Do you want to go jogging with your dog? If so, a comfortable and secure harness is essential. In this article, Richard Cross reviews five of the best dog harnesses for running to help you find a safe option for your pet.
That doesn’t mean all dogs are suited to jogging though. While most healthy dogs can manage a short run without getting overtired, long-distance runners need to be careful about the breed they choose. Some breeds, such as pugs and chihuahuas, simply aren’t built for anything other than light exercise.
Even if your dog can handle running, it’s vital to consider his safety – and the harness you use is a big part of this. The right harness should provide secure and comfortable control for your pup, while the wrong choice can cause chafing, discomfort and an altered gait.
In this article, I’ve listed five of the best dog harnesses for running. Each provides a secure and adjustable fit, along with padding to avoid discomfort. Before I get to the recommendations though, what makes a great jogging harness for your pup?
Our #1 Pick: Ruffwear Front Range
Durable harness with four adjustment points
Our top pick for a running harness is the Ruffwear Front Range. It’s a durable harness that’s easy to adjust, has plenty of padding, and two leash attachment points. It also has a reflective trim and is available in a range of sizes.
What Makes a Great Dog Running Harness?
In theory, any harness could be used for running. The problem is that low-quality harnesses often cause chafing or pain when used over long distances. To avoid this, here are a few considerations when buying a running harness.
Note: If you haven’t read our page about dog harnesses already, it includes a more in-depth guide to the various types of harnesses.
- Comfort and Security. The best running harnesses should be comfortable for your dog to wear. They also shouldn’t slide too much when attached to a leash, as this can cause rubbing. I recommend looking for a harness with padding – especially around the neck and chest. This reduces friction and provides a more comfortable fit. A breathable mesh is a bonus when looking for running gear for your pet.
- Adjustable Straps. Most dog harnesses allow for some form of adjustment, but the best products have multiple adjustable straps so you can get a snug fit without over-tightening. The Ruffwear Front Range, for example, has four points of adjustment. As long as you buy the right size harness, this allows you to adjust it to fit your dog’s body shape.
- Durability. A jogging harness needs to handle more strain than one used for leisurely walks. For this reason, it should be made with durable material. The leash attachments should ideally be made from strong metal, while the buckles and straps need to be rugged and strong. Double stitched seams can also increase the durability of a harness.
- Sizing. It’s vital to choose the right size harness for your dog. Most manufacturers provide a sizing chart, so make sure you take accurate measurements of your dog’s chest and neck girth. I usually recommend getting a size up if your dog is close to the border of two sizes, but make sure you can adjust the harness otherwise your dog might slip out.
- Reflective Strips. Many of the best jogging harnesses have a reflective strip. This makes it easier for people to see your dog in low-light conditions. While this is a useful feature for anyone who runs with their dog, it’s essential if you plan to run at night. Lighted dog collars can also be useful.
- Front or Back Leash Attachments. Front leash attachments can be useful for dogs that pull, as they provide a deterrent without causing pain. While a front attachment is great for walking, I prefer the back attachment when running. Back leash attachments also tend to be more durable and less likely to break – although this varies depending on the harness.
With most dog products, you need to balance quality with your budget. Harnesses are often relatively cheap though – even the highest quality options. For this reason, I recommend choosing the best harness rather than looking for a bargain. This is especially important if you’re going to be regularly running with your dog, as poor-quality harnesses can cause pain and chafing.
Note: A dog harness shouldn’t replace a collar, as it’s important for your dog to have identification and contact details at all times. Check out our page of the best collars for dogs for more information on how to choose one. We also have a section for the best leather dog collars, if you prefer the traditional appearance, and best hands-free dog leashes.
5 Best Harnesses for Running With Your Dog
Now you know what to look for in a jogging harness, here are five of the best options. Make sure you read the mini-reviews to decide which is the best for your dog and circumstances.
|Rank||Name||Leash Attachment||Why Choose It...|
|#1||Ruffwear Front Range||Front & Back||Our top pick. Durable harness that's adjustable and has plenty of padding.|
|#2||Chai’s Choice 3M||Front & Back||A solid alternative to the Ruffwear with durable stitching, strong leash attachments, and a padded design.|
|#3||Rabbitgoo Harness||Front & Back||Easy to adjust and metal D-Ring attachments. Also has reflective material.|
|#4||Blueberry Pet Padded Training Harness||Back||An interesting harness that's designed to minimise movement restriction.|
|#5||Embark Active Dog Harness||Front & Back||Great for medium-size dogs, but not the best choice for the biggest or smallest breeds.|
1. Ruffwear Front RangeVIEW PRICE
If you’re looking for a high-quality running harness for your dog – and don’t mind paying a bit extra for it – then the Ruffwear Front Range is an excellent choice. It’s a highly durable harness that’s designed for rugged trails and heavy use. Most importantly, the extra padding around the chest, belly and back mean it’s comfortable even on longer runs.
Aside from its padding and durable design, the Ruffwear comes with an easy “slip on” design and a reflective trim for better visibility in low light. There are also four adjustment points, so you can get a comfortable fit for your dog.
One of the only drawbacks of the Ruffwear is that the front leash attachment isn’t made from metal. Instead, it’s a reinforced fabric loop. For this reason, I don’t recommend jogging using the front attachment point – stick to the stronger metal D-Ring.
Even with the weaker front attachment point, the Ruffwear is probably the best harness for running with your dog. It’s a secure and comfortable harness, so it shouldn’t cause chafing as long as you get the right size and adjust it correctly. The durable design also means it’s built to last.
The Ruffwear Front Range is my top pick for a dog running harness. It’s durable, has great padding and is easily adjustable. While it’s a bit more expensive than other options, I think it’s worth it.
2. Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog HarnessVIEW PRICE
The Chai’s Choice No-Pull is another popular harness that’s great for jogging. With its padded and adjustable design, it provides a snug fit for your dog. It’s also durable and has a useful handle for when you need extra control.
Like the Ruffwear, the harness has padding on the chest, back and stomach. There are also two leash attachment points and a range of colors available. A bonus is the front attachment is made from strong metal rather than fabric, so it’s more secure and less likely to break.
One of the great things about the Chai’s Choice is the quality of the construction. The exterior is made from a scratch-resistant material, which is great for running off-road. There’s also reflective nylon webbing and the harness has plenty of reinforced stitching for greater durability. As you would expect from a harness suitable for running, there are several adjustment points.
A minor drawback of the Chai’s Choice is the handle is relatively small. This means it’s only good for minor corrections. The harness also doesn’t cover enough of the dog’s body to make it safe to pick him up using just the handle.
Even so, the Chai’s Choice No-Pull harness is one of the best options for running. It’s durable, stylish and highly reflective – which is great for evening jogging. The adjustment points and padding also make it a comfortable option.
3. Rabbitgoo HarnessVIEW PRICE
Another excellent running harness is the Rabbitgoo. It’s similar in design to the previous two models on this list, with dual leash attachment points and adjustable straps. The Rabbitgoo also has a stylish design that’s available in three colors.
Like most of the harnesses on this page, the Rabbitgoo has both adjustable chest and neck girth straps. This allows for a snug fit for almost any breed (as chest shapes and sizes can vary greatly). There’s also a reflective strip and a simple handle for extra control.
A downside to the Rabbitgoo is that it isn’t suitable for dogs with a chest girth under 15″. This is a couple of inches larger than the Chai’s Choice or Ruffwear. The largest size also isn’t suitable for dogs as big as the first two harnesses on this list.
If you think the Ruffwear costs too much, the Rabbitgoo is a good alternative – as long as it fits your dog. It’s strong, has metal leash attachments and is easy to adjust – plus it’s comfortable to wear. The Chai’s Choice is available in a wider range of sizes, however, which is why I’ve ranked it above the Rabbitgoo.
With its durable materials and comfortable padding, the Rabbitgoo is a great harness for jogging with your dog. It’s also considerably less expensive than the Ruffwear – although it’s not available in such a wide range of sizes.
4. Blueberry Pet Padded Training HarnessVIEW PRICE
An interesting harness for running is the Blueberry Pet. It has a different style to most other jogging harnesses, and is designed to provide freedom of movement while remaining secure and comfortable for your pet.
Unlike the other options on this list, which fit over the head, under the arms and around the chest, this harness has a wide chest strap that goes across the front of the dog. In theory, this should provide less restriction of your dog’s movement.
In addition to the front strap design, the Blueberry Pet has padding for extra comfort and embedded reflective materials for greater visibility. The interior is also made from neoprene to provide a softer feel.
One downside to the Blueberry Pet is that only the chest girth is adjustable – there’s no way to change the length of the front strap. The minimum size for the smallest version is also 16.5″, so it isn’t suitable for the smallest dogs (check out our harnesses for small pets page for some alternatives).
If you’ve got a dog that fits the Blueberry Pet, however, then it’s a great choice for running. With its padded design and adjustable chest strap, it’s a comfortable option that most dogs will enjoy running in.
5. Embark Active Dog HarnessVIEW PRICE
Another great harness for running is the Embark Active dog harness. As the name suggests, it’s designed for strenuous activities such as running, camping or hiking, and features an adjustable design along with highly durable construction
Unlike the Blueberry Pet, the Embark allows you to adjust both straps, so you can get a good fit on both the neck and chest. It has a padded interior for extra comfort, along with reinforced stitches for improved durability. Like the Ruffwear and Chai’s Choice, there are both front and back attachment points and a reflective trim.
There are some drawbacks to the Embark though. The D-Ring isn’t the strongest despite being made of metal. This means it may not be suitable for large dogs that tend to pull. It’s also not suitable for dogs smaller than 16″ in chest girth, so it won’t fit the smallest breeds.
Despite these drawbacks, the Embark is a great option for jogging with medium-size dogs. The padding increases comfort for your pet, while the adjustment points make it easy to get the right fit.
The Embark Active dog harness is a great option for running – but only for medium-size dogs. It’s not strong enough for big dogs, and isn’t suitable for the smallest breeds, but does a good job for everything between.
Safety Tips for Running With Dogs
Before I finish this article on the best dog harness for runners, I want to talk about jogging safety. While running can be great exercise for your dog, it’s vital to avoid putting your pup in a potentially dangerous situation.
- Consider Your Dog’s Health and Fitness. Not all dogs are suitable for running. Some breeds, such as bulldogs, simply don’t have the build for anything other than a fast walk. Flat-faced breeds, such as pugs, may also have difficulty breathing when they work hard. Older dogs may have joint issues that could be aggravated by running, while breeds that are susceptible to hip dysplasia probably aren’t suitable for running. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet before you start running with your dog.
- Start With a Slow Pace and Short Distances. Just like humans, a dog needs time to build up fitness. If you regularly go on long runs, don’t expect your dog to keep up on the first try. Build up the distance and speed slowly.
- Avoid Running with a Puppy. Puppies have softer bones that aren’t fully formed. The continuous pounding of running can cause permanent damage. The age at which it’s safe to run varies depending on the breed, although smaller dogs are usually ready sooner.
- Don’t Run Straight After Dinner. Dogs can suffer from bloat, a condition where the stomach fills with gas and expands. This can be painful and potentially fatal – so if you notice symptoms such as restlessness, a swollen stomach, pacing, attempting to vomit and drooling, you should immediately take him to the vet. Bloat can be caused by exercise straight after eating, so leave plenty of time between your dog’s breakfast and going on a run.
- Avoid Roads (If Possible). Off-road running is much better for your dog’s joints than hard concrete or asphalt. Your dog will also enjoy the runs more, as there are more interesting smells and sights.
- Beware of Hot Weather. Dogs can easily overheat due to their warm coats. Unlike humans, dogs also can’t cool themselves by sweating. For this reason, avoid running in hot conditions, and when it’s warm try to stay in the shade. If your dog is showing signs of being too hot, stop the run immediately. You should also bring plenty of water so your dog doesn’t get dehydrated. Some experts recommend stopping every 10 minutes to give your dog water – at least until you know how much they are likely to need.
The most important thing is to keep a close eye on your dog throughout the run. Look for common warning signs such as weakness, vomiting, excessive panting, diarrhea, drooling and a lack of energy. Some dogs will refuse to continue with a run, while others will run themselves to exhaustion before giving up, so it’s up to you to monitor their condition.
Be aware that a dog can suffer from bloat if they drink a lot of water too quickly after exercise. Don’t let your dog gulp the whole bowl down in one go – give a bit and then have a break. The same goes for treats after a run.
Running with your dog can be a fun activity that provides excellent exercise – but only if your dog is safe. That’s why it’s vital to buy a high-quality harness that’s durable, comfortable and adjustable.
My top pick for a dog running harness is the Ruffwear Front Range. It’s one of the most durable harnesses on the market – and the padded design means it’s great for running. The Chai’s Choice No-Pull Harness is a good alternative if the Ruffwear is too expensive.
I hope this article helps you choose the best dog harness for running with your dog. Do you have any questions? Or have you tried running with a harness and want to give feedback? Let me know in the comments!