best harness for golden retriever

5 Best Harnesses For Golden Retrievers In 2021 (For Pulling & Safety)

Looking for the best harness to get for your golden retriever?

A harness can be a great option for walking your Golden Retriever because they’re safe, can prevent pulling, and are handy for adventures.

But choosing the right harness for your dog can be a bit overwhelming since there are so many different brands and styles out there.

So in this article you’ll learn:

  • Why you may want to use a harness for your pup
  • What the best harnesses on the market for Golden Retrievers are
  • How to introduce your dog to wearing the harness so they’ll quickly learn to be comfortable in it
  • And how to know what size harness to get

If you’ve got an easygoing pup who is happy with a leisurely walk to the park, or your dog is the up-for-anything, go-go-go type, this will help you find the best harness for your Golden Retriever. 

Is A Harness Right For My Golden Retriever?

best harness for golden retriever

There are several options available for ensuring your dog is safe and under control when walking, including a regular flat buckle collar or a harness.

A harness offers some benefits that may be helpful to you and your pup that may be better than just a collar.

Here’s why:

A harness takes pressure off the neck.

We all want a dog that doesn’t pull on the leash and walks perfectly by our side, right?

That’s a great goal to work on in training, but this is life and sometimes your dog is going to pull.

Squirrel brain is real!

When they pull on a collar, that puts a lot of pressure on their neck, which can even cause damage to the internal structure of it.

A harness eliminates that risk, as the pressure is lower on the chest.

A front-clip harness can discourage pulling.

We’ll get into the different styles of harnesses later in this article, but some harnesses allow the leash to be clipped to the front of the chest, rather than behind their shoulders.

This can make pulling less effective for your Golden, because they can’t get leverage to move ahead and end up sort of turning themselves around.

For many dogs, this can really help them learn to walk with a loose leash.

Some dogs will still need additional training for leash walking, but the harness can aid in the learning process.

A harness can make outdoor adventures easier.

Some harnesses come with handles, which can come in handy if you and your pup are adventurous types.

If your Golden needs some assistance navigating a rocky stretch on your hike, a harness can make helping your pup out easier and safer than just a collar.

If your Golden Retriever enjoys jumping off a dock to swim, the harness gives you a way to help him back ashore.

Which Harness is Best for My Golden Retriever?

Many harnesses are designed so that they cut across the dog’s shoulders.

While this may discourage pulling, it has the potential to restrict their movement and put pressure on joints, which is unsafe.

Golden Retrievers can be prone to joint issues, so it’s especially important to use a non-restrictive harness for your dog. 

A good harness should allow for free movement of the shoulders and elbows.

All the harnesses recommended in this article are designed so that shoulders and elbows are not restricted.

Here are the best harnesses for Golden Retrievers:

Balance Harness by Blue-9 Pet Products

balance harness for golden retrievers

This Balance Harness offers six points of adjustment so you can get a completely customized fit for your Golden Retriever.

It’s designed to prevent pressure on your dog’s neck and joints and is non-restrictive.

What’s really great about the Balance Harness is that it has a buckle on the neck strap, so you don’t have to put the harness over your dog’s head.

This is particularly great for Goldens that are sensitive to things being slipped over their head.

With this design, you can attach the harness from under their head.

The strap that goes around the dog’s ribs has a buckle on both sides, so there’s no struggle getting them to step into the harness.

Easy on and off!

Additionally, the Balance Harness offers two points of connection for the leash: a front clip at the chest, and a back clip at the shoulders.

This can make it useful in training your dog to not pull on the leash.

This harness is very lightweight and will not be bulky or hot on your dog.

It’s made of soft, easy-to-clean nylon.

The minimalistic style won’t weigh them down or feel heavy.

And it comes in eight different colors so you can choose which one most flatters your Golden’s coat!

You can get the Balance Harness on Amazon here.

Urban Trail Adjustable Harness by Alpine Outfitters

urban trail adjustable harness for golden retrievers

This is a high-quality, durable harness made for active dogs, but is well-suited for casual neighborhood walks, too.

The design allows for the neck and girth straps to be adjusted for a nice fit.

It’s completely padded with Polartec fleece padding, so it’s comfortable and doesn’t rub or chafe your Golden.

It’s a non-restrictive harness and allows for great freedom of movement for the joints.

It’s also lightweight, not bulky, and easy to clean.

If your dog does pull while wearing the Urban Trail harness, the pressure will be on their chest and not on the neck.

It includes four points of connection for the leash, which is unique.

It has the traditional back clip, and a front clip, which can help with minimizing pulling.

It also has a clip on the left and right, which can be used if you bike or jog with your dog as it keeps the harness from getting twisted to one side.

The design includes a buckle on the neck strap, so you don’t have to put it over their head.

You’ll have to help them lift one front leg into the harness to secure the girth strap.

It comes in six colors and has a reflective strip along the neck for safety and visibility at night.

You can get the Urban Trail Adjustable Harness from Amazon here, and you can also get a custom-made version on Alpine Outfitters’ website, where you can add more features like a handle and your dog’s name.

Front Range Harness by Ruffwear

ruffwear front range harness for golden retrievers

This is a really versatile harness – great for everyday walks, but durable for more active outings.

It’s a non-restrictive harness, ensuring great range of motion for the shoulders and elbows, and eliminating pressure on the neck.

The Front Range Harness has soft padding on the straps, so it’s a bit more substantial than some of the others on this list, but still light and comfortable for your dog.

It offers four points of adjustment so you can get a proper fit for your Golden Retriever.

It also has two points of connection for the leash: one at the back of the shoulders, and one in front of the chest for dogs that pull.

To put the harness on, slip it over their head and then buckle each side of the girth strap at the back of their shoulders — that means your dog doesn’t have to step into the harness.

This harness has a couple of cool safety features as well.

Reflective trim helps keep your dog visible and there is a small loop where you can attach a light.

It also comes in a whopping 16 different colors!

You can get the Front Range harness from Amazon here.

Weekend Warrior Harness by Hurtta

weekend warrior hurtta harness for golden retrievers

This harness is made for dogs who enjoy going on adventures with their humans.

It’s a great option for your active pup.

It’s designed to distribute pressure on the chest if a dog pulls, so your dog won’t choke.

The neck and girth straps are both adjustable so you can ensure it fits your Golden well.

The exterior of the Weekend Warrior Harness is made of soft, weatherproof polyester, so it can hold up to your dog’s high-energy activity.

The interior is lined with a breathable mesh, to help your pup stay cool.

The straps are padded and comfortable but still offer a non-restrictive fit so your Golden can move freely.

This is one of the best harnesses for a Golden Retriever who lives for outdoor activities. 

The design incorporates a handle, which can be a convenient way to help your dog up a steep bank or to pull them back into the canoe if they decide to go for a swim out on the lake.

The handle can also be helpful if you need to get control of your Golden quickly.

Additionally, it can be a really nice feature for older Golden Retrievers who may need some extra assistance while out and about or even just around the house.

To put it on, you have to slip it over your dog’s head.

There are buckles on both sides of the girth strap, so you don’t have to lift your dog’s feet into the strap, which is nice.

It has one connection point for the leash at the back of the shoulders.

It comes in 8 colors so even if your dog is dirty from the day’s adventure, they’ll still be stylin’.

You can get the Weekend Warrior Harness from Amazon here.

3 in 1 Harness by PetSafe

3 in 1 harness for golden retrievers

This harness is a more affordable option that can work well for a Golden Retriever.

The 3 in 1 Harness offers 5 points of adjustment for a highly customizable fit.

It takes the pressure off your dog’s neck and is designed to be non-restrictive, so it won’t impede your Golden’s movement or joints.

It’s super easy to put on!

The buckle on the neck strap means you don’t have to put it over their head, and a buckle on both sides of the girth strap means no picking up your dog’s feet to step them into the harness.

Additionally, it has 2 points of connection for the leash: one at the back of the shoulders, and one at the front of the chest, which can help discourage pulling.

A cool feature on the 3 in 1 Harness is a handle on top of the shoulders.

It helps you get quick control of your Golden Retriever in the event of sudden onset case of squirrel brain or extreme wiggle butt.

It’s a lightweight harness made of nylon webbing, with some neoprene padding to keep it comfy and soft for your dog.

The color options are more limited with only three choices, but they’ll still look great on your Golden’s beautiful coat.

You can get the 3 in 1 Harness from Chewy here.

How To Choose The Right Size Harness For Your Golden Retriever

After you’ve decided which harness to get, you’ll need to decide which size to get so that it’s comfortable for your pup.

As you might’ve noticed, all of the harnesses above have multiple points of adjustment to help get just the right fit for your pup.

But you’ll still need to start with the right size harness.

So how do you that?

Most golden retriever harness manufacturers have a chart with recommended sizes based on weight, neck size, and chest size (also called girth).

To get your dog’s measurements you can either use tailor’s tape or a string.

If you use a string, just measure your dog with it, then use a ruler or tape measure to see how long the string is.

When measuring your dog’s neck, measure from the base of their neck where it’s widest.

And when measuring their chest, measure the widest part of their rib cage, which is just behind their elbows.

Once you get their measurements, you can check the size charts (available on either Amazon, Chewy, or the manfuacturer’s website) to determine which size is best for you pup.

If you’re in between sizes, choose a larger size.

How To Train Your Golden Retriever To Love Wearing Their Harness

Once you’ve decided which of these top harnesses is the best match for your Golden Retriever and what size to get, it’s important to introduce the harness to them in a positive way.

Rather than simply slapping the harness on them and heading out for a walk, spend a little time getting them used to it using positive reinforcement training.

This excellent video by trainer Chirag Patel shows how you can build a positive association with the harness and get your dog to cooperate with putting it on.

With some patience and good treats, your dog will be happy to put the harness on while holding still.

The harness will also become associated with going outside on walks, so that will build positive feelings about the harness, too.

Ultimately, a harness is a tool to help you and your dog enjoy life together with more ease and comfort.

So whether your pup likes leisurely neighborhood strolls, or they love long, adventurous hikes, a non-restrictive harness can be a great option for your Golden Retriever.

Have any questions about which harness to get for your Golden?

Let me know down in the comments!

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

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About the author:

Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.

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