This is our review of the best harness for small dogs in the UK.
Small dogs can be just as hard to handle as larger ones when walking, which is why a harness is a great option. Not only does it protect your pooch from potential neck injuries, but it also gives you more control and is safer.
Our number #1 choice is the fantastic no pull harness from rabbitgoo. Not only is it lightweight and breathable making it ideal for dogs with longer coats. It’s padded for comfort and has five adjustment points for a secure and snug fit.
There are lots of products to choose from whether you have a tiny puller or enjoy hitting the trails, so let’s find out which ones are worth a closer look.
In this article, we will be reviewing which is the best small dog harness from these brands:
We will also cover:
- Do small dogs really need a harness
- Is a dog harness better than a collar?
- What to look for when choosing the best harness for small dog
- Types of small dog harness
- Fitting a harness
Our Best Harnesses for Small Dogs
We have compiled a choice of the best dog harnesses available online right now from a variety of pet brands, so after reading the reviews, you can make an informed decision on which is the right one for your pooch.
There is a common misconception that only large dogs need no-pull harnesses, but the truth is that a little dog is just as susceptible to collar related injuries when pulling. This harness spreads the pressure across the dog’s body, reducing the chance of damage to the trachea.
This extra small dog harness is made of durable nylon and padded for comfort, the breathable air mesh ensures your pup stays cool whatever the weather and the four adjustable straps ensure a secure and comfortable fit.
The quick snap adjustable buckles make it really easy to use and when it gets dirty you can simply pop it in the washing machine.
- Some reviews mention it’s fiddly to adjust
Julius K9 began by producing the best dog harnesses for military police and service dogs and their Powerharness is one of the most popular used by dog owners in the UK.
We love how tough it is; the one-click system means it can be popped on in seconds and it doesn’t restrict your dog’s movement.
There is a sturdy handle atop the harness for extra control; the interchangeable patches mean you can swap the Julius K9 logo for either your dog’s name or let people know your dog’s temperament.
This small dog harness is available in no less than eight sizes and several colours, so you are sure to find the perfect one for your little dog. Be aware that this harness is heavier than many so may not be ideal for teeny dogs.
- There is no front clip; however, you can buy the chest strap with front dog leash attachment separately.
The PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is ideal for small dog owners who have a puller. It fits across the chest, keeping pressure away from the neck area, the quick release buckles make it easy to put on and take off and there is even a contrasting strap, so you know you have it the right way.
The front leash attachment and martingale loop mean your pup is steered sideways as they forge ahead, which reduces pulling, prevents damage to your dog’s neck and teaches your furry friend to walk nicely whilst the neoprene padding prevents chafing. It comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and is well priced for most budgets.
Some owners mention the front D-ring is too low and gets tangled around the front legs on smaller breeds.
- Some customers have mentioned it’s a bit bulky for toy dogs.
This is one of our favourite harnesses for small dogs, ideal for colder months. It’s not only a harness but a cosy winter jacket too.
The stylish coat is comfortable with a soft fleece lining which keeps the chill out, there is a zip on the back, making it easy to put on and the fabric flap means your pup’s hair or skin won’t get caught. The adjustable built-in harness with D-ring to attach the leash is a great feature and is well made, although there is no front attachment for the leash.
It can be popped in the washing machine, so muddy walks are no problem; sizes are on the small side, though, so you will need to measure your pup before ordering and go for the larger size if your furbaby is in between sizes.
- Not a no-pull harness
The Puppia Harness for small breeds gets amazing reviews and is a bestseller for a reason. The lightweight mesh is extremely comfortable and it won’t chafe or irritate the skin of a tiny pup. It’s also easy to clean, so it is ideal for muddy winter walks.
The tiny dog harness design distributes pulling pressure across the chest area instead of the neck and its four adjustable straps result in a snug and comfortable fit. This is one of the best harnesses for puppies and comes in a host of colours to suit every taste, so next time you visit the dog park, your furbaby fashionista will be stepping out in style.
- It doesn’t address pulling
Lots of harnesses for small dogs can be used in a car, but this one is crash-tested for dogs up to 34kg following child car seat standards.
As well as functioning as an in-car safety system it can be used as a regular harness for everyday walks too. There is even a front clip for if your dog pulls.
It is fully adjustable, so it can be customised for all shapes and sizes of dog and it comes with a dog seat belt tether that is compatible with just about any vehicle. Like all Kurgo harnesses, it comes with a lifetime warranty against defects.
The X-small size is suitable for dogs from 2.2 – 4.5 kg with a chest circumference of 11.5 to 17.5 inches.
- May be a little pricey for some budgets
Looking for both function and fashion in a pet harness? This stylish option is just the thing and it also comes with a matching lead.
Made from soft padded machine washable fabric, it has a lightweight mesh lining and a robust metal D-ring loop which you can attach the lead to for safety.
The chest plate doesn’t put any pressure on your dog’s neck and the velcro at the girth and neck guarantees a perfect fit. This type of vest style harness has been found to give some small dogs a feeling of security. It comes in several colours and is such a good price you could pop a couple in your basket for a bit of variety.
- Not a well-known brand
Looking for a simple and easy-to-wear vest harness for your pup? The Voyager Plush step in harness is a great option.
Lined with a cosy plush fabric, this harness is extremely comfortable for your pet to wear and a breeze to put on and take off. Two reflective bands on the sides of the harness enhance your pet’s visibility on those early morning and late evening strolls and along with the hook and loop fastening, the leash attaches to double d rings for extra security. This lovely little harness comes in eleven bright colours. So you’re sure to find the perfect match for your furry friend
- Soft fabric is ideal for dogs with sensitive skin
- Double D-ring leash attachment point
- Lots of colours to choose from
- May make Fido sweat
The Eagloo no pull harness is a stylish and durable option for leash training your pup.
The oxford material outer layer is scratch-resistant, and the breathable mesh lining is ideal for dogs with longer coats. The soft padded chest plate provides comfort, while the grab handle offers extra control in crowded areas or can be used to help your pup over obstacles or into the car.
The harness also features two leash attachment points, making it perfect for preventing pulling behaviour.
Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk or a run, the Eagloo no pull harness will help you keep them under control while keeping them comfortable.
- Great for pullers
- Strong handle
- Affordable price
- Although this a size small it will be too big for toy breeds like Chihuahuas
Do Small Breeds Need a Harness?
Although some owners of tiny dogs still use a collar and lead for walkies many are considering a dog harness for a small dog and we’re going to show you why.
They are a fantastic training tool for young puppies. Harnesses provide you with much more control over pups that get overexcited and get tangled around your legs, jump up or start biting the lead!
Another benefit to using a harness is that many have a handle on the back. This allows you to lift your pooch in dangerous situations or help them over stiles and fences when dog walking in the countryside. If you have an older dog, a handle is ideal for helping them get in and out of the car or up steps.
Why is a Harness Better than a Standard Dog Collar?
It isn’t only big dogs that pull and a small dog can suffer serious injury or chronic health issues from the pressure placed on their neck through pulling, especially their trachea which connects the throat to the lungs.
In some dogs the rings of cartilage in the trachea start to collapse resulting in respiratory problems.There is not much known about the cause of this condition but what is known is that wearing a traditional collar with any kind of pressure makes it much worse and the liklihood of this occuring increases with age. Dog breeds that are prone to tracheal collapse include:
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Toy Poodles
A harness puts no pressure on the delicate area and reduces strain and stress for your dog. They also support the chest, shoulders and neck area.
There are other benefits to wearing a harness for small breeds too. Many little dogs like terriers are quick to learn how to slip their collar, so if you have a pup who’s an escspe artist a harness can prevent them slipping free. Not only that most have a handle, making it easier to lift your furry friend out of harm’s way if needed and help them get in and out of the car as they get older.
What to Look for in a Small Dog Harness
It’s not easy to choose the best dog harness; let’s be honest, there are so many small harness options it’s enough to make your head spin. In this section, we take a look at some of the things to consider when picking the perfect one for your bite-sized pooch.
Something to bear in mind is that there isn’t a one size fits all option for pet harnesses and reading the reviews online, fit is one of the main negative feedback issues.
Always take precise measurements of the neck and chest before ordering online, as you need a harness correctly sized to fit comfortably without restricting your dog’s movement.
You need to decide how much you are willing to spend as there is a huge range of prices when it comes to pet supplies and dog harnesses are no different, especially if you go for a designer brand.
There’s no point spending a fortune on a puppy harness as it’s at risk of being chewed and your pup will soon outgrow it. A harness for an adult dog will last longer and here investing more initially may save you money in the long run.
An adjustable harness is a must; you need the harnesses to be tight enough so Fido can’t escape or get caught up in branches etc. but not so tight that it rubs or causes discomfort.
Be aware that some of the smaller harnesses don’t have as many adjustment points like the ones for bigger dog breeds, so if you have a pooch who is a bit portly or has a thick neck get the tape measure out before you buy.
Many small dog breeds have delicate skin, so a soft padding material for a harness is an absolute must, especially if they are going to be wearing the harness for long periods, for example, if you have an active dog that enjoys hiking.
Padding around the chest and belly straps will provide extra comfort for your dog whilst preventing chafing and sores, which can occur with some basic harnesses.
A Front Clip
This isn’t essential, but if your dog pulls like a freight train, it might be a good idea. They offer improved steering and can help with pulling and to be honest, a lot of the harnesses available these days are dual clip, so you might as well choose one with this feature in case you ever need it.
Petite dogs can be difficult to see even during the daytime, so for dog walkers who go out in the early winter mornings or evenings, a reflective harness is a must; not only will Fido be more visible to road users it will help you find them should the worse happen and they run off for some reason.
The last thing a tiny dog wants is a heavy piece of equipment weighing them down, so it’s essential you choose a harness that is lightweight.
This will ensure they feel comfortable wearing it. The Julius K9 harness is quite heavy compared to the Puppia harness for example so may not be the best choice for a Chihuahua.
Many tiny dog breeds have long fur, which can become matted easily and make them susceptible to skin if left damp. Small dogs also can’t regulate their body temperature as well as larger breeds so can quickly become overheated especially bracycephalic breeds like Frenchies and Pugs.
That’s why any harness you choose should have a breathable mesh lining to prevent your pooch from overheating or their fur becoming damp, becoming a haven for bacteria which can ultimately result in skin problems.
Different Types of Harnesses for Little Breeds
Step-in Dog Harnesses
These are the easiest type of small dog harnesses to fit; as the name implies, your furry friend just needs to step into them.
Once fastened, you can adjust the straps to fit correctly, this may take a while initially, but you won’t need to do it again, as you can then take it off and on without the need to alter the fit.
Unsurprisingly, an over-head harness is placed over the dog’s head, which some dogs are not keen on. These harnesses usually have more cushioning than the step-in versions. Take a treat and place it in your hand and pass your hand through the hole and hopefully your pet will follow.
No Pull Harnesses
Even smaller dogs can sometimes be hard to handle on walks which is where a no pulling harness can help; these have a leash attachment on the front of the harness, which works by steering the dog towards you. If your dog suddenly pulls, it could seriously damage its neck in a standard collar.
Wrap or Vest Harnesses
These are very popular with small animal parents. You can find them in a huge range of designs and colours and maybe even pick up a matching dog lead.
They are usually the step in kind so are great for dogs that don’t like things going over their heads, they also come in the smallest sizes too making them perfect for puppies.
They keep your dog comfortable and work well for really tiny dogs who may feel more secure in a vest harness.
2 in 1 dog harnesses
If you have a short haired dog you may be tempted to invest in a harness which combines a jacket too.
Great for the unpredictable UK weather, this is obviously cheaper than buying the two separately but they are not usually as durable as a standard harness, so really are only suitable for little dog breeds.
Fitting & Measuring
So, let’s have a look at how to fit a dog harness? The size will depend on the breed and shape of your pup. If you own a teeny tiny pup such as a Pomeranian or Chihuahua, you’ll need an Extra small size, similar to a puppy harnesses, for Larger small breeds such as Shih Tzu or Boston Terrier will probably need the next size up.
Most manufacturers have their own sizing guides, but going by the reviews, these aren’t always correct, so it’s important to measure your dog before ordering a harness online!
- Measure around your dog’s chest at the widest part; this is usually just behind the front legs.
- Bring the tape measure up and over your dog’s back; this is the chest circumference.
- Next, measure the dog’s neck; this isn’t always needed, but if it’s an overhead harness, it’s a good idea to make sure it will go over easily.
- If you are choosing a 2-in-1 harness and jacket, measure the length of the back too.
This video by Ezydog shows how to measure a dog for a harness.
Some manufacturers use the dog’s weight as a sizing guide, but we don’t recommend using this as an accurate sizing tool; some dogs have deep chests, some are heavy but have a thin neck, others are long and lean.
If you do want to weigh your pup, just stand on the bathroom scales to gauge your own weight, then do it again with your pup in your arms and subtract the difference.
Getting Your Pup to Like Their Harness
- Once you have chosen your new dog harness, remove it from the packaging and let your pooch sniff and investigate it.
- You can pique their interest by placing some tasty treats on top of it or beside it and giving lots of praise when they go near it.
- A good idea is to click and unclick the fastenings in case they get scared by the unexpected sound.
- If you have selected an overhead harness hold a treat so your pup has to put their head through the hole to reach it and repeat several times.
- With a step-in harness, place the treats in front of it whilst on the ground and reward when your dog puts their legs in the holes. Once again you might need to repeat this several times
- Once they are happy for you to put the harness on you can adjust the fit. This can be a bit fiddly so have a family member or friend distract your furry friend as you make the adjustments.
- Finally, you can secure the buckles, ensure there is room for two fingers to slide between the dog harness and their skin.
- Let you pup wear the harness around the home at first. You can distract them with a stuffed kong or bone if needed
- The final step is to venture outside, where hopefully your canine companion will be too interested in what’s going on to worry about a harness
- Time and patience are all that is needed to get your pup used to a harness, don’t force things, if they’re not keen take a break and try again another time.
Do I measure my dog’s chest or neck for a harness?
The chest is the main measurement; however, if it’s an overhead harness, it’s a good idea to measure the neck too.
Are harnesses good for small dogs?
The best dog harness for small dogs will be better than collars which have been proven to cause neck injuries and eye issues in smaller breeds.
Are chest harnesses bad for dogs?
Some trainers and behaviourists do not recommend chest harnesses as they can restrict movement and alter a dog’s natural gait.
However, this only occurs when the dog harness hasn’t been fitted correctly, so if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, there should be no problem.
Some designs are low fitting though so if you have a dog with short legs you may find the lead gets tangled between the front legs.
What is the safest harness for small dogs?
All the harness options on our list are perfectly safe and when used and fitted correctly are much safer than a traditional collar.
However, like any dog gear, it’s essential for small dog owners to check regularly for wear and tear, especially with 2 in 1 coat style harness where the leash clip is attached to fabric rather than sturdy webbing.
Final Thoughts and Top Pick
Hopefully, this guide and top tips to the best small dog harnesses has helped when it comes to shopping for the best pet harness for your canine companion, with such a vast range of options to choose from, whether you need an anxious dog harness or an active dog or one that pulls you are guaranteed to find one that suits your requirements.
We love the Julius K9 Powerharness and going by the reviews, many dog walkers agree; it’s easy to use, protects your dog’s neck and is by far one of the best dog harnesses for small dogs.
What did you think of our small dog harness choices? Are there any we’ve missed? You can also view other training supplies for dogs and the best car seat for small dogs to add more safety to your dog when travelling. We love hearing from our readers, so feel free to connect on our social media channels and show us what small harness you have.