best maltese harness

The American Kennel Club describes Malteses as gentle, playful, and charming members of the toy breed group, and if you have Matlese you know this description is accurate.


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Small and beautiful, Malteses do not need too much exercise to remain healthy, but they are energetic and can certainly benefit from frequent outdoor adventures. Because they typically do not even reach ten pounds but have a very smooth coat, finding the right harness for your Maltese is a unique challenge.

In this guide, we will discuss every aspect of choosing a harness for your Maltese, from the different types of harnesses and the materials they are made of, to our favorites in several different categories, and even an overall top pick.

If you have been wondering how you should go about selecting the right harness for your Maltese, read on, and we practically guarantee you will have one picked out by the end of this article!

Since you are in the process of researching harness, you are probably aware of how dangerous traditional leashes can be for toy breeds like Malteses. Because their necks are so small, a whole host of potential health problems is associated with putting pressure on the neck via their collar, most commonly a collapsed trachea.

For this reason, a harness is far and away the best option for your Maltese, and we will discuss some of the popular harness types here.

  • Walking harness — More than likely this is what you’ll be using your Maltese’s harness for: walking. These harnesses are specifically designed to make controlling your pup on a walk, easy, and they help ensure that no dangerous pressure will be applied to your dog’s neck since they generally use a chest strap with a leash attachment at the back.
  • No pull harness — Another type of harness that is great for ensuring your Maltese does not place undue pressure on its neck, no pull harnesses generally cover more of your dog’s body than traditional walking harnesses, though they are similar in design. A chest strap will prevent your furry friend from persistently pulling.
  • No escape harness — These harnesses are a simple design usually created out of one continuous line of rope or other material. They loop around your dog’s body so that your Maltese will essentially be in the middle of a knot as you walk, meaning even their slippery fur won’t help them wiggle out of this harness.
  • Reflective harness — Reflective harnesses often look like small vests that your pup can either step into, or than you can buckle them into. They are particularly useful for toy breeds like Malteses because they will help your dog stay visible if you ever take an evening stroll.

When we get to our top picks, you will see all of these categories and more represented. Before we do that, though, let’s discuss some of the popular materials for Maltese harnesses.

Different Maltese Harness Materials

  • Nylon — Most dog harnesses, including Maltese harnesses, are made of Nylon. It is durable and versatile. Nylon is a generally comfortable material that will keep your Maltese in its harness without uncomfortably pulling their silky hair in the process.
  • Leather — Another durable material, leather is a popular choice for Maltese owners who care about aesthetics. It should be noted that new leather harness may stick to and tangle your pup’s hair, but that should stop relatively quickly once the harness is broken in.
  • Polyester — Polyester is a very breathable fabric, which is why it is a great harness material for dogs with longer hair. It is also similar to Nylon in terms of its durability and strength, though it is a bit more rigid.
  • Mesh — Mesh for dog harnesses is most commonly made of Nylon or Polyester, especially in vest type harnesses. This material is even more effective at ensuring that your Maltese won’t get too hot and uncomfortable, even if you keep their hair long.
There are a number of other materials sometimes used for dog harnesses, but most Maltese harnesses you will find use some combination of the ones mentioned above. A very large percentage of Maltese harnesses will be made, at least in part, of Nylon.

5 Key Components of a Harness for a Maltese

Not exactly sure what you should be looking for in a harness for your Maltese? Here are a few characteristics that it’s a good idea to seek out.

  • Chest strap or vest style — Make sure to choose a harness that does not encourage your Maltese to apply pressure to their neck. A simple harness that loops in front of the chest or a vest style harness that does not close too close to the neck are great options.
  • Adjustable sizing — Because your Maltese is likely much smaller than most other breeds, make sure to purchase a harness that is specifically sized for toy breeds, and that allows for additional adjustment beyond that. A harness that fits properly will ensure that your Maltese does not pull an escape act.
  • Breathable material — As you know, Malteses naturally grow a long, silky coat. This adds to their beauty and charm, but also means they can get uncomfortable if too much additional warmth is produced by their harness. Mesh or minimally enclosing harnesses are a good option.
  • Seat belt compatible — One of the great perks of having a toy breed like a Maltese is that they are easy to take everywhere, just be sure you don’t compromise their safety in the process. If you love for your Maltese to accompany you on errands or leisurely drives, look for a harness that can be buckled into your car.
  • Chest or back ring — This is another feature that will ensure your pup’s safety by making sure that any pressure from pulling doesn’t land on its tiny and fragile neck. Attaching the leash to the chest or back is a safe way to lead your Maltese on walks while preventing pulling.

Now that we have discussed some of the main considerations when choosing a harness for your Maltese, we will move on to revealing our top picks in a number of categories, including our overall top choice!

Our Top Picks for the Best Harness for a Maltese

Don’t simply pick a harness for your Maltese and hope for the best. Use the information we’ve presented so far and think about your dog’s individual when checking out the harnesses we have listed here as some of our favorites.

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

Key Features:

  • Made of Nylon with a chest pad
  • Five adjustment points to accommodate all sizes
  • Includes attachments for car rides
  • Can be used as an auto or walking harness
  • Extra small size for toy breeds

Best Overall – This durable, versatile harness can accommodate any adventure you and your Maltese take on. Not only does this harness come in an extra small size to fit toy breeds, it also has five points of adjustment to fit your dog’s specific proportions. The added comfort of a chest pad to disperse pressure make this harness a truly great pick for your Maltese. Whether you’re taking a walk around your neighborhood or a drive across the country, this harness will keep your dog safe and comfortable, which is why it is our overall top pick for the best Maltese harness.

Pros:

  • Equipment for car safety included
  • Multiple adjustment options make escape nearly impossible
  • Chest pad protects fragile necks

Cons:

  • Steel buckles may weigh down your Maltese
  • Until broken in, harness may be stiff
  • May fit too tightly if your dog has a lot of fur

Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness

Key Features:

  • Reflective for added safety
  • Vest style harness made of Nylon
  • 9 different color combination options
  • 5 sizing options, including extra small
  • Equipped with both chest and back rings

Runner Up – Our second favorite overall harness is this reflective, vest style harness from Chai’s Choice. A reflective harness is a great thing to have if you plan on walking your dog at night; a Maltese is easy to miss due to its size. This harness is highly customizable with 9 different color options and five different size options, including and extra small one perfect for toy breeds. This reflective harness also allows you to choose whether you want to attach the leash to the chest or back ring since it provides both.

Pros:

  • Reflective for safe walking at night
  • Many options for customization
  • Plenty of padding for extra comfort

Cons:

  • Requires strap adjustment to get on/off
  • Sizing is not always consistent (some users report XS runs large)
  • Straps do not always stay adjusted

Frisco Small Breed Soft Vest Dog Harness

Key Features:

  • Made of breathable polyester mesh
  • Specifically designed for small dogs
  • Simple step in, vest style harness
  • Back rings apply pressure to chest when pulled
  • Costs less than $12

Most Affordable Pick – This harness is a great option if you are just looking for a simple, comfortable harness to take your Maltese on short strolls. The mesh material ensures that your pup will stay comfortable through the whole process, and since this harness is made specifically for small dogs, you can rest assured it will fit. No strap tightening or added maintenance should be required, you’ll simply need your dog to step into the vest, and then you can buckle it behind their back. At under $12, this harness is a great bargain.

Pros:

  • Very easy to use
  • Perfect for toy breeds (made specifically for them)
  • Mesh material will not be too hot

Cons:

  • Some very small dogs can slip out
  • Velcro tends to wear out
  • No additional adjustment available

Pawtitas Camouflage Reflective Padded Dog Harness

Key Features:

  • Made of polyester with neoprene padding
  • Simple step in, vest design discourages pulling
  • Reflective material
  • Adjustable design to fit any dog
  • Comfortably keeps pups from pulling without neck pressure

No Pull Harness – The design of this harness is simple, but it is effective at safely preventing your Maltese from pulling. Your pup just need to step through the harness, then you can buckle the back and adjust the straps for a stug fit across their chest and behind their front legs. The material is also reflective for an additional safety convenience when walking your Maltese in the evening or at night.

Pros:

  • Comes in extra extra small, extra small, and small
  • Additional adjustment possible
  • Safely prevents pulling in small dogs

Cons:

  • Runs slightly small
  • Padding may not be breathable
  • Straps might be stiff until worn in

Kurgo Go-Tech Adventure Dog Harness with Seatbelt Loop

Key Features:

  • Vest style harness made of Nylon
  • Padded chest and back components
  • Chest and back rings
  • Seatbelt loop included
  • Reflective material

Best Hiking Harness – You may be wondering why you would take your Maltese hiking, but you should be asking, “why not?” These adventurous pups deserve some time exploring outside, and this harness is the perfect one to keep them safe while they do it. Not only is it padded and designed to eliminate pressure in vulnerable areas, it is also reflective in case you don’t make it back from your hike until after dark. Another added convenience is the fact that a seatbelt loop is included with this harness, so you can safely transport your pup in it as well.

Pros:

  • Lots of padding for added comfort
  • Multiple attachment point options
  • Reflective for additional safety

Cons:

  • No extra small option; small may be too big for some toy breed dogs
  • No adjustable straps
  • May be difficult to clip and unclip

Harness Lead Dog Harness

Key Features:

  • Made of one long Nylon slip lead
  • Rubber stops for easy adjustment
  • Simple to get on and take off
  • Comfortable and wearable
  • Tightens around torso when dog pulls

Best No Escape Harness Lead – This no escape harness lead is about and simple as they come, but it gets the job done well. The slip lead works by wrapping around your dog’s chest and torso; you hold then end of the lead so when your pup starts to pull away, it tightens around their midsection rather than their neck. This harness is great for Malteses because it is gentle enough to accomodate a small dog, but smart enough to keep them under control. The nature of the design also means that this harness automatically fits to any dog’s body.

Pros:

  • Simple but effective design
  • Comfortable for even smaller dogs
  • Easy for owner to use

Cons:

  • Rope may begin to unravel
  • Will not withstand chewing
  • May require adjusting while walking

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

Key Features:

  • Simple, lightweight design
  • Wide range of sizes
  • 7 color combinations
  • 4 size adjustment points
  • Pressure applied to chest strap

Best Walking Harness – This classic harness design will make walking your Maltese, a breeze. It consists of a chest strap, a belly strap, and a back strap that buckle together to ensure that your pup cannot pull out of the harness, even with that silky hair. This one also features multiple adjustment points to you can cater the harness to your dog’s shape and size. Color coded straps mean you won’t have to guess which one is meant for which part of the body, and the multiple small size options help ensure that it will fit your dog.

Pros:

  • Lightweight design won’t weigh down your dog
  • Highly adjustable sizing
  • Applies pressure to chest, not throat

Cons:

  • Plastic buckles are susceptible to damage
  • Back strap may slide if not properly tightened
  • Can be chewed through

2 More Top Rated Harnesses

Not convinced that any of the harnesses we’ve talked about so far are right for your Maltese? Here are 2 more top rated options that didn’t quite make it to our absolute favorites list, but are still great harnesses to consider.

Puppia Soft Dog Harness

This vest style harness comes in polyester mesh, and a range of colors. It works by fitting over your dog’s head and fastening around its belly with an adjustable belt. It is padded for extra comfort and features a back ring leash attachment. This harness is a great option for Maltese owners since your pup isn’t likely an exceptionally strong puller, and it will ensure they stay comfortable while on the walk.

Buddy Belts BB2 Classic Dog Harness

This synthetic leather harness could not be any simpler in terms of design. It is basically a soft leather frame with two holes for your dog’s legs that buckles in the back like a belt. This harness is simple and durable, perfect for a well behaved Maltese who does not need much direction or correction while on a walk. There are also additional comfort inserts designed to match this harness if you want to take extra measures to make sure your pup is comfortable.

4 Frequently Asked Questions About Maltese Harnesses

Still have some lingering questions you would like answered before settling on a harness for your Maltese? No problem! Here are answers to 4 commons FAQs on the subject.

  1. What size harness should I get for my Maltese? – It depends on your dog’s size and the sizing chart of the brand of harness you’re buying. The best way to know for sure that you are buying the right size of harness is to measure your dog and cross reference those measurements with the provided size chart. For a Maltese, the size may be called extra extra small, extra small, petite, or small. Just like buying clothes as a human, every brand has different size standards, so do your due diligence before buying a harness.
  2. Is a harness better than a collar for my Maltese? – Absolutely. Although most Maleteses aren’t particularly bad pullers, they have very vulnerable necks. If extra pressure is applied by your dog’s collar to its neck during a walk, it can spell long term health issues. Harnesses are a great way to ensure that your pup’s neck does not get damaged in the process of getting a little bit of exercise.
  3. Is a step in harness the best for a Maltese? – A step in harness is certainly an easy, comfortable option if it is properly sized and made of a breathable material. However, if it does not fit properly or is too confining, a step in harness can cause chafing and discomfort. A step in harness is a good option, but it is not necessarily better for a Maltese than any other option. Proper fit and material are more important considerations for your Maltese pup’s comfort.
  4. Should my Maltese wear its harness all the time? – If the harness is comfortable and you want to get your dog used to it, then it can wear the harness all the time, but it does not need to. The issue with a collar arises during a walk when stress is placed on the dog’s neck, so if your Maltese is simply lounging around the house, it does not have to wear its harness.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has been helpful in eliminating any confusion you may have been feeling surrounding harnesses for Maltese, and provided insight into how to find the right harness for your dog.

Now that we have outlined what kind of harness to look for and listed some of our favorites, we hope you’re feeling inspired to buy your Maltese a harness of its own! Browse through the selections we have listed in this article or shop around for one that feels right to you, and invest in the safety and comfort of your four legged friend.

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