With their strength, excitement and energy levels, using a collar for walking your Golden Retriever may not be the best idea, particularly if they tend to pull on their leash. Our expert has chosen Julius-K9 PowerHarness as the best dog harness for Golden Retrievers. It’s easy to put on and take off, very robust and great for dogs who pull.
This durable Golden Retriever harness is not only easy to put on and take off – but it can take a lot of pounding should your dog decide to pull on their lead suddenly. A back clip harness which can be used on a short or long leash, the handle is excellent for holding them in position if needed. Suitable as a walking harness or for training them when they’re a puppy.
Golden Retrievers are a large breed of a gun dog made popular for their ability to retrieve game undamaged during a shoot due to their ‘soft’ mouths.
Anyone who owns a Golden will know all about having their arm clamped playfully in those ‘soft’ jaws.
They’re a breed made for water with dual coats (that shed like the dickens), and they’re super easy to train.
Golden Retrievers are loyal, intelligent dogs with beautiful temperaments that make excellent family pets.
In this article, we will look at the best dog harnesses for a Golden Retriever, consider the types of harness, how best to measure them for the perfect fit and consider why they’re so important for the breed.
- Best Golden Retriever Harness – Our Top 7 Reviewed
- Why use a Golden Retriever Harness?
- What Makes a Good Golden Retriever Harness?
- Types of Golden Retriever Harness
- How to Measure your Dog for a Harness
- Final notes
Best Golden Retriever Harness – Our Top 7 Reviewed
1. 🏆 Julius-K9 PowerHarness
Once again, we return to the king of dog harnesses – the Julius-K9. This is my favorite type of harness for a Golden Retriever.
They’re hugely popular with both dog owners and trainers.
I felt for our Retriever that we needed something substantial for such a big dog, and the Julius-K9 is all about being substantial in everything it does.
These are very sturdy, attractive no-pull harnesses.
It features a metal ring on top for leash attachments and a large, adjustable handle for increased control of your dog.
Like other similar dog harnesses, it’s breathable and can be fitted and removed easily. And because it’s a Julius-K9, it also has attachments for saddlebags and a torch (because why not, right?) so your Golden Retriever can carry around a few of his treats, toys and poop bags. Very handy indeed.
The only downside to this harness is, like some other brands, the lack of chest ring.
It’s not as much of an issue for Ghost as he travels in the boot of the car and doesn’t require a seatbelt attachment, but that same principle may not apply to everyone, so it remains a negative point to an otherwise brilliant harness.
The Julius K9 is also on the upper end of the price scale, though that’s perhaps to be expected given its popularity and quality.
Despite high competition - this is the Golden Retriever harness that often comes top!
- Strong buckles that are easy to clip on and off
- Very sturdy, reliable design
- Waterproof, breathable material
- Larger versions have additional features like saddlebag attachments
- No chest ring
- A little expensive
It is, of course, pretty hard to beat a Julius-K9 for quality and reliability. It’s a great harness preceded by a strong reputation, so you’ll know you’re getting a quality product if you decide to go with it, as long as you’re okay with just one harness ring and the slightly higher price.
2. Ruffwear All Day No-Pull Dog Harness
Often a contender for the top spot on this site is the ever-reliable Ruffwear.
This harness has both a front and back clip. The back clip is an aluminium V-ring hoop at the top (back) of the harness. This is for regular walking.
There is an additional reinforced webbing loop at the front (chest area).
Using a special double-ended training leash, such as a HALTI, means you can attach both ends to the front and back clips.
This allows greater control of your dog and can help with not only pulling behaviour but training.
Padding is comfortable, and there are reflective material on the outer harness layer for increased visibility at night.
3. Embark Active Dog Harness
|Embark Pets Adventure Dog Harness, Easy On and Off with Front and Back Lead Attachments & Control...||2,179 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
A buckle on either side secures the dog in the harness, and there’s a handy ring on the back and chest to hook your lead on to.
It has a soft padded interior to reduce chafing and features 3m reflective trim to keep your dog visible during night-time walks.
There are multiple points of adjustment for a perfect fit.
This is a similarly-styled harness to the TrueLove, and Otad harnesses previously reviewed and do the same job in distributing pressure during a walk across more of the dog’s body. The chest ring can be used as a pull deterrent when training, as well as a seatbelt attachment in the car.
Best of all, the Embark harness comes with a 100% money back and satisfaction guarantee, so it’s a relatively low-risk product.
A nice Golden Retriever Harness but may not be for everyone.
- Comfortable design
- Dual buckles
- Dual lead attachment clips
- Easily fitted and removed
- Money-back guarantee
- A little on the pricey side
- Some owners highlighted the lack of neck adjustment flexibility
This is a good harness option for your Golden Retriever. It comes in a variety of sizes with three colour options and is generally well-received by owners everywhere. The money-back-guarantee is a desirable feature as well.
4. Gentle Leader Harness
The Gentle Leader works similarly to the Canny Collar or Halti, but with a slight difference in design.
It has one strap fitted around the neck like any standard collar in addition to a second strap which runs from the back of the lower jaw to the top of the snout just below the eyes.
As with the Canny Collar, it’s designed to stop your Golden Retriever from tugging incessantly on his lead by distributing more of the controlling force exerted by the walker around more of his head, as with the bridle on a horse.
This collar/harness does what it says on the tin and works a treat in significantly reducing the amount your dog pulls on the leash when out for a walk.
It may take some time for your Golden to get used to having the strap just below his eyes (other harnesses of similar design have been known to chafe dogs, but this one doesn’t). Still, once he does, he’ll quickly learn to walk at your pace, making exercise time much more enjoyable for both of you.
Good for dogs that pull, if they are agreeable with it.
- Very easy to fit
- Safe and comfortable for your dog, unlike some other brands
- Significantly reduces pulling
- Can take a dog a while to become accustomed to it
- May feel less secure for the walker
- Limited features
The Gentle Leader comes highly recommended by Golden Retriever owners everywhere. While Goldens are generally very calm, easy-to-walk dogs, they’re still strong and may need that little bit of extra direction and control – this harness is perfect for that.
5. Petsafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
|PetSafe Easy Walk Harness for Dogs, Medium, Black/Beige , 1.8 m Lead||1,527 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The Petsafe Easy Walk harness bears many resemblances to the Pets At Home Step In harness, but it comes with a much higher rating from dog owners and leads attach to the chest rather than the back for extra control.
This harness looks pretty simple (and it is), but it works a treat for exerting a bit more authority over your furry friend during a walk, while also spreading pressure away from the throat to more robust areas of the torso.
The harness is designed with the “opposition reflex” in mind, meaning that the dog instinctively leans away from the pressure exerted on his chest by the pull of the lead, making him much more comfortable to walk.
Also, the chest ring is off to the side, which automatically directs the dog towards the owner. Simple but clever.
For strong, adolescent Goldens, this harness is a no-brainer. If you’re trying and failing to train your dog to walk sensibly, this harness might be worth testing.
It also comes with a nice two-year guarantee and is easily adjustable to prevent chafing, AND comes with a free leash!
Not the strongest of harnesses for a puller but otherwise fairly good.
- May be too basic for some owners
- May not be sturdy enough to deal with powerful dogs
This is a clever little harness with a simple but effective design that genuinely reduces pulling and greatly assists with training your dog. It’s cheap, comes with a free lead and had a two-year guarantee. Hard to fault this one.
6. EzyDog Quickfit Harness
|EzyDog Quick Fit Dog Harness - Premium Padded No-Pull Harness, Black, Medium||346 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The EzyDog Quickfit harness is an attractive harness with a simple design aimed at removing many of the frustrations around finding the right fit for your dog.
As with many similar brands, the EzyDog is made from waterproof neoprene material (perfect for Goldens, which love the water) and features high-visibility reflective stitching throughout to improve night-time visibility.
A single heavy-duty buckle secures your dog firmly in the harness, and a single stainless-steel D-ring on the back allows easy attachment for leads.
This is an excellent harness for bigger dog breeds like the Golden Retriever. It’s a robust, durable and straightforward to fit harness.
It doesn’t, however, have very many features, and unlike other harnesses, doesn’t come with a warranty.
Okay, it's a tad costly, but it's a nice alternative Golden Retriever harness.
- Very easy to fit
- Strong and durable design
- Reflective stitching for increased visibility at night
- Range of colours and sizes
- Doesn't have a chest ring
- One of the more expensive harnesses
- Doesn't come with a warranty
The EzyDog is easily fitted and adjusted, with a durable design aimed at helping the walker control the dog comfortably. However, it’s a bit expensive and lacks a few features like a chest ring or accompanying lead, as many competitors offer. The lack of warranty is a significant negative, too.
7. Pets At Home Step In Dog Harness
Cockapoo harnesses, I shared our experience with the Step In Dog Harness from Pets At Home. Unfortunately, it was mostly negative in the end as Lupin was able to wriggle free of it quite easily, and I was unable to recommend it as a suitable harness for Cockapoos.
However, while this particular harness still loses points in a few areas, it works much better for a larger-breed dog like Ghost.
The Step In harness is made from a soft, breathable material, is easily adjusted and features reflective strips along the edges. It’s a straightforward harness with just one clip on the back and won’t break the bank. If you’re looking for a quick, inexpensive solution, this could be an option for you.
And for whatever reason, this cheaper-end-of-the-scale harness seemed to fit our Golden much better than our Cockapoo (obviously they were different-sized versions) and never slipped off Ghost once.
It sits a little looser on his torso, and I’m not convinced it’s particularly comfortable on him, but it is at least a lot more secure on his stockier body than on Lupin’s more flexible one.
You’ll have to weigh up yourself whether or not it’s worth taking a risk with a cheaper harness (we only used it with Ghost while he was a smaller pup and not quite as strong as he is now) or if it’s simply safer to spend more on the right harness right from the start, even if your canine companion outgrows it in a matter of weeks.
An above average, but limited Golden Retriever Harness.
- Breathable material
- Easy to put on and take off
- Cheaply made
- Lack of features
- Only one clip
- Not as secure as more expensive harnesses
To reiterate from my previous article, we love Pets At Home, but we weren’t huge fans of this harness for Lupin. It works a lot better on Ghost due to his different size, shape and temperament (he’s not as pully) but wasn’t a long-term solution.
Why use a Golden Retriever Harness?
We already owned a little scallywag of a Cockapoo called Lupin when we decided to take the plunge and get a SECOND dog – at the time, Lupin was on his own a lot while we were at work, so we wanted him to have some company. We also just really wanted a Golden Retriever, so when the opportunity arose, we went for it.
Ghost (named after Jon Snow’s dire wolf in Game of Thrones) and Lupin have got on like a house on fire since becoming “brothers” back in May.
They both require lots of exercise due to their relentless energy levels (Lupin) and rapid growth (Ghost). Both dogs wear harnesses rather than collars, which we’ve found to be of massive benefit when walking them.
What Makes a Good Golden Retriever Harness?
Golden retrievers are one of the larger breeds of dogs.
As with all big dogs, when they pull on their leash – you can feel it. If your dog is on a collar, this could result in discomfort to their neck if they suddenly pull when out walking.
In more severe cases, this could lead to throat injuries and damage to the trachea.
A good, well-designed harness is one that fits well, is comfortable and can be used to reduce pulling behaviour and help with training in your dog.
A poorly designed harness, for example, could tighten under the dog’s legs when they pull, thus causing pain through pinching of the skin.
In addition to the discomfort – this can result in increasing the pulling behaviour as they attempt to escape the unpleasant stimulus.
Types of Golden Retriever Harness
Vest Dog Harness
Often made from nylon or mesh fabrics, these walking harnesses are soft, lightweight and inexpensive.
Not designed to take any severe pull or as a training harness – vest harnesses are for general wear.
They are suited for dogs who are well behaved on a lead, elderly dogs who may need assistance or puppies who are getting used to a harness for the first time.
Front and Back Clip Harnesses
Most commonly seen harnesses, mainly for dogs who tend to pull. A back clip harness has a steel clip at the back for attaching the lead.
A front clip is (usually) a second webbed hoop at the front designed for a double-ended training leash like a HALTI.
Both ends can clip onto the front and back attachment point giving more control over your dog. Dog trainers often recommend these for better training and reducing pulling behaviour.
Tightening and Control Harnesses
We’re not a big fan of these. They tighten when your dog pulls. The theory is that the constriction around the dog’s body will stop them from pulling – but we’ve found they often just cause discomfort.
For experienced dog handlers and trainers only.
How to Measure your Dog for a Harness
We’ve already written a comprehensive guide to measuring your dog for a harness here. However, this is a summary for your Golden Retriever.
- Measure the widest part of the chest with a tape measure. This will be a few inches before the front legs. Make sure you wrap the tape all the way around.
- Add a few inches to the total. This will allow for some movement as well as growth. You want a harness that lasts, so you don’t want to buy a new one every time your dog puts on a little weight.
- Measure your dog’s neck. Measure the circumference of the neck with a tape measure. Depending on the harness type, you may not need to do this – but for those that go on over the dogs head – you need to check it will a) fit without straining b) will not slip off.
Measuring your dog is crucial. Too tight and the dog harness will be uncomfortable. Too loose and it could slip off (or they could escape) – leaving you holding a harness and leash but no dog. If you find yourself between two different harness sizes – it’s often suggested picking the larger of the two and using the adjustment straps.
Golden Retrievers are fantastic pets who require lots and lots of exercise, so you’ll need to find a harness that works best for you (if a harness is a way you want to go).
There is a wide range of options available, from standard body-fitted versions like the Embark to more training-oriented types like the Gentle Leader or EasyWalk harness. Every dog is different, so you’ll need to base your decision on your pet’s individual needs.
When choosing, take into account:
- His size
- The dog’s age
- His temperament
- Maturity/level of training
- The thickness of his coat
We love the Julius-K9 in particular (it’s just cool, isn’t it?), though whichever you choose to go for will very much depend on your budget and design preference. Each harness or collar has its pros and cons which need to be weighed up when making your decision.
Also, bear in mind that Retrievers are very adventurous dogs who love jumping in the water or ploughing through the undergrowth, so pick a harness that will stay on him and will remain in one piece after a bit of roughing-up.
You should also take into account that Golden Retrievers grow very fast and will rapidly become too large for many harnesses if you choose to start him in one early.
It may be a good idea to test-drive a few cheaper options before investing in the one you want when he’s fully-grown.
And as always, do what’s best for your pup in terms of comfort, wearability and, most importantly, safety.
We hope you found our curated best dog harnesses for Golden Retrievers collection helpful. Remember to comment below or check out our Facebook page.