7 Best Dog Harnesses for Belgian Malinois in 2020

Many mistake the Belgian Malinois for a German Shepherd, but the Belgian Malinois is in a class of its own. This dog was initially bred as a herding dog, but their intelligence and zeal have made them a valuable addition to police stations, protection teams, and the military. He’s highly active and shines doing many tasks, from agility to performing obedience routines and more.

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The Belgian Malinois breed is synonymous with a faultless work ethic and a loyal personality. They make fantastic family members, as a Belgian Malinois wants nothing more than to be around its favorite person: you. The temperament of this breed may vary considerably, from friendly and engaging to aloof and reserved.

Regardless of what temperament they exhibit, one thing’s for sure: a bored and unexercised Belgian Malinois is a recipe for disaster. According to the American Kennel Club, if you deny them activity, you deny them their very reason for being. As such, they need a lot of exercise, and to get the exercise they need, buying them the right harness is a must.

Their enthusiasm and need to be outside might make them excitable when you put them on a leash and cause them to pull. For a dog of this temperament, a harness is an excellent solution, as it can help prevent this behavior. The right harness can also keep your dog safe from injuries caused by pulling and allow you better control of them on your walks.

Different Types of Dog Harnesses for Belgian Malinois

Not all harnesses do the same thing, and the first step in purchasing the perfect harness for your furry pal is to understand the different kinds and what they’re used for. Here’s a brief overview of each.

Overhead vs. Step-In

Harnesses fall into one of two categories: overhead or step-in.

Overhead harnesses slide over the dog’s head and buckle around their body, and they tend to have more padding around the chest. Step-in harnesses, on the other hand, typically feature a more minimalistic design, and they require the dog to lift its leg to put it on. Step-ins can be problematic for elderly dogs or excitable dogs who may fair better with an overhead harness.

Back Clip Harness

A back clip harness, which is the most common harness type you’ll see, has a D-ring lead attachment on the dog’s back. It’s easy to use and helps distribute weight evenly among your dog’s body, but it does little to prevent pulling.

Front Clip Harness

A front clip harness can help with pulling, as the position of the lead attachment on the chest discourages this behavior. This placement leads the dog toward you if they pull, which eliminates the reward for pulling.

Dual Clip Harness

A dual clip harness has both a front and back D-ring attachment. Many owners use the front clip to train their dog, and then they switch to the back clip when it knows how to walk on a leash.

How Do I Ensure the Best Fit for My Belgian Malinois?

The Belgian Malinois’ intelligence and drive has earned it a decorated place among protection officials and law enforcement officers. Its strong defensive and territorial instincts make this breed an excellent family dog, though his temperament may not be right for a first-time dog owner. The Belgian Malinois is hardworking and has moderate to high exercise needs.

How do you ensure a properly fitting harness that will allow you to give your dog the exercise he requires? The first thing to keep in mind is that there are no standard harness sizes, so a large can vary significantly from brand to brand. The best way to get the right fit is by carefully measuring your dog and following each brand’s sizing guidelines.

Start with chest and neck measurements. The chest is the most critical one, and you get it by measuring across the fullest part of your dog’s chest, all the way around their back. Add an inch or two for the best fit. For the neck measurement, measure the broadest part of their neck. Finally, knowing your dog’s weight can be useful, though it’s not always the best indicator of fit.

A properly sized harness should allow you to fit a finger or two in between the harness and your dog. It won’t chafe, rotate, or cause irritation, and you shouldn’t see any rolls of skin around your dog’s neck. Once they’ve used the harness for a while, check to see if they have any fur patches missing under the harness, which is a sign that it’s too tight.

Overall Best Dog Harness for Belgian Malinois

Now for the fun part—our pick for the overall best dog harness for the Belgian Malinois. We reviewed the top-rated dog harnesses on the market, and one stood out as the best option for this breed.

Best Overall—Kurgo TruFit Smart Harness

For many dog owners, car rides form an integral part of life with their pup. If this sounds like you, you must have the right equipment to keep your dog safe in your vehicle—and the Kurgo TruFit Smart Harness, with both a front and back clip, can help you do just that

It comes with a seatbelt attachment that fastens to your car (you can also purchase two other types if you prefer), and the whole system has been extensively crash-tested. The all-steel buckle system is based on the engineering used in rock climbers’ harnesses, and the harness has five adjustment points, which is one more than most harnesses typically have.

And aside from having all the equipment you need for car safety, this harness has extra padding in the chest that makes it more comfortable for your dog.

6 More Highly Rated Dog Harnesses for Belgian Malinois

Aside from the Kurgo TruFit Smart Harness, we found several other excellent harness options. Any one of these is well suited to the demands of this high-energy breed.

PetSafe 3 in 1 Dog Harness

For pet owners who want a harness that’s both simple and practical, the PetSafe 3 in 1 Dog Harness is the perfect option. It’s easy to put on your dog, so that you can be out the door quickly, and as its name indicates, you can use it three ways: as a standard back clip leash, as a no-pull front clip lead, and to safely restrain your dog in the car.

Though the harness doesn’t have as much padding as other models, the straps are lined with neoprene to add comfort. It adjusts at five separate points, a feature that allows you to customize the fit to any dog, and we love the reflective stitching that helps keep you safe at night.

Hurtta Weekend Warrior ECO Dog Harness

The Hurtta Weekend Warrior Harness is precisely what any weekend warrior needs for their adventures. It offers an ergonomic design that allows your Belgian Malinois maximum range of motion—after all, who wants a harness getting in the way of fun time? The harness also has breathable mesh that will keep your dog cool even in warm weather.

This Hurtta model features an overhead design and two side release buckles that are easy to get on and off. Users like the handle on top, which makes it easy to grab your dog should you need to or to use for training purposes. It’s got 3M reflective piping to increase visibility, and the high quality is perfect for active breeds like the Belgian Malinois.

HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness

The HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness is an excellent no-choke choice for elderly dogs or pullers. It has a simple design with buckles that snap into place and adjustable straps to help you achieve the perfect fit for your dog. The broad chest strap distributes weight even among your furry pal’s chest and back to eliminate worries of choking or injury.

Additionally, this harness has a reflective strip to give you some added visibility when walking your dog and a top handle for better control. Overall, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this product, and it comes in quite a few lovely color combinations.

Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness

Julius-K9 is the gold standard of service harnesses, and it’s one of the most popular products out there. This brand is known for its incredibly tough design that can handle even the strongest of dogs while at the same time allowing for free movement. The chest and belly strap are both adjustable, and the harness is lined so as not to cause irritation or sores on your dog’s body.

Users have come to expect the security that comes with the resilient steel D-rings, and it’s a favorite among pet owners in cold areas, as the buckles are freeze-proof. Reflective stitching helps keep you safe at night, and the outer layer of the harness is water-repellent, while the inner layer is breathable and comfortable.

Noxgear LightHound LED Illuminated and Reflective Dog Harness

Are you a nighttime or an early morning before-the-sun-rises walker? If this sounds like you and your dog, visibility in these low-light conditions is critical to maintaining safety—and there’s nothing like the Noxgear Harness. It features two snap buckles and micro-USB rechargeable LEDs with an impressive selection of fourteen fun colors.

This unique harness features military-grade Cordura fabric construction, so you know it’s tough. It’s lightweight, weatherproof (though not waterproof, so don’t let your dog swim with it!), and machine washable, so you can throw it in the wash if it gets dirty. Noxgear offers dog owners 360-degree visibility with this harness, so you’ll always be seen when you need to be.

Best Harness for a Belgian Malinois Puppy

Looking for a harness specifically for a Belgian Malinois puppy? Here’s one that will fit the bill.

2 Hounds Design Freedom No-Pull Dog Harness

Training is an essential part of your puppy’s life, and the 2 Hounds harness makes training easier with its no-pull design, as well as the included double-ended leash. The leash has two contact points that allow you to “steer” your dog and have better control over her, which owners find quite helpful as their dog learns to walk on leash.

The design is soft and won’t rub your dog’s fur uncomfortably or cause chafing. The harness has four adjustment points, which allow for full customization and also grow a bit with your dog. Overall, you can’t beat its quality for such a low price.

Tips for Getting Your Belgian Malinois Accustomed to Using a Harness

This breed’s drive and enthusiastic nature make them excellent work dogs, but it can also mean they are prone to pulling. The right harness will discourage pulling and make your walks more pleasant, but for some adult dogs, the switch from collar to harness can be met with resistance. Here are several tips to get your Belgian Malinois accustomed to her new harness.

  •  If you have a Belgian Malinois puppy, start using a harness as soon as possible. The younger the dog, the less resistance you’re likely to meet.
  • Avoid putting the harness directly on your dog. Start by leaving it near some of your dog’s toys with a treat so that your dog can smell it and begin to associate it with good things (but don’t let them chew on it). Repeat this step several times.
  • Tell your dog to sit, and touch the harness to his fur while praising him and giving him a treat. Once you’ve done this a few times, you can begin to put it on him loosely, continuing the praise and treat routine.
  • After a while, try putting on the harness for short periods in your house.
  • Once your dog is used to wearing the harness inside, he should be ready to wear it in the real world.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of using a harness as compared to a collar?

First and foremost, a dog that pulls on a collar can cause throat or other injury to himself. A collar also fails to mitigate pulling behavior, whereas the proper no-pull harness can significantly reduce pulling and make walking on a lead a much more enjoyable activity.

 How should I fit my puppy for a harness?

You should follow the same steps we mentioned above to fit a puppy for a harness, keeping in mind that you will likely need to purchase a bigger size (or two) as your dog grows. Check the fit of your puppy’s harness periodically to ensure it isn’t too tight.

 What type of harness is appropriate for the Belgian Malinois’ temperament and activity level? 

Belgian Malinois are an energetic breed and need a harness with sturdy fittings, as well as multiple adjustment points which can help prevent escape. Additionally, they like to run and be active, so look for something that won’t restrict movement.

Conclusion

The right harness has several benefits. It protects your Belgian Malinois’ neck and spine, as well as reduces pulling, and it keeps this energetic breed securely in place and under control. As long as you measure your dog carefully and follow brand fit guidelines, any of the top-rated products above can help you and your Belgian Malinois have amazing adventures together.

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