Dog Harness Reviews

Between three dogs, over 4 years and 9 months, we have tried out eleven different harnesses designed for dogs – not including the same style but different colours. In this post I will write out what was good about ’em and what was bad about ’em, from our point of view.

1. Basic Nylon Step-in Harness

This was the first ever harness we bought for Kasper. He had never worn a harness before, EVER, and at the time we didn’t have any money so we bought the cheapest option possible. You can buy these as cheap as £3 each.

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We used this type of harness for about a year. Here’s what we think of them…

Pro’s

– Price

– Available everywhere

– Do come in different colours

– So easy to put on and take off

– Easy to adjust

– Pretty robust

– Harness is thin enough to be worn in summer

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Cons

– They can rub. No other harness has ever rubbed Kasper as he has thick medium length fur…well this one did. It chafed his armpits and left them red. This lead to us looking for another harness.

– Not 100% secure, but is any harness? Kasper has never backed out of this harness, but once on an off lead walk he did come back missing the harness. I don’t know how, we never found it.

– You need to attach the lead to both D clips, which is a teeny tiny bit finicky

– They look a bit dull!

We give it: 2 out of 4 paws

3. ComfortFlex Sports Harness

You will notice the list has jumped to number 3. This is  because we bought a different style of step-in harness, one where the belly band moved from side to side. I don’t remember what it was as we used it for a few weeks…because the band going between the front legs moved, Kasper often got both legs stuck in one hole, and it was a nightmare 😀

The ComfortFlex was the first time we spent a significant amount of money on a harness or collar for Kasper. It cost £20 (including postage). We bought this harness in 2012 and used it for less than 6 months; the design may have changed since then.

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Pros

– Doesn’t have a band going between the front legs to rub

– Wonderful colours, so vibrant!

– Reflective strip for dark walks

– Padded, looks extremely comfortable

– Easy to take on and off

– Easy to fit

– Only one D clip to worry about

– Doesn’t restrict movement

– Price; this harness is actually pretty cheap

– Never rubbed Kasper at all

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Cons

– I really struggled to find this harness in the UK. In fact I had to buy it and have it shipped over from America

– This is a pretty easy design to back out of; it’s not the most secure harness

– Neck band isn’t adjustable

– Dogs tend to be more fearful of harnesses that go over their heads. This is usually easily overcome with counter conditioning…unless you have a dog like Zoey 🙂

– Part of the side fastens using velcro (the part under the snap buckle). With our ComfortFlex the velcro stopped sticking to itself (and therefore working entirely) within 4 months. This meant the harness didn’t fasten properly, and whilst it was still functional, it just looked messy. We tried washing the velcro (by hand, in a bag in the machine etc) but nothing could fix it.

We give it: 2.5 out of 4 paws

4. DoxLock Harness

We stumbled across this harness in T K Maxx. I don’t remember how much we bought it for, but I remember thinking it was an interesting design and pretty cheap, so we bought it for Kasper’s second ‘gotcha’ day. Kasper wore this harness for a decent amount of time, and still wears it occasionally now!

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Pros

– Easy to fit

– Easy to put on and take off (providing dog has no issues with things going over his head)

– Comfortable, never rubbed Kasper

– No band between front legs

– Seems sturdy and well made

– Velcro tab on side can be swapped for a personalised one

– Comes in variety of colours

Cons

– Really hard to find anywhere online…and we’ve never seen them in a shop either.

– Front fastens with velcro and has no protective sleeve. HOWEVER as you never need to open the velcro to put the harness on, the velcro doesn’t get dirty and lose its stick

– Covers a substantial area of dog so may want to avoid wearing it in summer

We give it 3.5 out of 4 paws

5. Envy Step-in Harness

Envy is a company we stumbled across in an expensive local pet shop in Yorkshire. Their collars are really unique looking, so both Kasper and Zoey had a few back when they wore collars. When we adopted Zoey we bought her a baby-sized Envy harness. She also had a bigger version as she grew up. We paid about £12 – £15 for each harness, although you can get them cheaper online.

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Pros

– Really interesting, beautiful patterns

– Feels soft, like they wouldn’t rub as much as a nylon harness

– Adjustable so easier to get fit right

– All buckles and adjustable points on the harness are metal, so it feels ‘safe’

– Cheap for how stunning they look

– Harness is thin enough to be worn in summer

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Cons

– Would probably have rubbed short haired Zoey eventually as the parts that touch the dog weren’t at all padded

We give it 3 out of 4 paws

6. EzyDog Quick Fit Harness

We wanted another harness with no strap between the front legs, to avoid rubbing Kasper. We also wanted one that was fairly cheap and that wouldn’t break, like the ComfortFlex did. We paid £20 – £25 depending on the size.

Although Kasper and Raiden can wear this harness with absolutely no issues, the EzyDog Quick Fit rubbed Zoey massively across the front of her chest. Kasper wore this harness for a long time, and still wears it occasionally now, and this is the only harness Raiden wears.

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Pros

– Cheap and cheerful

– Comes in array of colours

– Incredibly easy to put on and take off, this was the easiest harness to teach Raiden to wear

– It is *very* durable ~ Kasper really puts harnesses through their paces, and this has held up for years. Raiden has been wearing his 3-5 times a day, in all weathers, for three months and it looks new!

– Easy to adjust. The band going across the front can also be adjusted, and although it fastens with velco there is a protective sleeve to make sure the velcro doesn’t lose it’s ‘stick’, unlike the ComfortFlex

– Hasn’t rubbed a dog with medium length fur

– Good for summer use as harness is thin

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Cons

– Rubbed Zoey horribly across the chest

– The hole to put the dogs’ head through isn’t that big, so larger headed dogs (such as Staffies) that don’t like things going over their heads (such as Zoey) may like it even less

– Sizing qualifies Kasper as a Large dog – he isn’t (personal pet peeve)

– Kasper backed out of this harness a few times, usually when the lead had become tangled around a tree. It isn’t *that* secure.

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We have been using the Quick Fit with Raiden several times a day for the past three months, and we have had no issues. No rubbing, easy to fit, seems comfortable (Raiden prefers it to his step-in) and even with muddy off lead fun it hasn’t needed cleaning 🙂

We give it 3 out of 4 paws

7. Julius K9

We bought this harness for £22, and for what it is it’s a good price. It’s very similar to the DoxLock, but I would say the DoxLock feels like it’s better made.

Pros

– Can be found easily in a variety of places

See DoxLock above

Cons

– Kasper managed to break the buckle on this harness within 6 months. This has never happened before.

See above.

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We give it 3 out of 4 paws

8. Ruffwear Front Range Harness

I’m not going to do a massive review on this as Zoey has just started wearing one of these, and I want to wait and see if it rubs her first. However I’ll do a quick once-over here. We paid £34 for Kasper’s size M, and £31 for Zoey’s size M.

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Pros

– Unlike most harnesses the Medium Ruffwear Front Range actually fits a medium-sized dog (ie. 22kg Kasper). Zoey has a different harness where she, at 11kg, counts as an XL – seriously? Annoys me so much…

– Kasper and Zoey are *both* an M – this means they can swap and share 😀

– Adjustable in four different places so you can make it fit perfectly

– Because you can adjust it in various places it’s pretty escape proof

– Has a front clip if you want to use that, eg. for pulling

– Looks very smart and comes in some beautiful colours

– Lightweight material that dries quickly

– Durable; we have had our harness for five months and it is showing no signs of wear

– Must be comfortable.

Why? Because every single time we have put a new harness on Zoey she has shut down for at least ten minutes; she even refuses to walk. When we put the Ruffwear on her she walked about immediately (albeit a little miserably), and within minutes climbed in the paddling pool and even offered a new trick we’re working on – this is amazing!! I will post more about this later 🙂

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Cons

– Rear straps that go up the sides of the dog aren’t padded at all. Zoey has only worn it once for a walk so far, so I can’t comment if it will rub her or not at this time

– The front clip to attach the lead to isn’t a metal D clip. I have never heard of it breaking but I personally wouldn’t use it.

– More expensive than a lot of other harnesses, especially if you can’t find it on offer anywhere

– Sizing issues. I’ve heard lots of people complaining that they measured their dogs and the size they bought was wrong. I can see this, as the M size (supposed belly girth of 69 – 81cm) fits Zoey, who has a girth of 64.5cm.

– This is the finickiest harness I have ever had to fit. It took about 10 mins to get the sizing right for Kasper, thankfully he doesn’t mind harnesses being put on / taken off!

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We give it 3.5 out of 4 paws – purely because two of the harnesses have been faulty.

*edited September 2015* – Zoey has been wearing this harness for months now and it hasn’t rubbed her once…not when it’s been raining, not when she pulls – yay!

*edited 1st November 2015* – updated post to include information about Raiden and the harnesses he has tried! Also I have done an updated Ruffwear Front Range harness post as the replacement they sent out began to break in the same way the first one did…

There are a few harnesses that have been missed off this list for one reason or another, eg. the fleece harness Zoey got for Christmas (she hasn’t worn it yet, still CC her to it) and the Nervous Vest Harness (doesn’t go over her head! Still waiting to hear back from the company…) but we have reviewed the ones that we have used regularly.

 

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5 thoughts on “Dog Harness Reviews

  1. Pingback: New harness and flood fun for puppy! | Scarlybobs' Blog

  2. Pingback: Ruffwear Front Range harness update | Scarlybobs' Blog

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  4. I like ruffwear stuff 🙂 I normally use made to measure harnesses now but ruffwear doubleback is brilliant for climbing/hiking with Ardbeg (I think their accessories are the best on the market for sports of any kind with the dog). It’s the only one I can really trust. I’ve used Hunter norwegian racing dog as well and I was happy with it.

    • We used to be huge fans of Ruffwear and recommended their harnesses to everyone, but after three of their harnesses broke (every one in less than 3 months) we drifted away from the company. When I initially asked them if anybody else had reported a similar issue they said no, never, but when I commented on their blog at a later date, they replied saying what had happened to us was a known issue, and that they had fixed it now.

      I don’t really trust the company much anymore after several of their harnesses broke so quickly. We really like the DC Short harness Kasper wears, but I have no idea what harness we will get next for Pixie. What made to measure ones do you use?

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