The German Shepherd is easily one of the most unique and recognizable breeds in the world. This breed is famous for its many fine qualities, including intelligence, loyalty, and a protective instinct that is second to none. However, a large and powerful dog like this one requires a serious harness to control them. With that in mind, let’s review six popular products and attempt to find the best harness for German Shepherd dogs.
Quick Picks: The 6 Top-Rated German Shepherd Harness
Last update on 2020-11-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s take a look at some of the crucial information that you need in order to make a competent and informed decision about which harness to buy for your German Shepherd. This is a rowdy and energetic breed, so bear that in mind.
Durability Is The Most Important Thing
There are several factors that must be considered if you want your harness to perform as needed. The first (and probably the most important) factor is durability. The German Shepherd is a pretty large dog, and they can exert a lot of force when they begin pulling. As such, you need something that is super-durable.
Going out to your local pet store and buying the recommended product is likely not going to be your best bet. Most harnesses are simply not durable enough for dogs of this size. You need to avoid harnesses that are only held in place by velcro, and any harnesses that are made of thin or flimsy material.
One of the most important things to look at are the clips or snaps that hold the entire thing together. If these are weak, the whole harness is compromised. This is not acceptable when you consider the fact that German Shepherds can be a little bit territorial. If one of them breaks a harness at the wrong time, the consequences could be pretty serious.
Plastic snaps are usually best avoided, but the thicker ones are sufficient. Make sure that the plastic is solid, as a hollow piece will tend to collapse and deform. This makes it relatively easy for the clip to be disengaged. Steel buckles and snaps are far better if you can find them.
The thickness of the straps should also be examined. We have seen some excellent harnesses that nevertheless had thin straps. For a smaller dog, this is no problem. However, your dog will need a model with thick straps, preferably made of nylon or leather. Wide straps are also a big plus, but thickness is more important than width.
You also need to think about leash attachment. A strong harness won’t do much good if it doesn’t have a strong anchor point for the leash. A steel ring is probably the most common means of attachment, but make sure that the ring itself is well-attached to the main frame of the harness. Also, make sure that the leash itself is very tough, or there won’t be much point in buying a heavy-duty harness.
Comfort And Breathability
Comfort is another issue that must be taken into account. You don’t want your dog to be miserable while wearing this harness, and even slight discomfort can make them unhappy. To understand this, imagine if you only had one article of clothing. Now imagine that you had to wear it nearly all the time! If you care about your pet (and you should, because they probably care a lot about you), make sure that there are no pointy parts that will poke their skin and no abrasive parts that can chafe and irritate them. Some harness types are much better than others in this regard.
Breathability is a definite plus. Not all harness need or offer this feature, but a harness made of breathable fabric can be a real blessing on hot days. Remember, this dog is probably the closest domesticated relative of the wolf. Their thick fur, inherited from their wolven ancestors, makes them ill-suited for hot weather. Adding a harness that isn’t breathable can make them even more uncomfortable.
On a side note, you should trim your dog’s fur during the summer if you live in an area that experiences high summer temperatures. Not only will they be much more comfortable, but they will also be more active and require less hydration.
On the subject of comfort, you should also look at the way a given harness is adjusted. Some harnesses only have one adjustment point, while some others can have up to four. When it’s hanging loose on the dog’s body, a harness loses some of its effectiveness because it becomes possible for the dog to slip out.
Make sure you don’t tighten the harness too much. You can use the two-finger rule to check. You should be able to fit two fingers between the chest strap and the dogs’ skin.
Not all dogs are prone to slipping their collar or harness. You might get lucky and avoid this problem if your dog never figures it out. However, German Shepherds are noted for their extreme intelligence and their high learning ability. Chances are, you will need to keep that harness somewhat tight, and that will be a lot harder if the harness doesn’t have enough adjustment points.
Handles Are Your Friend
As a minor point, it is a very good idea to get a harness with a handle on the top. If your German Shepherd gets out of control and begins to pull hard, you will need every advantage possible to bring him under control. One point of contact (your hand on the leash) is not enough. You need both hands to exert full control, and a harness handle allows you to get a second point of contact. This video should give you a good idea of how strong one of these dogs can be.
6 Best German Shepherd Harness Reviews
This harness is a very nice-looking one, and the price is pretty competitive. Right away, we can see several good features that stand out from the rest.
All of the nylon straps on this harness are doubled. Although nylon is very strong, we believe that every harness should have a “fail-safe” measure, and the doubled straps serve this purpose well. If one breaks, there is another to back it up.
Comfort is another advantage of this harness. It presents no choking hazard, as the chest strap is kept well away from the throat.
This thing also has four points of adjustment, making it easier to get a good fit. There aren’t many complaints about this product, but the complaints that we do see are remarkably consistent. Nearly all the bad reviews say that this product is not sewn together properly and will come apart within a month or two.
Another problem comes from the fact that it isn’t really a “no-pull” harness. It just has an extra leash ring in the front. You can use this ring to attach a leash, allowing you to pull the dog toward you in a circular motion.
- No significant choking hazard
- Comfortable design
- Doubled nylon straps
- Four points of adjustment
- Many have claimed that this harness breaks easily
- Doesn’t really prevent pulling
- Too much plastic and not enough steel
Tactical harnesses are made for the military and police K9 units. As such, they tend to be a lot more durable. This product is no exception, as the whole thing is made out of thick nylon.
We want to praise the manufacturer for using clips made of steel rather than plastic. This is not done often enough. There is a plastic clip on the belly strap, but at least it is a good thick one. The velcro pad on top gives you the option of adding some carry pouches, which could be very handy.
The top handle is very well-designed. Being located in the front gives it a little more leverage, as the dog cannot take advantage of any slack. However, the handle is one of several places in which the stitching is not adequately reinforced.
Due to the increased cost of this harness, any failure in the durability department is a major issue. To be fair, it only suffers from weakness in certain areas, but one of them is the metal D-ring to which the leash attaches, and that’s a real problem.
- Very thick and reinforced in most areas
- Top handle is conveniently located
- Velcro allows some potential for accessorizing
- Steel clips and thick plastic snaps
- Breathable liner
- Missing reinforcement in several key areas
- Harness is noisy, makes clicking noises as the dog walks
- Too many buckles
This is another vest-type harness, and it seems pretty good at first glance. The straps are thick and the stitching is strong, so it will probably hold up to your German Shepherd.
This product also comes with a nylon dog collar, but we are not sure why. When using a harness, there is no need for a collar. Further, there would be no point unless the collar was attached to the harness in some way, and it isn’t. The collar giveaway just seems like a sales gimmick.
We like the fact that this harness has highly reflective stripes that are meant to keep a dog from being hit by vehicles at night. With two points of adjustment, this one doesn’t provide the same comfort that other brands might. However, it does seem to be made of a very breathable fabric.
One of the best selling points of this harness is its low cost. It is also clearly meant for a large dogs, and that is another good thing for our purposes.
- Well-stitched and reinforced
- Pretty cheap
- Available in multiple sizes
- Backed by a 1-year warranty
- Doesn’t adjust as finely
- Front D-ring isn’t reinforced enough
- Included collar is pointless
- Clips are not thick enough
Although this harness is suitable for a German Shepherd, it may not be strong enough due to the presence of velcro. The velcro isn’t the only thing holding it together, but you can’t rely on velcro to restrain a large dog.
This harness does have very wide straps, which would make it quite hard for a dog to break. However, it also has a very large head opening. While this does remove any hazard of choking, it also makes the harness easier to slip.
This is the cheapest harness on our list, and that is its’ only saving grace. We recommend this model for people on a budget who are handy enough to make some modifications. Extra stitching and better buckles would go a long way.
- Simple design with just enough reinforcement
- Very thick, wide straps
- Keeps all pressure off the dog’s neck
- Highly reflective
- Cheapest harness on our list
- Might be too easy for a German Shepherd to slip
- Too much velcro in the design
- Possible buckle issues
This is the most expensive harness on the list, but it does offer some good features for the money. This is another tactical harness, but this one looks like it could actually be used for serious work.
Instead of the velcro, this one has MOLLE straps, which can be used to attach a variety of pouches and gear. This makes it great for long hikes. In terms of durability, this thing really shines. Every part of it is reinforced, and the top handle is not hindered by the extra gear. Not only that, but it has a second handle in the back for even greater control.
Related: Best Dog Backpacks for Hiking
The only potential problem with this model is the fact that it has so many straps. This one will take a little longer to put on and take off, but it’s probably strong enough to be worth the effort. The chest strap is made to discourage pulling, but it is far enough away from the throat to avoid any chance of choking the dog.
- Well-reinforced and durable
- MOLLE gear
- Leash ring is on top instead of in the front
- Front strap tightens on pulling but does not choke
- Extra handle in the back
- Harder to use due to the extra straps
- Pretty expensive
Featuring a proprietary design that pushes the boundaries of design, the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness is, without a doubt, a great option for owners of a German Shepherd. Featuring a joint system that uses interchangeable patches and Velcro sections, this harness for German shepherds can be safely and securely adjusted to fit the size of your dog. In addition, being made of OEKO-TEX material and featuring heavy-duty metal buckles, this harness is extremely tough and durable. More than that, the buckles are capable of working perfectly on cold and even frosty weather.
In addition to being incredibly strong, the proprietary material that the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness is made of is breathable and comfortable. Without a doubt, those are very desirable qualities, particularly if your dog will be wearing this harness for extended periods of time. It also helps that the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness can be adjusted and secured according to your dog’s body type and shape. Speaking of adjustability features, this harness has a lockable handle for extra security.
In addition to functioning as a regular harness, this product works as a visibility vest. To this end, the harness features a highly reflective grey line on the chest strap and smaller ones on its edges. Combined, these sections make your dog visible from great distances and in the dark. As a result, this dog harness can be a great choice for owners of seeing-eye dogs. As if it all this wasn’t enough, the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness also has side bags for easily carrying important accessories.
- Very adjustable
- Tough and durable
- Interior lining is breathable and soft
- Heavy-duty buckles
- Includes side-bags for carrying accessories
- Features reflective sections for added visibility
- Somewhat difficult to put on and secure
Having gone through all these products and their features, it is easy to see why they are among the most popular and well-liked of their kind. Useful, functional and reliable, these harnesses for German Shepherd are capable of improving your life as well as your dog’s. However, one of these products stands out.
Featuring a fantastic design that is adjustable and remarkably secure, the Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness is the best harness for German Shepherd on the market. Apart from being very well designed, this product is expertly constructed with high-quality materials, making it durable and resistant to external elements.