5 Best Small Dog Harnesses (Reviews & Buyer’s Guide)

These harnesses are great for smaller breeds such as the Chihuahua and Jack Russell

Are you looking for a harness that's suitable for your small canine friend? If so, you're in the right place! We've listed five of the best small dog harnesses below to help you get a great harness for your pet.

Our guide to the best small dog harnesses

The bottom line...

The Ruffwear is probably the best dog harness for a small dog

If you need a strong, comfortable and adjustable harness for a small dog, the Ruffwear Front Range is my top pick. With its dual attachment points and excellent padding, it's a versatile harness that's suitable for strong pullers. The smallest size has a minimum chest girth of 13", so it's probably the best small dog harness on the market at the moment.

In a perfect world, all dogs would walk calmly beside their owners when on a leash - even when a cat or squirrel runs across the path.

Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect world!

The reality is that many dogs pull on the lead. This could be due to a lack of training, frustration or just because the dog has a much faster natural walking pace than the owner. And when a distraction appears, it can take a lot of self-discipline for a dog to continue walking calmly.

Aside from being slightly embarrassing as a dog owner, pulling while wearing a flat collar can be dangerous for your pet - especially if he is a small breed. This is true even with padded collars.

For this reason, a small dog harness could be an essential purchase if your dog is a puller. Not all harnesses are suitable for small breeds though, so it's important to get the right one.

In this article, I've listed five of the best dog harnesses for small dogs. Each provides excellent comfort and durability, while being suitable for small breeds. Before I get to the recommendations though, let's talk a bit about why a harness could be such an important purchase.

Why Buy a Dog Harness for a Small Dog?

A dog standing outside with a harness on

Flat collars are great for identification or for calm dogs. When a dog pulls, however, all the force is directed onto the neck. This can cause pain and long-term injuries.

Small dogs have less muscle strength than larger breeds. This means smaller dogs are much more likely to be injured by a flat collar.

Lunging can potentially be even more dangerous. So if your dog has a habit of springing towards people, animals or food while on the leash (including retractable leashes), a flat collar - regardless of whether it's a synthetic material or leather - can cause serious damage.​

A dog harness is a great way to reduce the risk of injury if your dog is a puller. Instead of concentrating all the pressure on the dog's neck, the force is spread across the chest and shoulders. This isn't a solution to a pulling dog - you still need to continue training - but a harness is much safer than a collar.

Additionally, a harness can provide more control. Front-clip harnesses (often called "no pull") are best for this and can be a pain-free alternative to​ choke chains or prong collars. Back-clip harnesses provide less control, but allow for a more relaxed walk.

What to Look for in a Harness for Small Breeds?

Buying a dog harness doesn't need to be complicated. There are a few considerations you need to be aware of though, such as:

  • Front or Back-Clip (or Both). Front-clip leash attachments are great for increasing control. When a dog tries to pull, they are spun round by the leash without causing discomfort. This is unlikely to train your dog not to pull, but can reduce pulling on a walk. Back-clip attachments are better suited to light pullers or for more relaxed walks. They don't provide as much control, but make it less likely for the leash to get tangled around the dog's legs. Many dogs prefer back-clip harnesses too.
  • Durable Design. Dog harnesses need to be tough if they are going to survive regular walks. The best options have double-stitched seams, strong metal D-Rings and are made from high-quality materials.
  • Comfortable to Wear. Comfort is one of the most important factors when choosing a dog harness. Padding on the chest and stomach can prevent rubbing, while soft materials can increase comfort. The harness should also be adjustable and not move too much when attached to a leash (this is often a problem for front-clip attachments). This is important for all harnesses, but especially for vigorous activity such as hiking or jogging (check out our page of the best running harnesses for more information).
  • Sizes. Most harnesses are available in a range of sizes. Not all have options for small dog breeds though - especially heavy duty harnesses. Before you start looking, use a soft tape measure to find out the girth of your dog's stomach and neck, as you'll need these measurements when sizing.
  • Other Features. Some harnesses come with additional features. These can include a machine washable design, built-in handle, reflective strips or quick-dry materials.

Please Note: Just because a harness comes with a seat-belt attachment doesn't mean it's been crash-tested or proven to be safe in a car. If you need a car harness, look for a product that's been crash tested so you know it's strong enough to withstand most impacts.

5 Best Harnesses for Small Dogs

Listed below are five of the best small dog harnesses available at the moment. Each provides a comfortable fit that's suitable for smaller breeds - although you should always measure your dog before buying a product.

My minimum criteria for a small breed harness is that it's suitable for a chest girth of 13" or more. This won't fit all dogs, but for most breeds it's small enough. If you're looking for an extra small dog harness, some go down to a chest girth of 10" (such as the Puppia). For larger harnesses, take a look at our best dog harness page.

 ImageNameLeash AttachmentMinimum Chest GirthPriceView Price
#1Ruffwear Front Range HarnessFront & Back13"$$$View Price
#2Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart HarnessFront & Back12"$$View Price
#3Comfort Fit Small Dog HarnessBack10"$$View Price
#4Puppia Soft Dog HarnessBack10"$View Price
#5Gooby Choke Free Freedom HarnessBack10"$$View Price
The Ruffwear is available in small sizes

1. Ruffwear Front Range Harness

One of the best dog harnesses available at the moment is the Ruffwear Front Range. It's a highly durable harness with plenty of padding - plus it has dual-clip attachments. And with a minimum chest girth of 13" for the XX-Small version, it's suitable for most small dogs.

Let's start with one of the best features of the Ruffwear - the dual leash attachment points. Unlike many harnesses, which have an attachment on either the front or back, the Ruffwear has both. This means you can use the front-clip when you need more control and the back for leisurely walks. The only downside is that the front clip is made from reinforced fabric rather than metal, so it's not as durable (this is less of an issue for small dog breeds though).

Additionally, the Ruffwear is comfortable for your dog to wear. It has padding on the belly, chest, most of the neck and back, so it's great for pullers. There are also four adjustment points, so you can get a snug fit that won't chafe, along with a reflective trim so your dog is more visible at night.

Quick Summary: If you're looking for the best small dog harness and your dog has a 13" chest girth (or more), the Ruffwear Front Range is my top recommendation. It's durable, easy to adjust and comfortable for your dog - plus the dual-clips are great for having more control over your dog on walks.

  • ​Type: Front & Back-Clip
  • Minimum Chest Girth: 13"
  • Price Range: $$$
  • Highly durable with excellent build quality
  • 4 adjustment points
  • Plenty of padding
  • Expensive
  • Front clip is fabric rather than metal
The Kurgo is suitable for smaller dogs than the Ruffwear

2. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Dog Harness

The Ruffwear is a fantastic harness - but it's also expensive. If you want a cheaper option that has similar features, the Kurgo Tru-Fit is a great choice. Like the Ruffwear, the Kurgo has both a front and back-clip, along with chest padding and an easy-to-adjust design. It's also suitable for dogs with a chest girth down to 12".

Like all the best dog harnesses for small dogs, the Kurgo has padding on the chest and belly. This dissipates force when your dog pulls, which helps to prevent injury. Unlike the Ruffwear, however, the Kurgo doesn't have padding on the neck straps or back.

There are five points of adjustment on the Kurgo, so it's possible to get a snug fit on most dogs. You might need to spend some time fiddling with the straps initially though, as it can take time to get the right fit.

A bonus is Kurgo offers a lifetime warranty - at least for manufacturer defects. It's also machine washable, which can save time if you take your dog for frequent muddy walks. A seat belt attachment is included - but it hasn't been crash tested so I don't recommend using it.

Quick Summary: The Kurgo Tru-Fit is an excellent alternative to the Ruffwear if you don't mind sacrificing some extra padding for a lower cost. It's a durable harness with dual leash attachment points, easy-to-adjust design and quick-release buckles, so it provides great value for money.

  • ​Type: Front & Back-Clip
  • Minimum Chest Girth: 12"
  • Price Range: $$
  • Durable harness with wide chest pad
  • Strong leash attachments
  • Easy to adjust
  • Less padding than the Ruffwear
The Comfort Fit has plenty of padding

3. Comfort Fit Small Dog Harness

The Comfort Fit is a padded back-clip option that's specifically designed for smaller breeds. It's lightweight, comfortable to wear and suitable for very small dogs (the minimum chest size for the XX-Small is 10"). Plus it's available for a very reasonable price.

What makes this harness suitable for small breeds though? Aside from the smaller size, it only weighs 2oz. This makes it easier for your small pet to wear without getting tired or adjusting his gait. As it's small, Comfort Fit has also included padding throughout the harness interior for extra comfort. This is made from "Metric 66" material that provides a snug fit, while decreasing discomfort if your dog pulls.

One of my concerns about the Comfort Fit is that the "hugging" cushioning material might cause dogs to overheat. The manufacturer is aware of this though, which is why the material is designed to be breathable as well as durable. Make sure you keep an eye on your dog when walking though - especially on hot days.

A downside to the Comfort Fit is that I don't think it's as durable as the Ruffwear. Compared to the more expensive harness, which has double stitching for increased durability, the Comfort Fit probably can't withstand as much rough treatment. For light pullers or very small dogs, however, this is unlikely to be an issue.

Quick Summary: For light pullers or very small breeds, the Comfort Fit is an excellent harness. It's stylish, well-padded, breathable and comfortable to wear. The downside is that it's not as durable as other options.

  • ​Type: Back-Clip
  • Minimum Chest Girth: 10"
  • Price Range: $$
  • Attractive design
  • Excellent interior padding
  • Breathable material
  • Not durable enough for strong pullers
The Puppia is a soft harness that's great for small dogs

4. Puppia Soft Dog Harness

If you just need a basic soft harness that doesn't cost much money, the Puppia is an excellent choice. It has a minimum chest girth of 10", so it's one of the best small dog harnesses if you have a tiny breed. There are also a wide range of colors available - so you can get one that suits your pet.

The first thing to note about the Puppia is that it's not as durable as harnesses like the Ruffwear or Kurgo. This is understandable, as it's also much cheaper, but is worth keeping in mind - especially if your dog is a strong puller.

The harness is made from 100% polyester, which provides a soft feel that most dogs will like. There's also an adjustable chest belt - although the neck can't be adjusted. For this reason, make sure you look at the sizing chart and measure your dog carefully.

Quick Summary: The Puppia is a cheaper harness than the other options on this list. It's not as durable, but with a comfortable design and range of sizes it's great for small dogs. If your dog is a strong puller or lunger, however, go for a more durable option.

  • ​Type: Back-Clip
  • Minimum Chest Girth: 10"
  • Price Range: $
  • Great value for money
  • Smallest size is suitable for tiny dogs
  • Adjustable chest strap
  • Not as durable as models such as the Ruffwear
  • Neck girth is fixed
The Googy is specifically designed for small dogs

5. Gooby Choke Free Freedom Harness

Another harness that's designed specifically for small dogs is the Gooby Choke Free Freedom. Like the Puppia, it's suitable for a puppy or tiny dog with a neck size of 10" or more. It's also made with breathable polyester, rather than nylon, to keep your dog comfortable and cool.

One of the key features of the Gooby is that it's designed to evenly distribute force rather than focusing it on the neck. To do this, it's made of soft polyester and the leash attachment is at the bottom of the harness. This, according to Gooby, reduces the strain on your dog's neck and distributes force across the chest.

I'm not sure whether the Gooby actually distributes force more effectively than the other options on this list, as they all do a good job of reducing strain on the neck. The Gooby is certainly safer for small dogs than a flat collar though. The soft synthetic strap also helps to reduce skin irritation.

A downside to the soft "no choke" neck is that it can't be adjusted. Make sure you check the sizing chart carefully before deciding which size to buy for your dog.

Quick Summary: The Gooby is a very soft and comfortable harness for a small dog. It's not the most adjustable, but is easy to put on and is made with high-quality material.

  • ​Type: Back-Clip
  • Minimum Chest Girth: 10"
  • Price Range: $$
  • High-quality and soft material
  • Reduces strain on the neck
  • Easy to put on
  • No neck adjustment
  • More expensive than the similar Puppia

Summary

A dog harness can reduce the strain on your pet's neck - especially if they pull on walks. If you have a small dog, it's important to get one that's designed for a small breed though.

My top recommendation for a small dog harness is the Ruffwear Front Range. It's durable, has two leash attachment points and loads of padding for extra comfort. If you need a harness that's suitable for even smaller dogs, the Comfort Fit Small Dog Harness is a well-padded alternative.​

Do you have any questions about choosing the best small dog harness for your pet? Let me know in the comments!