When you’re dealing with a dog as big as a Mastiff, you know that you need the right stuff to keep him in line. A harness is an excellent option if you don’t have the physical strength to control him. A harness puts the ball back in your court and divides the power between both you and your pup. If your pooch is a puller, a harness a must-have. And it’s not cruel, either. It’s an effective safeguard, as our reviews will show.
There are several types of harnesses so that you can match your pet’s leash manners with the right one. We must say from the onset that early socialization and training are imperative when you’re dealing with a dog as large as the Mastiff. Fortunately, he is a friendly dog that belies his size and looks. While they are formidable, they are not mean dogs, quite the contrary.
The Mastiff is a gentle pooch. He isn’t aggressive. In fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards consider it a fault. We couldn’t agree more. He is a dog where his size and expression say everything. That explains his historical role as a watchdog and guardian. His appearance was enough to thwart would-be intruders. A harness, therefore, is an excellent way to assert yourself as an owner.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 7 Best Harnesses for Mastiffs
1. Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness – Best Overall
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness is a well-made product that is appropriately named. It follows the shape of your Mastiff’s body to make it form-fitting and more comfortable for your dog. The materials are high-quality, too, so it will hold up under pressure from an enthusiastic pup on his daily walk. It has a front attachment to give you optimal control.
The harness has padding over the chest area to distribute the pulling action, which is an excellent feature if your pooch is a puller. The only downside we saw was the somewhat narrow straps going toward the back. Our concern was chafing, especially with a dog with a short coat like a Mastiff. Otherwise, it’s an excellent product.
2. Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness – Best Value
The Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness is our pick for the best harness for Mastiff for the money. Its unique design gives it a minimalist look that does the job while staying breathable. It sits a bit lower down on your pup’s chest to help avoid chafing, which we liked. It has a back attachment. It does an excellent job of distributing the weight to keep the pressure off of your pooch’s neck.
It is a step-in design that makes it easier to put on your dog if he fights you when trying to get it on him. The harness works as described to get pullers under better control. However, the materials are not high-quality, which is a problem if your pooch has less-than-perfect leash manners. For well-behaved pets, it’s an excellent value.
3. Mighty Paw Padded Sports Dog Harness – Premium Choice
The Mighty Paw Padded Sports Dog Harness is the real-deal with a well-designed product that securely controls your pet. The padding down the length of your pup’s chest distributes the weight well with it moving freely with your pooch. It features reflective stitching, which is a nice addition. It has a dual clip so that you can switch from either a front or back attachment.
While the product is well-made, it also seemed bulky to us and overkill for daily walks. We also had concerns about its breathability on hot days. It has quick-release closures, which are great if your Mastiff gets really excited about his walks. We also like the handle on the back to take control if needed. The materials are weather-proof, which is always a welcome feature.
4. OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness
The OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness is one of those products that you’ll either love or hate. We have to admit that it looks cool. However, it is bulky. We questioned its breathability, too, even if it’s made out of nylon. However, the design does an excellent job of distributing the weight, especially for pullers. It has a front attachment for optimal control.
Even though it’s big, we liked the pouches on the sides of the harness for carrying supplies or treats on our walks. You can also get additional badges to attach to it, which the kids would probably enjoy. We also appreciated the distribution of straps for adjusting them to fit securely on your dog. It’s a harness that would serve best for long hikes instead of a daily stroll in the neighborhood.
5. HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness
The HDP Big Dog No Pull Dog Harness is a stark departure in design from the other products we reviewed with its strap across the front of your pup’s chest, instead of down the front. It takes the pressure off of his neck, which is fantastic for pullers. It also has a lot of padding along the back to make it more comfortable for your pooch. It has quick-release closures to make it easy to put on your pup.
We liked the padded handle on the back. It’s a better design that we’ve seen on a lot of handles since you’ll get a decent grip on your pooch if you have to take control. However, we also thought that the design was too bulky, especially for summer walks. While it would work well, we thought some parts weren’t as well-made as others, making us wonder how long it would last.
6. PetSafe Padded Easy Walk Dog Harness
The PetSafe Padded Easy Walk Dog Harness has a similar design as the previous product with a strap across the chest. It is simple, but it gets the job done by keeping the pressure off of your pup’s throat. It also has reflective strips and neoprene lining, which will keep it dry. It has quick-snap closures with a front attachment that will also help with the weight distribution.
The harness is easy to put on your Mastiff. We had concerns about the construction and possible chafing under his front legs, despite the lining. The fit isn’t ideal for all dogs, but it fastens securely, which is what we need most in these products. On a positive note, it does work well as a no-pull harness. The product also comes with a training guide.
7. Halti Dog Harness
The Halti Dog Harness is about as minimal as it gets for a product of this type. It has a strap across the chest with a dual closure with both a back and a front attachment for excellent control over your Mastiff. That’s an attractive feature for pups that have poor leash manners. It is lightweight and made of nylon with adjustable straps. The harness is easy to put on your pet, too.
On the downside, the materials are not high-quality. The placement of the straps along the dog’s flanks made us concerned about possible chafing. We also noticed that we had to keep readjusting the fit, which puts it in the dealbreaker category for us. Although, albeit it’s a minor point, the harness only comes in one color combination, too.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Harness for Mastiffs
Several factors come into play when choosing the best harness for a Mastiff. First, you must consider his strength. You’ll need something durable and sturdy to hold up to his pulling or fighting the fact that he’s wearing a harness. There is also the size, which is also a factor that plays a direct role in the former consideration.
The Mastiff has a standard body shape that isn’t out of the norm, unlike the full chest of a Boxer. That means you’ll likely have fewer problems getting the right fit for him. However, a harness isn’t like wearing a collar for dogs. It involves a bit more work to get it on your pooch. It also feels different, meaning you should get him used to how it will lay on his body before you take him out for that first walk.
The personality of your Mastiff is a vital part of the buying process. Other things to think about include:
- Other features
Any one of them is in the dealbreaker category. Let’s delve a little deeper to see where they stack up on the dealmaker scale.
The standard harness wraps around the body of the dog with a closure on the back. That design takes the pressure off of your pooch’s neck and throat and distributes it to his back, where he is more muscular. How your pet behaves on the leash is an essential consideration of this type of harness. You have some degree of control as long as he isn’t a puller.
Front Closure vs Tightening
The alternative to this product is one where the closure is in front, instead. The advantage with this one is that it gives you the upper hand to take charge of your dog and direct him as needed. The glaring disadvantage is that the leash can trip him up more easily. Another type you’ll see is the tightening harness. It’s an excellent choice for pets that need extra control when they’re on the leash.
Consider Chaffing and Weight Distribution
One of the chief complaints that some pet owners have about harnesses is chafing under their dog’s front legs. It’s more common with products made with nylon, which may have rough edges. We suggest looking closely at the construction and see how the harness fits on your pooch. Some manufacturers put extra padding along these areas to avoid any issues.
The other essential feature is the weight distribution across your Mastiff’s chest. We prefer products that have larger pads over his body to equalize the pressure if he pulls. As with the straps, look for harnesses that have protection against chafing.
The material must strike that delicate balance between durability and practicality. You’ll see several choices available, each with their pros and cons. They include options such as mesh, nylon, canvas, and polyester. Some of the most popular and affordable harnesses are nylon. It offers several advantages. It is strong, even to manage a Mastiff. It is lightweight and dries quickly.
Mesh is breathable, which is a desirable feature for products that cover more of your pup’s body. They also share the benefits of nylon. You’ll also find harnesses made of neoprene, which will keep your pooch warm, despite the weather on those chilly morning walks. Some products have fleece, usually in places where chafing may occur to make wearing a harness more comfortable for your pooch.
The essential thing about the closure is that it must stay secure, especially when dealing with a large dog like a Mastiff. Buckles are one of the most popular types. They are easy to fasten and won’t come undone. They work well if your pet stays still long enough for you to get the harness on him.
Quick-release snaps and carabiners are other kinds that we like. We suggest looking at the attachment point to make sure they are durable enough to stand the force of a dog pulling. You’ll also see harnesses that have dual closures with one in the back and front. They provide versatility for you to attach the leash, depending on the situation.
Reflective stitching or patches are welcome features for those evening walks. Some products are waterproof, too, which is handy. You’ll also see harnesses that you can customize with your pet’s name and your phone number. It’s a nice-to-have option that we hope you don’t need to put to the test. Others have handles on the top, which is an excellent way to get a hold of your pooch.
Some harnesses also double as seat belts. If your pooch accompanies you on your errands, it’s worth looking into a product that offers this feature. You’ll see a variety of designs for harnesses that you can use for different purposes. For example, some include pouches for carrying extra gear or treats. We like to use them for longer treks and hikes.
Sizing a Harness
You’ll need three measurements to size a harness correctly for your Mastiff. They include the length of his back and the circumference of both his neck and chest. You’ll notice that there are ranges in inches for these products, most often for the chest measurement. The wider it is, the more critical is the ability to adjust the harness is to prevent your pooch from slipping out of it.
A snug fit is ideal for striking the right balance between security and comfort. You should be able to run your finger between the harness and your dog’s body. Remember that it must move freely with your pup to prevent irritation. A sliding buckle will give you the most leeway for making sure it fits comfortably as opposed to buckles. The essential thing is that it stays put once you’ve adjusted the harness.
The Kurgo Tru-Fit Smart Harness took the prize as the best overall harness for a Mastiff. Its contoured design will fit your pooch snugly and securely. The high-quality construction justifies the higher price tag for us. We also liked the fact that you can use it as a seat belt, which adds to its usefulness and versatility. After all, it’s one product on which you shouldn’t skimp.
The Sporn Non-Pull Mesh Dog Harness may not look like your typical product, but it gets the job done without chafing. It’s lightweight and breathable material makes it even more comfortable for your pooch on those long summer walks. The design and fit make it escape proof, which is a welcome feature that we appreciated.
A harness is an excellent option for large dogs like a Mastiff. They give you better control while making it more comfortable for your pooch, especially if he pulls. They take the pressure off of his neck and put it toward his chest and back, which can handle it much better with less discomfort. It’s a worthwhile purchase to make your walks more enjoyable for both of you.
Featured Image Credit: Jan Steiner, Pixabay