French Bulldog wearing a harness with handle.

The 6 Best Dog Harnesses With Handle: Tested & Evaluated 2024

Written By Vedrana Nikolic | Canine Coach, B.A Ethnology & Anthropology, M.A Semiotics.
Edited & Fact Checked By Renae Soppe | B.A Journalism & Science. 
Last Updated: 18th January 2024

Finding the best dog harness is no easy feat. But finding one with handle? That's where we come in.

A handle on a dog harness is a helpful feature. While most dog owners will rarely use it, for others, it can be a necessity. There are a variety of harnesses with handles that can help you perform various tasks, from grabbing your dog quickly to lifting a disabled dog.

No matter what kind of dog harness with handle you are looking for, this guide is here to help you find it. To help you on your quest, we teamed up with veterinarians, canine behaviourists and dog parents to research dog harnesses with handles available in Australia. This independent team of experts then spent months testing out the most popular options with our own doggos, before finally agreeing on the contents of the guide ahead.

Let's get to it.


Quick Picks - The Top 3

Our Number 1 Pick - 
Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness

  • Includes handle on the back
  • Multifunctional
  • Front and back lead attachment
  • Comfortable
  • Fully adjustable
  • Available in various sizes and colours 

Runner Up - 
COODEO Dog Lift Harness

  • Supportive shape
  • Soft padding for comfort
  • Multiple handle configurations
  • Machine-washable

Third Choice - 
Activedogs Service Dog Vest

  • Includes a rubble handle
  • Additional clip-on bridge handle
  • Adjustable straps
  • Easy to put on with side release buckle
  • Includes service dog patch


Australia's Best Dog Harnessed With Handles Reviewed

Now you know the composition of dog harnesses with handles and what you might use them for. Next, we share our top picks for the best dog harnesses with handles in Australia.

These are the harnesses that impressed our team of independent experts with their excellent design, the comfort they brought our dogs, and the fair price point. 

#1: Best Harness With Handle Overall: Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness

Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness
  • Includes handle on the back
  • Multifunctional
  • Front and back lead attachment
  • Comfortable
  • Fully adjustable
  • Available in various sizes and colours 

This harness from Truelove is one of the most popular harness models of all time. The reason? Versatility and convenience.

This harness is tough and durable but also comfy and lightweight, like our Truelove backpack harness in our number six place below. It will work well in almost any situation.

The Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.

Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness being tested by our review team.

When I wanted to take my dog for a short walk around the block, I was happy to find out that this harness was ready to go in a matter of seconds. If you need to teach your dog leash manners, you’ll find that the front lead attachment works great. There is also a lead attachment point on the back for regular walking. Finally, thanks to the soft padding on the inside, this harness is incredibly comfortable and can be worn for long periods.

Most importantly, there is also a handle on the back, which is sturdy and allows you to grab your dog quickly and take control when necessary. If your dog is small enough, it can also help when lifting your dog.

The only area we would change is adding padding on the handle to make it more comfortable for us dog mums and dads, but the lack of it is not a significant issue. Many options on this list have handles without padding, save our second choice next.

Pros

Cons

  • Includes handle on the back
  • The handle isn’t padded
  • Multifunctional
Cell
  • Front and back lead attachment
Cell
  • Comfortable
Cell
  • Fully adjustable
Cell
  • Available in various sizes and colours 
Cell

#2: Best Harness With Handle For Lifting: COODEO Dog Lift Harness

COODEO Dog Lift Harness
  • Supportive shape
  • Soft padding for comfort
  • Multiple handle configurations
  • Machine-washable

This harness from COODEO is the right choice for those pet parents that need to lift their dog using the harness handle. All dogs with mobility issues can benefit from this type of harness, whether old age, injuries, or something else cause their problems. When your dog needs help moving, I can say firsthand that this harness can help.

The COODEO Dog Lift Harness being tested by our independent expert team.

COODEO Dog Lift Harness being tested by our review team.

The harness wraps the body, ensuring the pressure is distributed evenly when you lift your pup and making the process both safe and comfortable. The harness comes with a long, adjustable handle that connects to the harness with quick-release buckles. Unlike our number one choice, the handle on this harness is padded for your comfort.

There are six buckles on the back, however you don’t need to use them all to attach the handle. In fact, our panel of experts recommend experimenting with different configurations to see what works best for your dog.

Pros

Cons

  • Supportive shape
  • Male dogs might not be able to pee with the harness on
  • Soft padding for comfort
  • Not suitable for hot weather
  • Multiple handle configurations
Cell
  • Machine-washable
Cell

#3: Best Service Dog Harness: Activedogs Service Dog Vest

Activedogs Service Dog Vest
  • Includes a rubble handle
  • Additional clip-on bridge handle
  • Adjustable straps
  • Easy to put on with side release buckle
  • Includes service dog patch

Service dogs can have a multitude of jobs, so the type of harness that works best is not always the same. A regular handle harness is often enough, but when a dog functions as a guide dog, for example, a longer handle is often necessary to give the human better control.

This harness from Activedog allows you to set it up in differently to find what works best for your needs. For starters, the harness has a built-in handle on the back. It’s made from webbing and reinforced with rubber to make it more durable and comfortable. However, the harness also includes a bridge handle that you can clip onto the back and if you find that handle too short, you can purchase an additional extended version from Activedog. This makes it one of the most versatile options on this list.

The harness itself is well-made. It’s lightweight but durable, with Cordura fabric on the outside and mesh padding on the inside. The harness also features reflective stitching to make your dog more visible in the dark.

The only problematic part of this harness our team of independent experts could find is that the hardware is plastic. While metal parts would certainly be more durable, the plastic ones also work.

Pros

Cons

  • Includes a rubble handle
  • Plastic hardware
  • Additional clip-on bridge handle
  • Adjustable straps
Cell
  • Easy to put on with side release buckle
Cell
  • Includes service dog patch
Cell

Rabbitgoo No-Pull Shock-Absorbing Harness
  • Affordable
  • Two metal leash clips
  • Elastic straps for shock absorption
  • Padded chest plate
  • Adjustable

Some dogs, like mine, are so energetic and excitable that it's difficult to rein them in. If that’s the case with you too, then a harness with a handle can allow you to take control of your dog before the situation gets out of hand.

This Rabbitgoo harness features a convenient handle on the back and straps made of bungee cord around the neck that help absorb the impact when your dog suddenly pulls.

The Rabbitgoo No-Pull Shock-Absorbing Harness being tested by our independent expert team.

Rabbitgoo No-Pull Shock-Absorbing Harness being tested by our review team.

Both the chest plate and back support are solid with extra plush padding on the inside. At the same time, the harness is completely adjustable. This is due to the configuration of the connecting straps, meaning you can adjust both the neck strap and the chest strap, as well as the length of the front section connecting the two. It's similar to our number one pick in that regard, and in short, offers the perfect fit!

I also appreciated that the harness is available in three different colours and several sizes from S to XL.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable
  • Handle isn’t padded
  • Two metal leash clips
  • Needs to go over the dog’s head when putting on
  • Elastic straps for shock absorption
Cell
  • Padded chest plate
Cell
  • Adjustable
Cell

#5: Best Tactical Harness With Handle: Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness

Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness
  • Sturdy handle on the back
  • Lightweight and durable
  • MOLLE compatibility
  • Plenty of space or patches
  • Leash rings on the front and back

This harness from Excellent Elite Spanker is designed for dogs that mean business. With hook & loop sections across the back and on the chest, this harness allows you to easily attach any patch your dog needs (or wants) to wear with ease.

Moreover, the same hook & loop sections are MOLLE-compatible, so you can attach MOLLE pouches (not included) and let your canine companion carry some gear or even their food.

The Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.

Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness being tested by our review team.

The handle on the back of the harness is made of reinforced webbing and is quite comfortable to hold (although not padded, like how our second choice is). Unlike most other harnesses that have the handle positioned horizontally on the dog’s back, this one has a handle that follows the line of the spine. The different position of the handle did not work for everyone on our team of independent experts, but I actually found it to be more comfortable.

Related: The Best Tactical Dog Harness.

The harness is very lightweight and relatively thin but also resistant to wear and tear, thanks to the quality nylon fabric used. The straps around the belly and the neck are adjustable, but the length of the vertical section that connects them on the chest is not. For this reason, finding the right size might be tricky if your dog has a non-standard body shape.

Pros

Cons

  • Sturdy handle on the back
  • Plastic hardware
  • Lightweight and durable
  • MOLLE compatibility
Cell
  • Plenty of space or patches
Cell
  • Leash rings on the front and back
Cell

#6: Best Dog Backpack With Handle: Truelove Dog Backpack Harness Deluxe 2 in 1

Truelove Dog Backpack Harness Deluxe 2 in 1
  • Convenient handle on the back
  • Can be used with or without the backpack
  • Escape-proof
  • Water-resistant

This harness-backpack combo for Truelove is excellent for all canine adventurers. If you are on a hike with your dog, you might want to let them roam free (depending on where you are). At the same time, you want the ability to take control of your dog quickly. The handle on this harness allows you to do just that.

The harness part of this combo looks just like a regular (albeit sporty) harness. A chest strap and two belly straps effectively make the harness escape-proof. So far, so good.

Then, you can also add the backpack part on top. This consists of two pouches on each side of the dog which you can use to let your dog carry some of the load too, almost like our tactical harness in spot number five. I really liked how the handle on the back remains reachable while the backpack is on, and so does the leash buckle.

Pros

Cons

  • Convenient handle on the back
  • Not suitable for lifting a dog
  • Can be used with or without the backpack
Cell
  • Escape-proof
Cell
  • Water-resistant
Cell

Why Are There Handles On Dog Harnesses

Are you looking for a harness with a handle? Well, the right choice will depend on the reasons for your search. Regular harnesses with a handle allow you to quickly grab your dog, and these are relatively easy to find. Then, there are other harnesses with handles designed for a specific purpose, such as lifting a dog with mobility issues or helping a guide dog lead their owner.

During our research phase, our team of independent experts quickly learnt that these are the basic types of harnesses with handles:

Simple Handle

Regular dog harnesses with built-in handles on the back are quite common. The harness you use for daily walks with your dog can also have a handle on the back. This handle has no other purpose besides letting you grab your dog by the harness. This can be a handy feature when trying to maintain control over hyperactive dogs or pullers.

Handle for Lifting

A standard walking harness with a handle will not work for dogs with mobility issues that need help moving around. Most harnesses don’t allow you to lift your dog. This is due to the way straps are arranged, meaning an attempt to lift can be incredibly uncomfortable.

However, there are special harnesses designed to distribute weight evenly and allow you to safely lift your dog. These can be of great help for dogs dealing with severe impairments and help them lead normal lives (1).

These harnesses usually have a long, adjustable handle, or even multiple handles, to help you lift your dog with ease.

Guide Dog Handle

Assistance animals (the legal term in Australia) or service dogs (as many call them) can have various roles. One of those roles is guiding people with vision impairment or other disabilities (2).

In such cases, the dog often needs a unique, long and rigid handle, often called a bar handle. This type of handle allows the dog and the human to communicate effectively.

A quality harness that includes this type of handle can be challenging to find, but we have included one option on our list.


My Final Verdict

The type of harness with a handle that will work for you will depend on your situation. Our team of independent experts could all agree that the Truelove Adventurer No Pull Dog Harness is a great everyday harness that happens to have a handle.

On the other hand, if you want a harness that allows you to lift your dog using the handle, try the COODEO Dog Lift Harness.

FAQ

Why do harnesses have a handle?

Handles on harnesses can serve different purposes. Everyday walking harnesses often have handles on the back, designed to help you easily grab your dog There are specialised harnesses for mobility-impaired dogs that allow you to lift the dog up by the handles and there are assistance animals whose harnesses can have handles in different shapes and sizes.

Is it OK to lift a dog by the harness?

Do not lift a dog by the harness without caution. Although many harnesses have handles on the back, they are not all designed for lifting dogs. For example, some harnesses are shaped in such a way that the belly strap would cut into your dog's belly if you use the harness for lifting. Other harnesses offer more support and distribute weight evenly, and these are OK to use for lifting (but it’s best to keep it short in any case).

How do you lift a dog that can't walk?

For dogs with chronic problems like arthritis or paralysis, using a support harness or a sling is often the best course of action. These tools allow you to gently help your dog during difficult moments.

If you are trying to lift an injured dog, we recommend using some sort of a flat surface as support to lift the dog (like a towel). Essentially, you want to create an emergency stretcher. This helps avoid unnecessary injuries.

References

  1. Batchiyska, Ellie. December 14, 2021. “IVDD In Dogs: How To Manage Back Pain Naturally”. Dogs Naturally. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/managing-ivdd-and-back-pain-in-dogs-naturally/
  2. “What is an assistance animal?”. RSPCA Knowledge Base. Retrieved February 6, 2023. https://kb.rspca.org.au/knowledge-base/what-is-an-assistance-animal/

Vedrana Nikolic


Vedrana Nikolić is Gentle Dog Trainers Canine Coach, Professional Writer, Anthropologist & dog lover.

With a Masters Degree in Semiotics & Bachelors Degree in Anthropology, studying the communication between animals and humans, Vedrana is able to use her expertise to analyse and review dog products and write informative posts on canine behaviour and training.

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