6 Best Dog Harnesses for Mastiffs in 2019

Sometimes weighing even more than grown men, the colossal mastiff is a formidable-looking dog. Although their wrinkly forehead and perpetual “frowning” mouths make this breed look unhappy, most mastiffs are anything but—their patient and loving temperament make them gentle companions.

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Tracing the history of the mastiff can be challenging since there are actually quite a few variations of this breed, the most common being Neapolitan and Tibetan Mastiffs. Throughout Europe, mastiffs fought alongside their masters in battle, guarded their estates, and even hunted large predators. Historians estimate that only 14 English mastiffs survived the aftermath of WWII, but US breeders were able to help ensure the breed did not go extinct.

Today, most mastiffs would rather lounge around the house than stalk prey through the woods. It might come as a surprise that, despite their large size, a mastiff’s energy requirements are fairly low. They generally won’t require tons of rigorous exercise, but a one or two-mile daily walk can do wonders for a mastiff’s emotional and physical health. Keep in mind that mastiffs have a reputation for deciding when the walk is over (usually by flopping down on the sidewalk), so there’s a significant chance you could end up carrying them back.

Although mastiffs may be known for their relaxed, laidback attitude, this large breed usually requires the added support of a harness while they’re out on a daily stroll. Not only can a collar make it difficult for you to reign your mastiff in, but in some cases, collars can cause neck strains and throat injuries when your dog pulls on the lead.

The good news, however, is that shopping for the best mastiff harness is easy, especially since we’ve already reviewed the top products of 2019 for you.

What is the Best Dog Harness for a Mastiff?

Different Types of Dog Harnesses for Mastiffs

It’s a common mistake to assume that all harnesses are the same. While it might seem that way, the material and placement of the buckles can make a huge difference in how well you manage your mastiff.

The first type, and often most popular harness for mastiffs, is the front-clip harness. By attaching the leash to the front of the chest plate, this harness provides owners with more control over their dog’s movements. Not only are front-clip harnesses almost crucial for dogs who frequently jerk or pull, but they’re often a good choice for large breeds like the mastiff too.

If your mastiff doesn’t have any issues with pulling or tugging on the lead, a back-clip harness might be a more appropriate choice. Unlike the front-clip, a back-clip harness has an attachment point on the rear. While this gives the dog more freedom to move around, it often provides owners with less control.

However, there’s no reason to settle between the two options—a dual-clip harness will give you the best of both worlds. There’s an attachment point on both the back and front of the harness so that you can choose how much control you want to have. On relaxed outings, you can use the rear attachment but quickly switch to the front-clip if your mastiff begins to act up.

You may also notice some harnesses referred to as “vest harnesses”. Unlike some brands, a vest harness includes extra padding and material—usually around the chest area and the legs—that helps provide extra support and comfort for your dog.

The only potential downside to a vest harness is that, as comfortable as they may be, not all of them are extremely durable. The type of material that the manufacturer chooses to use can determine whether or not the vest harness lasts for years—or falls apart within a few months.

What to Look for in a Good Harness for Mastiffs

While your dog’s individual needs might vary from others, there are always a few key features to look for when identifying a good harness for mastiffs: comfort, control, and durability. Like all dogs, mastiffs enjoy being comfortable—and they’ll be more likely to cooperate while wearing a cozy harness than one that itches or chafes their skin.

The material that a harness uses is often a good indicator of how comfortable it will be: padded or vest harnesses that use soft mesh or nylon material are often comfier than those that only use nylon straps or a plastic coating.

Control is another feature to consider. The best harnesses are those that can give owners optimal control without making the dog feel as if their movements are hindered. Harnesses with “no-pull” or “anti-choke” components are especially essential since they can help prevent your mastiff from accidentally injuring themselves when they tug harshly on the lead.

As important as control and comfort are, these features are meaningless if your harness can’t withstand a little wear and tear. Although it can be challenging to determine whether or not your harness is truly durable, its materials are always a good place to start.

Harnesses that use oxford cloth or nylon tend to be more resilient while those with only a spongy mesh layer may not be. For large, strong breeds like the mastiff, buckles that use reinforced steel can also prevent the harness from breaking when your dog pulls.

If you enjoy taking your mastiff out on nighttime walks, reflective straps are an important feature to look for. Reflective harnesses will not only keep you visible to drivers but will make your dog much easier to locate if they happen to wander off.

Overall Best Dog Harness for mastiffs:

Here are our top 6 picks:

PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness

Our Hands-Down Favorite

For a simple, no-hassle harness that helps you maintain control over an uncooperative mastiff, the PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness may be the ideal option. Since the leash attachment is located on the chest plate, the risk of a throat or neck injury is significantly lower.

Instead of putting pressure on your dog’s trachea, the PetSafe harness distributes the pressure throughout your pup’s body and allows you to steer them. One downside to front-clip harnesses is that they can cause tangling—however, this harness solves that issue by including a martingale loop so that it’s much more difficult for your dog to twist and tangle the lead.

For fidgeting mastiffs that never hold still, the PetSafe harness uses quick-snap buckles so that placing your dog in the harness only takes a matter of seconds.

4 More Highly Rated Dog Harnesses for Mastiffs:

Although we might already have named the best mastiff harness, there’s no reason to quit there. Here are four more harnesses to pick from:

Kruz PET Fully Adjustable Step-in Puffy Mesh Dog Harness

Many harnesses may claim to be the best, but only one can truly live up to its reputation—and that’s the Kruz PET Fully Adjustable Step-in Puffy Mesh Dog Harness. Through its unique design and mesh fabric, the Kruz harness is able to find the perfect blend between comfort and durability.

On hot summer days, the breathable mesh layer can prevent the harness from painfully chafing against your dog’s skin while the black webbing makes the entire ensemble lightweight. However, while it won’t weigh your dog down, the harness isn’t necessarily thin: its thicker, dual-layered mesh gives the garment a longer life span.

The metal attachments and strong plastic buckle also ensure that the harness won’t break—even when faced with the strength of a large mastiff.

Blueberry Pet Spring Prints Dog Harness

Comfort and durability don’t need to mean sacrificing style—and with the Blueberry Pet Spring Prints Dog Harness, your mastiff can turn any daily stroll into their own personal fashion show. Besides the stylish print, this vibrant harness also works to reduce the strain and pressure on your dog’s neck when they pull.

The strong, grosgrain ribbon and heavy-duty nylon webbing make the harness more durable while the chrome D-ring is more eco-friendly.

While some harnesses can be difficult to take on and off, the Blueberry Pet Spring Prints harness makes the process painless by providing quick-snap buckles. There’s also multiple points of adjustment so that you can make sure the harness fits your mastiff comfortably and securely.

Petacc Outdoor No-Pull Reflective Dog Harness

Regardless of where you plan to take your mastiff, the Petacc Outdoor No-Pull Reflective Dog harness is always up to the task. Not only does this dual-clip harness contain both back and front attachments, but it also includes a sturdy handle on the back too. If your dog begins to jerk or pull, the control handle can reign them in or lift them out of an unexpected situation.

Along with a no-pull and no-choke feature, the harness also uses comfortable nylon webbing and breathable mesh. While it might not be a priority to some owners, the 3M reflective material is a crucial feature to have on those late night walks.

Since every dog’s size and body is a little different, the multiple adjustment straps can ensure that your mastiff gets a cozy, customized fit.

Mighty Paw Vehicle Safety Dog Harness

Although many owners associate harnesses with walking, it’s almost equally as important to have a harness that can easily secure your dog into a vehicle. The Mighty Paw Vehicle Safety Dog harness can do just that—the metal seat belt loop works well with all seatbelt systems while the breathable padding can help keep your dog comfortable on long road trips.

When you do finally make it to your destination, there’s no reason to switch harnesses. The Mighty Paw harness also has front and back D-ring attachments that you can easily clip your leash on.

Although lightweight, many of the materials are still heavy-duty enough to withstand rough adventures or weather.

Best Harness for a Mastiff Puppy

In many cases, teaching your mastiff to use a harness begins in the puppy stage. As mellow as these dogs are, mastiff puppies often require more control than adult or senior dogs do. Here’s the harness we recommend for your pup:

Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog Harness

Since puppies are often unused to the feel of a harness, comfort is especially important. The Pawtitas Reflective Padded Dog harness uses thick, neoprene padding for extra comfort as well as a durable buckle.

As your mastiff grows, the Pawtitas harness can grow too—the adjustable straps ensure that your dog gets a customized fit as they continue to develop. The step-in design also makes sliding your mastiff into the garment feel effortless (while also preventing potential escape attempts).

On nighttime strolls, the reflective material will keep your mastiff visible to both you and drivers. Speaking of material, the Pawtitas harness comes in a variety of different colors to pick from. While appearance might not affect the harness’ function, it can help ensure your dog is always stylish.

Tips for Getting Your Mastiff Accustomed to Using a Harness

Although the loving temperament of the mastiff usually means this breed only needs gentle training, getting your dog accustomed to using a harness isn’t always easy. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make the process a little easier:

  1. Be patient. Before you begin the process, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’ve got the right attitude. Regardless of your dog’s age, training them to use a harness can be time-consuming. With plenty of patience, even the most uncooperative of mastiffs can learn to wear a harness.
  2. Lay the harness on the floor by your dog. Before trying to fit the harness on your mastiff, place the garment beside them and allow them to sniff it. If they still refuse to show interest, placing a treat on top of it might encourage them to pay attention to it.
  3. Once your dog understands the harness isn’t a threat, you can then begin putting it on. It’s not uncommon for dogs to fidget or resist the harness initially. Feeding your dog a treat every time you put the harness on may help the view the garment as a positive thing (and make them more cooperative in the future).
  4. Let your dog wear the harness inside. At first, your mastiff may resist the harness and even try to slip out of it. Before going outside, it’s important to allow your pup to adjust to their new harness in the comfort of their home. Depending on your dog’s stubbornness, you should allow your mastiff to wear it inside for one or two days before taking them outside.
  5. Take your dog somewhere they love. Since your mastiff may be initially unsure about the harness, be sure to take them somewhere they love on their first outing. This will help your mastiff positively associate their new harness with adventure and exploration.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the best mastiff harness? – Mastiffs are a versatile breed. Once they’ve been leash trained, these dogs might not frequently jerk or pull, but their large size can make them difficult to manage. A dual-clip harness may be the best option: when they’re behaving, you can use the back-clip but quickly switch the front-clip if your dog begins to tug on the lead.
  • How do I fit a mastiff puppy for a harness? – In some cases, mastiffs may not reach their full weight or height until they’re four years old. With continually growing mastiff puppies, finding a harness that fits correctly can be a difficult task. The best way to fit your puppy is by purchasing a size that fits their current measurements, but that you can adjust to a bigger size.
  • How can I tell if the harness is too loose? – If your mastiff keeps slipping out of their harness, it’s a good indicator that the garment is too loose. However, there’s a quicker way to tell too: once you’ve adjusted the harness to the correct size, try slipping two fingers underneath of it. If you can’t, the harness is too tight, but if you can easily slip more than two fingers beneath the harness, you know it’s too loose.
  • How do I know if the harness is comfortable for my mastiff to wear? – Since your mastiff can’t communicate their discomfort, you’ll have to look for other indicators. One quick way to tell is by examining your dog’s skin after they’ve worn the harness for a significant amount of time. If you find signs of skin irritation or chafing, the harness is definitely uncomfortable and may need to be adjusted or returned.

Wrapping Up

Not only do harnesses often allow you to keep better control over your pup, but you may find that many mastiffs actually prefer the comfort and security of a harness over a collar. The tricky part is finding the best mastiff harness for your furry companion. Fortunately, with the highly-rated products we’ve reviewed above, you have a good place to start.

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