The 6 Best Large Dog Harnesses Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
If you have a large dog that likes to drag you down the street, you’re not alone. Dogs are not born with walking etiquette naturally instilled in their bones. It takes practice to learn how to walk nicely. It also takes consistent correction.
Part of that correction is having a good no-pull harness. Now the problem is that most no-pull harnesses are made for small dogs. What about the large and extra-large dogs that strongly lunge forward?
Don’t worry. We have you covered. Our team worked with various experts to determine which dog harnesses are useful for different kinds of dogs. After several months of testing a lot of brands, we finally came up with a list.
In this article, you’ll find the best dog harness for big dogs as a result of this research. Later we’ll chat about how harnesses work and what you need to know. But below you’ll find the best large dog harnesses on the Australian market, so you can have a quick idea of what is available.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
DogNation Ultra Light No Pull Dog Harness
- Front and back lead attachments
- Wide size range
- Completely adjustable
- Soft padded lining for extra comfort
- Easy to put on and off
- Lightning fast free shipping
Runner Up -
Rogz Utility Step-in Dog Harness
- Simple to use
- Fully adjustable straps
Third Choice -
Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness
- Heavy-duty materials
- Soft padded lining for extra comfort
- Large lead attachments
- 90 day warranty
Australia's Best Harnesses For Large Dogs Reviewed
Below we have rounded up our favourite harnesses for large and extra-large dogs on the market.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
DogNation create some very high-quality dog products that we’ve often raved about on the Gentle Dog Trainers platform. This no-pull extra-large dog harness does not disappoint.
They have a couple of harness models, but we love the ultra-light model the most for large dog breeds. This product will give your dog breathability and flexibility that only lightweight harnesses can.
Very versatile, this harness has both a back clip and a front clip for attaching your lead. You can experiment with what works best for your walk training with your pup.
The DogNation Ultra Light No Pull Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
Related: No Pull Dog Harness Review
This is a complete harness with padded back and chest plates. These are made of sturdy Oxford nylon and lined with breathable mesh polyester. It gives you the best of both worlds. Durability and comfort in one.
Compared to the Rogz Utility Step-in dog harness, which does not have such padding, we chose this brand as our first option because it offers comfort for your dogs while keeping them secure. It is surely one of the best dog harnesses that we can find in Australia!
There are three different colours to choose from; army green, purple and black (with red details). As for sizing, the range is quite impressive. In the larger category, we have large and extra large sizes that should cover most large and extra-large breeds. The large size is suitable for dogs with a 69 cm to 81 cm chest and 46 cm to 64 cm neck. The extra-large size is suitable for dogs with an 81 cm to 107 cm chest and 58 cm to 85 cm neck.
What we love about this brand is its quality and padded lining, making it comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.
The DogNation may be a little pricier than the others on this list, but the quality makes it worth it.
Want a simple, durable harness that won’t break the bank? The Rogz Utility Step-In Dog Harness might be for you.
As it says in the name, this is a step-in harness. Therefore, it’s incredibly easy to take on and off. It’s lightweight and has very few bells and whistles to it.
Compared to DogNation, there are ten bright colours to choose from in this brand; red, blue, purple, yellow, fluorescent yellow, black, lime green, turquoise, orange, and pink. You can freely style your dog with these colours and match them with your outfit if you like, making it our second option on this list.
The Rogz Utility Step-in Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
All ten sizes come in four sizes from small to extra-large. The large size is suitable for dogs with a chest size of 61 cm to 81 cm. The extra-large size is suitable for dogs with a chest size of 81 cm to 104 cm. This is a great range. Most large and giant breeds should fit.
This is one of the reasons why we like this brand because it is practical and can be used by the largest breed of dogs.
The straps are fully adjustable. They’re made of strong woven nylon that can withstand a huge amount of pressure.
Also, we love the fact that even if it's cheap, the quality is not compromised.
The con here is that the nylon straps aren’t padded at all. That means it’s not as comfy as some of the others on this list. There’s a risk of chafing with short-haired breeds in particular if worn for a long time. However, long-haired breeds may prefer this style because it’s less fabric than a traditional overhead harness with plenty of padding.
If it’ll work for your pup, the Rogz harness is a cheap and cheerful option that will last you for years.
If your dog is a working pup, you may need a service dog vest. These are much more heavy-duty than regular large dog harnesses like the Rogz Utility Step-In dog harness.
Firstly, they are made with large dogs in mind for the most part. Since most service dogs are large breeds, this vest caters to large pups really well. The large size works for dogs with a 70 cm to 90 cm chest. The extra-large size works for dogs with an 80 cm to 110 cm chest.
The harness is padded all the way around for extra comfort like the ones from DogNation but its padding is soft so your dog can have the comfort of wearing it. Bearing in mind that service dogs may need to wear their harness for long days.
The Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
Related: Tactical Dog Harness Australia
It has an aluminium alloy buckle that is much stronger than most other metal buckles. It’s virtually indestructible. Combine that with the 1000D nylon material build and you have one imperishable product.
It fits ergonomically around your dog’s body. The straps make it easily adjustable to ensure the perfect fit.
Unlike the previous brands, this option has a 90 day warranty which is why we included this as the third option on our list, so you can ensure their product's durability!
We really love the features of this brand because it ensures that your dog is secured and you can count on its durability.
The price point is a little steeper than others on the list but it’s a great option for service dogs. It’s reliable, hardy and high-quality.
Dog harnesses can look pretty boring. They are quite utilitarian and functional looking. But function can be stylish too! The Rabbitgoo harness proves that with the bright tartan designs on offer.
There are five colours to choose from; red, white, blue, green and pink.
The extra-large size is going to be the best fit for large and extra-large dogs. It suits a neck size of 49 cm to 78 cm and a chest girth of 51.5 cm to 101 cm. That is quite a wide adjustment range. It ensures you can adjust the harness perfectly to your dog’s needs. However, it’s worth noting that this harness is marginally smaller overall than the other harnesses on this list.
There are both back and front lead attachments with sturdy metal D-ring clips. The chest attachment is great for strong pullers. The back attachment is ideal for jogging and casual walking.
Compared to the Excellent Elite Spanker Tactical dog harness and others, the lead attachments provide more control and security, especially for dogs who pull a lot. Considering its uniqueness, this feature is also the reason why we like this brand, listing it as our fourth option.
With soft cushion padding, this harness is one of the most comfortable on the list. Though it’s worth noting it can get hot for long-haired breeds.
Stylish, durable and well-fitted, the Rabbitgoo harness is a winner all-round.
Like the Rogz harness, the Sporn harness is a step-in. However, unlike the Rogz harness, Sporn has taken a little more care with padding and comfort concerns. Of course, for that extra padding, you have a slightly more expensive product. But overall, this product is pretty good value for money.
The Sporn model is a mesh harness. The nylon mesh material is extremely breathable. It makes up the chest plate, making the harness more comfortable. Because of the breathability, long-haired dogs will love this option.
Compared to the Kurgo dog harness, this brand allows our dogs to move freely because of its breathable design and materials, which is why we chose this brand as our fifth option on this list among the best dog harnesses.
The patented elasticised mesh system allows for free movement as your dog walks. This also helps the harness last longer.
The Sporn Mesh Stop Pulling Dog Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
It was designed with medium to heavy leash pullers in mind. Therefore, you can trust that the materials are of good quality. In fact, the manufacturer claims they use the highest quality nylon for extra durability.
There are three colours available; red, black and blue. As for sizing the large and extra-large sizes will suit most breeds in these categories.
Overall, this is a great step-in harness for large dogs. It’s lightweight, inexpensive and easy to use.
Our dogs love this brand because of its breathable chest plate, specifically for dogs with thick fur. Thick padding can be uncomfortable for our dogs and cause matting, so your long-haired buddy will love this.
The Kurgo harness is a super saviour all around. It works as a regular walking harness as well as a reliable car harness, which makes it different from the top five options. The multi-functionality makes this product very good value for money.
Unlike the other dog harnesses, this is one of the largest harnesses on the list, which is great for large breeds. The large size fits dogs with 46 cm to 76 cm neck and 61 cm to 86 cm chest. The extra-large size fits dogs with a 61 cm to 89 cm neck and 71 cm to 112 cm chest.
It has a nesting buckle system at the back of the harness to secure your dog. These buckles are made of steel. It’s the same material and buckle system that rock climbers use! The harness comes with a steel carabiner strap for the seatbelt attachments too. It’s been crash tested to work.
We definitely recommend this if you are a traveller and like to take your dog with you because we can guarantee that the buckles on this harness are high-quality.
As an everyday harness, it is a little heavier than some of the others on this list. That may be an issue for dogs who sweat easily. However, there is a front clip attachment for anti-pulling. The padded but breathable chest plate is very comfy as they walk.
If you’re in the market for a car harness for your large dog, this is a fantastic option to consider.
Why Harnesses Are A Good Choice For Large Breed Dogs
First to dispel a myth. Harnesses do not replace collars. They are used for mostly different purposes. Collars are great for all-day use and for identifying your dog.
The reason we use harnesses for walking is to relieve the acute pressure pulling on a collar can have on your dog’s neck. You can injure your dog or your dog can injure themselves by pulling on the lead via their collar. It could lead to:
- Skin lesions from chafing
- Limb injuries
- General discomfort
“Harnesses discourage pulling and allow you to stop your dog from jumping up on strangers without worrying about choking. Dogs on harnesses are also less likely to be tangled up in the leash accidentally.” - Mike Clark from DogTime. (1)
So as a walking tool harnesses certainly have their uses. Particularly if you have a dog that pulls you while walking.
So how do they work?
- The harness distributes pressure across the chest and back. This helps guide your dog and exerts more control as you walk. You can more easily stop your dog from lunging forward with a harness without harming them.
- Depending on the lead attachment (which we’ll discuss), the harness will redirect your dog as they pull forward.
Both of these mechanisms allow you to stop your dog from pulling effectively.
PRO TIP: Remember that a harness is just a tool to help you deal with a pulling dog. The only way you’ll solve the issue is with consistent, gentle walk obedience training.
Front-Attached vs Back-Attached Harnesses
We briefly touched on the concept of lead attachments in the previous section. A front-attached harness has a D-ring loop on the front of the chest plate. A back-attached harness has a D-ring loop on the back of the harness, resting on your dog’s back.
Both have their uses:
The idea is that when your dog pulls forward, the pressure on the lead causes them to spin around. It’s a good corrective measure. You literally redirect their movement away from the intended direction if they pull forward.
Related: What Is A Front Clip Harness
However, short-nosed, barrel-chested dog breeds can struggle with a front-clip harness.
“A strong pull of the leash can put undue pressure on the soft tissues of the neck and throat leading to more serious complications such as tracheal collapse.” - Dr John Brookes from the Small Dog Place (2)
This issue is more common in small dogs, however. Boxers are probably the largest brachycephalic breeds.
Alternatively, back-attached harnesses distribute the pressure from pulling across the back and shoulders. It gives you quite a lot of control and can stop your dog in their tracks. However, it doesn’t have the same redirection powers that a front-attached harness has.
The type you choose is up to you and how you intend to train your pup. Most harnesses have both, but not all.
Step-in vs Over-head Harnesses
These two harness types relate to how you put the harness on.
A step-in harness is what it sounds like. You lay the harness on the ground and encourage your dog to step into it. Step-in harnesses can arguably be quicker to take off as you can unclip them at the back and let them fall. They are typically cheaper than overhead harnesses too.
Over-head harnesses are fitted over your dog’s head. You then clip the harness around the chest, under the armpits to secure. These harnesses tend to have more padding. They may be a little heavier than step-in harnesses for that reason.
That’s not to say that step-in harnesses aren’t comfortable. They can have padded straps too. However, the overhead model lends itself better to warmth, spongey padding around the chest and shoulders. If a step-in harness is padded, it tends to just be under the armpits and maybe a mesh over the chest.
Overhead harnesses are also quite warm. A large long-haired dog breed like a German Shepherd may struggle with a traditional overhead harness during the summer months.
Lightweight vs Heavy-Duty Harnesses
Finally, you have the choice between a heavy-duty dog harness and a lightweight dog harness. Both have their uses. It largely depends on what you’re using the harness for.
If your dog is a service dog, or is a very strong puller, you might want a heavier duty harness. It will give you some extra security as you’re walking or working. The materials tend to be sturdier here. Strong stitching, high-quality indestructible body plate and firm straps. With some extra padding for comfort, these harnesses are ideal for work and walking in the cooler months.
Alternatively, lightweight harnesses are a great investment. With all the extra weight your large dog carries (and sometimes extra fur) a lightweight dog harness is more versatile. It ensures that your pooch can wear the harness all year round. It is also more likely to be comfortable for long-haired breeds and short-haired breeds alike.
For my money, a lightweight harness is probably the way to go in most situations. If you want to slightly slow your dog down with a bit of extra weight as you are walking, the harness is not the best vehicle for that. You’re better off investing in a dog backpack that your dog can carry.
What I Look For When Choosing A Harness For My Larger Dogs
You want a harness that can stand the test of time. Although they generally aren’t expensive, more durable materials are essential for harnesses. This is because of the stress placed on the fabric to withstand your pulling dog.
Imagine if your German Shepherd lunged forward and the harness snapped? Absolute nightmare. Harnesses need to have the strength to withstand really strong pullers.
Harnesses are not meant to be worn for long periods. They are perfectly fine for long hikes. But say if you are going on a long camping trip, it’s not a good idea to keep the harness on for the duration of the trip. It should only be used for walking.
This is because having a harness on for long periods promotes sweating and chafing after a long period of hours.
That said, you want the harness to be as breathable and comfortable as possible. Harnesses tend to be built with mesh materials and flexible nylons.
Ease of Use
How easy is the harness to take on and off? You may opt for a certain type of fitting. For example, if you find step-in harnesses easier to work with, look for a step-in harness.
How easy are the straps to use to adjust to your dog’s body?
You can only know these things by reviewing the sales pages of the products you’re interested in. Also, reviews will tell all. If the product is difficult to use in any way, someone will complain about it.
My Final Say
These large dog harnesses will help you walk your dog with confidence. If they are a super puller as they walk, the DogNation ultra-light harness is ideal. It’s good looking, durable and breathable.
For a multi-function option with ample adjustability, we love the Kurgo car harness. It doubles up as both a car harness and an everyday harness. The impressive size range for large dogs is also hard to beat.
Our dogs' safety is our top priority so we have to choose a design that would fit their needs and a brand with a quality that we can rely on.
To find the right fitting harness, you need to measure your dog at two points:
- Around the neck. This is the circumference of the base of the neck where it meets the shoulders.
- Around the chest. This is under the armpits and around the back.
Most manufacturers will give you a guideline of where to measure your dog.
To identify if a harness is well-fitted, there are two things to keep in mind.
One is general sizing. If there are visible huge gaps and the harness is sliding around, it’s way too big for your pup. Either you need to adjust the straps or get a smaller size.
“A properly fitted harness also won't cause rolls of skin to bunch up around the dog’s neck or shoulders, which indicate that it is too tight,” says Dr Victoria Schade for PetMD. (3)
The other side to this is the close fit of a harness. The rule of two fingers comes into play here. If you can fit your two fingers under the harness way too easily, it’s too loose. If you can’t slide your two fingers between your harness and your dog’s body, it’s too tight. These issues can be solved by adjusting the straps. You shouldn’t need a new size if the problem is the close fit.
- Clark, M. April 28, 2022. “Collar Versus Harness: Which Is Best For Your Dog?”. DogTime. Retrieved November 28, 2023. https://dogtime.com/dog-health/general/43739-collar-vs-harness-best-dog
- Brookes, J. December 31, 2019. “Harness Train Your French Bulldog Using These 7 Quick Tips”. Small Dog Place. Retrieved November 28, 2023. https://www.smalldogplace.com/harness-train-your-french-bulldog.html
- McCarthy, C. November 29, 2017. “Surprising Dog Harness Dangers to Avoid”. PetMD. Retrieved November 28, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/surprising-dog-harness-dangers-avoid