Dog Harnesses Explained | An Overview for New Dog Owners

Dog harnesses come in various designs, each tailored to meet different needs and preferences. We've put together a comprehensive explation to the uses of each type for new dog owners.


1. Back-Clip Harness

Description: The leash attaches to a ring located on the back of the harness.


  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • Comfortable for dogs.
  • Suitable for well-trained dogs that don't pull on the leash.


  • Provides less control over dogs that tend to pull.
  • Can encourage pulling in some dogs due to the leash attachment point.

Ideal For: Everyday walking for well-behaved dogs.

2. Front-Clip Harness

Description: The leash attaches to a ring located on the front of the harness, at the dog’s chest.


  • Offers better control over pulling dogs.
  • Helps in training dogs not to pull by redirecting their movement towards the owner.


  • Can be less comfortable if not fitted properly.
  • Might require more adjustment to prevent twisting.

Ideal For: Training purposes and controlling dogs that pull.

3. Dual-Clip Harness

Description: Features both front and back attachment points.


  • Versatile for different training stages.
  • Provides multiple control options.
  • Can be used with double-ended leashes for additional control.


  • Can be more expensive.
  • Slightly more complex to use.

Ideal For: Owners looking for flexibility in leash attachment options.

4. No-Pull Harness

Description: Specifically designed to reduce pulling by redistributing pressure.


  • Effective in discouraging pulling.
  • Often includes a front clip.


  • Dogs may need time to get used to it.
  • Not all designs fit well on every dog.

Ideal For: Dogs that pull excessively on the leash.

5. Step-In Harness

Description: The dog steps into the harness, and it is then secured around the back.


  • Easy to put on, especially for dogs that dislike overhead harnesses.
  • Comfortable and secure.


  • May not fit all body shapes well.
  • Can be less adjustable.

Ideal For: Dogs that are skittish about having things put over their heads.

6. Vest Harness

Description: A harness that covers more of the dog’s body, often padded for comfort.


  • Distributes pressure evenly.
  • Often includes reflective material for visibility.


  • Can be warmer, which might be uncomfortable in hot weather.
  • Might restrict movement slightly.

Ideal For: Small dogs, dogs with respiratory issues, or those needing extra comfort and security.

7. Tactical Harness

Description: Heavy-duty harness often used for working dogs, featuring multiple attachment points and MOLLE systems.


  • Extremely durable and strong.
  • Can carry gear and accessories.
  • Provides excellent control with handles and multiple leash attachment points.


  • Heavier and potentially less comfortable for small or non-working dogs.
  • More expensive.

Ideal For: Working dogs, hiking, and outdoor activities.

8. Hiking/Adventure Harness

Description: Designed for outdoor activities, often includes features like handles, extra padding, and storage options.


  • Durable and designed for rugged use.
  • Often includes reflective material for visibility.
  • Extra padding for comfort during long hikes.


  • Can be bulky.
  • More expensive than standard harnesses.

Ideal For: Active dogs and owners who enjoy hiking and outdoor adventures.

9. Car Safety Harness

Description: Designed to secure your dog safely in a vehicle.


  • Keeps the dog secure during car rides.
  • Often crash-tested for safety.


  • Primarily useful for car travel.
  • May be less comfortable for walking.

Ideal For: Dogs frequently traveling in vehicles.

Choosing the right harness depends on your dog's behavior, your training needs, and your activities together. By understanding the different types, you can select a harness that ensures comfort, safety, and control for both you and your dog.