9 Best Harnesses for German Shepherds: Our Walking, Hiking & No Pull Picks
German Shepherd dogs, also sometimes called GSDs for short, are one of the most popular breeds out there – with a gentle and fun personality, yet incredible intelligence. They’re often used as guard dogs and police dogs – but are equally at home as a family dog, and they tend to be extremely loyal and protective of those they love.
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You love your German Shepherd, and you want to make sure that it gets a high-quality harness that’s right for its particular needs. So, in this article, we’ll be discussing the best 9 harnesses we’ve found for German Shepherds.
From no-pull harnesses to hiking harnesses and simpler walking harnesses, we’ll go over the top picks for the best German Shepherd harnesses, and also give you plenty of information that will help you make the right choice for your pup. Let’s get started now!
What is the Best German Shepherd Harness?
- Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness With Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength
- Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness
- Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Dog Harness
- Frisco Padded Front Lead Dog Harness
- Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Dog Harness With Seatbelt Loop
- Harness Lead Dog Harness
- PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
- Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness
- Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness
Popular Types Of German Shepherd Harnesses
German Shepherds are powerful and muscular dogs, so the most popular harness types for this breed include the following:
- Hiking harnesses – Hiking harnesses are usually made of strong yet lightweight and breathable materials, and often have features like handles to help you control your dog, and carrying pouches that make it easy to carry waste bags, treats and other accessories. German Shepherds love being active, so a hiking harness is a great choice if you like to go on adventures with your pup.
- No pull harnesses – No pull harnesses typically use an O-shaped ring on the front of the harness, which prevents your dog from pulling ahead of you. As your German Shepherd strains and pulls, it will naturally be directed to your side, which helps discourage this negative behavior.
- Walking harnesses – Simple walking harnesses often just consist of two straps of fabric or leather, and are secured in place in seconds, making them the best choice when you’re just going on a quick walk with your German Shepherd, and you don’t need the extra utility of a hiking or no-pull harness.
- Escape proof harnesses – German Shepherds are extremely intelligent, and have a tendency to be escape artists! A loose harness could be easily shrugged off by a GSD, so specially-designed, escape proof harnesses are a great option if you’re the proud owner of a canine Houdini who likes to get out of its harness!
Different German Shepherd Harness Materials
Harnesses for German Shepherds and most other dog breeds are typically made out of one or more of the following materials.
- Nylon – Due to its stretch, water resistance, and strength, nylon is a top choice for German Shepherd harnesses, and most harnesses incorporate at least some nylon material in the straps.
- Polyester – Polyester, like nylon, is an artificial fabric that is very strong, durable, and water-resistant, and holds up well to wear and tear, making it another top choice for use in German Shepherd harnesses.
- Leather – Leather is a good option for German Shepherd harnesses. High-quality leather is very strong and durable, and a leather harness can easily last for decades with proper care. In addition, the thick coat of a German Shepherd means it won’t be affected by the rubbing of leather, unlike some short-haired dogs.
- Cotton – Cotton is organic and won’t irritate the skin or fur, so it’s often incorporated into harness straps or padding, and there are some 100% cotton harnesses out there. However, it’s not quite as strong as nylon or polyester.
- Mesh – Mesh is usually made of a nylon or polyester blend. Mesh harnesses are very breathable and flexible, making them great if you have a German Shepherd and live in a warm climate, where a traditional, bulky harness could be too hot.
Read on to learn more about the key components of a harness for a German Shepherd, and then see our top 9 picks for the best German Shepherd harnesses!
6 Key Components Of A Harness For A German Shepherd
So, what should you be looking for when you’re shopping for a harness for your dogs Here are 6 key features and components you should look for in the best German Shepherd harnesses.
- Reinforced stitching and strong hardware – The biggest male German Shepherds can easily tip the scales at 80+ pounds, and female German Shepherds are usually 60+ pounds. Not only that, but German Shepherds are working dogs and are incredibly muscular and powerful for their size.
For that reason, you shouldn’t skimp on the quality of a German Shepherd harness, particularly if your dog pulls. Reinforced stitching and durable metal or ABS plastic hardware are critical for keeping your dog on its lead, and ensuring the harness doesn’t break.
- No-pull features – German Shepherds are curious and intelligent, and have a tendency to pull if not properly trained. For this reason, we recommend investing in at least one no-pull harness, which will help prevent your dog from pulling, and ensure that it learns to walk by your side.
- Seatbelt strap or handle – A handle can be useful if you need to hold your dog back in an emergency situation, and these handles can usually do double-duty as a seatbelt strap – which helps keep your pup from moving around during long drives.
- Breathability – German Shepherds have a long and thick coat, so you’ll need to purchase a harness that’s breathable. You may even want to consider a “summer harness,” that’s made of a material like a lightweight mesh, as this will help keep your dog cool when the temperatures start to soar.
- Chew-resistant and escape resistant straps – The powerful jaws and teeth of a German Shepherd mean that, if your dog is able to chew into its straps, it will be off the leash in a flash. It’s best to look for harnesses that can’t be chewed due to their design, or which feature strong, chew-resistant fabric.
- Design to minimize impact on the spine and hips (older dogs) – Older German Shepherds can often suffer from degenerative disc disease and hip dysplasia. A heavily-padded harness that avoids placing too much pressure on the back or hips is a good choice for older Shepherds.
Depending on your dog and your needs, it may be best to purchase several harnesses for different situations, based on the criteria listed above. You should take the age of your dog, its tendency to pull on its leash or try to escape, and other such factors into account when making your buying decision.
Our Picks for the Best Harness for a German Shepherd
Ready to see our top picks for the best German Shepherd harnesses? We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular products on the market, and come up with the following picks. Check them out, and see if any of our top picks may be right for your German Shepherd.
|Our 2023 Picks: Best Harness for a German Shepherd|
|Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness With Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength
|Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness
|Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Dog Harness
|Frisco Padded Front Lead Dog Harness
|Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Dog Harness With Seatbelt Loop
|Harness Lead Dog Harness
|PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
|Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness
|Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness
Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness with Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength
- Strong metal buckles and hardware
- Included carabiner and strap for use with seatbelts
- Padded chest to reduce pressure and enhance comfort
- Five-point adjustment for a perfect fit
Best Overall – This product from Kurgo takes the crown for our top pick for German Shepherd Harnesses. It’s made of high-quality nylon and metal hardware, and features an incredibly adjustable design that makes it appropriate for dogs of all sizes. It’s even been crash-tested for dogs up to 75 lbs, which helps keep your pup safe whenever you’re driving.
- Easy to adjust
- Soft, padded design
- Enhances safety in the car
- Strong nylon straps and metal hardware
- Heavy for its size
- Tends to slide around without perfect adjustment
- Runs small, particularly for dogs with thicker coats
Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness
- Lightweight design
- 3M reflective material for enhanced safety
- Padded chest piece for comfort
- No-pull ring on the front of the harness
Runner Up – This harness from Chai’s Choice is our runner-up pick. If you need a lightweight dog harness, this an ideal pick, with strong plastic hardware and lightweight nylon straps with a padded mesh chest piece. A built-in handle on the top of the harness allows you to control your dog when you need to, and is compatible with seat belts.
- Very light weight, great for smaller German Shepherds
- Enhanced visibility in low light
- No-pull O-ring trains dogs not to pull
- Easy to adjust
- Not as durable due to plastic hardware
- Chest pad may shift without proper adjustment
- Straps are relatively stiff
Frisco Padded Front Lead Dog Harness
- Ventilated mesh chest pad
- Metal no-pull ring
- Simple buckle closure
- Adjustable belly and shoulders
Most Affordable Pick – If you’re looking for a great harness for your German Shepherd at a low price, it’s hard to beat this product from Frisco, which features a padded chest, a no-pull ring, and a lightweight design that’s easy to put on and take off of your German Shepherd for quick walks. It’s relatively light-duty, though, so we do not recommend it for GSDs that tend to pull extremely heavily or try to escape their harnesses.
- Extremely inexpensive
- Available in four distinct colors
- Easy to put on and take off of your dog
- Includes D-ring on the back to use as a traditional harness
- Not chew resistant or escape resistant
- Straps may twist without proper tightening
- Will not hold up to strong pulling
Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Dog Harness
- Heavy-duty design
- Easy-to-adjust straps
- No-pull ring prevents your dog from pulling
- Reflective material on chest strap
No Pull Harness – If you have a strong German Shepherd who won’t stop pulling, this is our top pick. This no-pull harness is built with strong polyester straps and neoprene pads for both strength and comfort, and can hold up to even the strongest pullers – discouraging them from pulling with the O-ring, which gently moves the dog to the side when pulling.
- Extremely durable design
- Break-resistant, freeze-proof buckles
- Breathable inner liner
- Water-repellant cover
- Heavy and may be too warm for some German Shepherds in hot weather
- Your dog may need some time to adjust to the harness
- Velcro closure is not very durable
Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Dog Harness with Seatbelt Loop
- Includes top handle to control your dog
- Padded neck and chest strap
- Includes carabiner and strap for seatbelt use
- Front halt ring for no-pull use
Best Hiking Harness –If you like adventuring with your pup, this product from Kurgo is a great choice. It’s lightweight, easy to wash, and comfortable enough for a prolonged hiking session. The included seat belt hardware keeps your pup secure, and a grab handle lets you control your dog and help it over rough terrain.
- Padded chest and back vertebrae protector
- Water-resistant and easy to clean
- Simple to adjust
- Durable metal hardware
- Not crash test rated
- No storage pockets
- Runs large
Harness Lead Dog Harness
- Unique design keeps your German Shepherd from escaping
- Double-braided nylon rope design
- Helps prevent pulling
- Will not chafe or irritate skin
No Escape Harness Lead – This unique no escape harness lead is perfect if your German Shepherd is a regular escape artist, and it also helps prevent pulling! The unique design will tighten gently around your dog’s chest when it tries to pull away, and relax when it stops pulling – which encourages better harness and leash habits.
- No buckles or hard edges to irritate your dog
- Rated for 3,700 lbs
- Machine washable
- Difficult to put on and take off during the first uses
- Fit must be perfect to prevent escape
- No padding
PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness
- Simple two-strap design
- Quick-release buckles
- High-quality nylon straps
Best Walking Harness – If you’re just looking for a convenient, lightweight harness for everyday walks, this harness by PetSafe is an ideal option. However, it’s not a great option if your dog pulls excessively, and you need a no-pull leash. We only recommend using this harness if your dog has been trained not to pull, or if it only has minor or moderate pulling tendencies.
- Extremely convenient to put on, take off
- Easy to adjust
- Metal hardware
- Breathable and won’t restrict your dog
- Won’t stop your dog from pulling
- No reflective material
- Requires regular re-adjustment
2 More Top Rated Harnesses
The below products didn’t quite make our “top-rated” list, but are still great options for any German Shepherd owners – take a look now, and see if one of these harnesses may be right for you and your pooch.
Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness
This product from Pawtitas is another good option for an everyday walking harness – and it’s padded with neoprene for additional comfort, making it a better option for German Shepherds who are older and may have spine or hip issues.
With a metal leash ring, durable clip buckle and reflective material, you’ll be able to walk your pup safely, and minimize pulling due to the tight fit and unique design. It’s also easy to adjust and available in a huge variety of sizes, so you can always ensure a perfect fit for your dog.
Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness
We would highly recommend this product by Sporn if you have a German Shepherd and live somewhere with hot weather. This harness is made out of a flexible and breathable, yet strong nylon mesh with a unique, one-piece design that can hold up to moderate pulling.
It’s easy to adjust, and the lightweight, mesh design ensures your pup won’t overheat, even during heat waves and hot weather, and even features padded restraint sleeves to enhance the comfort of your dog’s front legs. The nylon will move and stretch with your dog, but will prevent it from pulling excessively, while keeping it comfortable.
The Top 5 FAQs About German Shepherd Harnesses
Got more questions about German Shepherd harnesses? We’re here to help. Get all the answers you need with these FAQs.
- What size of harness should I get for my German Shepherd? German Shepherds are a large breed of dog. However, the weight of a German Shepherd can be as low as 50 lbs for some females, or up to 88 lbs for some males – there is quite a bit of variation.
Usually, picking a “large” harness will be the best option. However, we also recommend that you measure your dog across its chest and back, as many German Shepherd harnesses will be sized based on these measurements. This will help you choose the right size.
- Do I need to train my German Shepherd to wear its harness? No. Your German Shepherd may not like the harness at first – and you may have trouble putting it on the first time – but it doesn’t need to be trained to wear its harness.
It will get used to the harness after just a few wears. You can consider putting the harness on a few times while you’re still in the house, if you want, to help your dog get used to the feeling of wearing the harness before you take it on a walk.
- Do harnesses actually stop my German Shepherd from pulling? This depends on the harness you get. If you purchase a no-pull harness, your dog will be unable to pull – and will eventually break the habit, if it tends to pull towards other dogs and people when walking.
However, a harness without no-pull features could encourage more pulling if you’re not careful. Your dog will no longer be “choked” by its leash when it pulls. This is a good thing – but also means it can exert more pressure on the harness when pulling.
For that reason, we highly recommend using a no-pull harness until your dog has stopped pulling excessively. Then, you can switch to a different style of harness, if you want.
- Can I switch between a harness and a collar whenever I want? Again, this depends on your dog. If your dog does not pull much – or you have used a no-pull harness to break its habit of pulling – simply walking it on a collar and leash is not a bad idea.
But if your German Shepherd still tends to pull, you should keep using a harness until it breaks this habit. After this, you can consider using a leash and collar.
- What do I do if my German Shepherd doesn’t like its harness? If your dog is being fussy, don’t worry. It’s probably just getting used to its harness, and this may take a little while. Reward your dog with treats when you put on its harness, and make sure it’s adjusted properly – it will get used to it!
Hopefully, this list has answered your questions! Take another look at all of the information on this page, and you’ll be able to pick out the best harness for your German Shepherd.
We hope that everything you’ve learned in the above buying guide has been helpful as you shop for a harness for your German Shepherd. With all of the information in this guide, you’re sure to pick the right option for your precious pup. So take a look at our top picks now, and think about what you’ve learned as you pick out the best German Shepherd harness for your dog!