German Shepherds are big, active dogs who love being outdoors and doing activities that can outlast your own energy. They thrive in an environment where they can run around without anyone holding them back. But not all pet owners have enough space of their own where their pets can run around freely.
So, dog-friendly parks (or sometimes the wilderness for hiking or treks) are the only way to get them the exercise they need. Putting them in a collar may be too restrictive for this energetic breed, especially if they are not yet leash trained. So that’s where harnesses can come in handy.
Why use a dog harness for a German Shepherd
Harnesses are infinitely more comfortable than a collar. They are designed to wrap around a dog’s body and keep them restrained without choking or putting unnecessary pressure on their body. They also have a lot of other functions, like support for lifting injured dogs or to control them more easily while training.
They are better than collars in terms of comfort, safety, and function, especially for active and large breeds.
Types of Harnesses to choose from
A vest harness is a snug and bulky harness with padded straps and chest pads. They have a lot of features that a regular harness might not have. Breathable mesh, padded straps to prevent chafing, lifting handle, and even front and back clip attachments.
Hip dysplasia is a common condition that affects large dog breeds which includes German Shepherds. It is a genetic disorder that starts early but a hip injury may also outset this condition. Lifting harnesses are greatly useful for mobility support for GSDs with hip dysplasia. These can be fitted around the chest or belly part of your dog depending on which needed to be lifted. Lifting harnesses also benefit dogs with injuries other than hip dysplasia and can be used for rehabilitation of recovering dogs.
These are the best type of harness for leash training a dog, especially large breeds like the German Shepherd. They have a clip attachment on the front portion of the harness for your leash. This prevents your dog from going further forward if they pull it.
Not only does it prevent a large dog from putting strain on their owners when they pull, this effect will also keep your dog from choking or hurting themselves in the process.
Full Body Harness
A full body harness must be worn around your pet’s chest and belly at the same time. They usually have a connecting strap or pad on the back. This harness type makes for a great lifting harness as well, or a safety harness for hiking with your dog. Its design also ensures that pressure is distributed along your dog’s body evenly to keep them comfortable even when they pull.
Heavy Duty Harness
For extra strong dogs like the German Shepherd, a heavy duty harness is a great choice. They are made with strong materials that won’t fall apart easily when you have a strong puller in your care. They are also great for active dogs who love hiking or trekking with their owners. A heavy duty harness is also great for different climates and terrain.
What to look for in a harness for German Shepherds
Large breeds like the German Shepherd will need a harness that will withstand their strength. And on top of that, withstand the activities that they will be doing. A harness with thick straps is great for outdoor use and powerful pullers. Materials like nylon are durable materials that are usually used for dog harnesses. They might be too rough on a dog’s skin, but coupled with padded straps, it will be a comfortable wear for your German Shepherd.
There are essentially two types of leash attachment for a harness which are the front-clip and back-clip attachments. Front clip attachments are located on a harness’ chest strap and is suitable for leash training. Back clip attachments are great for dogs who are already leash trained.
Since German Shepherd is a pretty active and energetic dog breed, they would need a harness that will give them space to move. If you like running with your dog, then a vest is a great harness choice with its strap that goes around the shoulders rather than across.
Multiple adjustable straps are also a feature to look out for, since it will help you find the perfect fit for your dog and to prevent them from escaping. German Shepherds have silky and thick fur. A simple harness might not be enough to keep it on your dog while they are moving. You need these adjustable straps so you can make sure that they don’t slip out of it.
Adjustability is a great feature for saving a lot of money. You can get one harness for growing puppies that they can use as they grow.
Padding ensures that your dog will be comfortable no matter how intense the activity they may be doing. If they pull on their leash, the harness’ padding will not dig uncomfortably on their skin and restrict their breathing. It also prevents chafing and rubbing to keep your dog’s skin protected.
Ease of use (for injured or senior GSDs)
For senior German Shepherds or dogs with injuries, you would need a handle to make it easier to lift them. A full body harness is perfect for senior dogs who need their whole body lifted from one place to another. Hip or shoulder injuries, on the other hand, can be aided with a front or back harness with handles. They should be easy to put on as well, like a sling harness or overhead harnesses that can be clipped into place.
Hiking and camping are activities that your German Shepherd may like. Having reflective fabric strips along their harness can be a useful feature if you find yourself walking or running with your dog at night. This safety feature is great for a harness that your dog can use for extended periods of time. Even if they roam around without a leash attached, they will still be easily seen with the reflective strips.
Best Harnesses for German Shepherds
No-Pull Harness for Leash Training – Kurgo Tru Fit Harness
Kurgo’s Tru Fit Harness is the best training harness for your German Shepherd. It has a D-ring on the chest strap for front leash attachment and a short leash for tether training. A front leash attachment is their no-pull feature that can be used by amateur trainers. The tether, on the other hand, can be clipped to the back of the harness for professional training.
The harness is easy to wear, adjustable, and has padded straps and vest for a comfortable run or trek with your dog.
- Front clip attachment for no-pull feature
- Back clip attachment for behavior training
- Durable D-ring that can withstand strong pullers
- Short leash included for tether training
- Padded vest and strap for comfortable wear suitable for daily use
- Adjustable straps for perfect fit on your German Shepherd
- Easy to attach and detach buckles
- Can also be clipped to a car seat belt for safety while on a drive
Multi-Purpose Vest Harness for German Shepherds – Rabitgoo Adjustable Vest Harness
For a vest harness that your dog can wear daily and anytime of the day, Rabitgoo is the best option. This padded vest is made with comfortable materials that can be worn for long hours and equipped with numerous reflective strips or safety. Its straps, chest, and back padding all have reflective strips that makes it safe to wear no matter the time of day. Coupled with breathable and weather-resistant materials, Rabbitgoo’s Adjustable Vest Harness is a wonderful outdoor harness for your German Shepherd.
This harness is also an overhead harness, so you can put it on your dog easily and clipped on in no time. Adjust the 4 straps for a snug fit on your dog and you’ll be ready to go out with your German Shepherd any time of the day.
- Overhead vest harness that is easy to put on your dog
- Has reflective strips for safe, all-day wear
- 4 adjustable buckles for snug fit
- Front and back clip attachments
- Breathable and weather-proof materials for outdoor use
- Secure vest for large breeds like German Shepherds
- Comfortable harness for daily use
Support Lift Harness/Sling for Senior or Injured German Shepherds – GingerLead Rehabilitation Harness
If you have a German Shepherd with hip injuries or hip dysplasia, this sling from GingerLead will be a useful tool for you. It includes a padded sling that can go under your dog’s belly paired with long handles for the human’s comfort. The support pad is soft but still retains its shape to help hold your dog securely. They even have designs for male and female dogs.
The GingerLead support harness has a leash included that you can clip on your dog’s collar for a more stable support and control.
- Sling support harness with long handles
- Has a support pad that is thick and comfortable
- Support pad does not bunch and retains its shape when in use
- Has two types for male and female dogs
- Suitable for dogs with injuries, hip dysplasia, or back leg problems
- Also suitable for senior dogs with mobility issues
- Has leash for collar attachment and more stable support
- Great for large breeds like German Shepherds
Escape-Proof No-Pull Harness – RUFFWEAR Web Master Harness
The RUFFWEAR Web Master Harness guarantees an escape-proof harness for your wiggly German Shepherd. This web harness has straps that goes across and under the chest, as well as under the belly. It has multiple adjustment points for a perfect fit and padded straps for a comfortable wear. It even has a handle on the back for lifting your dog if needed. This harness is available in large and extra large sizes that will easily fit an adult German Shepherd.
This harness from RUFFWEAR also has dual clip attachments located on its chest and back. It also has breathable and durable materials perfect for outdoor use.
- Web harness design that keeps your dog inside the harness no matter what activity they are doing
- Has straps that goes around the chest and belly of the dog for an escape-proof harness
- Multiple adjustment points for a snug fit
- Padded straps to prevent chafing
- Has back handle for lifting or support
- 2 clip attachments for front or back leash attachments
- Heavy duty buckles for easy wear and security
- Suitable for outdoor and indoor use
- Comfortable even when worn for long periods of time
Heavy-Duty Harness for Outdoor Activities – YOGADOG Heavy Duty Harness
YOGADOG’s Harness has the “freedom harness” design that is made with durable and long-lasting materials. The main feature of this harness is its thick padding and extended short leash. The short leash has a flexible design that won’t make you hunch over while walking. It even gives you enough buffer, so you won’t be pulled as hard when your dog moves suddenly in another direction. The handle has a thick padding for your comfort.
The front attachment, back handle, and ease of mobility plus the weather-proof materials make this harness a superior tool for outdoor sport, service training, and even simple activities like walking or running.
- Weather-proof materials and thick padding for comfort
- Has wide straps that holds your dog securely
- Has a strap that goes under the chest for added security
- Great for outdoor use and sport or training equipment
- Has an elastic short leash for safely training powerful pullers
- Also great for simple activities
- Adjustable straps to fit your German Shepherd