6 Best Harnesses for German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherd Dogs, commonly referred to as German Shepherds or GSD, are confident dogs who excel at dog sports and work of all types. Their intelligence and loyalty puts them among the most popular dogs for service and military work around the globe. The steadfast German Shepherd makes an excellent family dog and guardian.

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German Shepherds are incredibly active dogs with high energy levels. They are also large dogs, which means they can be difficult to control in exciting situations. Maintaining control of your enthusiastic GSD starts with a high-quality dog harness. In order to keep all four paws on the ground, you will need a harness that can stand up to a German Shepherd’s physical strength and determination.

We’ve taken the guess work out of the process by putting together a list of the six best harness for German Shepherd Dogs.

What to Look for in a Good Harness for German Shepherd Dogs

One of the most important aspects of a good harness for your GSD is quality and durability of the material. Since German Shepherds are large, powerful dogs, it’s imperative that the harness holds up against their strength. This is especially important if your pup is a working dog, or if they tend to overpower you on walks, runs and hikes. If the dog harness you purchase is made from flimsy fabric, it can easily tear or rip.

Breathability of the materials from which your dog harness is made is also important. German Shepherds have dense coats, and the breed can become overheated if their skin and fur is being suffocated for a thick harness. Purchase a breathable dog harness for your GSD do no matter what they are doing, they can remain cool.

If your German Shepherd is a working or service dog, you may want to choose a dog harness with additional benefits such as removable patches, storage pouches or an assistance handle. Of course necessary features all come down to your needs. A handle allows you to have better control over your GSD, and it also helps in case you have a senior pup who needs a boost. Storage pouches can carry all sorts of items, and can be nice to have for hikes and adventures.

Safety features are also great to have on your German Shepherd’s harness. Reflective straps and trim offer extra visibility, as do vibrant colored fabrics. Some dog harnesses even come with LED light attachments, perfect for working dogs or German Shepherds who enjoy nighttime walks and exploration. Another beneficial safety feature is a metal and reinforced D-ring for secure leash attachment.

As a pet parent, your dog’s comfort is a priority. It may seem obvious, but make sure you choose a dog harness that your German Shepherd will be comfortable in. Comfort extends to more than just the material – purchasing the correct size and a design that doesn’t restrict your GDS’s movement should always be on your priority list when making your final purchase.

Different Types of Harnesses for German Shepherd Dogs

German Shepherds are prone to pulling on the leash because of their size, enthusiasm and courage. Their nose will lead the way, and that could mean you’re at the mercy of their strength. No-pull dog harnesses are a great tool for keeping your GSD under control during walks and adventures. A no-pull harness will allow you to steer your dog in the correct direction and redirect their attention, making walk time stress-free and enjoyable for everyone.

If your German Shepherd is a service dog, we suggest a dog harness made for that purpose. Service dog harness vests come equipped with a helpful handle attached as well as Velcro for their ADA-approved patches. These types of harnesses are generally weather-proof, heavy-duty and breathable. Many of them also don reflective trim or other safety features.

Standard harnesses are an inexpensive option for German Shepherds. Typically they are made out of reinforced nylon or other heavy-duty materials such as leather. Standard harnesses come in a wide variety of sizes, colors and designs. They are easy to put on your dog and make excellent an choice for basic walks.

Multi-use harnesses are helpful for German Shepherd parents. They are versatile and fantastic for pet parents on a budget since they save you from buying several different types of harnesses. The most popular 2-in-1 dog harnesses are made for car safety. Vehicle restraint harnesses come with a handle or apparatus to thread a seat belt through. Often times car safety harnesses are crash-tested, so you can go on rides knowing that your GSD is safe!

For working German Shepherds, we suggest considering a tactical dog harness. These types of dog harnesses are extremely durable, secure and offer a wide range of benefits. Tactical dog harnesses Velcro for patches and fasteners for storage pouches or bags. We like this type of dog harness for German Shepherds because they can be customized for whatever tasks you need performed.

Now let’s take a look at our list of the six best harnesses for German Shepherds.

Overall Best German Shepherd Harness

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

The PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness is one of the most highly rated harnesses on the market for large breed dogs. Although the design is simple, it’s extremely effective in steering and controlling a dog who pulls and lunges on the leash. The chest portion of the Easy Walk harness is a martingale loop, which prevents twisting if your GSD is pulling forcefully. The harness adjusts at four points, allowing for a custom-like fit. We like this harness because it’s reliable, comfortable and safe for your German Shepherd whether they pull, jump on people or don’t need any additional steering. It works well for all situations!


5 More High Rated Harnesses for German Shepherd Dogs

OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness

For working dogs, we recommend the OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness. This vest has a heavy-duty outer shell, which is comfortable and made out of nylon. The material is water resistant, which is great if your GSD is working outside in wet weather conditions. This tactical dog harness is adjustable at the neck and chest. We also like that this German Shepherd dog harness has webbing on the sides for securing gear and supplies.

Sleepypod Clickit Sport Dog Safety Harness

If you’re interested in a car safety harness, our top pick is this one from Sleepypod. We love Sleepypod products for vehicle safety because they are crash-tested, and have received the highest ratings from the Center for Pet Safety. This Sleepypod harness is made from luggage-quality nylon and automotive-grade materials. The padded vest is designed for premium protection in the car without compromising your Shepherd’s comfort. Reflectors on the Sleepypod Clickit harness make it a great choice for walking in low visibility conditions. For GSD’s who enjoy walks and frequent car rides, we confidently recommend this harness.

Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness

This harness offers ultimate safety under low visibility conditions. The reflective strips are effective in any sort of light conditions, making it a good choice for camping, hiking or daily neighborhood strolls. The step-in design makes the Pawtitas dog harness easy to put on your German Shepherd, and its neoprene padding mean maximum comfort. The padded chest take pressure off your dog’s neck, great for GSDs who like to pull. For a stylish pup who enjoys strutting their stuff, this harness comes in a variety of color combinations. You can also purchase matching collars and leashes!

Dogline Unimax Multipurpose Dog Harness

For working or service German Shepherds, we also like the Dogline Unimax harness. It works well as a daily use harness, or for those GSDs who are working or in training. It’s made from heavy-duty material for extreme durability, and it also has helpful features like reflective trim and an assistance handle. This harness is breathable and easy to clean for your pup who is working outside or spending time enjoying outdoor adventures. The Dogline Unimax dog harness evenly distributes pressure if your GSD is pulling, and you won’t have to worry about it ripping or tearing. Choose from a variety of colors to best fit your beloved German Shepherd!

Hurtta Padded Dog Harness

This dog harness may look casual and simple, but it’s great for active German Shepherds who love to explore. The padded neoprene design is comfortable and won’t restrict your GSDs movement when they are running and playing. Does your dog like to get dirty in the mud or wet on the beach? This Hurtta dog harness is machine washable and convenient cleaning! 3M reflectors add a safety element for this harness, which any pet parent can appreciate. We suggest this dog harness for German Shepherds who enjoy extensive outdoor exercise.

Tips for Getting Your German Shepherd Dog Accustomed to a Harness

German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs that can be trained to perform a variety of tasks. It’s no surprise that this breed is the top dog for military and law enforcement work all over the world. But all GSDs have to start small, with basic training. If you’ve just adopted a puppy or adult German Shepherd who doesn’t have prior training experience, you will need to help them get accustomed to wearing a harness. Follow these steps to do so.

  1. German Shepherds will best learn to appreciate their dog harness with positive reinforcement training. This reward-based training using treats, toys and praise will help them get accustomed to wearing a harness in no time. To start your training, have lots of high-value treats on hand.
  2. If your GSD is completely new to the concept of a harness, it’s best to start slow and go at your dog’s pace. Begin by placing the harness on the floor and allow your pup to see it and sniff it as much as they want. This step is important for nervous or skittish dogs. Treat them a lot for displaying confident behavior around the harness.
  3. Next it’s time to put the harness on your German Shepherd. While equipping and adjusting the harness on your dog, continue to treat them for being brave.
  4. After successful getting the harness on your GSD, let them walk around the house a bit so they can get used to the feel of the harness. Observe their movement to be sure that the harness is not restricting your German Shepherd’s movement. Remember to treat them during the process!
  5. Once your GSD is comfortable with the harness, it’s time for a walk! Take short walks if your German Shepherd is still weary of the dog harness, and slowly increase the length of walks as you see fit.
  6. It’s best to be patient with your German Shepherd when getting them accustomed to their new harness. Keep training sessions short and positive. If you get frustrated, so will your dog. Never force your GSD to do something against their will, as it will perpetuate fear and distrust.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do I choose the appropriate size harness for my German Shepherd? – The first rule of thumb when choosing the best size harness for your German Shepherd is to pick one based on your dog’s measurements, not the general size. Measure your GSD’s neck, body length and girth. If you are purchasing a dog harness online, it’s likely there will be a sizing chart to reference. Choose the best size based on the measurements you took of your German Shepherd. You will get the closest fit by doing so.
  • What is the best way to teach my German Shepherd to stop pulling on the leash? – First and foremost we recommend using a no-pull dog harness, such as the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness which we suggested above. A no-pull harness will help you maintain control of your German Shepherd by steering them in the right direction and distributing the weight and pressure throughout their body. Positive reinforcement training is also an effective way of teaching them to walk more calmly on the leash.


German Shepherds excel at working in several capacities, and performing in dog sports such as agility, obedience and dock diving. A well-behaved German Shepherd will first be comfortable with basic training, such as walking properly on a leash. By using a dog harness for your GSD, you are encouraging safe and healthy exercise.

Remember to keep your proof of purchase and any tags that came associated with your new dog harness in case you need to return it or exchange for a different size or style.

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