best golden retriever harness

Golden Retrievers are the third most popular dog breed in America according to the American Kennel Club, and it’s not hard to understand why. They’re fun, friendly, intelligent, and amazing with kids, making them extremely popular with families.


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But choosing a harness for your Golden Retriever may seem a bit intimidating. With so many different types of harnesses available, how can you know which one is right for your furry friend?

With this guide, of course! We’re going to discuss everything that you need to know about picking out a harness for a Golden Retriever and review a few top picks to help you find the right product for your dog. Let’s get started now!

Wondering what the most popular types of Golden Retriever harnesses are? Here are a few commonly-used types of harnesses for this breed.

  • Walking harnesses – Walking harnesses are usually very simple, with just a few loops of fabric and a metal or plastic clip to which your lead or leash can be attached. They’re very lightweight, and ideal for routine walks around your neighborhood or city.
  • No pull harnesses – No pull harnesses use a variety of techniques to help prevent pulling. Most commonly, a no pull harness has a round ring on the front of the harness. When the dog tries to pull, the round ring will redirect it to your side – effectively eliminating its ability to pull, and retraining it. Other types of no-pull harnesses apply gentle pressure to the chest and arms, which discourages pulling.
  • Hiking harnesses – Hiking harnesses are heavy-duty and usually have a handle that can be used to move the dog, which often doubles as a seat belt attachment point. Some hiking harnesses also incorporate reflective material, removable patches, and storage pouches.
  • Harness leads – Harness leads usually use an all-in-one design which includes both the harness and a lead. Often made of nylon rope, they are very difficult to escape, making them ideal for canine escape artists like Golden Retrievers.

In our reviews further below, we’ll discuss each major type of harness, and which ones may be right for your Golden Retriever, so that you can choose the product that’s right for your dog.

Different Golden Retriever Harness Materials

There are many different materials that may be used for Golden Retriever harnesses. Here’s a short list of the most commonly-used fabrics and materials.

  • Polyester – A synthetic fabric, polyester is water-resistant, dries quickly and is easy to clean, and also resists wear and tear quite well, making it a good choice for dog harnesses.
  • Nylon – Nylon is also a common material used for dog harnesses due to its high tensile strength, water resistance, and low cost. The vast majority of dog harnesses use either polyester, nylon, or both.
  • Neoprene – Neoprene is a type of synthetic rubber that is usually covered with another fabric, and often used to pad dog harnesses, which helps prevent abrasion.
  • Leather – Leather harnesses are extremely durable and long-lasting, and are very strong. However, they are quite expensive and may be difficult to fit, and require regular oiling and maintenance, making leather harnesses relatively unpopular today.
  • Cotton – Some harnesses are made of cotton. As an organic material, this material is better for dogs with very sensitive skin.
  • Mesh – Mesh is usually made out of either nylon or polyester, and is designed to be breathable and comfortable, which makes it ideal for Golden Retrievers, who often have thick, long coats.
Though some harnesses may use other materials – even wool – these materials are the most common for Golden Retriever harnesses.

5 Key Components Of A Harness For A Golden Retriever

What features should you prioritize when shopping for a Golden Retriever harness? Here are the key components and features you may want to consider.

  • No-pull design – Whether it uses a front clip ring or an alternative strategy to prevent pulling, a no-pull design is especially key for younger Golden Retrievers, which tend to be very curious – and pull vigorously.
  • Reflective straps or patches – Reflective materials help enhance your safety and the safety of your dog, so we highly recommend getting a harness with reflective material if you often run or walk your dog in low-light conditions and near heavy vehicle traffic.
  • Strong, chew-resistant straps – If your Golden Retriever doesn’t like its harness, it may try to chew on the straps and break out. A motivated dog can chew through just about any harness – but a thicker strap will make it difficult for it to do so without you noticing, and help keep your dog more secure.
  • Metal buckles and attachments – Metal hardware is a must-have. Golden Retrievers aren’t the largest breed, but are very robust and strong for their size. A strong, durable, and properly-reinforced harness is essential for keeping your pup secure.
    You don’t want a buckle to break mid-walk – your dog could be exposed to dangers like other dogs or cars, or even run away. It’s always worth spending a few more bucks to ensure your dog’s safety!
  • Adjustability for a snug fit – Golden Retrievers can vary quite a bit in size and have sensitive skin, so you’ll want to choose a harness that can be adjusted across the chest, belly and back for a perfect fit. A snug fit is the best way to prevent skin irritation, and also ensure that your Golden Retriever can’t escape its harness.

It may be hard to find these qualities in a single harness – so we often recommend having multiple harnesses on-hand – such as a no-pull harness for everyday walks and hiking harness for longer trips, for example.

Our Picks for the Best Harness for a Golden Retriever

We hope the above information will be helpful as you take a look at our top picks for the best Golden Retriever harnesses. Depending on your Golden’s health, personality, and other such factors, one or more of the following harnesses may be right for its needs. Get a full breakdown of our top picks now!

Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness with Steel Nesting Buckles Enhanced Strength

Key features:

  • Metal hardware and strong nylon straps
  • Crash-test rated for up to 75 lb dogs
  • Padded chest and straps
  • Simple 5 point adjustment

Best Overall – If you can only pick one harness on this list for your Golden Retriever, we recommend this product from Kurgo. It’s truly heavy-duty, with a climbing harness-inspired design that uses high-quality nylon and metal hardware, and has five adjustment points for a perfect fit. It’s even crash-test rated for dogs up to 75 lbs, which includes all Golden Retrievers, and comes with a carabiner and strap to keep your dog in place in the car.

Pros:

  • Perfect for car trips
  • Easy to adjust
  • All metal hardware for durability
  • Padded for comfort

Cons:

  • Relatively heavy
  • Stiff material may be uncomfortable for some dogs
  • Sizing runs small

Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness

Key features:

  • Lightweight design with plenty of padding
  • 3M reflective material for enhanced visibility in low light conditions
  • Rear grab handle to help control your Golden Retriever
  • Front buckle closure for easy placement and removal

Runner Up – If you’re looking for a lower-budget, lightweight alternative to our top pick, this product from Chai’s Choice is a great option. It uses nylon straps and durable plastic buckles and hardware to provide plenty of control when walking your Golden Retriever while minimizing weight. It includes a rear handle to help keep your dog close to you when needed, and both a rear D-ring and front O-ring to help you control and minimize pulling.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and breathable nylon straps
  • Reflective fabric keeps you safe at night and in the early morning
  • Can be buckled into a seatbelt
  • Easy to put on and adjust

Cons:

  • Sizing runs small
  • No front strap buckles
  • Excessive pulling causes the harness to loosen slightly

Frisco Padded Front Lead Dog Harness

Key features:

  • Comfortable, padded design
  • Breathable and ventilated chest pad
  • No-pull O-ring included
  • Over-the-head design

Most Affordable Pick – This product from Frisco is our top choice if you need a new Golden Retriever harness, but you’re on a tight budget. It offers great quality at a low price, with high-quality plastic and metal hardware, nylon straps, and four different sizes and colors. The padded and ventilated chest piece will keep your pup cool, while the over-the-head design makes it easy to put on and adjust the harness. This harness has both a front O-ring for pull control, and a ring on the rear, giving you more choices when it comes to attaching the leash.

Pros:

  • Great value for your money
  • Includes both front and back ring for attaching leads
  • Adjustable to fit dogs up to 50 inches in girth
  • Simple to adjust

Cons:

  • No front chest straps
  • Thinner straps are not very chew-resistant
  • Not ideal for dogs that pull heavily

Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness Dog Harness

Key features:

  • Soft neoprene padding
  • Breathable fabric
  • Water-resistant exterior
  • Secure fit for ultimate pull control

No Pull Harness – If your Golden Retriever is too curious for its own good and tends to pull extremely hard, this product from Julius-K9 is exactly what you need. It’s built out of a heavy-duty polyester fabric with polypropylene plastic and neoprene padding, and is designed to hold up to even the strongest pullers. It also molds to your dog’s back due to its flexibility, making it very comfortable despite its relatively heavy design.

Pros:

  • Extremely strong hardware holds up to pulling
  • Reflective patches and straps for better low-light safety
  • Easy to adjust
  • Rear handle provides more control

Cons:

  • Velcro strap may not hold up to prolonged use
  • Heavy and may not be suitable for hot climates
  • No front ring

Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Dog Harness with Seatbelt Loop

Key features:

  • Handle for better control
  • Carabiner and strap included for securing your dog in the car
  • Padded back, chest and neck
  • Lightweight nylon with metal hardware

Best Hiking Harness – If you love going on adventures with your Golden Retriever, this product from Kurgo is our top choice.

Pros:

  • Lightweight enough for all-day wear
  • Handle makes it easy to help your dog across any terrain
  • Strong metal chest ring helps with pulling
  • Climbing harness-inspired design

Cons:

  • Not crash-test rated
  • No storage pockets
  • Some dogs can slip out of over-the-head style harnesses

Harness Lead Dog Harness

Key features:

  • One-piece design with rubber adjustment stops
  • Fits onto any dog of any size
  • Double-braided nylon for enhanced strength
  • All-in-one harness and lead

No Escape Harness Lead – If your Golden Retriever tends to try to escape its harnesses, this product from Harness Lead is ideal for you. It uses a special one-piece nylon rope design that is nearly impossible to escape, and tightens gently around your dog when it tries to pull, then releases when your Golden Retriever stops pulling. If you’ve had a lot of trouble with traditional harnesses, you should definitely give this harness lead a try.

Pros:

  • No sharp hardware or stiff straps
  • Gently corrects pulling to encourage better behavior
  • Tensile strength of up to 3,700 lbs
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Can be damaged by chewing
  • Won’t prevent lunging
  • Hard to adjust when using for the first time

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

Key features:

  • Simple two-strap design
  • Metal hardware and plastic buckles
  • Four-point adjustment
  • Lightweight nylon material

Best Walking Harness – If you need a convenient, comfortable leash for everyday walks with your Golden Retriever, this is our top pick. This harness from PetSafe is inexpensive and simple, and comes with a front ring that prevents pulling. However, it’s not ideal for dogs that pull and lunge excessively, as the thin straps may not be secure enough to hold your dog in place. We recommend using this harness only on well-behaved dogs.

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Prevents pulling
  • Easy to clean
  • Simple adjustment for Golden Retrievers of all size

Cons:

  • Not strong enough to hold up to serious pulling
  • Some dogs may be able to slip out due to simple, 2-strap design
  • Straps may twist if improperly adjusted

3 More Top Rated Harnesses

Want more options? Below we’ve put together a brief overview of a few harnesses that didn’t quite make it on our “top picks” list, but may be right for you and your dog.

Mighty Paw Padded Sports Dog Harness

This padded dog harness from Mighty Paw features both a front and rear clip attachment to help address pulling, and secures tightly from the side using two buckles.

It’s built out of padded neoprene and nylon, with reinforced stitching for durability. If your dog has sensitive skin and can’t use a non-padded harness, this product is a great choice.

Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness

This Sporn dog harness is ideal if your Golden Retriever tends to get overheated during walks and needs a breathable, vented dog harness that still prevents pulling. This harness is made of a mesh nylon fabric that has plenty of stretch and give, but will still keep your dog secure.

It features a front clip ring to prevent pulling, and a padded design that will keep your pup feeling comfortable. Its comfort and breathability combined with its light weight make this an ideal harness for all-day-wear by Golden Retrievers in warm climates.

Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness

If you take a lot of walks in the evening or in the early morning with your dog, a reflective harness like this product from Pawtitas is a good choice.

This harness features a bright reflective material on the polyester straps, and has neoprene padding on the inside of the straps and chest piece to keep your Golden Retriever comfortable. Available in 5 sizes and 9 colors, you’ll be able to easily find the right style and fit for your pup.

The Top 5 FAQs About Golden Retriever Harnesses

Got questions about Golden Retriever harnesses? We’ve got answers – take a look at just a few of the most common FAQs now.

  • What size harness should I get for my Golden Retriever? Golden Retrievers are a medium-large dog breed, so getting a large harness is usually a safe bet. However, for the best fit, you need to measure the girth of your dog’s chest.
    To do this, just wrap a soft tape measure around your dog’s chest, across the widest part of its rib cage, and bring it all the way around. Use your thumb to mark where the tape meets itself – that’s your dog’s girth.
    Then, consult a size chart whenever buying a harness to see which size is recommended for your pup. If you’re in between sizes, we recommend buying the larger size.
  • How can I get my Golden Retriever used to its new harness? By using it! Your Golden Retriever will get used to wearing a harness quickly once it starts to wear it. If you want to take things slow, though, you can have your dog wear its harness inside for a few minutes at a time for several days before you start walking it with the harness.
  • Does my dog need to wear a collar with its harness? Even if your dog is microchipped, we generally recommend that your Golden Retriever wears a collar with its harness, as long as both the harness and collar fit and do not interfere with one another. If your dog escapes from you, the information on the collar is critical for its safe return.
  • What should I do if my Golden Retriever’s skin is irritated by its harness? First, we recommend taking a break from the harness. Then, consider trying to re-adjust it. You should be able to fit two fingers between the straps. Too loose, and the harness won’t be secure, and may rub. Too tight, and the straps may dig into your dog’s skin.
    If re-adjusting the harness doesn’t help, consider a different material. Rarely, your dog could be allergic to a material like nylon, so you may want to consider a cotton or leather harness.
  • Can I ever go back to using a leash and a collar? Certainly! In fact, if you train your dog using a no-pull harness, you’ll have a much easier time walking it with only a leash and a collar in the future. That’s why many puppies wear harnesses when they’re younger, and move to collars and leashes as they age.
    However, harnesses are sometimes a better choice. Older Golden Retrievers are known to suffer from cervical spine problems, for example, making a harness ideal – since the harness spreads pressure from pulling across the chest and back, instead of just on the neck.
    For that reason, harnesses are also much more comfortable for all-day wear – so we would still recommend using a harness when hiking with your dog, or taking it on trips, and only using a leash and collar for short walks and trips.

Hopefully, we’ve helped you answer any questions you may have about harnesses for your Golden Retriever. For more information about harnesses, we recommend consulting with your vet or animal behaviorist.

Conclusion

With the information in this guide, you should be able to find the perfect harness for your dog. Whether you have a Golden Retriever puppy or an older dog, you can pick out a harness that’s comfortable, safe, and helps address pulling and other such behavioral issues. So take another look at our top picks for the best Golden Retriever harnesses now, and see which one may be right for you and your pooch.

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