Contents of Article
- What Is the Best Dog Harness for a Labrador Retriever?
- How Do I Ensure the Best Fit for My Labrador Retriever?
- Best Dog Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers
- Six More Highly Rated Dog Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers
- Best Harness for a Labrador Retriever Puppy
- Tips for Getting Your Labrador Retriever Accustomed to Using a Harness
- Frequently Asked Questions
Labradors (or Labs) are friendly, loving, and loyal, with an almost endless supply of enthusiasm and energy. You’ll find them to be extroverts, always wanting in on the action and eager to please.
Bred in Newfoundland by fishermen who needed help retrieving unhooked fish, Labs are natural swimmers with amazing strength and endurance. As such, they need an outlet to expend all of that energy, whether it’s swimming at a lake, catching frisbees in a park, or going on a run with their owner.
Due to the Lab’s need to explore and their high level of excitement and strength, you, as an owner, might find yourself unprepared for walking them with only a collar and leash. Instead, you might end up being dragged down the street or sidewalk as your pup bounds down the road, chasing after squirrels or greeting everyone they meet.
That’s where a harness comes in handy because they help you as the owner exhibit control over your dog without harming it. Harnesses are also useful for car rides, as some of them come with handles or latches you can attach to a safety belt.
What Is the Best Dog Harness for a Labrador Retriever?
Here are our top seven recommendations:
- Julius-K9 IDC Powerharness – Best Overall
- Sporn No Pull – Best Training No-Pull
- Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness – Best For Car
- Frisco Padded Front Lead Dog Harness – Best for Walking
- Kurgo Journey – Best for Hiking
- Kurgo Journey Air – Best for Running
- Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Dog Harness – Best Indestructible/Chew Proof
Different Types of Dog Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers
Due to their size and strength, Labs have different requirements when it comes to harnesses than for other dog breeds. What may work for a smaller, less energetic dog will not work for a Labrador.
You will want to take into account the type of leash attachment, durability, adjustability, the kinds of buckles it has if it has a back handle or not, and style.
Leash Attachments and Handles
Harnesses have rings or clips where the leash attaches to the front of the dog’s chest (front-clip), on the dog’s back (back-clip), or both (dual-clip).
If your dog is especially prone to pulling, then a front-clip or dual-clip harness is probably the best choice. Why? It pulls their attention toward you and away from the distraction.
Durability and Comfort
When it comes to harnesses for Labs, you’ll want one that is made out of material that can take a beating. Their high energy levels, endurance, and strength will put any harness through its paces.
While durability is super important, you should also consider how comfortable a harness is. Look for harnesses with breathable mesh interiors and added padding.
Fit, Adjustability, and Buckle Style
Does your Lab balk at anything going over her head? Then you should consider buying what’s known as a step-in harness, where your pup puts his paws into the two sides of the harness.
A harness that fits properly is a must, so one with multiple adjustment points can make the difference between a harness that’s too tight and uncomfortable or one that is too loose harness and easy to escape.
Speaking of dogs whose name should be Houdini, if your dog manages to escape easily from his confines, then look for flat buckles. Quick-release buckles have come a long way, though, so they can still be a viable option.
How Do I Ensure the Best Fit for My Labrador Retriever?
First, you can’t go by weight alone. You should also measure your Lab’s chest and neck before you purchase a harness.
For the best fit, measure your dog’s chest at its widest point and add two inches in case your pooch gains any weight or has a heavy winter coat (like a lot of Labs do).
While not all harnesses use neck measurements, it’s a good idea to know how big your dog’s neck is in case the harness fits over the head.
If you have no idea how much your Lab weighs, you can try stepping on the scale with him, then weigh yourself and take the difference. Or call your vet.
After fastening all the clips and making adjustments, check to see how tight it is by trying to fit two fingers under the straps. If you can’t fit two fingers, then the harness is too tight and is probably uncomfortable for your dog.
Best Dog Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers
|Sneak Peek: Best Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers in 2019|
|Best for Puppies||
Now that you know what to look for in a dog harness for your Labrador Retriever, we’ve narrowed down the field to seven highly-rated harnesses for grown dogs, plus one for your Lab puppy.
Julius-K9 Powerharness: Best Overall
We can’t recommend the Julius-K9 Powerharness enough as the overall best harness for Labrador Retrievers. Moms and dads of Labs who purchase this harness give it high marks for its heavy-duty features and overall design.
It has a steel back-clip leash attachment and sturdy back handle, providing superior control over even the most excitable Labs. Despite its rugged appearance, this harness is comfortable for the dog to wear thanks to the breathable mesh inner lining and water-resistant outer layer.
The fit is excellent as well, with an adjustable hook and loop chest strap and sturdy plastic quick-release buckle. Owners also like that this harness allows for a wide range of motion and does not restrict the legs at all, which can be a problem for Extremely active Labs.
The fact that the Julius K9 Powerharness looks like the ones service dogs wear and has a removable patch you can personalize with your dog’s name are added bonuses. Plus, it has a reflective strip for those times when you have to walk or run with your dog in the early morning or late evening hours.
Six More Highly Rated Dog Harnesses for Labrador Retrievers
Next up are dog harnesses for different situations, such as training, car rides, and more.
Given Labs are super social and love greeting everyone they meet, they are one of the most notorious breeds for pulling on their leash or harness to excess.
While most no-pull harnesses are front-clip, the Sporn is a back-clip style. It deters pulling with its padded restraints that go under the dog’s front legs.
When your pup pulls too much on the leash, the restraints will “tickle” the dog, creating a sensation most dogs do not care for. The sensation does not hurt, nor is it harmful to your dog.
For added comfort, the chest piece is made out of stretchy mesh, but the rest of it is made out of durable nylon that can withstand repeated pulling by large, powerful dogs such as Labrador Retrievers.
Labrador Retrievers love an adventure and make great traveling companions, so be sure to keep them safe in your car with a harness that is crash-tested such as the Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness.
The Kurgo comes with an extra clip for securing the harness to your car’s seat belt, which when combined with the proprietary all-steel Nesting Buckle System, provides the ultimate level of safety while your Lab rides in the back seat of your car.
But don’t let the rugged appearance lead you to believe this is an uncomfortable harness. The chest piece is padded and provides even pressure distribution across your dog’s chest. And you can get a great fit thanks to the five adjustment points.
We like this harness because it is affordable yet high-quality, offering you superior control over your exuberant Labrador thanks to the dual-clip design. If your pooch likes to pull at first, then use the front clip because it will turn your dog’s attention toward you and away from whatever caught its attention.
As your Lab adjusts to walking without pulling, you can start using the back ring to attach your leash to the harness.
This harness has a padded chest piece that slips over your dog’s head, so this is when that neck measurement you took earlier will come in handy. Once the harness is on, you fasten it with two nylon straps.
Remember how we mentioned Labs love to go on adventures, and can’t resist jumping headfirst into a lake? And maybe you do, too? Then you should buy this harness.
The dual-clip design provides versatility for various activities. If the clips look like something a mountain climber might use, that’s because Kurgo engineered them to provide the same level of durability.
The machine-washable fabric is strong enough to withstand high levels of activity yet also provides a comfortable fit that won’t irritate your dog’s skin. The back handle is useful for lifting your dog out of your car, or up a steep hill while on your hike.
Like the Kurgo Journey, this harness is a dual-clip design with a back handle if you need to get quick control over your Labrador.
What makes this great for running in the breathable mesh layer underneath durable ripstop material. It is also machine washable, so you can throw it in the wash after you’re done.
It also comes with a 10-inch lead that is useful for training your Labrador Retriever and keeping her safe while you’re driving.
Does your Labrador Retriever chew on everything in sight? Then you should invest in Chai’s Choice 3M Reflective Harness because it is made out of super-strong nylon that most dogs have a hard time chewing through.
While it is made out of sturdy nylon, it is still comfortable thanks to the breathable mesh padded chest piece and plentiful adjustment points for the best fit. The dual-clip design adds versatility for dogs that are new to harnesses and pull too much on them at first.
Best Harness for a Labrador Retriever Puppy
While most of the harnesses above can be used for a Labrador Retriever puppy, there is one brand of dog harness we like better.
Because Labrador Retrievers puppies grow up to be large, powerful dogs, they will quickly outgrow most harnesses. So, we recommend an inexpensive yet high-quality harness to tide them over until they are full-grown dogs.
The soft, breathable mesh chest plate and multiple adjustment points make this a comfortable harness that will grow with your puppy. A small or medium should work, but be sure to measure your puppy before buying one to get the proper fit.
Tips for Getting Your Labrador Retriever Accustomed to Using a Harness
Labrador Retrievers are adventurous, energetic, curious, and incredibly strong dogs that may very well pull your arm out of your socket on your first walk. A harness is the best way to help them learn to walk on a leash without pulling, yanking, or tugging too much.
Here are some tips to help your Labrador Retriever grow accustomed to using a harness.
- Show your dog the harness and let her inspect it (or sniff it). Reward her with a treat or toy when she shows interest in it.
- Once they have lost interest in it, leave out the leash around the house so they can get used to the sight of it.
- After they’ve gotten used to seeing the harness, put it on them and let them wear it around the house for a few days.
- Finally, take your pup for a walk in their favorite park or a car ride. This will help them associate the harness with fun activities so that when the inevitable vet visit comes, they will be less likely to avoid it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a harness better than a leash and collar?
No matter what the breed of dog, harnesses are a better choice for your dog than a leash and collar. Many dogs can escape collars, and smaller breeds can damage their windpipes by pulling on one
What type of harness is best for the temperament and activity level of Labrador Retrievers?
Due to their outgoing personality, strength, and need for exercise, we can’t emphasize enough how vital durability is for Labrador Retriever harnesses.
We suggest one that is made out of the strongest materials available and has sturdy buckles and rings that can withstand a great deal of pressure.
Other features you choose will depend on the activities you intend to pursue with your Lab, whether it’s for going for a hike and then swim in a lake or taking strolls around your neighborhood.
How do I fit a Labrador Retriever puppy with a harness?
We suggest a harness made out of tough nylon that’s also comfortable, but one that comes in smaller sizes. But, you will need to remember to measure your puppy’s neck and chest for a proper fit, just as you would do with an adult Lab.
We hope that this guide has simplified choosing the right type of harness for your Lab. Any of the products listed above are top-rated and would make an excellent choice because they are all made out of high-quality materials that can stand up to the strength of Labrador Retrievers. Which one you end up choosing is up to you and your dog’s needs.