand still while you measure them. It’s a good idea to check the reviews to see if the harness is true to size.

High-Quality Materials

Choosing a harness made from high-quality materials means it’s more likely to last, stand up to wear, and be more comfortable for your dog. If you are looking for the best harness for German Shepherd puppies, you might want to choose a harness with softer materials which can adjust as they’re growing.

Strong and Durable

German Shepherds are very strong dogs, so you need a harness that’s strong and highly durable, especially if your dog is prone to pulling. As well as the materials you choose, look for other indicators of strength such as reinforced stitching, strong clips and buckles, and water resistance.

Comfort for Your Dog

Since your dog will be wearing their harness a lot, it’s important they’re comfortable in it. The correct fit plays a big part in their comfort, as well as quality materials. You can also look for other features like padding, breathable material, and a shape that allows freedom of movement.

Control for You

As we mentioned, Shepherds are strong dogs, so you need to ensure you have as much control as possible. A strong D-ring on the back of the harness ensures you have control, while a front ring can provide extra control and help you redirect your dog’s attention. Many harnesses have additional handles to provide close control when needed.

Additional Features

Some harnesses will have additional features, such as being reflective, being waterproof, or having a system to attach patches which can be useful if you own a working dog. Keep an eye out for features that will work best for your lifestyle.

Style

As owners, we want our dogs to look their best. You might prefer a harness of a certain style or color, so take your time to figure out what will suit your best pal.

Collar Versus Harness for Your German Shepherd

The choice between a collar and a harness can be a difficult 1. Collars are excellent for attaching your dog’s ID tags and can offer control on a walk. However, it can be harder to control your dog by their neck and can cause choking if your dog pulls. Your dog is also more likely to escape a collar than a harness.

A harness is a better choice (used alongside a collar for ID), as it gives you more control. It distributes your dog’s weight evenly across their body rather than on their neck, which is safer and more comfortable for your dog. Harnesses are typically harder for your dog to wiggle out of, which enhances safety further.

If you need extra control, a headcollar may be more suitable. You can use a harness and a headcollar at once with a double-ended lead to give you the most control possible.

German Shepherd Harness FAQ

Should you use a harness for your German Shepherd?

Yes, a harness is better for your German Shepherd, offering more control for you and more comfort for them.

How do you stop your German Shepherd from pulling?

A good harness alone won’t stop your dog from pulling. It needs to be combined with consistent, reward-based training for long-lasting results.

Conclusion

The right harness can help you ensure your dog is comfortable on walks and that you have the control you need. You’ll be enjoying all sorts of adventures together before you know it!

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