Boston Terriers are an intelligent and friendly small breed of dog. As with many dogs, particularly puppies, walking them on a collar and lead can be frustrating, especially when they pull. Not only do they help with training your dog, but can take the pressure away from your Boston Terriers fragile throat – particularly important if they have breathing issues.
We have tested and researched a range of harnesses and our team has selected the Gooby – Comfort X Head-in Harness for our USA readers and the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness for the UK and global readers as the best harnesses for Boston Terriers.
USA & Canada Readers
|Gooby Choke Free Comfort X Soft Dog Harness, Medium, Black||Buy on Amazon|
UK, Australia & Worldwide
Originating from the USA, the Boston Terrier is a small, strong, friendly but stubborn short-tailed breed. The American Kennel Club recognises them as the first non-sporting American dog breed.
They enjoy the company of humans and love to please. Their coats are short and therefore very easy to groom.
This article will look at the best dog harness for Boston Terriers and review our top six picks. We will discuss the types of harnesses available, what to look for, how to measure your Boston Terrier for their new harness as well as some handy hints and tips.
- Best Harness for Boston Terrier – Our Top 6 Reviewed
- Collar or Harness for a Boston Terrier?
- Selecting the Perfect Boston Terrier Harness
- Types of Boston Terrier Harnesses
- What Size Harness for Boston Terrier?
- Tips for Harness Training Boston Terriers
Best Harness for Boston Terrier – Our Top 6 Reviewed
1. 🏆 Gooby – Comfort X Head-in Harness
|Gooby Choke Free Comfort X Soft Dog Harness, Medium, Black||Buy on Amazon|
Often recommended by USA BT owners and one of the best-rated harnesses for Boston Terriers, the Gooby Harness uses a patented X frame design. The purpose is to make it as choke-free as possible for your Boston Terrier, by sitting below the neck area standard on many harnesses.
They’ve placed the D-ring, for leash attachment, at the back – this places any pulling force on the shoulders and chest of your dog, thus avoiding the throat area entirely.
The harness itself is very lightweight, made from a polyester mesh. This makes it incredibly airy, cooling and simple to wash (machine wash cold then air dry).
It adjusts around the chest area, and it’s essential, as with all smaller dog harnesses of this type, that you measure your dog correctly before buying.
Overall a very reasonably priced, lightweight, easy to put on over-the-head harness that takes pressure away from the harness.
Note: if over the head harnesses isn’t something your dog particularly likes – Gooby does offer an alternative walk-in harness available here.
2. Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness
|Julius-K9, 16IDC-FARNE-M, IDC Powerharness, dog harness, Size: Mini, Jeans with neon edge||Buy on Amazon|
A firm favourite for most breeds, Julius K9, makes a great range of robust no-pull harnesses. Often referred to as “police harnesses” owing to their unique design – they are sleek, well designed and reassuringly sturdy.
Leashes are attached to a durable metal ring on top (back) of the harness. Beside it is a large, adjustable closed handle for control, holding, training and help with lifting if required.
A reinforced plastic buckle can be adjusted at the belly as well as an adjustable hook and loop fastener at the chest for a more snug fit.
For nighttime visibility, the harness uses 3m reflective straps on the sides along with an interchangeable logo if you want real bespoke variety.
Overall, this K9 PowerHarness is a solid choice for a Boston Terrier. Not only is it breathable and reliable, but it’s also simple to fit and remove easily.
3. iChoue Dog Harness [USA]
|iChoue Dog Harness Easy On and Off Adjustable Harness Lightweight Harness with Handle for Small and...||Buy on Amazon|
Designed for the chest area – it takes all pressure away from your dog’s neck. The leash is attached to the back (top), and a handle is there for holding your BT in place.
The one real benefit of this harness is the ease with which you can put it on and take it off. This is particularly helpful if you have a dog (particularly a Boston Terrier puppy) who hates having their harness put on.
The harness is also deceptively strong, with reinforced sewing to the webbing making it much more robust and durable. The webbing also has interlayer cotton for comfort.
Yes, this harness is relatively basic – but its simplicity is what makes it so beautiful – especially if you have a dog who generally doesn’t take well to the idea of having a harness put on them.
4. Ruffwear All Day Adventure Dog Harness
|Ruffwear All-Day Dog Front Range Harness, Orange (Poppy), S||6,805 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
This fantastic no-pull harness for Boston Terriers is well constructed, high quality, comfortable and, as a front and back ranged harness, features two leash attachment points.
The first, an aluminium V-ring is located at the top (back range) of the harness and is used as a regular walking harness – simply attach the lead and go walking.
There’s a second at the front (chest) which is a reinforced webbing loop that can be used as a front range harness. However, it is most effective when used with a double-ended training lead like the HALTI.
The inner lining of the Ruffwear harness has padded chest and belly panels giving a comfortable fit and insulation from sudden pulling.
A sturdy and lightweight nylon material is used on this Boston Terrier harness. The straps are woven and adapted from mountaineering technology for an extra-strong hold.
To adjust the harness, there are straps at the shoulder, chest and belly. Reflective strips line the outer layer of this harness for better night-time visibility.
Overall, a great, well-crafted harness not only for pulling, control and comfort but also for training.
a great, well-crafted harness not only for pulling, control and comfort but also for training
5. Gooby – Soft Mesh Harness
|Gooby - Soft Mesh Harness, Small Dog Harness with Breathable Mesh, Blue, Small||Buy on Amazon|
A simpler offering of harness from Gooby, this is a thinner and more lightweight mesh harness than the Comfort X and better suited as a walking harness rather than for a real puller.
It still focusses on not putting pressure on your Boston Terriers neck should they pull, and it’s also a great price.
6. Max Comfort Dog Harness
|Classic Dog Harness Innovative Mesh No Pull No Choke Design Soft Double Padded Breathable Vest for...||232 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Super colourful, lightweight, inexpensive and bright – these are mesh walking harnesses perfect for puppies and older dogs who do not require training for pulling.
Collar or Harness for a Boston Terrier?
Like the French Bulldog, Boston Terriers are a Brachycephalic breed – their shortened upper jaws and short nose causing breathing difficulties which leads to both discomfort and an inability to exercise adequately.
Brachycephalic Airway Obstruction Syndrome (BAOS) is inherent in Boston Terriers, and as a result, special consideration should be given to their throats.
Tracheal hypoplasia is of particular concern as it directly concerns their throats.
Walking your Boston Terrier on a collar and leash can put undue pressure on your dog’s throat. If they tend to pull on their lead – this will put a lot of strain on their necks which can cause both pain and injury.
Too much strain can result in tracheal collapse and severe injury to the larynx.
One way to reduce this pressure is to substitute the walking of your Boston Terrier from dog collars to a well-designed harness.
Walking and no-pull dog harnesses are designed to be choke-free, placing the pulling behaviour on your dog’s chest and torso instead of their necks.
Though a dog collar is still a good option for general wear and storing ID tags, you should consider a dog harness when taking your Boston Terrier out for a walk.
Selecting the Perfect Boston Terrier Harness
When you’re looking for a new harness for your lovely Boston terrier, there are a few things to consider before purchase. The function you need the harness to perform will determine the type of harness you need to buy.
Comfort is the top priority. Your Boston terrier should be happy and content wearing a harness, and the harness should not be causing them any pain or pinching them in any areas of the body. This goes for both the shape of the harness and the size, make sure it’s the right fit.
A light Y-shaped harness will do the trick for most dogs and will look lovely on your dog. By Y-shaped, we mean the chest area is in that shape, so it allows for natural shoulder movement.
If your Boston Terrier pulls on walks, there are specialised harnesses which help with the issue. Look for one that has a front clip as well as a back clip.
Pair that with a double-ended lead, and you’re all set for training. Even if you don’t spend enough time on training, such a harness will help reduce the pulling. A side clip can also be helpful, as long as it doesn’t impede dog’s movement much.
We’ve seen many Boston with a slender body, and if you have one like that who is also a crafty escape artist, look for a harness with multiple straps along the body. There are a few options on the market to ensure the safety of your dog.
As mentioned earlier, for regular walks, a simple light harness will do just fine. For casual use, you have loads of options in colours, material and pattern. Feel free to have fun with what you chose as long as you keep your dog’s comfort in mind.
If you plan on doing any sports with your Boston terrier, be sure to consult your vet first to ensure the sport you choose is suitable for your dog. For many of the games, a light Y-shaped harness will be perfect. For many of them, a front clip will be redundant, and just one clip at the back will be all you need.
For other sports or more exhausting activities, you might need to look for a harness with handles at the top. They unquestionably come in handy if you want to go hiking or do an obstacle course with your dog.
Handles are useful for helping your Boston terrier along the way. If you’re not sure what type of harness you need, speak to your trainer or someone from the sports club, they will be able to advise further.
Types of Boston Terrier Harnesses
It’s easy to get lost in the vast sea of different tools and equipment for dogs. This goes even for harness types, not all harnesses are made equal. Here are the most common ones you will encounter in your search for the perfect equipment.
These harnesses are usually affordable, lightweight and pretty basic in their functionality. They are usually used for casual walks with well-trained dogs, either as an alternative to a collar or even more often, as a fashion statement.
You can use them either on a trained adult Boston terrier or even with a puppy to get them used to wearing a harness. Just don’t expect them to learn not to pull with one of these.
They are usually made from mesh, plastic or nylon and can be very stylish depending on the brand you choose. As mentioned, they don’t have much other functionality, than pure basic walking equipment, so if you need a simple harness to put on, vest harnesses are a good choice.
Front and Back Clip No-Pull Harness
These are the common types of harnesses you will find when looking for help with pulling. They will either be one of the following:
- Back Clip Dog Harness
- Front Clip Dog Harness
- Front and Back Clip Dog Harness
The primary purposes of these harnesses are to reduce the pulling from your Boston Terrier, and thus provide you with a safer and more enjoyable walk together.
Back clip dog harnesses are commonly found; they have a single point lead attachment at the back for your standard lead. The effectiveness of these varies greatly from brand to brand.
Front clip harnesses, similarly to the above, have a single point of attachment, but at the front in the chest area, rather than the back. They can usually be used with a standard lead.
Front clip harnesses can look a bit unusual or awkward at first, but they do tend to work better than the back clip harnesses. The design of them is quite important as some work by way of restricting shoulder movement, hence stopping pulling. Although it doesn’t necessarily cause pain to your dog, this isn’t always ideal as it could potentially cause shoulder problems in the future.
Front and Back clip harnesses have lead attachment points at both the top (back) and front (chest) of the harness. These types of harnesses are the most recommended ones by top trainers and behaviourists. They require a special lead which has attachments at both ends, such as the HALTI lead. Attaching the lead to front and back offers better control and safety over your dog.
As well as taking away the pressure from your dog’s throat, a no-pull harness will take away the pressure from your arms and back when trying to stop your dog from flying ahead of you.
Tightening or Control Harness
While often advertised as gentle or harmless, these harnesses work by pinching your Boston Terrier in a sensitive area. This is usually around the armpits or around the belly.
Though they may result in a reduction in pulling, the negative stimuli can have an undesired effect of causing unnecessary pain and creating resentment towards the harness.
What Size Harness for Boston Terrier?
The average Boston Terrier measures around 15-17 inches in height (to the shoulder), 12-25 pounds in weight with an average Boston Terrier puppy measuring smaller depending on the age. This weight is quite varied and can depend on factors such as size and gender.
It can be challenging to state the best harness sizes for your Boston Terrier because of the variances in size – though in general small to medium-sized harnesses will suffice. Also, remember that manufacturers’ sizing charts vary between brands, so there is no universal standard.
It is therefore strongly recommended that you measure your Boston Terrier before buying their harness. We cover measurements in this article, however here’s a quick summary.
- Measure your dog’s chest: Using a tape measure, wrap it around the widest part of your Boston Terrier’s chest. This will be a few inches behind the front legs.
- Measure your dog’s neck: Not applicable to all harnesses, especially if they don’t go over or around the neck, but it is worth checking. You should measure the widest part of the neck, often the circumference of the base of the neck.
- Add a few inches to the total: It’s best if you add a few extra inches to the sizes you measured. This allows for additional growth and weight changes.
- Check your dog’s weight: This may be required – particularly with Boston Terriers who have quite a wide weight range – it’s probably worth having this anyway on your next visit to the vet.
If you find your measurements are between two different harness sizes, such as small and medium, we recommend getting the larger of the two and using the adjustment straps to tighten where required.
Tips for Harness Training Boston Terriers
- Pick a comfortable Y-shaped harness
- For those pulling Bostons, a harness with a back and a front clip is the best choice
- Pair the harness with a double-ended lead to help you with the pulling
- Avoid anti-pull harnesses that tighten around your dog’s armpits when they pull; the armpit area is susceptible, and these harnesses can cause pain
- Make sure you measure your terrier correctly and compare to the guidelines for your chosen harness
- You’ll find that most harnesses are placed over your dog’s head. There are other options, of course. Carefully consider them should your dog feel uncomfortable with over-the-head motion. Some harnesses are fitted from the bottom around the legs and have straps that connect at the top of the body. Other can be placed from the top and clipped in on the side or in the chest area.
- Whether your dog likes wearing a harness or not, if it’s their first harness, it is good to spend some time getting them familiar with it and associating it with good things. Simple, calm sessions with the harness and some treats can also help to keep excitement levels manageable.
- When you’ve fitted your Boston terrier with the correct equipment, you’re ready to do your loose lead training
- Start your training at home, slowly taking it outside to the garden or front of the house, before going out into the world
- When you’re ready to go out training in public, be sure not to rush anything. Be patient and gently fix any mistakes that might happen along the way. The world is full of distractions, and your dog will need lots of repetitions to understand what you’re asking them to do
We hope you found our article on the best harness for Boston Terriers helpful in making your decision.
When selecting a dog harness for your Boston Terrier, you should consider not only the behaviour of your dog but their physical and health needs also. This is especially true of breeds which can suffer from throat and respiratory issues – choose a harness which will not put, like a collar may, undue pressure on your dog’s neck – particularly if they tend to pull.
A well-fitting, well-designed harness will not only help with their behaviour when walking but will aid with training and make your walks in the park happier and stress-free.