- German Shepherd Harnesses: Summary Table
- What Dog Harness Will Work For Your German Shepherd?
- Collar Vs. Harness: Which Is Best For Your German Shepherd?
- Fitting Your German Shepherd for a Harness
- Types of Harnesses for a German Shepherd
- Our 6 Best Harnesses for German Shepherds
The German Shepherd, also known as German Shepherd Dog or GSD, is the second most popular dog breed in the USA and one of the seventh most registered breeds in the UK (where until the late 1970’s it was known as an Alsatian).
The German Shepherd is a large dog both found in homes and as working dogs in specialisms ranging from police, military to search-and-rescue. They are big, intelligent, adventurous, loyal and obedient making them a wonderful canine companion.
This article will discuss what makes a good German Shepherd dog harness, what to look for, how best to measure your GSD and will review our six favourite harnesses for 2019.
German Shepherd Harnesses: Summary Table
Overall the 6 top featured German Shepherd harnesses are:
|Position||Harness||Online Rating||Available Online|
|1||🏆 Ruffwear All Day Adventure Dog Harness||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Julius-K9 162P2 K9 PowerHarness||Buy on Amazon|
|3||ADOV Dog Harness Extra-large||Buy on Amazon|
|4||HOLUCK Dog Harness||Buy on Amazon|
|5||UNHO No Pull Harness||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Lifepul No Pull Dog Vest Harness||Buy on Amazon|
What Dog Harness Will Work For Your German Shepherd?
A lot of German Shepherd dog owners want to know how to train german shepherd not to pull on a leash. Others just need a comfortable walking harness for walks in the park.
In this article, we cover six German Shepherds harnesses available online. As ever we have reviewed the harnesses on the breed or similar whenever possible and we thankfully know a number of German Shepherd owners. As with many large breed dogs, sizing is important so we have selected those we found online which fit best. However, it is always better to check measurements before making a purchase.
Collar Vs. Harness: Which Is Best For Your German Shepherd?
German Shepherds have a unique head shape so it is important to find a collar which is appropriate.
The core purpose of a collar is to provide ID about your dog as well as any useful health information.
As with most big dogs, you need to select a dog collar size that fits well or risk the prospect of it slipping off.
Choke collars are a short term option for reducing pulling – but we don’t recommend them as they can cause discomfort.
Head collars (halters) are another popular option. Harnesses are the preferred option.
There are several issues with walking a German Shepherd exclusively on a collar and lead. The first, possibly most important, is that should the dog pull whilst on the lead – it can cause throat injury and discomfort. It also offers little in regards to control and training of your dog, as well as the all-important reduction in pulling behaviour.
Harnesses are designed, mostly, to offer a comfortable but controllable way to stop or reduce pulling behaviour in your dog. There is a wide range of German Shepherds collars and harnesses out there, and there’s no reason you can’t invest in both for style and practicality. Normally we would recommend that you use the collar for general wear / ID purposes – and a harness for walking whilst outside on a lead.
Fitting Your German Shepherd for a Harness
When fitting a dog for any harness – measurement is essential. A harness size which is too loose could slip off, too tight and it will cause discomfort. Check out our handy guide for measuring and fitting a dog harness.
Take a tape measure and measure the widest part of the chest (usually a few inches behind the front legs).
You should include a few inches (the two finger rule) for any growth and slight flexibility.
If you find your gsd measures between the size of two harnesses (e.g. Large and XL) – go with the larger of the two and adjust. Most harnesses will have adjustable straps – so you can tweak it for the perfect fit.
Also, measure the circumference of the dog’s neck. Knowing your German Shepherd’s neck size will help when choosing harnesses which go over the head. Again, use the tape measure and compare it against the sizing guide if required.
If possible, you may also want to weigh your dog. This could be an indication of the pulling power of your German Shepherd when they decide to dart.
Types of Harnesses for a German Shepherd
Like dog collars, there is a multitude of different types of harnesses. Firstly let us begin with the materials used. Nylon harnesses, as well as Mesh and Leather, are all popular options. It is important to judge which is best for your German Shepherd.
A German Shepherd leather harness, for example, for a dog in the middle of summer on a long trek would not be a great choice (also check out cooling vests). Check the materials used are not only breathable but also comfortable for your dog.
Secondly, we should consider the harness type. Unfortunately, not all harnesses are equal. Although there are several harnesses available for a low cost, check the reviews. Poorly made harnesses are prone to break – possibly when the dog pulls and you need it most. Always consider safety when buying anything for your pup.
Vest harnesses are great options and can be easily put on and taken off of your German Shepherd. Front Clip or Back Clip gsd harnesses (our favourite type) offers more control of your dog and can help with training. Some even include carry handles to hold your dog in position or help to lift them. There are several examples of this in the collection below with explanations of each.
The last common harness type is tightening or control harnesses. We tend to steer clear of these and do not recommend them for anyone other than experienced dog handlers (if at all). They are designed to tighten when your dog pulls. This can cause discomfort for your dog as well as increasing the pulling behaviour as they attempt to escape from the discomfort.
One other type popular with German Shepherd owners is a tactical dog harness vest. Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment (MOLLE system) can be used for many things from service dogs to military to hiking. We haven’t delved too deep into these for this article – but check out our review of the Julius-K9 to get you started.
Our 6 Best Harnesses for German Shepherds
1. 🏆 Ruffwear All Day Adventure Dog Harness
|Ruffwear All-Day Dog Front Range Harness, Grey (Twilight Grey), L/XL||387 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The strength of the German Shepherd and our faith in this brand puts the Ruffwear harness on the top of our list. Ruffwear makes an excellent range of high-quality no pull dog harnesses for a German Shepherd and larger dogs, they’re near perfect.
The Front Range is not the cheapest dog harness out there, but for working dogs – it is second to none.
This is a front range harness which means it comes with two lead attachments for both training and as a no-pull harness. The first located at the top of the harness is a strong aluminium V-ring.
If your dog is well behaved on the lead or you’re just keeping them on a lead while out and about – you can just attach the lead to the ring as normal.
If however your German Shepherd is a puller or you are trying to train them there is a second webbing loop at back. A double ended dog lead, such as a HALTI, can then be attached to both harness points.
This is an easy harness to put on / take off. The woven strong straps have five points of adjustment for a better fit. The harness is padded for additional comfort and the outer material is made from sturdy and lightweight nylon.
The design also makes it very difficult for your Shepherds to slip off and escape. There are also various holders on the harness as well as high visibility reflective trims for seeing your dog in dark conditions.
We’ve also found these can be used as a dog harness for a German Shepherd puppy as it’s fairly non-threatening when first introduced. Like any new harness, the trick is to be patient. At first, your puppy may hate it. But give it time. In the past, we have experimented with putting a harness on for the first time by rewarding each attempt with a treat.
Overall this is a great harness, good for a puller, an adult or even a puppy – useful for assisting, strong, comfortable and hugely adjustable.
No pull plus a handle on top, this is a great harness for a German Shepherd, well designed, will last for ages and filled with extras.
- Front range dog harness for dual attachment leads
- Well designed
- Easy to adjust
- Handle useful for health issues
- Not the cheapest of harnesses
2. Julius-K9 162P2 K9 PowerHarness
|Julius-K9 162P2 K9 PowerHarness for Dogs, Size 2, Black||2,457 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The Julius-K9 is an incredibly popular choice among German Shepherd owners in both the UK and USA. It’s a wonderful harness – but it also has that police dog harness look which attracts the extra geek in a lot of people. GSD owners also use them as a tactical dog vest harness – although there are other options open with a range of featured outside the scope of this article.
The outer layer is made from an impregnated scratch-resistant water repellant material. The inner lining is breathable and skin friendly.
The belly strap has a heavy-duty plastic buckle and the chest strap has an adjustable hook and loop fastening.
There is also a reflective stripe for high visibility when out walking in dark conditions.
The sides have a phosphorescent, interchangeable hook and loop patches with the Julius-K9 logo. Additional patches with your customised text or over 1000 template patches are available online.
This harness provides a good load balance for your dog and reduces any pressure when out walking, especially if your German Shepherd is a puller. Overall a good investment, some owners find this to be the best no pull harness for german shepherds although our personal choice is with the Ruffwear. If you’re looking for something strong and resilient that also looks great – check out the Julius K9.
A very close second choice. This harness certainly looks the part for a German Shepherd and is not only practical but stylish. It's only let down by the lack of a front range clip.
- Well designed
- Very strong
- Large handle at top
- No front attachment clip
3. ADOV Dog Harness Extra-large
|ADOV Dog Harness Extra-large, No Pull Adjustable and Durable Leash For Medium and Large Pet,...||10 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Not a well-known harness brand, but it’s a great little addition to the harness world. This averagely priced harness is made of a luggage-grade stylish and scratch- resistant oxford outer layer as well as a breathable mesh fabric.
The handle at the top is good for holding your dog in position or aiding in training. Unlike the Julius-K9 – this is not adjustable, but it’s a useful addition to have.
The harness can be put on and taken off using a release via two side-squeeze buckles. You simply slip your dog’s head and fasten the buckles.
There are four adjustment points on the harness to better fit it to your dog’s needs, simply pull the straps. The harness also has reflective stitching throughout the outer layer making it easier to see your dog in dark conditions.
This is a great harness for the price, certainly one of the better harnesses in the mid-price range.
This harness is basic but the handle at the top makes it slightly better than other cheaper harnesses.
- Well made
- Handle at top is useful
- Good pricing
- Basic features
- Handle is not adjustable
- No front clip
4. HOLUCK Dog Harness
|HOLUCK Dog Harness Large No Pull - Front Dog Harness Freedom, Harness Dog Adjustable Outdoor Pet and...||132 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The HOLUCK is a medium budget harness which comes with a front range clip to help with pulling. The harness is well shaped and well proportioned for a German Shepherd.
The harness uses sturdy hemming with Durable Oxford material, adjustable nylon belt and breathable fabric.
A leash attachment is available at both the top and back of the harness. This can either be used for different attachment points or, with a double-ended lead, for greater control of your dog.
For the price, this is a great quality harness. It may also make a great German Shepherd puppy harness to get them used to harnesses for the first time. It’s nothing fancy but it’s strong, practical and a good choice for your dog.
This harness is nothing fancy, but it does the job. It's also mid-range priced so a good investment if you're not looking for too much in a harness.
- A practical harness
- Reasonably priced
- Lacking features
- Fairly basic
5. UNHO No Pull Dog Harness
|UNHO No Pull Harness Dog Lead Padded Pet Walking Harness Heavy Duty for German Shepherd Doberman...||182 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The UNHO is a basic yet very inexpensive harness. The harness may not be feature-rich, but it is still a good choice.
One metal D ring for lead attachment and an adjustable strap for fitting. The outer layer uses a strong high durable nylon material. The inner lining is soft, breathable and skin-friendly for your dog.
Some find that the measurements advertised on this product are not completely accurate. It’s worth checking the measurements correspond with reviews. We found the Large size fits fine with some small strap adjustments.
I’m not convinced by the style of this harness – finding it a little ugly, but that’s personal preference. Again, it’s very inexpensive so may be perfect as a starting harness or for training experiments.
6. Lifepul No Pull Dog Vest Harness
|Lifepul No Pull Dog Vest Harness - Dog Body Padded Vest - Comfort Control for Large Dogs in Training...||847 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Another cheap and cheerful German Shepherd vest harness. Yes, it doesn’t have any great features – but if you’re trying a harness for the first time, have a well-behaved dog that doesn’t pull or are on a budget – this could be the harness for you.
The outer material of the Lifepul harness is strong nylon with nickel-plating hardware. The padding underneath is soft and breathable for extra comfort. The straps are adjustable, a quick release buckle is used for putting the harness on and off. There is also a handle at the top for better control and to aid with pulling.
We hope you enjoyed our German Shepherd dog harness collection. Because the breed is traditionally a working dog it is important to consider a harness that also caters for their boundless energy, safety and need for training. Particular emphasis should be put on the tendency to pull and working with your dog in a way to extinguish this behaviour without unnecessary discomfort.
We are closely tied between the Ruffwear and the Julius-K9 for a German Shepherd. The only slight advantage of the Ruffwear is the inclusion of the front clip which can make all the difference if your dog is a puller or a jumper.
If you have any comments on the harnesses features in this article please let us know by commenting below or starting a conversation on our Facebook page.