7 Best Dog Harnesses for German Shorthaired Pointers in 2020

There’s no shortage of positive adjectives to describe German Shorthaired Pointers, or GSPs. They are friendly, enthusiastic sporting dogs known for their loyalty. The GSP makes a fantastic family dog thanks to its cheerful disposition, high trainability, and ability to form a close bond with family members—just so long as you can keep up with them.

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That’s right; GSPs have tons of energy that requires their owners to provide lots of mental stimulation and exercise. These adorable dogs will never say no to an enjoyable romp in the park or a run, but sometimes their playful and stubborn personalities can make having them on a leash challenging.

Difficulty walking them is due to this breed’s hunting background, which causes them to be hyper-vigilant. They may struggle to realize that walking is a relaxing activity and that they can let their guard down. Instead, your GSP will pay close attention to pretty much all sounds and smells she encounters. If you add the fact that they are powerful and fast, trying to walk a German Shorthaired Pointer can become downright stressful.

The use of a harness, along with proper leash training, is typically beneficial for this breed. A harness helps you maintain control of your dog, prevents escape artists from going rogue, and, most importantly, discourages your pup from pulling. A good harness may also protect you from injury while walking your dog.

Different Types of Dog Harnesses for German Shorthaired Pointers

There are several different types of dog harnesses that you can purchase for your GSP. It’s vital to understand the differences between them, as buying the right harness type will significantly impact its success with your dog.

The three main types are back clip, front clip, and front and back clip. All three circle the dog’s chest and back, but the attachment point for the lead is what differentiates them. A back clip harness allows you to attach the lead at the dog’s back, which of all the options is most like a traditional leash. Many pet owners choose this type when switching to a harness.

With a front clip harness, on the other hand, you attach the lead to a point at the dog’s chest. Heavy, aggressive pullers typically fare well with front clip harnesses because they make it quite tricky for the dog to pull. Instead of moving forward when they exhibit this behavior, with a front clip harness, the dog’s body turns toward you.

The third type is a combination harness that has lead attachment points at both the chest and back. This type offers the best of both worlds; it’s useful for correcting pulling problems, but once your dog has learned to walk correctly on a lead, you can transition to the back clip.

Overhead vs. Step-in

Another consideration for your leash is whether to purchase an overhead or step-in model. Most are step-in, which requires your dog to put her leg through it to put the harness on properly. Some dogs resist lifting their leg for the harness or otherwise have difficulty, like senior dogs. Overhead harnesses, which fit over your pup’s neck, can be a workaround.

How Do I Ensure the Best Fit for my German Shorthaired Pointers?

German Shorthaired Pointers are a medium- to a large-size dog. They are quite attractive and make an excellent family dog. GSPs are just as content cuddling up with you and the kids as they are on a hunting expedition. You can expect loyalty from this breed, though it will expect the same excellent treatment in return—which includes lots of exercise.

So how can you ensure the best harness fit to help them get the exercise they need? Since there are no standard harness sizes, you’ll need to take some measurements. The first one you should have is your dog’s weight. Weight can be a good ballpark measurement in determining harness size, though you shouldn’t rely solely on this number. Consult your vet to obtain it.

The next thing you should know is your dog’s girth. Measure all the way around their chest at the fullest part of their body. Once you have the measurement, add two inches to that number to account for any weight gain or new fur growth. Neck measurements are sometimes needed, which you can take by measuring around the fullest part of the neck.

Besides learning how to put on a dog harness, you should learn what to look for in a proper fit. The dog’s harness should sit close to their body without being too snug. A good indicator is being able to fit two fingers between their body and the harness. It should not cause chafing or fur loss, it shouldn’t twist when attached to the lead, and your dog should not be able to slip out.

Overall Best Dog Harness for German Shorthaired Pointers

In our search for the overall best dog harness for German Shorthaired Pointers, we found one harness that was stood out above the competition.

Best Overall—Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness

We found the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness to be the best overall option, as it offers a little bit of everything. It has a front and back clip, so you can switch from the no-pull option when your dog is leash trained. The harness works as both an overhead and step-in model since the clips allow you to use it either way. And five sliders adjust in all directions to achieve the best fit.

If lots of car rides are in your future, this Kurgo model could be exactly what you’re looking for. It offers impressive safety features, such as steel nesting buckles, and is engineered in the same way that rock climbers’ harnesses are. The harness is compatible with the seat belts in any car and has been crash-tested for maximum peace of mind.

6 More Highly Rated Dog Harnesses for German Shorthaired Pointers

We also found that the following six products, which received excellent reviews and are worth taking a look at, as well.

Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness

The Chai’s Choice harness features a functional design users love, and that will stand up to lots of use. It’s an overhead model with both back and front clips, so you can use it for both training and as a more standard harness. And if you need to transport your dog in your vehicle, there’s a bonus handle on top that you can use to secure your furry friend.

Adjusting the straps is simple, and they are padded for extra comfort on the chest and belly. This harness comes in several eye-catching colors, and the added 3M reflective material makes this an excellent choice if you do lots of nighttime walking with your dog.

Petsafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

Petsafe promises to make walks easier with the Easy Walk Dog harness. It’s a step-in front clip model able to stop even the most enthusiastic pullers. With four adjustment points, you’ll be able to achieve the proper fit in no time.

The two buckles make it easy to put on your dog, and so does an ingenious yet straightforward change. The belly strap is a different color than the rest of the harness, which makes figuring out which way it goes much more intuitive. If you’re looking for something simple, look no further than the Petsafe Easy Walk Dog Harness, available in several colors and sizes.

Frisco Padded No Pull Front Lead Dog Harness

Frisco gets our value pick award with this over the head front and back clip gem. It has standard straps with a padded chest area for added comfort. Both the shoulder straps and belly straps are adjustable, making it easy to attain the perfect fit, and the buckles snap securely into place.

Overall, we liked the Frisco harness for giving you a little bit of everything at a genuinely affordable price. Some users complained that it could be challenging to put on, but that it does help significantly reduce pulling once you get it in place. This harness is available in several sizes and colors.

Blueberry Pet 3M Reflective Padded Dog Harness

Next up, we’ve got this stylish and lightweight model from Blueberry Pet. It has a unique design that features two individual vests, one on your dog’s chest and one on the belly, connected with padded straps. This design helps distribute the force of the harness while at the same time providing your dog with greater comfort.

It’s perfect for low-light walks, as it includes both reflective stripes, as well as a triangle patch for maximum visibility. And many users find the makeshift handle on the top of the harness useful for grabbing your dog when necessary.

Sporn Training Dog Halter

Some owners may want a two-in-one option that will serve both their initial training needs as well as convert to a more standard option. If this is what you’re looking for, the Sporn Training Dog Halter is perfect for you. The system is a harness that converts to a collar that you can use by itself—perfect for when your dog is leash trained.

Until then, the Dog Halter allows you to perfect the art of no pulling, and users are quite pleased with the results they get using it with aggressive pullers. It’s a back clip model that can be both step-in and overhead, depending on how you use the buckles.

PetSafe 3 in 1 Dog Harness

Petsafe hit another home run with this simple yet functional harness. It offers several options for use, including front clip, back clip, and car safety restraints, and it’s a durable everyday harness that users love. The 3 in 1 Dog Harness is available in three beautiful colors that feature reflective nylon stitching, perfect for those nighttime walks with your best friend.

The lightweight straps are lined with neoprene, which makes it comfortable for your dog to wear, and it’s highly adaptable. Just adjust any of the five sliders to achieve the perfect fit. If you’re looking for something that’s no-fuss, this harness could be the ideal fit.

Tips for Getting Your German Shorthaired Pointers Accustomed to Using a Harness

The GSP boasts a ton of power, which is useful when hunting but can cause injury to you if they take off suddenly during a walk. A harness is a fantastic way to keep yourself safe and make your walks more fun for everyone. Unfortunately, getting your GSP used to using one can be a challenge.  Here are some tips to help them make friends with their new harness.

  1.   Let your dog smell the harness before you put it on, and praise them for going near it.
  2.   Leave a treat on the harness.
  3.   Once you’ve completed these steps several times, it’s time to begin touching your dog with the harness. Be sure to praise them and give them treats when you put the harness near their body, which will help them associate it with good things.
  4.   The next step is to actually put it on your dog for short periods in the house (supervise him if he’s a chewer!).
  5.   Once he’s comfortable wearing the harness loosely, you can begin to take your GSP out for a walk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is fitting a puppy for a harness different than fitting an adult dog? 

You fit a puppy’s harness the same way you would an adult’s. It is a sound idea, however, to look for harnesses that are highly adjustable so that you can get the most use out of them. Also, be sure to check the fit periodically as your GSP grows.

What type of harness is best for the activity level and temperament of a German Shorthaired Pointer? 

It depends entirely on your dog. If she’s more of an aggressive puller, try a front clip version, which is better at preventing pulling. If she walks well on a leash and you’re merely looking for added comfort, a back clip harness should work just fine.

Are harnesses better than collars? 

For dogs that are leash trained, collars are fine. But when your dog loves to pull, collars can choke them and damage their throat. Harnesses have the advantage of distributing any weight from pulling throughout the dog’s whole body, not just the neck. And because your dog will learn to stop pulling, walks will be safer for you. GSPs can cause a serious injury if they pull unexpectedly.

Conclusion

Whether your GSP is a puppy or full-grown, the right harness can make your walks more enjoyable. You can teach your dog leash manners, control them better, and help prevent injuries for both of you. You can’t go wrong with any of the highly-rated options on our list, and you’ll see that a small change can make a huge difference.

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