In this article, I’ll take a look at which harnesses are recommended for the brainy, sharp little scrappers of the canine world – the Jack Russell terrier.
Why use a Jack Russell harness?
My first dog and long-time best buddy was a Jack Russell-cross called Muttley. I got him when I was ten years old, coming to the end of Primary School, and he quickly became my favourite animal in the world. He was a patient, affectionate, playful and (as time wore on) wise little dog who our family loved dearly, and he lived to the ripe old age if sixteen before moving on to the big kennel in the sky, leaving us with many fond memories.
Now that the scene’s set, I’ll explain why the prelude was necessary. Muttley was a very obedient, easy to handle dog, so we never used a harness to walk him – a plain old leather collar sufficed back in the day. Either that or we just didn’t know much about harnesses.
In retrospect, though, a small dog like Muttley would have benefited enormously from wearing a harness rather than a collar. He was a tugger like many dogs of his spirited ilk, and undoubtedly suffered to some degree with neck and throat discomfort during those long walks in forest parks and on beaches. He would often finish a walk panting furiously, more than I would have been comfortable with now.
Jack Russells are highly energetic and intelligent (Muttley was only part Jack Russell – we never determined what the rest of him was) and, like Cockapoos to some degree, require heavy doses of stimulation, even during a walk. This can make them difficult to control at times, which is where a good quality harness can make all the difference. If we still had Muttley today, I would definitely use a harness when walking him.
Let’s take a look at some recommended harnesses for Jack Russells.
Puppia Soft Harness
First up, let’s start off with a harness made especially for a small dog like a Jack Russell terrier.
In all honesty, that’s about it. This harness is an exercise in simplicity. There are no thrills or frills, just a bog standard harness for your pup. The sizes range from extra-small to XXL, so there are plenty of options available if you have multiple pooches – in this case, however, the Small or Medium would probably suit your Jack Russell.
However, for what it is, the Puppia soft harness is actually fairly expensive compared to other similar brands. At almost £20, you could perhaps look elsewhere. In addition, some owners have pointed out that the sizings are a bit off, so research thoroughly before buying one. Otherwise this is a solid little harness to perhaps start your JRT out on.
A good Jack Russell Harness for starting out
- Breathable material
- Easy to put on and take off
- Range of colours
- Lack of features
- Only one clip
- Sizings can be inaccurate
The Puppia could be a useful harness for your Jack Russell terrier to start off with, but due to its limited features, it may not serve you very well long-term. It’s ratings aren’t bad though so it’s definitely worth a look.
🏆 TrueLove Dog Harness
I just can’t overlook the TrueLove harness on this occasion.
In my article about recommended Cockapoo harnesses you’ll see how I waxed lyrical about the TrueLove harness. It’s our favourite for our boy Lupin and, because he’s a fairly small Cockapoo, I would imagine it would be pretty perfect for a Jack Russell terrier as well.
The TrueLove harness is feature-rich with a tough outer layer, soft mesh inner layer and sponge padding in the chest and belly areas; it has reflective nylon webbing for good night-time visibility, two side buckles, and two clips for leads (one on the back and one on the chest). You’ll know as soon as you fit it on your furry companion that it’s strong and durable.
We loved the TrueLove harness straight away – it’s tough, full of handy features, looks good, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg at less than £20.00. The chest clip is also extremely useful for hooking your dog into the seat-belt attachment when transporting him in the car, as long as you have a dog seat belt.
This is a great little harness, especially for smaller dogs like Cockapoos and Jack Russells.
A great Jack Russell Harness
- Strong and durable
- Dual buckles
- Dual lead attachment clips
- Easily fitted and removed
- Great value for money
- Some owners have complained of the material stretching over time
- Some dogs may need the harness adjusted each time it’s fitted and removed, depending in the breed
- Sizing is sometimes difficult to work out
We love this harness and still use it all the time for our Cockapoo. It’s simple, effective, great value and looks good. Again, every owner has different experiences, but for us the TrueLove harness is a solid option. Try it out on your Jack Russell!
Embark Active Dog Harness
The Embark Active Dog Harness remains another fantastic option for most dog breeds, including the Jack Russell.
It’s a solid Jack Russell 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 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 solid Jack Russell harness with great pros and few cons.
A solid Jack Russell harness with great pros and few cons.
This is definitely a great harness option for your Jack Russell. 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.
Another one I’m going to recommend again is the Rabbitgoo no-pull harness.
This harness is very similar in design to the TrueLove and Embark harnesses. It too fits snuggly around your dog’s chest, neck and upper torso and attaches securely at either side of the body with buckles to distribute pulling pressure away from the neck, reducing the risk of choking (an unfortunate aspect of nearly all of Muttley’s walks). Similarly to the TrueLove harness as well, it also features padding in all the right areas and two attachments for leads (chest and back).
However, one major advantage of purchasing the Rabbitgoo harness is the customer service that accompanies it. The company offers a lifetime warranty that ensures you will receive either a replacement harness or a full refund if you’re not satisfied with the product. Many owners have found this to be of great benefit, though few have needed to activate the warranty. Good customer service is always a great bonus with any product purchased online, especially in our contemporary culture where many of us would rather shop on Amazon than in-store.
- Simple to put on and off
- Reduces pulling
- Feature-rich with soft padding, front and back lead attachments and adjustable straps
- Reflective patches
- Lifetime warranty with excellent customer service
- Leans slightly towards the more expensive end of the spectrum
- May be a little chunky for Jack Russells
- Some owners have complained of poor-quality stitching
The Rabbitgoo harness is pretty similar in most respects to the TrueLove and Embark harnesses. On the more positive side, it comes with a lifetime warranty and solid customer service; on the downside, there may be long-term problems with stitching in the product (which perhaps necessitates the attentive customer support). Either way though, it’s a very good harness.
Now for something a bit different.
The Noxgear Lighthound is a reflective and illuminated vest for walking your dog in low light. It works in conjunction with a harness or collar to keep your dog visible during an early morning or night-time stroll; the vest simply slips over an existing harness to create a bright, colourful outer layer so your companion can be seen easily by passing cars (or by you in the park).
The LED vest has six dynamic modes with eight solid colours and can be selected easily by the user. It’s USB rechargeable with up to twelve hours of battery life (sufficient for several walks), is made from durable Cordura fabric, is rainproof and breathable, and is machine washable.
It’s certainly a nice idea, especially if you regularly walk your dog in the dark as many owners have to during winter time. However, it’s very expensive (£69!) and would probably be more of a luxury item than a crucial bit of gear for your dog. But if you can afford it, why not?
Not a Jack Russell harness - but worth a mention
- Durable, breathable and machine-washable
- Illuminates your dog in the dark for safer walking
- Works in conjunction with a harness and/or lead
- Charge lasts up to 12 hours
- Can’t be used without a collar or harness
- More of a luxury item
Available on Amazon
The Noxgear Lighthound is very much an item you would add to your existing collar or harness. For a small dog like a Jack Russell terrier, it could be a useful addition if you plan to burn off some of his energy first thing in the morning or just before bedtime. If you have the money to spare, give it a go!
Ruffwear All Day Adventure Harness
We’ll finish up with the Ruffwear All Day Adventure harness.
This is a high-quality harness for giving the owner improved control over the dog while walking without increasing pressure or strain on his throat. Like other similar harnesses, it features adjustable straps to maximise comfort for your pooch, along with two lead attachment points (back and chest), which is always a bonus for me. ID tags can also be concealed in a pocket on the front.
The Ruffwear harness has high visibility reflective trim and is made from strong nylon material with extra padding for increased comfort – it’s design is adapted from mountaineering technology, so it’s guaranteed to be robust.
This is a nice harness with solid design and useful features, and it comes highly recommended by dog owners everywhere. However, it’s also one of the more expensive harnesses on the market at over £40 (Amazon), so you’ll need to weigh that up with its competitors.
Still, you’d be getting a quality harness for your Jack Russell that will likely ever need replaced.
A good but not great Jack Russell harness
- Strong, comfortable and easily adjustable
- Reflective trim
- Two lead attachment points
- Popular with other owners
- No mention of a warranty
- Other cheaper harnesses may do the same job
As you can see, I rated the Ruffwear All Day Adventure harness highly. Despite its relatively high cost, it’s a solid harness with all the features you would expect and would certainly serve your Jack Russell terrier well.
Let’s sum it up
Jack Russell terriers are brilliant dogs – Muttley was a wonderful little pet who gave us years of enjoyment and created a lifelong love of dogs in me. They’re a breed that need lots of stimulation and exercise, and would greatly benefit from wearing a suitable harness. As I mentioned at the start of the article, I wish we’d used a harness for Muttley as he may have experienced some discomfort throughout his lifetime with his leather collar.
A wide variety of harness options are available for Jack Russells from the simple option like the Puppia Soft harness to the more expensive Ruffwear All Day Adventure harness. As always, your final decision will very much depend on budget, personal preference and, of course, your dog.
My favourite remains the TrueLove harness, although the Embark and Rabbitgoo harnesses are great options as well. My experience with Jack Russells often involved a lot of running, exploring and adventuring in forests, parks and beaches, so a body-fitting harness with good durability (and wash-ability!) would have been my personal preference.
Whichever harness or collar you decide to go for, always take time to research thoroughly for yourself, measure your dog carefully before purchasing, and don’t be afraid to try a few different options before settling on one.
And as always, do what’s best for your dog in terms of comfort, wear-ability and, most importantly, safety.