German Shepherd dogs are some of the most intelligent and strong dogs in the world and it is this that makes them a great choice for work and home.
Many people love their playful nature and the intelligence they show when they are part of a family but walking them can be difficult as they can grow to be incredibly big.
One thing is certain; if you have large breed dogs like German Shepherd then you have to get the right harness to support them and you when out and about.
We have put together some advice that will make your harness shopping a bit easier; as well as our recommendations for the best German Shepherd harnesses available.
- Best Harness for German Shepherds
- About The Breed
- What is a Dog Harness? A quick guide
- Why are Harnesses Good for a German Shepherd?
- Types of Harnesses Available
- Measuring Your German Shepherd For a Dog Harness
- How To Put Your German Shepherd Harness On
- Getting the Best Results from a Dog Harness
Best Harness for German Shepherds
1. Julius-K9 162P2 K9 Power Harness
Suggested Sizes – Adult GSD: 2 – Puppy (6 mths): 0
The Julius K9 brand is a household name as they make brilliant harnesses for dogs of all sizes.
This power harness is a heavy-duty, water repellent option that will keep you firmly in control of your pet whatever the weather or terrain.
It has a handle on the back so that you can lift and guide your GSD whenever is needed.
It has several adjustment points and a large steel leash attachment at the top.
A reflective strip lines the front of the harness so that your pooch will be seen wherever you go.
2. Ruffwear All-Day Dog Front Range Harness
|RUFFWEAR - Front Range Dog Harness, Reflective and Padded Harness for Training and Everyday,...||1,073 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
If you want a harness that comes in a range of colours and is suitable for all types of activities then the Ruffwear All-Day Harness is a great choice.
Weighing in with serious comfort, your dog will love the time spent out with you and it has an ID pocket in case of emergency as well as a reflective trim to help maintain visibility.
The Ruffwear is not only hugely popular with dog owners and trainers – it’s a great example of a Front Range harness. We’ve used this harness on many types of dogs in the past – to great effect.
The leash attaches to the D-Ring at the back (top) of the harness for normal walking. You can use a special double-ended training lead, such as a HALTI, to not only attach to the back – but also the second point at the front.
This gives a better way of controlling your dog – similar to that of a horse. In addition to giving extra control – it also helps in reducing the pulling behaviours as well as training your dog to walk better.
3. Cnrng Military Tactical Dog Harness
If you are looking for a tactical harness that will allow you to attach bags and supplies to your GSD then the Cnrng offering is a great place to start.
GSDs are well known for their work in military operations and policing and this harness would complement this role well. It’s also a great choice if you are planning a trip in the wild and need your dog to take some of the weight!
4. Halti Dog Harness
|HALTI No Pull Harness Size Medium, Bestselling Professional Dog Harness to Stop Pulling on The Lead,...||2,093 Reviews||$21.99||Buy on Amazon|
The Halti Dog Harness was created to help you manage a dog that likes to pull on the lead. Are you stick of your GSD walking you instead of you walking them?
Do you find that they gag or choke when you pull them back on a lead? This is the harness for you and will help to maintain a happy and healthy dog whilst redirecting their energy so that they cannot pull you around when you take them on a walk.
5. Rabbitgoo No-Pull Dog Harness
|rabbitgoo Dog Harness, No-Pull Pet Harness with 2 Leash Clips, Adjustable Soft Padded Dog Vest,...||148,463 Reviews||$16.98||Buy on Amazon|
Does your dog love the chase and refused to come back when they see an animal they want to catch?
The Rabbitgoo brand has been designed with this in mind and this harness is the perfect way to help your GSD understand that pulling will get them nowhere very fast.
Enjoy taking the control back and walk your dog with confidence when you get this harness!
6. Rabbitgoo Tactical Dog Harness Vest with Handle
The tactical dog harness for German Shepherds is a great all-rounder for dogs that spend lots of time outdoors or working.
Rabbitgoo has come up with this top of the range, no pull, tactical harness that your GSD will love to wear.
It comes with multifunctional options so that you can attach your kit to the dog when hiking or working and it is comfortable enough for your dog to keep it on all day long.
7. EXPAWLORER Big Dog Harness
|Big Dog Soft Reflective No Pull Black Harness size XL 36-46inch||932 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
The Expawlorer may not be the most attractive harness in our list but it is by far the best priced one.
The low price tag does not mean low quality and this harness is a great choice if you want to keep your pet safe and stop them from pulling you about when out on walks.
There is a reflective strip to help with seeing them after dark and the addition of a handle means that if your dog is struggling to get up or down then you can give them a helpful lift!
8. BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness
|BARKBAY No Pull Dog Harness Front Clip Heavy Duty Reflective Easy Control Handle for Large Dog...||8,577 Reviews||$28.99||Buy on Amazon|
The Barkbay harness is a great choice if you spend hours telling your dog to heel.
This is their no pull model and comes in a range of colours so that you can match your dog to your accessories.
It’s lightweight and made from breathable fabric so that your dog won’t get uncomfortable on longer walks and runs.
It has reflective strips and a handle that helps you to lift your pooch when they get tired or need a helping hand into the car!
About The Breed
German Shepherds originated from Germany and were used to guard livestock and help with herding.
They are not a new breed and have been around since the early 1900s when a GSD called Horand became the first known German Shepherd Dog (GSD) in history.
Horand fathered many puppies that were to become one of the most well-known breeds in the world and soon people were talking about the natural ability the new GSD had when it came to protection and herding.
However, it was WW1 that really gave the GSD the status it enjoys today as many returning soldiers told of the capabilities the dogs had and they began to use them to support military drills in the UK.
However, the breed was renamed the Alsatian Wolf Dog as it was seen to bring negative connotations by having a name that incorporated German into it.
Over the years there have been many debates about how the dog should be named and it is now agreed that their original GSD name should be utilised in order to show their true heritage.
These days GSD are used in policing, airport security, military operations and farming as they have such superior intelligence and obedience when trained properly.
If you are lucky enough to have a GSD then we are sure that your life is all the better for their existence!
What is a Dog Harness? A quick guide
When you are considering a new harness you may wonder what the actual difference is between them and a collar. It’s natural to want to get value for money and collars are the traditional way to keep your dog on a lead.
Harnesses, however, are the better choice when it comes to supporting the weight your dog has and not causing potential damage to your GSD’s neck.
Dog harnesses come in many shapes and sizes, with a variety of functions and can be tailored to fit with the way you exercise your GSD.
By using a harness you will naturally have more control over your GSD and they naturally reduce pulling so it is far better to walk them with a harness then being dragged along by an overexcited pooch!
Why are Harnesses Good for a German Shepherd?
The GSD is a large breed and has a power that needs to be directed through training and entertaining. A harness will only support your GSD to live a long and happy life and will also help you when it comes to walking and training your beautiful dog. Here are the main reasons that a harness is the best choice when it comes to your GSD:
GSDs are powerful dogs that like to get to go their own way! When it comes to walking a GSD you will often find that you are being tugged in one direction for the duration of the walk and this is because they are keen to get out and sniff about, forgetting that they are being held back by their human.
Harnesses help with pulling as the dog’s weight is redistributed across the body and so there is far less risk to your GSDs health and it also little reward from pulling on a harness as it doesn’t take them in the direction they want to go.
The power in the body of a GSD is enough to really hurt an owner if the dog gets carried away when out and about.
Helping your GSD to understand their own strength is a part of the training needs that the GSD breed comes with and it is impossible to manage a dog that large with a collar.
Collars can damage the neck of your lovely dog and they will not have learned the valuable lesson about their own power.
A harness will help you to maintain much better control of you GSD, making it easier to take them out and about in areas that you may previously have avoided.
When a GSD has health needs or is getting older a harness can be a really helpful way of giving them the support they need without damaging you.
An older GSD may need help with standing or sitting and a harness can be used to help with lifting a poorly dog.
When rehabilitating a GSD after surgery a harness is imperative so that you can step in and reduce the pressure on limbs without hurting yourself.
Harnesses are a great training tool and can help trainers and owners redirect dogs that are struggling to complete tasks the way they are told to. They are great when holding a dog back before releasing them and help GSD puppies to learn to walk properly without getting themselves all wound up in a lead.
Types of Harnesses Available
There are so many different types of dog harnesses on the market that you’d be forgiven for giving up and considering a collar instead.
Rather than damaging your dog with an old fashioned collar, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of harness types so that you can work out which one suits you and your dog the best. Who knows, you may invest in more than one type so that your pooch can enjoy a range of opportunities!
- Walking Harness
The great thing about walking harnesses is that they are perfect for training GSDs on how to walk properly. Many GSDs are seen dragging their owners behind them on a walk and there is no need for this to be the case when it comes to you.
If your GSD tries to move when you aren’t ready, the harness will steer your dog sideways and give you back the control you need. This is the perfect style of harness for helping your GSD to understand your expectations when it comes to walking.
- Front Clip Harness
A front clip dog harness allows the owner to attach their chosen lead to the central area of a dog’s chest. This style of harness allows you to walk in front or to the side of your dog and take control of the time you are out together.
GSDs are notorious for wanting to chase rabbits and by using a front clip harness you can keep them with you without choking them or causing them to gag from pressure around their neck like a traditional collar.
- Back Clip Harness
If you are the lucky owner of a GSD that doesn’t want to pull when you are out then a back clip harness may be a perfect choice.
These harnesses work to keep the lead away from the front of your dog and can be some of the most comfortable harnesses to choose from.
Normally, the dog steps into the harness which is then secured on their back so that you can easily attach and detach a lead whenever suits you the best.
- No Pull Harness
A no-pull harness is the best choice when you are working to decrease the time you spend pulling your GSD back to the right position.
These harnesses redirect your dog to the side so that they aren’t getting the satisfaction of walking you each time you go out.
They help to train your dog without causing them pain or discomfort and are easy for you to use when you go on that next walk!
- Leather Harness
Leather harnesses come in many different styles but are worth mentioning on their own as they are often the most stylish and durable harnesses on the market. By investing in a leather harness your dog will look great and you will get a harness that can withstand the pressure that is put on it every time you leave the house.
- Tactical Harness
Tactical dog harnesses were created as a multifunctional way of enjoying the outdoors with a large dog.
You can use them to attach your bags and equipment when going on a long hike or spending some time camping with your beloved pets.
Tactical harnesses are often used by dogs that are in the military or in the Police so that they can do their job without the need to stop.
The other great thing about tactical harnesses is their ability to withstand some of the toughest wear and tear!
- Winter Harness
Many dogs really struggle with the sudden drop in winter temperatures, this is especially true for older GSDs.
However, they must still be exercised or they can become destructive. Winter harnesses are the perfect solution as they will often come with padded straps and a coat to go over your dog helping them to stay warm and dry even in the toughest weather conditions.
Measuring Your German Shepherd For a Dog Harness
So you’ve decided to get a harness for your GSD but don’t know how to get one that fits? It’s actually easier than you’d first think and we’ve broken it down into easy steps to make it simpler again!
- Firstly, you need to know how much your GSD weighs so you can get an initial idea of styles that are available to you.
- Next, you need to get some measurements from your GSD so that you can check the harness will fit. Measure around the widest part of your dog’s body and record this then repeat for the upper neck, lower neck and length of your dog.
- Take the measurements and weight of your dog and look at the options open to you; compare products and read the reviews to check if the harness is true to size and whether it is recommended for GSDs.
- If you find that your dog is between sizes then always go up as you can use the tightening straps to give a snug fit rather than trying to squeeze your dog into a harness that will make them feel uncomfortable.
How To Put Your German Shepherd Harness On
It is really important to remember that just because you have decided a harness is the best option, your dog may not agree and it is totally normal for them to feel nervous to a new product that you want to put on their body!
- Firstly, let your dog take a look at the harness so that can see it before being expected to put it on.
- Next, let them step into it and keep calm when trying to fasten it. Your dog will pick up on any change in your emotion so it’s important that you get stressed when getting it all sorted.
- When the dog has stepped in you can start to adjust the straps and get the fit right but remember that this could take a few attempts as you should always give your dog a break if they start to get distressed or jumpy.
- Ultimately, by taking a gradual approach to a new harness you are more likely to enjoy success than if you try to force your dog to comply! If it doesn’t go to plan the fits time, take a breath and try again when you and the dog are ready to.
Getting the Best Results from a Dog Harness
We’ve put together some hints and tips to help you get the best from your harness purchase:
- Check your harness is the right way around before trying to put it on your dog. It may sound simple but we’ve been caught in this situation many times and it only stresses you and the dog out!
- Know which type of harness your dog needs and then get it rather than being swayed by colour choice or the price tag. If you get the best quality you can afford first time round you are less likely to need to replace the harness in the near future.
- Remember that dog harnesses are not teachers and that whilst no-pull harnesses help to stop them dragging, you will still need to train your dog to understand why it is a bad thing.
- Measure and weigh your dog before buying a harness as going by weight alone can often lead to problems with fit when it comes to a breed like a GSD.
- No matter how long it takes to train your dog, don’t give up and resort to outdated methods like choke training. Your GSD needs to know that it is loved and cared for so that you can get the best results for them.
In short, we know that your GSD is your pride and joy and is a part of your family. Getting them the best is really important and by providing them with a harness you will be maintaining their health and wellbeing as well as your own.
There is nothing better than going out on a family walk and seeing your GSD interacting calmly with other dogs and dog owners.
See also our harness guides for French Bulldogs and Pugs, as well as checking out our Dog section.