For many German Shepherd owners, a collar simply isn’t good enough. When you have a large and energetic dog like this, you need something that provides a little bit more control.
A harness also provides more security for dogs who can slip out of their collars. Whatever your reasons for owning one, it is important to pick the best harness for your pet.
With that in mind, let’s look at six of the best German Shepherd harnesses that we could find on the internet.
Best Overall Product: Icefang Tactical Dog Harness
Although most people don’t need a “tactical” dog harness, there are several reasons to choose this one.
Harnesses like these are made for police and military use, so they have to be exceptionally tough. That extra reliability can be a great asset, even if you aren’t taking your dog into any wars or police raids.
One thing we like about this product is the lack of plastic buckles and clasps. All the connections are made of steel, so that’s very reassuring.
You can attach a leash at multiple points on this harness, so you have some choice in how you lead the animal. However, we should mention a few negative reviews.
Most of the reviews for this product were positive, but we did find several complaints about the steel attachment ring on the chest.
Several people have claimed that this ring broke under the strain of a large dog, and we have to say that it looks a little too thin. For this reason, we would recommend that you attach your leash to the thick nylon carry handle at the top.
Durability is the main reason to buy a product like this, as it is reinforced at all the key stress points. We would guess that a harness like this will last a lot longer than most.
This one is the most expensive harness on our list, but its’ price is not that bad overall. We like the velcro on the sides, as these allow you to attach pouches if you so desire. They are compatible with MOLLE pouches, which can be acquired cheaply at any military surplus store.
- All clasps and connectors are made of steel
- All important points are reinforced
- Convenient top handle
- Can be equipped with pouches
- Probably made with German Shepherds in mind
- A little more expensive
- A few complaints about the chest clip
Best Budget Product: Eagloo No-Pull Dog Harness
If you need something a little bit cheaper, this is a great option to consider. This product is about half the cost of our previous choice, even if it doesn’t offer the same level of durability. This is a soft and breathable harness with a large chest pad.
This is a nice-looking harness, but that isn’t really important. What we really like is the no-pull nature of this product.
Regardless of whether you use the front or back clip, this harness is made to prevent choking. Instead of putting pressure on the neck, this harness distributes it equally across the chest.
Overall, this looks like a very comfortable harness, although we have no way to ask the dog’s opinion. It’s also quite easy to adjust the length of the straps, which makes things a little more convenient.
Still, we are concerned by the sight of plastic clasps, and that D-ring looks like it might be a little too thin. We would recommend that you replace it with a good-quality steel carabiner.
We also really like the fact that this harness is made with light-reflective thread. If your dog should happen to get lost, this might very well aid you in finding them. It’s also good for those who walk their dogs near roadways because it allows vehicles to see them more clearly.
- Cheapest product on our list
- Puts all its pressure on the chest (not the neck)
- Well-padded, looks comfortable
- Easy to adjust
- Made with reflective thread
- Plastic clips
- D-ring is a little too thin
The Runner-Up: Albcorp Tactical Dog Harness
This is another tactical harness, and it offers many of the same benefits that we saw before. It is strong, well-padded, provides excellent control, and was probably designed with German Shepherds in mind. Since this breed is often used for tactical purposes, a harness like this is quite fitting.
This one was knocked from the top spot for one reason: Most of it is held together with plastic clips and buckles.
This isn’t as bad as it sounds because the plastic is very thick, but we still find it to be concerning. For a smaller breed, that kind of thing would be acceptable, but it might be too weak for a German Shepherd. Still, it’s good to see that the leash attachment rings on top are thick and sturdy.
Still, this is a pretty good harness overall. It is exceptionally well-padded and should provide a comfortable fit for your dog. The material of the inner lining is meant to be breathable so that it won’t hold sweat and moisture like some others.
There are six points of adjustment here, so it should be easy to get the perfect fit that you want. Usually, harnesses with this many adjustment points will also have a lot of dangling straps. Thankfully, the manufacturer has avoided this common mistake.
This product has a means of attaching gear to the side, and it looks like a small bungee cord that has been woven between several loops.
Anything with a carabiner can be clipped to that cord, but it will jostle and shake around somewhat. This slight inferiority in the carry system was another reason that this product was named as the runner-up instead of the winner.
- Exceptionally well-padded
- Multiple points of adjustment
- Lots of places to attach gear
- No dangling straps
- Thick, strong leash rings
- Plastic buckles
- The gear attachment system is kind of strange
Honorable Mention: PoyPet No Pull Dog Harness
Although it wasn’t included in our top two, this product definitely deserves an honorable mention. The most distinctive thing about this product is its plaid pattern, which is available in several colors. Although appearance isn’t that important for a dog harness, it is a nice bonus.
One of the main selling points of this product is the fact that it’s easy to put on and remove the harness.
The product mostly lives up to this claim, as its two snap-clips are easily attached and detached. That means you don’t have to make your dog put their front legs through the opening, as you can work around them.
This one looks to be tough enough for most uses, including outdoor recreation, but we do see a couple of potential durability issues here.
For one thing, most of the clips and buckles are made of plastic. It is good and thick, so that helps, but steel would have been much better. The leash attachment clips are made of steel, but they are anchored in place with only a couple strips of nylon.
This harness also has reflective stitching like some of the others we have seen. This is a safety feature that you will hopefully never have to use, but it’s nice to have it, regardless.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad drivers out there, and a lot of dogs have been injured or killed by such people.
- Easy to put on and remove
- Convenient top handle
- Tough enough for outdoor recreation
- Reflective stitching
- Looks very nice on a German Shepherd
- Most buckles and clips are plastic
- Leash clips should be anchored a little better
Alternate Product 1: Browning Walking Harness
This one is a little strange in comparison to the others, but that’s because it is meant for a different kind of dog. A single-point harness like this one has straps on both sides of the front legs, but no neck strap.
The design of this harness is meant for sporting dogs because it restricts their movement less than a standard harness.
For dogs that have to run, swim, and retrieve, that’s a definite advantage. We also like the fact that this harness is incapable of choking or pinching. When you pull the leash, all the pressure goes to a padded surface on the back or chest.
Browning is a fairly trusted brand with a good reputation. They have been making firearms and hunting equipment for a very long time, and are considered to be some of the best in the business.
Most of their products are made for extreme durability, and this harness is no exception. Every crucial point is reinforced with steel rather than plastic.
We can’t find many complaints about this product, but it does have one or two issues. For one thing, its range of adjustment is a little bit limited.
Thus, you might have trouble getting a close fit. Also, this design is best suited for well-trained and obedient dogs (which sporting dogs tend to be). Animals that are a little more stubborn may need one with a neck strap.
- Exceptionally durable in every way
- Less restrictive than a standard harness
- All the pressure goes to the pad
- Trusted brand
- Fully waterproof
- Adjustment range is a little small
- Chest pad could be a little thicker
Alternate Product 2: ThinkPet No Pull Harness
This one deserves to be included, as it is one of the best light-duty harnesses we could find. We wouldn’t recommend this one for the most stubborn cases, but it can be a great harness for the calmer kind of German Shepherd.
We should start by talking about the biggest issue: The quick-release buckles on the sides. The harness is secured by two large plastic snap clips.
These are thick enough to provide good strength, while the button on top allows you to disengage the clip and remove the harness quickly.
This does make it much easier to remove the harness, but that is both a blessing and a curse. There are just too many things that might accidentally press that button.
Other than the above, this harness offers a lot of great points. It is strong and well-reinforced, especially when it comes to the leash attachments.
These are made of thick steel and held by a generous amount of nylon. We find them to be adequate for a German Shepherd, even if they aren’t suitable for the rowdier ones.
On a minor note, we don’t like the fact that this harness lets its straps dangle. You can tie or tuck them, but it’s kind of a pain.
These dangling ends will be a source of aggravation for your dog, especially when trying to run. Still, we love the fact that this carry handle is so wide.
A thin carry handle will tend to pinch your hands when the dog pulls hard, but this one shouldn’t have that problem.
- Very soft and ergonomic
- Leash anchors are sufficiently strong
- Carry handle is nice and wide
- The very high visibility factor
- Quick-release buckles
- Dangling straps
- Quick-release could be a liability
At this point, we have taken an in-depth look at some of the best dog harnesses on the market, and that should have been educational for you.
That being said, we still have a few things to cover. Let’s start with some of the most common questions that we receive on this subject.
What is the most important factor when choosing a dog harness?
This one is highly debatable, but we think the answer is durability. That’s why we put the tactical harnesses in the top spot: They are the ones that offer the highest level of durability.
The primary purpose of a harness is to control the dog, and that means dealing with a lot of stress and pressure over a long period.
Should a harness be used in combination with a collar?
In most cases, the answer is no. Most harnesses have a neck strap, which would make a collar redundant. Those with a chest strap would be compatible with a collar, but there’s just no real need for it to be there.
That being said, you might want to keep the collar in place to ensure that the dog doesn’t lose their tags and license. You can attach the collar and license to a harness, or leave it on their collar.
The only real rule is this: Harnesses with a neck strap should never be used in combination with a collar. This rule is meant to avoid the risk of choking your dog.
Why choose a harness over a collar?
There are several things that make a harness superior to a collar, which is why so many dog owners opt for them. First of all, harnesses provide a much better level of security than a collar.
Some dogs can be very good at slipping out of a collar, but a harness doesn’t let them out so easily. Secondly, a harness lets you pull hard and control the dog firmly without any risk of choking.
Best Harness For A German Shepherd Buyer’s Guide
In this section, we will discuss the most important things that you should look for in a good German Shepherd harness.
Although you don’t want your dog to feel like a prisoner, you do want to make sure that the harness will hold them reliably.
Otherwise, there isn’t much point in using one. When selecting your next harness, think about all the ways in which a dog might try to escape. If the harness gives the dog an easy way out, it is probably not the best choice.
In many ways, all of the features and benefits of a dog harness come down to security. The whole point is to maintain control at all times, and there are many ways to do that.
You want to avoid the cheapest harnesses because they will be made with inferior materials. These cheap harnesses will not be sufficient to hold a German Shepherd when they get excited.
This is probably the factor that is most important to the dog, as they will be wearing this harness a lot. You should look at the inside of the harness to make sure that it’s soft and padded.
At the very least, you should make sure that buckles, clasps, rivets, etc. are not rubbing against your dog’s skin. Every harness will shift a little bit while the dog moves, and those rub points can become hot spots in no time at all.
You should also think about the comfort of your dog when the harness is being used. Poorly designed harnesses will put all the pressure on the neck, defeating one of the main purposes of a harness.
Some of them also put pressure on the back, which isn’t much better. You want to make sure that the pressure is being applied to the chest. Even if the dog pulls its hardest, that small amount of chest compression is unlikely to be a problem.
This is probably the least important factor, but it does matter to some extent. You probably want a harness that isn’t especially hard to use, and products will vary greatly on this point.
For instance, harnesses with quick-snap buckles are a little more convenient because they’re so much easier to put on and remove.
Carry handles are another great thing to see, as they give you a more hands-on option if the leash is not good enough (or if the leash should happen to break).
We would advise you never to put convenience over security. To understand why we say that, just think about the risks involved.
If your harness is difficult to use, it will cause you some aggravation for a while. If your harness is not secure enough and fails at the wrong time, your dog could bite someone, get hit by a vehicle, or any number of other disasters.
As we said before, this is the most important factor. If your harness isn’t sufficiently tough, it will fail to do its job. At the worst, your dog might destroy it and render it unusable.
The first thing you want to look at is the point where the leash connects to the harness. This is the area that will suffer the most stress and pressure, so make sure it is not weak. Any plastic is unacceptable in this area.
You want to see thick steel held by reinforced cloth (nylon is preferred because of its high tensile strength).
For the buckles and clips, plastic is the norm. That being said, the better products will use thick industrial-grade plastic, and that should be fine.
However, thin plastic at any crucial point would be considered a deal-breaker. You should look for harnesses with heavy nylon straps, although leather would also be acceptable as long as the quality is high.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that we have answered all of your questions on this subject.
German Shepherds are some of the most energetic and lovable breeds out there, but it takes a serious kind of harness to keep them in line.
With the information you have learned here, you should now be able to choose the best product for you and your canine friend.