Looking for a Golden Retriever Harness? In this article, I’ll take a look at which harnesses are recommended for that gentle, loyal, breed – the personification of Man’s Best Friend – the Golden Retriever.
Why use a Golden Retriever Harness?
Golden Retrievers are a large breed of 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. Goldens are loyal, intelligent dogs with wonderful temperaments that make excellent family pets.
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 direwolf 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.
Let’s take a look at some recommended harnesses for Golden Retrievers.
Pets At Home Step In Dog Harness
In my previous article about Cockapoo harnesses, I shared our experience with the Step In Dog Harness from Pets At Home. Unfortunately it was largely 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 actually works much better for a larger-breed dog like Ghost.
The Step In harness is made from soft, breathable material, is easily adjusted and features reflective strips along the edges. It’s a very simple 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 definitely wasn’t a long-term solution. On to the next one…
Embark Active Dog Harness
We decided to try out the Embark Active Dog Harness next.
It’s a solid harness with great pros and few cons. It’s very easy to put on and take off your dog with minimal adjustment. 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 a reflective trim to keep your dog visible during night-time walks.
This is a similarly-styled harness to the TrueLove and Otad harnesses previously reviewed and does 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 definitely a great 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 very attractive feature as well.
The Gentle Leader works in a similar way 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 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 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), but 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 placid, 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.
Petsafe Easy Walk Harness
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 easier to walk. In addition, 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 in a sensible manner, 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 lead!
Not the strongest of harnesses for a puller but otherwise fairly good.
- Simple to put on and off
- Significantly reduces pulling by activating the “opposition reflex”
- Free lead
- Two-year guarantee
- May be too basic for some owners
- May not be sturdy enough to deal with very strong 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.
EzyDog Quickfit Harness
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 a great harness for bigger dog breeds like the Golden Retriever. It’s strong, durable and simple to fit. 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 strong 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 major negative, too.
🏆 Julius-K9 162P0 K9 PowerHarness
Once again, we return to the king of dog harnesses – the Julius-K9.
This is a very sturdy, attractive harness. It features a metal ring on top for lead attachments and a large, adjustable handle for increased control of your dog. Like other similar 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 can carry around a few of his own 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 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 ok with just one harness ring and the slightly higher price.
Let’s sum it up
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 the way you want to go). There are a wide rage 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
- His age
- His temperament
- His 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 own pros and cons which need to be weighed up when making your decision.
Also bear in mind that Golden Retrievers are very adventurous dogs who love jumping in the water or ploughing through undergrowth, so pick a harness that will definitely stay on him and will definitely stay in one piece after a bit of roughing-up. You should also take into account that Goldens 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 really want when he’s fully-grown.
And as always, do what’s best for your dog in terms of comfort, wear-ability and, most importantly, safety.