The Best Harnesses for Small Dogs and Other Toy Breeds in 2019

Dogs love riding in cars with you! No one can resist a cute dog watching the world go by from an open car window. The sense of exploration a car journey offers gives your dog a chance to enjoy indulging in their favorite pass time – barking at anything that moves.

While car rides are fun for both dog and owner, they are also dangerous, especially for small dog breeds such as Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Chihuahuas.

In a recent manufacturer’s safety survey, 65% of drivers who drive with their dogs in the car, admitted to engaging in at least one distracting activity, some caused by their dogs.

Small dogs would also not be able to withstand the impact of a collision on their tiny bodies if not properly secured. Fortunately, with the best dog harness for small dogs, you can keep your best friend safe as they ride or walk with you.

In our review and comprehensive buyer’s guide, we’ve picked the best small dog harness brands to give you peace of mind. These top brand harnesses will comfortably but safely secure and restrain your four-legged friend, whether you’re driving or walking with them.

Ready to shop? Let’s have a look at the review.

Our Top Pick

Our top pick—and where we’d recommend you look first—is the Ecobark Classic harnesses, but any of the options on our list should suit you well.

Here are some other great options:

  1. Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness – Best Step-In Harness
  2. Pawtitas Reflective Mesh Step-in Dog Harness – Best Ergonomic Harness
  3. WonderPup Soft Mesh Dog Harness – Best Hot Weather Harness
  4. Sporn No-Pull Step-In Dog Harness – Best No-Pull Harness
  5. Kurgo Trufit Crash Tested Dog Harness – Best Car Safety Harness
  6. Copatchy No-Pull Adjustable Small Dog Harness – Best Adjustable Harness
  7. Kong Comfort Control Grip Harness – Best Durable Harness
  8. Comfort-Fit Metric Small Dog Harness – Best Lightweight Harness

 

The Best Harnesses for Small Dogs Reviewed

Ecobark Classic Small Dog Harness – Best Overall Harness

 

Ecobark harnesses come in a variety of attractive colors and designs. The smaller sizes fit small dog breeds and feel secure and comfortable.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in x-small and small neck sizes suitable for small dogs
  • No-pull and choke-free harness
  • Escape proof when sized correctly
  • Anti-rub technology for the ultimate comfort
  • Weight: 5.4 oz.

 

What We Like

A key feature with these harnesses is the no-choke, no-pull design that prevents pressure on the neck area. The adjustable belt in the belly area also prevents chaffing and rubbing. These harnesses are the haute couture, too. They come in brilliant, attractive colors sure to leave your little princess—or prince—looking stylish.

 

What We Don’t Like

The snap closure mechanism could be made slightly stronger, and though your dog won’t escape this harness if the clasp doesn’t fail, it’s also hard to remove.

 

Pros

  • Breathable material perfect for hot weather or car journeys
  • Soft and lightweight
  • Environmentally friendly—made from recycled plastic bottles
  • Stylish and fashionable

 

Cons

  • The snap-close mechanism is weak
  • It’s challenging to get out of the harness

 

This harness is stylish, fashionable, and well designed. For small dogs, it works great at protecting their front and belly area on both car rides and walks. Eco bark is one of the best dog harnesses for small dogs you can buy today.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

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Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness – Best Step-in Harness

 

The Voyager harness has a simple design that is easy to use. It’s a lightweight harness made of nylon that’s soft, breathable mesh, and can be worn all year round.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in three sizes for small dogs – x-small, small, and medium
  • An all-weather vest harness with breathable mesh material
  • Hassle-free, step-in build
  • Strong Velcro closure
  • Heavy-duty 2-D rings for leash training
  • Weight: 2.08 oz.

 

What We Like

We loved the non-irritating material that will not chafe or rub against your pet’s fur and skin. Also, because it’s made with stretchy material, this harness will mold itself around your dog’s body, and make them feel cozy and comfy. The 2 D-rings come in handy during leash training, as well.

 

What We Don’t Like

The D-rings on the harness seem a bit big. They do not fit well on a small dog harness. Some users also complain that the stitching is prone to fraying.

 

Pros

  • Strong materials making for a durable harness
  • Breathable nylon mesh material for the ultimate comfort
  • Reflective stitching means your dog is highly visible in low-light
  • Can be worn whatever the season

 

Cons

  • Durability concerns

 

This harness has excellent all-season wearability. It is soft and gentle for your dog, providing breathability and safety, with the added Velcro strapping.

 

Overall Rating – 4.8/5

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Pawtitas Reflective Mesh Step-in Harness – Best Ergonomic Harness

 

Pawtitas harnesses are among the top-selling harnesses on many e-commerce platforms. They are attractive and well made with great functionality.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in five sizes – from xx-small to medium for your small dog
  • Ergonomic step-in harness with dog vest harness functionality
  • Reflective stitching for night-time vision
  • 2-D rings for leash training
  • Quick-release buckle for quick adjustment
  • Weight: 1.4 oz.

 

What We Like

This harness is very well made, with attractive colors, superior stitching, and premium high-grade materials. It is ideal for small breeds such as Yorkies, Shih Tzus, Pomeranians, and Maltese. Additionally, if you have a nervous dog on your hands, this harness is comfortable to put on and wear and won’t stress them out unnecessarily.

 

What We Don’t Like

We would like to see a little bit more wiggle room, especially in the front chest area. Otherwise, it’s an excellent fitting harness for small dogs.

 

Pros

  • Easy to use; it’s quick to get your dog in and out
  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Attractive and fashionable
  • Great functionality

 

Cons

  • Chest fit is a bit off

 

One of the best small dog harnesses out there! Pawtitas has come out with a well-designed harness that showcases excellent construction and breathable materials for all-day wear.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

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WonderPup Soft Mesh Dog Harness – Best Hot Weather Harness

Wonder Pup harnesses comprise a cotton material and soft mesh for breathability. They fit snugly on all sizes of dogs, come in five convenient sizes, and lots of attractive colors.

 

Key Features

  • 100% polyester
  • Comes in five sizes – from x-small to large
  • Breathable air-mesh fabric
  • Specially designed for small breeds only
  • Velcro and plastic clip closure
  • D-rings for leash training
  • Weight: 1.6 oz.

 

What We Like

These harnesses are great value for the cost. They are built well and won’t cost as much as similar harnesses. The breathable mesh fabric makes them wearable in hot weather or for car journeys, too. They are also secure with the Velcro and plastic clip closure mechanisms.

 

What We Don’t Like

As the adjustment buckle can slip during walking or riding, your dog can easily break free with a strong pull. A rubber stop would help in stopping this from happening as the dog walks.

 

Pros

  • Great quality cotton material
  • Affordably priced
  • Great functionality
  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear

 

Cons

  • The adjustment buckle can slide, letting the dog out of the harness easily

 

Great quality harnesses that come at an affordable price. Choose from five convenient sizes to fit all manner of small breed dogs.

 

Overall Rating – 4.7/5

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Sporn No-Pull Step-in Dog Harness – Best No-Pull Harness

 

The Sporn no-pull, mesh harness provides the ultimate protection and comfort. It is constructed with premium-grade nylon mesh that is durable and breathable.

 

Key Features

  • Premium quality nylon mesh
  • Comes in three sizes – from small to x-large
  • Non-pull mesh harness
  • Elastic webbing for stretch capability
  • Padded for ultimate protection
  • Weight: 0.8 oz.

 

What We Like

This harness is specially designed for dogs that pull. The padded sherpa sleeves tighten and apply gentle pressure under the dog’s front legs, discouraging them from pulling. The elastic webbing and stretch material allows your dog to move with freedom and flexibility, and the padded front area provides all the protection to the sternum while they run, walk, or ride.

 

What We Don’t Like

These harnesses are not chew-proof, so be careful leaving your buddy in one unattended. They are also a little tricky to remove.

 

Pros

  • Suitable for numerous small dog breeds including Cairn Terriers, Jack Russells, and Toy Poodles
  • The non-pull mesh harness offers total control
  • Padded for the ultimate protection of your dog’s front area
  • Designed for dogs who pull

 

Cons

  • This harness can be complicated to put on and get off
  • No chew-proof

 

If you have a small dog that tends to pull, this harness controls your dog’s movements and minimizes the effects of their pulling.

 

Overall Rating – 4.3/5

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Kurgo Trufit Crash Tested Dog Car Harness – Best Car Safety Harness

 

The Kurgo Tru-Fit Dog Car Harness has the distinction of being a best-selling, crash-tested dog harness on the market. These harnesses are tested at Calpsan’s in Buffalo New York and hold a USA FMVSS safety standard number of 213 for Child Restraint Systems.

 

Key Features

  • Adjustable and no-pull
  • Comes in five sizes – from x-small to large
  • Dog seat belt tether included
  • Weight: 7.5 oz.

 

What We Like

We love the peace of mind this safety car harness provides to dog owners. It comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects, crash testing, and FMVSS credentials.

These harnesses also come in five convenient sizes, with a thick padded chest plate, and extra tether for seat belt attachment.

Additionally, this product comes with the Kurgo Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturer defects.

 

What We Don’t Like

The chest straps are slightly thin. They could be thicker to last longer, and the stitching seems a bit pokey in spots.

 

Pros

  • Multifunctional—works as both a car and walking harness
  • Comes with a seatbelt that’s compatible with many car seatbelt systems
  • Fully adjustable and comfortable to wear
  • Crash tested for dogs up to 75 lbs.
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects

 

Cons

  • The interior stitching is sharp in some places and can cause chaffing

 

Kurgo is one of the best car harnesses for dogs. It is padded well with soft but thick materials to provide the ultimate protection in case of an accident. It also doubles up as a durable walking harness.

 

Overall Rating – 4.9/5

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Copatchy No-Pull Adjustable Small Dog Harness – Best Adjustable Harness

 

This no-pull adjustable harness is lightweight and sponge filled for the ultimate comfort. The clips are durable and open and close with ease.

 

Key Features

  • Sponge-filled anti-pull harness
  • Durable clips that easily open and close
  • Extra top handle for easy walking on a leash
  • Comes in six sizes – from xx-small to large
  • Weight: 3.84 oz.

 

What We Like

We love that this harness is lightweight and choke free. This feature is crucial for small dog harnesses, as little dogs are susceptible to collapsed trachea injuries.

Reflective stitching means you can walk your dog in low-light or night-time conditions with giving high-visibility.

 

What We Don’t Like

Some users have noted that the harness rotates sideways during walking, and we experienced this too. Exercise caution when walking in high-traffic areas and make sure the harness is sized correctly and fits snugly on your dog before going out.

 

Pros

  • Designed for walking, hiking, running or training
  • Padded material that’s comfortable for all-day wear
  • The extra handle makes it easy for the elderly/frail to walk their dogs
  • Lightweight and breathable

 

Cons

  • This harness can fray in parts over time.

 

This harness is both lightweight and breathable for comfortable wear, all-day. It is also secure to wear on long walks or during training and choke free, crucial for small dogs.

 

Overall Rating – 4.5/5

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Kong Comfort Control Grip Harness – Best Durable Harness

The Kong Comfort Control Grip harness gives both the ultimate control to the owner and comfort to the dog while on walks.

 

Key Features

  • Comes in a small circumference of 16-22 inches
  • Fully adjustable
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Padded for ultimate comfort
  • Weight: 4.6 oz.

 

What We Like

This harness is specially designed for small dogs. The design offers a snug, comfortable fit, and it is fully adjustable. It also comes with a padded handle to make it convenient and easy for you to walk your small dog. This harness is sturdy and will undoubtedly last you a while.

 

What We Don’t Like

The strap moves freely through a loop in the back piece of the harness. This feature means that the back can get twisted, creating room for your dog to wiggle out

 

Pros

  • Made with heavy-duty, durable materials
  • Padded on the inside for the dog’s ultimate comfort
  • Fully adjustable to fit small dogs of all sizes
  • This harness is not chew-proof, so it is not suitable for all-day wear

 

Cons

  • It can be challenging to put on and take off, especially if your dog is high-spirited

 

The Kong harness is built for small dogs. It is a safer harness that is well padded to protect their tiny bodies and features padded handles for your comfort during walks.

 

Overall Rating – 3.9/5

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Comfort-Fit Metric Small Dog Harness– Best Lightweight Harness

This No-Pull Small Dog Harness is the solution if you have a small dog that doesn’t like harnesses – it will keep them securely restrained while feeling comfortable and light.

 

Key Features

  • No-pull design
  • Comes in attractive six colors
  • Comes in five sizes – xx-small to large
  • Dual Velcro and snap closure for extra security
  • Weight: 2 oz.

 

What We Like

We love the quick-release clip with two D-rings for leash training and security while you walk your dog. It is also easy to put on and take off, is made of durable materials, and is easy to keep clean.

This harness comes in six colors and five sizes to fit all types of small dog breeds and cater to all owners’ tastes.

 

What We Don’t Like

The sizing chart is inaccurate. Make sure to measure and double-check your dog’s measurements yourself to avoid getting an incorrectly sized harness.

 

Pros

  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Padded areas reduce strain on the trachea and lower neck
  • Easy to keep clean and maintain
  • The no-pull design keeps your dog in control without straining your arms and hands
  • Comes with a life-time warranty

 

Cons

  • The clasps can open up on occasion so watch out for this occurrence

 

This harness is perfect for small dogs who hate harnesses. It feels comfortable and lightweight, almost like a second skin. Your dog will wear it without protest, and the no-pull design will allow you to keep your dog under control quickly.

 

Overall Rating – 4.4/5

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Buying Guide – All You Need to Know Before Buying a Small Dog Harness

There are so many dog harnesses for small dogs on the market nowadays. It’s important to go shopping for one with some knowledge of what you need. Failure to do your research could cause you to purchase a harness that will not only fail to work for your small dog but waste your money in the process.

 

Why Do Small Dogs Need a Harness?

Harnesses, unlike collars, do not put pressure on a dog’s neck.

Small dogs are particularly prone to tracheal collapse, and adding pressure to their necks can trigger the condition. Harnesses help to avoid this issue by supporting small dogs in their most active areas – the front legs and the chest.

Small dogs can also be excitable and suddenly rush and pull forward. Harnesses allow you to safely hold them back without strangling them in their weakest area – the neck.

 

Types of Harnesses for Small Dogs

Body Harnesses

If you’re traveling with your small dog in a car, running, or enjoying agility training together, you’ll need a body harness.

Body harnesses provide ample protection to the chest and front leg area. They are suitable for dogs that have been trained not to pull. These harnesses are no-pull and chew-proof and can easily be worn all the time.

They also provide padded protection to the sternum and chest area that allows you to ride with your dog in the car and carry out athletic activities safely, such as Frisbee catching and dog diving.

Do not use them, however, on a dog that pulls.

 

Front-Hook Harnesses

These harnesses are the best choice for a dog that pulls as it trains them to stop pulling. The rotational energy, if the dog pulls on the harness, turns their body around, preventing them from going in the direction they are not facing.

Front-hook harnesses are easy to fit, but they are not recommended for car journeys or athletic activities. The dog might also be tempted to chew on them, so they should not be worn all the time.

 

How Do You Fit Your Small Dog for a Harness?

Fit is essential when choosing a harness for your small dog. You do not want to buy an ill-fitting harness that will either suffocate your dog or allow them to wiggle out.

Whether you get a no-pull harness, a fashionable harness, or a car safety harness, it should the harness fit your dog comfortably, keeping the pressure off the neck and throat.

Measure the circumference around the neck and chest to get the most accurate measurements. Always use a measuring tape or a string measured against a ruler, because different harnesses will need different measurements for a proper fit.

 

Small Dog Harness Measuring Chart

Dog Breed Dog’s Weight

(pounds)

Size of Harness Neck Circumference

(inches)

Chest Circumference

(inches)

Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terrier Up to 5 XX-Small 7.5 – 9 8.5 – 12
Maltese, Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, Toy Poodle, Miniature Dachsund 5 – 10 X-Small 9 – 13 12 – 18
Pekingese, Miniature Schnauzer, Pug, Scottish Terrier, Cavalier King Charles, Corgi 10 – 25 Small 12 – 20 16 – 22

Factors to Consider When Buying a Small Dog Harness

The main objective when looking for a small dog harness is not to strangle your dog. Small dogs are particularly vulnerable in the throat area, and all harnesses should leave this area free.

Comfort and safety will ensure that your dog enjoys their accessory, and will give you peace of mind. The best small dog harness brands have the following features:

 

Choke-free

Small dog harnesses protect the weak neck area and support the front leg and chest area. Look for harnesses that are choke-free, as little dogs are susceptible to trachea conditions.

 

Adjustability

For the best fit, you will want a dog harness that is fully adjustable. Customized fits that mold themselves around your dog’s body will prevent them from either feeling hemmed in or from slipping out of the harness.

 

Weight

Small dogs are not that heavy, so it won’t make sense to purchase a bulky harness for your dog. Look for comfortable, padded, but lightweight harnesses that will give your dog the protection they need, without weighing them down.

Remember to also look for breathable mesh materials that feel soft and keep your dog cool at all times.

 

Easy to Use

Your harness should be constructed in such a way that it is easy to put on and take off. Dogs can’t keep still for one minute, so fitting the harness should be a one-second job.

Front hook harnesses are generally more comfortable to put on than body harnesses.

Some harnesses are step-in, while others are over-the-head harnesses. For small dogs, over-the-head harnesses seem popular, and they’re a particularly right choice if your dog is nervous.

 

Durability

Durable harnesses last you a while and save you money. The best small dog harnesses are made of high-quality materials with breathable mesh and padding for comfort.

The addition of a waterproof coating on the harness is a good idea to keep it resistant to the elements, especially if you’re going out on walks or runs. Look for harnesses that can be hand-washed or machine-washed for easy maintenance.

 

Safety

For added peace of mind, if possible, look for harnesses that have been crash-tested. These harnesses are listed on the Center for Pet Safety website or those that have a USA FMVSS number.

 

Final Thoughts

We have, after hours of research and reviewing other customer reviews, come up with what we feel are the best small dog harnesses.

We’ve looked at their safety testing accreditations, comfort, adjustability, and durability, as key considerations in making our choice. The best dog harness for small dogs also needs to be lightweight to be comfortable, as these tiny dogs don’t weigh much more than a few pounds. Look for a crash test certified or FMVSS-approved harness where possible.

Do you agree with our small dog harness choices for this review? Have you any experience with any of the brands mentioned?

Comment below, let us know what you think, and happy harness hunting for your pup!

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Gail Ramirez

Gail Ramirez

Gail is an aspiring blogger, pet lover and Greys Anatomy, addict. Gail shares her experience on Pet Fashion Week as she studies to become a qualified vet.