When looking for the best dog harness for a Cocker Spaniel, we considered the dog’s size, temperament and potential pulling behaviours. Walking a Cocker adult or puppy on a collar and lead can cause frustration for both owner and dog, particularly when they pull. Pulling on a collar can also damage your dog’s throat over time. To combat this and offer the best results, owners often use a dog harness. We have researched and tested a range of harnesses and concluded that the Ruffwear All-Day Dog Front Range Harness is the best harness for Cocker Spaniels.
|RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness, Adjustable Comfortable Padded Everyday Walking Harness, 2 Lead...||Buy on Amazon|
A combined front and back range dog harness, the Ruffwear not only offers great comfort and security but can be used for both normal walking and the reduction of pulling behaviour.
Originally bred in the United Kingdom, this hunting dog Spaniel breed comes in two distinct types; the American Cocker Spaniel and the English Cocker Spaniel – collectively known as the Cocker Spaniel (or Cockers).
Celebrity Cocker owners include Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney and Elton John. They are a hugely friendly and energetic breed.
When walking your Cocker Spaniel in the park or down the road, their energy and keenness can sometimes cause frustration if they start to pull. They may pull ahead when you walk, pull backwards – or even dart suddenly at the sight of a nearby squirrel.
This article will look at the benefits of using a dog harness on your Cocker Spaniel when out walking. We will discuss types, sizes, what to look for as well as offer some training tips. The article will begin by examining the six best Cocker Spaniel harnesses we’ve researched on the breed.
Best Harness for Cocker Spaniels – Our Top Six
1. 🏆 Ruffwear All Day Adventure Dog Harness, Medium Breeds
|RUFFWEAR Front Range Dog Harness, Adjustable Comfortable Padded Everyday Walking Harness, 2 Lead...||Buy on Amazon|
Ruffwear have been on the market for several years, offering a great range of harnesses and dog accessories. Their All-Day Adventure Harness has become one of the most popular no-pull dog harnesses out there.
We’ve had a lot of success with this harness with multiple breeds, and external reviews are generally very positive. It’s one of the best dog harnesses for Cocker Spaniels out there.
This is a follow up to their earlier Front Range harness and can be used as a front clip, back clip or combination harness to train and reduce pulling behaviour in your Cocker.
There are two separate leash attachment points on this harness. The back lead attachment point is a durable aluminium V-ring located at the top of the harness. Clipping on a lead and walking is straight forward. If your dog pulls, the weight will better distribute across the harness.
The front leash attachment is a reinforced webbing loop located at the chest (front) area of the harness. This is mainly to be used to combine the front and back attachment points.
To gain the full benefits of both harness points, you’ll need to invest in a training leash such as a HALTI or Mekuti.
The Halti lead, for example, is double-ended. This can be used to give the leash different lengths, to combine a harness and a head collar or, in the case of the Ruffwear – to use on both points.
These work similarly to that of horse reins; the dog can be “steered” or guided. This can be a real asset for teaching better walking, reducing pulling and keeping control of your dog.
The outer material of the Ruffwear is made from nylon with reflective trim around the outer edges for improved visibility at night.
Available in a range of six colours, including Poppy Orange and Black, it’s a stylish dog harness. It also fits well too with four points of adjustments on the straps to get the sizing just right. The straps themselves are located on the shoulder and the belly areas.
Though people often tend to use both a collar and a harness, if you’re using the harness only – there is a handy pocket for storing identification tags.
As with all these types of harnesses – it may take a little practice at first to get your Cocker to put it on and off easily. To do this, place the harness over the head, then clip just over the front legs. You can then adjust the buckles if needed. To take it off, unclip the buckles and gently pull it off over the head.
We’ve had a lot of success with this harness. It’s well made, looks good and has helped calm our dogs down in the past when they are out walking in the park. Like all dog behaviour, training and patience are required to reduce pulling – but this harness is a great one to do this with.
2. Julius-K9 162P0 K9 PowerHarness
The often black (there are various other colours to choose from) outer shell layer of the Julius-K9 is an impregnated, water-proof, scratch-resistant material.
The inner layer of the harness has OEKO-TEX breathable skin-friendly materials. This makes the harness both strong and comfortable for your dog.
The harness has a chest strap with an adjustable hook and loop fastener. On the belly of the harness is a heavy-duty plastic buckle to click it securely together.
A reflective stripe is located at the outer trims (front) of the harness for increased visibility in dark conditions.
Julius harnesses are usually a lot easier to put on and take off than most harnesses. This is mainly because it doesn’t need to be put on over the head (though can be), so accustoming your dog to their new harness takes less time.
The front section uses velcro – though we recommend introducing velcro to any dog slowly as the loud noise when pulled apart can frighten them at first.
This is a back clip harness with the metal ring located at the top (back). On the top is an easy-grip handle which can be used for controlling, holding and even helping to lift your dog when required.
The Julius-K9 is certainly a unique harness style – and it’s very strong.
We’ve had recommendations from owners before that these are also great for use on a long lead, allowing your dog to run around without worrying they will run away.
3. Rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness
|rabbitgoo No Pull Dog Harness Medium, Front Clip Pet Vest Harness with Handle Adjustable Dog Padded...||Buy on Amazon|
Rabbitgoo is another back and front clip harness for use as both a walking and a no-pull Cocker Spaniel Harness. It is made from high-quality materials with an inner mesh breathable nylon lining with soft padding on the inside.
I’m a big fan of the Rabbitgoo, it’s reasonably priced, it’s well made and it does last a long time. I do find the straps to be a little rigid at times and occasionally the sizings are not quite right depending on the breed – but overall it’s a great choice.
3M reflective material on the outer harness is well proportioned – it helps you see your dog better when walking in dark conditions.
It’s also the first harness in our list that is both front/back clipped as well as having a handle for holding your dog in position when needed. The outer layer is made from nylon material.
The front (chest) of the harness has an o-ring for lead attachment, a D-ring at the back (top) for normal walking. It’s available in a range of colours.
Overall, the Rabbitgoo is a great alternative for the Ruffwear, particularly if you’re on a budget.
4. fiE FIT INTO EVERYWAY No-Pull Dog Harness
|fiE FIT INTO EVERYWAY Range Of Front Side No Pull Dog Harness Outdoor Adventure 3M Reflective Pet...||Buy on Amazon|
5. TrueLove Dog Harness
|TrueLove Dog Harness TLH5651 No-pull Reflective Stitching Ensure Night Visibility, Outdoor Adventure...||Buy on Amazon|
Another front and back clip harness that is bright and feature-rich at a reasonable price.
The TrueLove has a strong outer layer with a reflective nylon webbing for better night-time visibility. The inner layer is a soft mesh with sponge padding in the chest and belly areas for comfort.
6. AllPetSolutions Dog & Puppy Vest
|AllPetSolutions Dog Harness - Cool Pet Vest with Back D-Ring for Dog Lead Clips - Mesh Fabric Puppy...||Buy on Amazon|
I’ve added this one in at the end as it’s a good example of a vest harness for a Cocker puppy as their first harness or an older dog who is well behaved on their lead.
Selecting a Good Cocker Spaniel Harness
The things to keep an eye on when it comes to harnesses for your cocker spaniel will depend on the function the harness needs to perform.
The first thing to look for is comfort. Your dog’s harness should not be causing them pain, pinching them in the armpit area or in any way making the walk unpleasant. For most functions, a harness should be light and it should be Y-shaped to allow proper movement of your dog’s shoulders.
If you have a spaniel that pulls on walks, you should look for a harness that might help you overcome that problem gently. Look for harnesses that have a front clip as well as a back clip. Some harnesses have a side clip and a back clip, which is also fine to use, as long as it doesn’t restrict natural movement.
Some dogs are also great escape artists, in which case you should look for harnesses that have more than one body clip.
If you just need a day to day harness for casual walks, then you have a bit more choice. Look for a lightweight one, and feel free to choose a different colour. Be mindful of your spaniel’s hair. Some mesh harnesses can cause the hair to get a bit stuck, which wouldn’t be pleasant for your cocker.
When choosing a harness for hiking, you might want to look for one that covers longer part of the body and has handles at the back. The handles come in handy should you need to lift your cocker spaniel anywhere. In addition to that, some hiking harnesses have pockets on the sides, these are useful for storing water for your dog. Always remember to bring water for your dog.
Finally, if you’re getting into sports with your cocker spaniel, you might require a specialised harness. Best to check with your club as to what type of harness you might need. For agility, you usually need just a light Y-shaped harness with a minimal amount of material to avoid any restrictions on body movement. It will be similar for other sports, but for some, you might need a harness that allows the dog to pull better.
Types of Cocker Spaniel Harness
If this is your first time looking for a harness, you’ve probably noticed a wide range of brands and styles during your search. Some of these choices are purely fashion and style based; however, different harnesses can aid with different things in a dog’s behaviour.
A soft walking harness, also sometimes referred to as puppy harnesses, are designed for general wear. A little like a sweater – they are designed for puppies getting used to harnesses, dogs who are well behaved on their leash and elderly dogs.
Front and Back Clip No-Pull Harness
There are several common types of no-pull dog harnesses, these are often broken down into:
- Back Clip
- Front Clip
- Front and Back Clip Harness
By clip, we’re referring to the point where the lead attaches to the harness. Almost all harnesses on the market are back clipped. A hoop is at the back (the top of the harness) and a lead is added for normal walking.
More uncommon are solely front clip harnesses, such as the SENSE-ation, which have an attachment point at the front of the chest area.
These are very different than your traditional harnesses in that the lead attaches to the front (no back clip is present) – which may seem odd at first – however, they can sometimes be recommended by trainers as an alternative to reducing pulling behaviour.
Front only clip harnesses are quite specialist and have been known to restrict shoulder movements in some breeds – but worth looking into if a back-clip harness isn’t working for your Cocker Spaniel.
Front and Back clip harnesses (such as the Ruffwear) have attachment points at both the top and front of the harness. To use both clips in combination requires a special training lead, like a HALTI, that is double-ended.
One point on the lead attaches to the back, the other to the front. This gives better control of your Cocker, similar to the reins used on horses.
Overall these no-pull harnesses should not only benefit your dog in their walking behaviour but also help with training be they a puppy or an adult.
Tightening and Control Harness
Designed in a similar style to walking harnesses, these will tighten when your dog pulls on the leash. Used improperly they can cause discomfort to your dog through pinching and squeezing. They can also lead to an increase in the dogs pulling behaviour as they attempt to escape the discomfort. These should be used by experienced handlers and dog trainers, or under advisement from a professional.
Cocker Spaniel Harness Sizes and Measurement
The typical harness size for cocker spaniels is small, although it can depend on an individual brand, and of course the size of your spaniel.
Generally, most harness sizing charts will recommend a harness size Medium for a Cocker Spaniel.
The breed standard for cockers says they are between 13kg and 14.5kg in weight, but not all will be in that range and you may find yours to be either smaller or bigger than that, thus needing a different size harness.
It is always wise to measure your cocker before ordering a harness. Even if you’ve measured them before, you might want to check before ordering in case their weight has changed since then.
If you find your cocker spaniel to be between two sizes, it is usually recommended to go for the larger one to avoid anything too tight-fitting.
Follow our tips for the best ways to measure your cocker spaniel:
- Chest: You will need as tape measure, as it’s the easiest tool to use for this. Wrap it around the widest part of your dog’s chest and note down the size. The widest part is usually a few inches behind the dog’s front legs.
- Add a bit of slack to the measured size: It’s best if you add an inch or two extra to the measured chest size. This will allow for weight fluctuations, hair growth or other situations where you need to adjust the straps. The straps are your friends, make sure you adjust them correctly when fitting the harness on your dog.
- Measure the size of the dog’s neck: While not always required, it is worth checking the size of your dog’s neck for those harnesses that go over the head. Some harnesses don’t have an adjustable strap in the neck area, in which case you will have to measure the neck. As with the chest, measure the widest part of the neck with the tape measure and note down the number.
- Weighing your dog: This is worth doing to compare to the manufacturer’s guides, as often they’ll include approx weight expected for the harness size. It’s not something you have to do, but it’s relatively common for dog owners to know their dog’s weight anyway.
Tips for Harness Training Cocker Spaniels
- Be sure to pick out a Y-shaped harness in the correct size for your dog
- Y-shaped harnesses allow for correct movement of your spaniel
- For dogs that pull, it is best to get a harness with a back and front clip, paired with a double-ended lead
- Make sure that the harness doesn’t tighten around your dog’s armpits when they pull, or you will cause them pain, and you won’t get good results from that
- Measure your dog and always compare to the manufacturer’s sizing
- Take into account your dog’s hair as well. If you plan on keeping your dog’s hair long, be careful not to get a harness that is too tight, or you could end up causing pain to your dog by pulling hair around.
- On the other hand, if you plan on keeping your cocker’s hair short most of the time, you need to be able to reduce the size of the harness. A spaniel with short hair could easily escape a harness that was fitted when they had long hair
- Most harnesses are placed over your spaniel’s head. If your dog isn’t too keen on that experience, you can find a harness that doesn’t go over the head. Alternatively, you need to spend some time getting your dog used to that experience, so that you are not creating negative associations with the harness
- Although uncommon, some dogs might need desensitisation to the front-clip as well. We have seen two spaniels who are terrified of seeing a lead appear in front of their face, so go easy at first
- Once you have the correct equipment ready and your cocker is happy to wear it, you are prepared to start the loose lead training
- Start training at home and in the garden before taking it out to the street
- Once on the street, remember not to rush anything. If you need to get somewhere fast before you had the chance to train with your dog, you might want to leave them at home and make some time specifically for training
We hope you found our article on the best dog harnesses for Cocker Spaniels helpful.
Pulling on the lead can be frustrating for both you and your dog. A long walk can quickly turn into an Olympic event. To combat this it’s important to focus on walking style and training.
A good harness, particularly an anti-pulling harness, can make all the difference and help to teach your furry friend better habits.
You can share your harness findings and recommendations in our comment section below and join the conversation on our Facebook page.