best dog harness for small dogs

Best Dog Harness for Small Dogs — Buyers Guide, Review, and Comparison

The best dog harness for small dogs allows you to train your pocket pup to walk beside you calmly and contently. By distributing weight evenly over their tiny frames, it reduces potential neck injuries, increases your control and maximizes their comfort and security. Hence, using one is a safer and more comfortable way to train and walk for both you and your best friend.

Top Pick

The innovative all-weather mesh design allows your dog to get the air needed on hot days but gives them extra insulation when the weather turns colder. A push and click buckle in addition to double D-rings for the leash makes this harness a pretty secure option for a small dog and owner. 

• Step-in design.

• Breathable material — can be worn all day.

• Durable — longer lasting.

Product Rating: 4.6/5

PRODUCTFEATURES 

Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness
Leash hooks: Back / Chest
Adjustable straps: Chest / Neck
Largest size: XL (neck 21-33 inches / chest 24-49 inches)
Reflective features: Reflective straps

  • Includes matching collar.
  • Reinforced handle.
  • 14 colors and patterns.

Product Rating: 4.6/5

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Bolux Small Dog Harness
Leash hooks: Back / Chest
Adjustable straps: Neck / Chest
Largest size: XL (neck 22-30.7 inches / chest 21.3-38.2 inches)
Reflective features: Reflective stitching

  • Machine washable.
  • Padded design.
  • Durable Oxford nylon

Product Rating: 4.6/5

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Puppia Soft Dog Harness
Leash hooks: Back / Chest
Adjustable straps: Chest / Neck
Largest size: XL (neck 23-35 inches / chest 32-42 inches)
Reflective features: Reflective straps

  • Lockable snap fastenings.
  • Soft padded material.
  • Breathable lining.

Product Rating: 4.4/5

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PoyPet No Pull Dog Harness
Leash hooks: Back
Adjustable straps: Chest
Largest size: XXL (neck 25.5-30 inches / chest 29.5-40.5 inches)
Reflective features: Reflective straps and fluorescent trim.

  • Adjustable chest straps.
  • Stainless steel D-ring.
  • Space for light to be attached — for night walks


Product Rating: 4.3/5

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RUFFWEAR, Front Range Dog Harness
Leash hooks: Back / Chest
Adjustable straps: Neck / Chest
Largest size: XL (neck 22-33 inches / chest 28-39 inches)
Reflective features: Reflective material

  • Four ways adjustable straps.
  • Padded for extra comfort.
  • Lightweight and durable.

Product Rating: 4.5/5

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Small Dog Harness Buying Guide

Your dog is one of the family, and as you would expect with any family member, you want them to be healthy, have good manners, and be well behaved. We all know that small dogs tend to be a little bit more feisty than the bigger breeds — what they lack in stature, they make up for in attitude and character, and this is why we love them!

Protecting your pup from harm is crucial and this all boils down to proper training. They also need to know that you’re in charge but in the same token, feel comfortable and safe. 

Due to their size, training a small dog with a collar and leash can be potentially dangerous. With every pull and tug, it could create sores or strains on their small necks and windpipe. This is why harnesses can be a very useful training aid.

When looking at the various harnesses, there are few things to consider:

  • How easy is it to put on your dog?
  • Thickness and type of material — breathable material is essential for dogs with heavier coats.
  • Security — the type and amount of clips and fastenings.
  • Is it suitable for low light walks?
  • Water resistance.

Why Should You Use a Harness?

The design of a harness distributes the weight and the power more comfortably on the frame of your dog. Meaning, if they pull or tug, it will not be isolated in one area, reducing the risk of injuries or strains.

With small dogs, in particular, it also allows you to quickly grab them out of harm's way or potential hazards — using the leash or a handle on the harness.

Harness Sizing

All dogs are different, even within breeds — one Terrier may be svelte and slender, while the next could be a big softie that’s partial to the odd treat or three. For this reason, when you’re looking at the correct sizing for your K9 companion’s harness, make sure that you take their personal measurements to get the correct fit and don’t go by breed recommendations alone.

It’s generally best to measure at the thickest part of their chest, just behind their front legs, and also the girth of their neck — at the place where a collar would normally sit. 

An adjustable dog harness for small dogs would allow you to change the chest and back straps, as well as giving a little extra stretch in the material of the harness. This also means if your dog is still growing or you plan on upping their exercise regime to slim them down, you can still maintain a good fit as they change. 

The most comfortable small dog harness should be snug without being restrictive and tight. The same rule applies as with a collar — you should be able to put two fingers comfortably between the harness and your dog’s body for the ideal fit. 

Material

Let’s be honest, every dog loves to play, and after walking to the park you know that if you let them off the leash, the first thing they’re going to do is run like the wind, and the next — find a massive puddle, a lot of mud and do their best mini hippo impression.

As you want them to have their fun and the freedom of movement to run (and roll) — a lightweight and non-restrictive harness design is the way forward.

Secondly, if the harness lacks durability and secure fastenings, that first roll in the mud might be it’s last. Your small dog could slip the harness faster than Houdini, escape and head for the hills.

Consider the design of the harness. Is there a fail-safe for the fastenings? Or, is it secure enough, so that you’re confident you won’t be left holding a harness and no dog because they’ve given you the slip! 

No Pull

Most of the products will state that they are a ‘no pull’ small dog harness, or list this as one of the features. However, if they see their friend across the street or their favorite woodland escape in front of them — your dog will be very excited and it’s highly probable that they will pull — whether they’re wearing a harness or a collar.

That said, they can be trained to understand your commands. When you start to feel their excitement building, with a strong command — and a little check of the leash — they will begin to understand that they have to keep pace with you and return to a state of calm. 

If you’re in the process of training your small dog and they’re wearing a collar, imagine this.

They become excited and start to pull and tug. All of their minuscule muscles are straining against their windpipe, thanks to the front of the collar. In the meantime, you’re creating more tension on this area by pulling the collar backward. Aside from the horrible wheezing, it could cause neck strains and injuries — particularly in small dog breeds. 

This is where a small dog harness can be most effective. 

The designs of a harness mean that primarily, they will take the weight in their chest, which is evenly distributed over a larger area — much like if you lift them up and loop your arms under their belly.

So, for training, they’re ideal. A harness allows you to give a little check on the leash if they get excited over that sassy Spaniel, without worrying about near strangulation for them, or your pooch sounding like they have a 40 a day smoking habit.

The Best Small Dog Harness Reviews — Our Top Five

You could spend hours trawling online for a small dog harness, but I’m sure you’d much rather prefer to be out walking with your canine companion. So, for this reason I’ve put together my five favorite harnesses for you.

Best Secure Harness for Small Dogs


For those of you with a pooch that can slip the leash quicker than a blink of an eye, the Voyager could be of interest. The double D-ring and buckle fastening adds extra security, which means this small dog harness should stay put even with the most hyper hounds.

The design of the Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness for small dogs is straightforward — you just put their two front legs through the holes, wrap it around them and fasten. This means that you don’t have to wrestle with your dog to get their head through a hole — and they can carry on licking your face and showing you love as you strap them in.

Made from lightweight and durable all-weather mesh — it removes the necessity for a winter and summer harness, the Voyager will keep your furbaby cool in the heat of summer and warm in the cool of winter.

What’s more, this also means that you can leave your furry friend in the harness all day if you want to — no need to keep taking the harness on and off between walks. Although, I would suggest removing the harness of an evening to allow your pooch some freedom and air to their fur.

PRODUCT RATING: 4.6/5

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Whether you have a tough terrier, bodacious beagle, or a princess pug, with over 25 different designs and colors available in this Voyager Step-in Air Small Dog Harness — you should find one to suit their character.

PROS:

  • Lightweight all-weather mesh.
  • Top rated small dog harness.
  • Soft and sturdy material.
  • Reflective sidebands.
  • Double D-ring and buckle — extra secure.
  • Wide variety of colors and designs.
  • Hook & loop adjustable fastening.

PROS:

  • Maybe too restrictive for breeds with heavier coats.
  • Not designed for extreme wet weather.

Best Dual Leash Position Harness


The Bolux dog harness comes with adjustable chest straps — allowing you to custom fit the harness for maximum comfort and to accommodate for any weight fluctuations that your dog may have.

And, with fully reflective straps and fluorescent trim — walking in low light or of an evening, your canine companion should be easy to spot.

Have you ever been in the situation when your walk is coming to an end, but your dog isn’t quite ready to go home? They give you that look and then turn to the vast expanse of land in front of them as they weigh up their options — run or obey. The handy back strap allows you to grab them and secure the leash before they dash off. 

This handle is also a great aid to assist you with training, as it gives you more control — your pet will learn the commands and understand who is in charge, without always having to be on a leash.

Additional velcro patches can be purchased for the Bolux Dog harness — attach your dogs’ name or if he is a working dog, pop the details on the harness for passers-by to see.

PRODUCT RATING: 4.3/5

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PROS:

  • Adjustable chest straps — custom fit.
  • Velcro name patches (additional purchase).
  • Reflective straps — for low light walks.
  • Easy-grab back handle.
  • Fluorescent trim.
  • Durable, breathable material.

PROS:

  • Not suitable for the smallest breeds, like Chihuahuas.
  • A backup buckle or secondary safeguard would be an improvement.

Best Budget-Friendly Harness for Small Dogs 


The Puppia harness is one of the lower price point harnesses available, with a simple but effective design — it could be one solution for dog lovers on a budget.

It’s made from 100 percent polyester breathable air mesh, which is both durable and water-resistant — even on drizzly rainy days, you can both stretch your legs and get out and about. The lightweight Puppia vest harness also has extra padding around the neck — providing additional comfort for your dog.

Furthermore, with double-coated D-rings and buckles made from the same plastic used by professional mountaineers — the fixtures are more resistant to any dirt and debris your dog may encounter — giving them a longer life.

Puppia Small Dog Harnesses include a wide range of colors and designs to suit even the most fashion-conscious of canines.

PRODUCT RATING: 4.3/5

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PROS:

  • Double coated D-rings — extra durability.
  • Strengthened plastic buckles — more secure.
  • Water-resistant — suitable for rainy days or playing in puddles.
  • Padded neck.
  • Breathable material.
  • Budget-friendly.

PROS:

  • Reflective panels not included.
  • Advertised as machine washable — but hand washing is preferable.

Most Versatile Small Dog Harness


Made from fully reflective material, the PoyPet small dog harness is ideal if you live in a residential area with a lot of passing traffic — your dog will be seen easily by cars and by you — keeping you both safe.

Designed with three snap buckles, two around the chest and one on the neck, it's handy if your dog doesn’t like having things pulled over their heads — no more trying to coax your dog’s head through a neck hole.

If your dog gains a few pounds every winter, the last thing you want to do is to have a multitude of harnesses. The PoyPet has adjustable neck and belly straps that enable you to loosen or tighten the harness to a custom fit as needed.

In addition to the adjustability, the belly straps also have a two-way stretch — providing your best friend maximum comfort and maneuverability. Lastly, attached at the top is a grab handle — for those moments when they’re off the leash, but a potential hazard is approaching. 

Taking into account these features — the PoyPet soft padded dog harness can be used as a training aid or for adventures both day and night with your pet — a versatile and durable harness.

PRODUCT RATING: 4.5/5

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PROS:

  • Adjustable straps for chest and neck.
  • Two-way stretch chest strap.
  • Comfortable back grab handle also doubles as a seat belt hook.
  • Fully reflective material.
  • Neck lock buckle for additional security.
  • Two D-rings for front or back leash attachment.

PROS:

  • May seem fiddly to put on with the three buckles.

Best Small Dog Harness for Night Walkers


The manufacturer states that ‘every dog is an explorer,’ and the Ruffwear small dog harness is designed with this in mind.

Reflective trim means that on low light walks, your dog can be seen easily by passing cars. And, if you’re one for taking late-night walks or plan on heading out into the wilderness, it features a loop that’s specifically designed for a beacon safety light (light sold separately) — so, on the darkest of nights, you can always spot your furry friend.

Just in case your dog thinks it's the Indiana Jones of the canine world and decides to go it alone, the Ruffwear dog harness also incorporates an ID pocket into the design. This means if your dog wanders off, good samaritans can see where it came from, how to contact you and bring it home.

To ensure maximum comfort for your dog the lightweight, durable design has additional padding in the chest strap — fits snuggly without adding pressure, especially if they pull or tug.

PRODUCT RATING: 4.6/5

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PROS:

  • Light loop for safety light (light not included).
  • Two leash attachment points — chest and back.
  • Reflective trim.
  • ID pocket — for dog tags or information.
  • Foam padded design.
  • Four adjustment points.

PROS:

  • Not the best for excitable dogs — needs to be slid over their head.

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