Golden Retriever wearing a tactical harness

Best Tactical Dog Harness Australia -
The Military Vest Review

Our #1 Pick

Dog Nation High Performance Dog Harness Tactical Military Training

The Best Value for Money

Dog Nation High Performance Dog Harness Tactical Military Training

  • Nice design
  • Fully adjustable straps
  • Waterproof
  • Durable

There are all kinds of harnesses on the market for all kinds of dogs. Service dogs are prime candidates for a good tactical harness because of their utility. Plenty of pockets, durable materials, and generally neutral camouflaging designs.

If you want to find out the best tactical dog harness Australia has to offer, keep reading! This is your ultimate guide to finding the right one for your working pooch.


How To Find A Military Harness For Your Dog

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

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.


Best Tactical Dog Harness Australia 2022

So we’ve discussed the best way to identify the right fit for your pup. Let’s dive into the available products on the Australian market today so you can make a sound decision for both of you.

Dog Nation High Performance Dog Harness Tactical Military Training
  • Nice design
  • Fully adjustable straps
  • Waterproof
  • Durable

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.

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 51-69cm chest. The large is suitable for a dog with a 69-81cm chest. The largest size, extra-large, is suitable for a dog with an 81-107cm 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.

The one con would be that this harness is only suitable for medium to extra-large dogs. This is relatively expected for military harnesses as we mentioned, but if the size is right, this one is a winner!

Verified Review - 23/09/2021
Puppy Commando
"Can’t wait to use this harness on longer adventures, good size and looks & feels comfortable. Love the velcro patches for anything you like to stick on. The handles at the front and back make it easy to control where you want your dog to be or to hold still thanks guys!"

Pros

Cons

  • Nice design
  • Not suitable for extra small dogs
  • Fully adjustable straps
  • Waterproof
Cell
  • Durable
Cell

OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest
  • Well reviewed
  • Lightweight
  • Weather-resistant
  • Soft padding

The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest is one of the best options out there on the Australian market.

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.

The OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest being tested by our independent expert team.

OneTigris Tactical Service Dog Vest being tested by our review 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 51-69cm 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 79-102cm. That’s quite impressive!

There’s a great range of colours available for this model. The five include green, black, ranger (khaki) green, brown and grey.

OneTigris follows the MOLLE system if that’s important to you.

For a decent price and great reviews, we wholeheartedly recommend this durable and trustworthy tactical harness!

Verified Review - 11/11/2021
Could use minor improvements!
"Overall it’s a great harness, only change I could make would be for the straps, there is no folded end, and stitching to all of the straps, so if not checked regularly they will come loose and cause the strap to undo. The plus side, there are 4 buckles so makes it easy to take on and off if your dog doesn’t like it over their ears/head."

Pros

Cons

  • Well reviewed
  • Not suitable for all small dogs
  • Lightweight
  • Not ideal for everyday walks
  • Weather-resistant
Cell
  • Soft padding
Cell

#3: Budget-Friendly Option: BUMBIN Tactical Dog Harness

image
  • Good size range
  • Breathable materials
  • MOLLE system
  • Good value for money

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 38-63cm. 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.

All sizes come in a range of 9 designs including block colours and khaki patterns.

The harness remains breathable with its lightweight construction of cotton, quick-dry padding and soft mesh lining. 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.

For a cheap and cheerful tactical harness with good features, the Bumbin model won’t let you down.

Verified Review - 8/12/2021
Skeptic turned believer
"The positive reviews swayed me to buy this and I’m so glad I did. Murphy pulled so much all the time and this harness put an immediate stop to it. It doesn’t bother him at all, if anything the compression calms him. My only complaint is that I wish the straps on the front adjusted a little further, it’s just a bit too loose. But I’ll recommend this to anyone who’ll listen."

Pros

Cons

  • Good size range
  • Very small pouches are only suitable for certain types of work
  • Breathable materials
  • MOLLE system
Cell
  • Good value for money
Cell

#4: Best Front-Attached Military Harness: Auroth Tactical Dog Training Harness

Auroth Tactical Dog Training Harness
  • Strong metal D ring front clip
  • Molle pouches
  • Good price point
  • Satisfaction warranty

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 500kg so you can trust that this harness will handle even the strongest of strong dogs.

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.

Auroth Tactical Dog Training Harness being tested by our review team.

Sizing wise, the sizes start from medium dogs. The “small” is suitable for dogs with a chest of 50-78cm. The largest size is suitable for dogs with a chest of 66-110cm. This is an average size range for this category.

It has 4 fully adjustable straps to tailor the fit. There are quick release buckles to make it easy to clip on and off.

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.

Verified Review - 27/10/2021
Excellent product
"I love the chest. The measurements seem to me to be correct and the materials are very good. It is one of the best milkmaids I have seen and for the cost it is excellent. My pet is very comfortable with it and I am confident that it will not hurt it or break when it pull."

Pros

Cons

  • Strong metal D ring front clip
  • Not as lightweight
  • Molle pouches
  • Good price point
Cell
  • Satisfaction warranty
Cell

#5: Best Tactical Backpack: EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack

EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack
  • Large pockets and MOLLE pouches
  • Durable
  • Good value for money
  • Reputable brand

Excellent Elite Spanker has a wide range of tactical harnesses on offer for dogs. For this mini review, the focus is on the 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.

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.

EXCELLENT ELITE SPANKER Dog Pack being tested by our review 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 70-100cm. It’s not ideal for dogs over 55kg or under 20kg. Bear this in mind if you think this vest may be helpful.

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!

Verified Review -14/12/2021
Great quality!
"The XL backpack fit my 90lb dog perfectly with room for growth as he gets older. The pockets are large and even have elastic straps inside for holding phones and other things you don’t want floating around. The pocket can fit 2 water bottles each and still have room for keys and phones. It’s sturdy and he feels comfortable and important wearing it."

Pros

Cons

  • Large pockets and MOLLE pouches
  • Only comes in one size
  • Durable
  • Good value for money
Cell
  • Reputable brand
Cell

The Final Verdict: Best Military Harness For Dogs

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.

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!

FAQ

How do you measure a dog for a harness?

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.

How tight should a dog harness be?

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.

Are harnesses needed for police dogs?

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.

References

  1. McCarthy, C. November 29, 2017. “Surprising Dog Harness Dangers to Avoid”. PetMD. Retrieved December 13, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/surprising-dog-harness-dangers-avoid
  2. Eichenberger, E. “What Is MOLLE and Why You Should Care”. Survival Sullivan. Retrieved December 13, 2021. https://www.survivalsullivan.com/what-is-molle-and-why-you-should-care/
Olivia De Santos

Olivia is a professional writer and animal lover. She loves spending time with her Podengo and Flat Coated Retriever, and writing pieces to help people to be better dog owners

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