The 5 Best Tactical Dog Harnesses Australia: Tested & Evaluated 2023
There are all kinds of harnesses on the market for dogs of all shapes, sizes and lifestyles. But what is a tactical harness and why would a dog need one? Service dogs are prime candidates for a good tactical harness because of their utility. Plenty of pockets, durable materials, and generally neutral camouflaging designs.
To finally have answers to which dog harness works best, we consulted experts to help us in testing and conducting a study to know what to look for in a harness for tactical use and general training. If you want to find out the results of the study, we came up with a list of the best tactical dog harnesses Australia has to offer, so keep reading! This is your ultimate guide to finding the right one for your hard working pooch.
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
Dog Nation High Performance Dog Harness Tactical Military Training
- Nice design
- Fully adjustable straps
Runner Up -
OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest
- Well reviewed
- Soft padding
Third Choice -
BUMBIN Tactical Dog Harness
- Good size range
- Breathable materials
- MOLLE system
- Good value for money
Australia's Best Tactical Dog Harnesses Reviewed
Before we discuss the best way to identify the right fit of a tactical harness for your pup. Let’s dive first into the available products on the Australian market today, so you can see what is available before you make a sound decision for both of you.
Dog Nation is a common favourite for us because of their high-quality products. From collars to leashes, apparel to toys, we’ve never been let down by their stuff and the reviews prove it.
So naturally, the Dog Nation Tactical Military Harness is a top choice for us. It’s everything you need in a tactical harness and more.
Firstly, it is incredibly durable to last your dog through all of the activity and training they’ll do as they wear the harness. It’s fully waterproof too. So you can do all kinds of military and general training.
One thing we personally look for in a harness is that it won't snap if our dogs pull hard on it which makes it our first choice among other brands, because our dogs can also wear this everyday.
Compared to OneTigris, this harness is a winner when it comes to durability with various colours and sizes, making it our first choice among the best tactical dog harnesses in the Australian market. Hence, as dog owners, we are confident that our dogs are safe wearing this product.
There are two large carrier pockets on either side of the harness. Your dog can carry decently sized items on each side. That’s helpful for first aid kits and other rescue apparel depending on what you’re training your dog to do of course.
The model comes in three sizes and three colours. The medium is suitable for a dog with a 51cm - 69 cm chest. The large is suitable for a dog with a 69cm - 81 cm chest. The largest size, extra-large, is suitable for a dog with an 81cm - 107 cm chest. Though these size ranges seem quite wide, you can adjust the straps to ensure the perfect fit. There are plenty of straps to adjust to your dog’s body.
The three colours are black, purple, and army green. The harness looks very neat and feels comfy. While the outer material is tough and waterproof, the soft mesh lining is forgiving on your dog’s skin for wear for long periods.
Some of the harnesses available in the market promise durability but would definitely harm our dog's skin because of their rough material. Even if the harness is adjustable, there will be times when my dogs have much contact with the harness, and it irritates their skin which can cause rashes.
The one con would be that this harness is only suitable for medium to extra-large dogs. But when compared to OneTigris, the harness can be used for small dogs, but not the extra small ones. This is relatively expected for military harnesses, as we mentioned, but if the size is right, this one is a winner!
The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest is one of the best options out there on the Australian market and also makes our list of the top personalised dog harness options.
We like this one because the body of the harness is so lightweight. That can be one of the pitfalls of tactical harnesses in general. Too many pockets and buckles and straps to be lightweight. But OneTigris have managed it with a high quality-nylon body that is durable and as lightweight as possible.
However, even if this harness does not have pockets like Dog Nation, it has other features that can be useful for pet owners. Also, our dogs can freely move without the extra weight from loaded pockets, and they are also free from scratches if the weight becomes too heavy and creates friction between the harness and their skin or fur.
The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest being tested by our independent expert team.
Beyond the lightweight, nylon exterior, you have a soft mesh inner lining. Essential for comfortable wear throughout the day.
Though the size range may appear more representative than the Dog Nation option, it isn’t in reality. The smallest size is equivalent to the Dog Nation’s medium model. It’s suitable for dogs with a 51 cm - 69 cm chest range. However, OneTigris does have a larger extra-large size that encompasses the largest of giant dogs. It’s suitable for dogs with a chest size of 79 cm - 102 cm. That’s quite impressive!
I also like that there's a great range of colours available for this model. Compared to Dog Nation, you can actually choose from five options. The seven include green, black, ranger (khaki) green, army print, brown, coyote brown and grey. These colours definitely look neat for our dogs.
OneTigris follows the MOLLE system if that’s important to you - see more on that below.
For a decent price and great reviews, we wholeheartedly recommend this durable and trustworthy tactical harness!
If you’re on a budget but want an excellent harness for your dog, the Bumbin models might just be for you!
This harness has a very slimline design with minimal fabric, buckles and pockets. In fact, it has no loose pockets at all so is best used for walking and/or running for service dogs. It uses the MOLLE system instead for tight tactical pockets against the body.
The size range runs a lot smaller than the previous two options which is good if you have a small dog in military training. Small dogs can be mighty too after all! The smallest size is suitable for a dog with a chest of 38 cm - 63 cm. So the smallest size here will suit some small dogs. It’s still not great for the tiniest of dogs but that’s to be expected as previously mentioned.
Compared to its competitors, Dog Nation and OneTigris, all sizes of this brand come in a range of eight designs, including block colours and khaki patterns, in addition to 'prettier' patterns such as pink or purple camo. You can have more options depending on what you think would look best on your dog.
Out of the top three, this harness remains the most breathable one with its lightweight construction of cotton, quick-dry padding and soft mesh lining, which I love for my dogs. It’s a combination of comfort and good aeration that can be lacking in the heavier harnesses on the market.
Durable metal rings for no pull control and quick release buckles make the harness easy to whip on and off. Reflective strips also help make your dog more visible in the early mornings or late nights at work. This is great if you have dogs that are prone to getting lost or just wanted to play hide and seek from time to time.
For a cheap and cheerful tactical harness with good features, the Bumbin model won’t let you down.
If you have a puller on your hands or need that extra bit of control, the Auroth harness is pretty great! Not all harnesses have a front attachment because back attachments are used more often for tactical work. The Auroth has a strong metal D ring on the front to help stop your dog from pulling too much. It can handle a pulling weight of over 500 kg so you can trust that this harness will handle even the strongest of strong dogs.
We definitely recommend this if your dog is constantly pulling away from you as you train them or for other purposes. This will make things easier for you.
It’s made of oxford nylon stitching and a soft inner lining. Comfort meets durability with this weather resistant harness.
The Auroth Tactical Dog Training Harness being tested by our independent expert team.
Sizing wise, the sizes start from medium dogs. The “small” is suitable for dogs with a chest of 50 cm - 78 cm. The largest size is suitable for dogs with a chest of 66 cm - 110 cm. This is an average size range for this category.
It has four fully adjustable straps to tailor the fit. There are quick release buckles to make it easy to clip on and off. This is also one of the good things about this product when compared to the previous three options. It increases security of the harness being attached to our dogs and allows the harness to fit perfectly into our dogs' bodies.
As for the MOLLE system, the Auroth uses sewn in flat pouches for small items such as keys and tags. The manufacturer has a satisfaction warranty to ensure you’re happy with the product too.
For a decent price point and a great all rounder for pulling dogs, this is a great choice.
Excellent Elite Spanker has a wide range of tactical harnesses on offer for dogs. For this mini review, the focus is on their tactical backpack. The MOLLE system is great and all for lightweight harnesses. What if your military dog needs to shift some serious weight? Those tiny pouches can only do so much. So, this vest has a saddlebag structure with two large side pockets for larger items. There are some MOLLE pouches too in case you need them for smaller stuff.
I also love the pockets that come in different sizes, depending on what you need them for. This is something we can use for various purposes. When compared with Auroth, the pouches are larger and can carry heavier things if needed.
This tactical vest for dogs doubles up as a military backpack to carry a whole host of things. It’s great for hiking, camping and service work alike.
The EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack being tested by our independent expert team.
The high-quality nylon stitching help hold the saddlebag together. Though rest assured that the straps won’t chafe. There is a soft mesh lining to cushion the straps against your dog’s delicate skin.
This harness only comes in one size. It will suit a dog with a chest size of 70 cm - 100 cm. It’s not ideal for dogs over 55 kg or under 20 kg though. Bear this in mind if you think this vest may be helpful.
However, even if it has only one size, considering the price and quality of this harness, we included this on the list because the brand is one of the best in Australia. It was reviewed by many users, and you can choose this if the other mentioned options are not available.
There are four colours available: black, grey, brown and green.
For such a reasonable price and excellent tactical features, we think this model by Excellent Elite Spanker is a no brainer!
How To Choose a Tactical Dog Harness
Size - The Small Dog Problem
Generally, the dog world has a big dog problem. You often find plenty of items catering to the tiny and small dog category and woefully ignoring the larger pooches out there. It’s a common thread with all types of dog apparel. (I review this stuff a lot - I should know!)
But with tactical harnesses, the inverse is true. Often medium to large dogs are well catered for and the tiny breeds are left in the dust. Why? Well… it’s safe to say we’re a little sizeist when it comes to who can be a police dog or military dog.
Larger dog breeds like German Shepherds and Dobermans are favoured over Chihuahuas. And with good reason. I dread to think of how a yappy Chihuahua would fair in the throes of a search and rescue mission.
So it’s safe to say that there are more tactical harnesses out there for larger dogs because there are more large dogs in tactical work.
All that being said, there are some smaller dogs in service positions. Basset Hounds and Jack Russell Terriers spring to mind as common candidates for canine employment as they are whip-smart and can reach hard to reach places. If you have one such tiny hero, then fear not. There are a couple of options on the market for them. You just have to dig a little deeper to find them.
Purpose - What Is The Tactical Harness For?
The second part to finding a military or police dog harness depends on the ultimate purpose. What kind of training or day to day work is your dog doing? Do they need to carry large items or can you use small pouches to carry the little things?
If your dog is wearing the harness all day, you want it to be as comfortable as possible. Too much padding may seem like the natural way to do this but padding can trap heat. On hot days with plenty of activity, it can cause sweating and chafing. So perhaps lightweight harnesses with thin padding would be best for dogs working in those conditions.
Alternatively, dogs that work in cooler environments may be thankful for a bit of extra weight via a soft, breathable mesh padding.
Following that train, will your dog be working a lot in snowy or wet weather conditions? Will they need to go diving?
If so, the harness needs to be waterproof or at least quick-drying. Having a wet harness on all day can cause many issues.
“Pet parents should not leave a wet harness on their dog for a long period of time, as it can cause skin infection. Monitor hidden areas such as armpits and under the chest a few times a week to make sure that the harness is not causing skin irritation from rubbing,” - Dr Katie Grzyb for PetMD (1)
All of these factors come into play when selecting the right product for your dog.
MOLLE - Modular Light-weight Load-carrying Equipment
So, what are these MOLLE features that we have highlighted in some of our top picks for tactical harnesses? As a lover of language, I think this acronym is a bit of a cop-out. Modular Light-weight Load-carrying Equipment. You can see MOLLE if you squint hard enough I suppose!
All jokes aside, the MOLLE system is used across the board for tactical gear for rucksacks, carriers and belts for any kind of service work. This applies to human gear too. (2)
It refers to the system of secure pouches that weave through the carrier to ensure it’s lightweight and helpful to the wearer.
In harness land, that means mostly tight pouches or panels against the body that can hold small items and allow the dog owner easy access to any cargo. Though the MOLLE system is used for larger pockets too and how they are constructed.
Whether you need a harness that recognises the MOLLE system or not depends on the previous question - what is the purpose of the harness?
Police dogs and military dogs will do better with MOLLE harnesses. If you’re using the harness for other types of training, it may not be such an important factor.
The Final Verdict
The Dog Nation tactical harness is a great all-rounder that ticks many of the boxes you need. It’s a perfect fit for the dogs that match the measurement requirements. It’s very comfortable to wear and well-priced for the high-quality materials. We recommend it wholeheartedly for medium to large dogs.
If you’re on a budget, the Bumbin model will do the trick. It has a good size range for dogs of all types, nice designs, and an effortlessly lightweight design.
All of the harnesses listed here are carefully selected by our team, and our goal is to help you decide which among the brands in Australia are the best and the things that you should consider before buying one for your dog.
Ultimately, your choice will depend on what you are using the harness for, but we hope these options will suit your working dog however you need!
Most manufacturers will provide a clear guideline for sizing. It’s very important you follow the instructions for measuring your dog if given. However, generally, you need to measure your dog in two places while they are standing. The first is around the “waist”. So across the back and under the front legs. The second is around the neck, just above the shoulders. Not the middle of the neck. If you measure here, the harness will be too tight.
Some tactical harnesses have back length guidelines too. That would mean measuring your dog from the nape of the neck to the top of the tail bone.
Some will also give weight guidelines in lb or kg.
If in doubt, contact the manufacturer for guidance.
When we talk about fitting collars, we talk about the rule of 2. That is, if you can fit your two fingers between the item and your dog’s fur comfortably, it’s a nice fit. There’s a huge gap, it’s too loose. If you can’t fit your fingers in between the harness and your dog’s skin at all, it’s way too tight.
According to Dog Force Australia, the apparel that dogs wear generally depends on what they’re doing. Not all police dogs wear harnesses day to day but most will train with one.
Dogs have many different roles in the police force. There are explosive detecting dogs that wear slimline harnesses with few, if any, pockets. However, patrol and guard dogs do tend to need more pockets for their handlers and will wear harnesses almost all of the time.
So the short answer is, yes. The long answer is it depends on what your dog may be doing to fulfil their role in the force.
- McCarthy, C. November 29, 2017. “Surprising Dog Harness Dangers to Avoid”. PetMD. Retrieved October 29, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/surprising-dog-harness-dangers-avoid
- Eichenberger, E. September 9, 2023. “What Is MOLLE and Why You Should Care”. Survival Sullivan. Retrieved October 29, 2023. https://www.survivalsullivan.com/what-is-molle-and-why-you-should-care/
- "Specialist Services". Dog Force Australia. Retrieved October 29, 2023. https://www.dogforceaustralia.com.au/specialist-services/