Accessories, Behaviour, Health, Training

Best Harness For A Shih Tzu – Complete Safety Guide

best shih tzu harness

The Best Harness For A Shih Tzu


rabitgoo dog harnessOne of the essentials that they need for a comfortable life is a good harness. Because of their sizes, Shih Tzu’s can easily be injured if strained against collars and this is why trainers and vets recommend harnesses for them. With a harness, your small furry friend won’t experience any straining on their neck as the pressure will be dispersed over a larger area.


In this article, we will review what we think are the five best harnesses for a Shih Tzu while also highlighting why you should get a harness instead of a collar, and the features to consider.

Our best choice award goes to the RabbitGoo Dog Harness – it’s made from soft but durable high-quality material, it’s stylish and light-weight, and comfortable for your dog to wear. We think it ticks all the boxes of a quality harness and you can read our review here.


Jump straight to harness reviews…





Why Choose A Harness For Your Shih Tzu?


If you are torn between getting a collar or a harness for your dog, here is why you should get a harness. Unlike some dogs with really muscled necks and shoulders plus thick guard hairs, some dogs are not built to withstand that much pressure especially if their hair is silky and fine and that’s why a harness will be better than a collar. Some of the dangers posed by a collar too small dogs include:


  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Eye problems.
  • Paw chewing.
  • Thyroid issues.
  • Neurological problems.
  • Disc disease.


Other Reasons Why Should Use A Harness


  • Harnesses Help Prevent Pulling – Most dogs are active and love playing which will lead to them pulling on the harness or collar leash when they are being walked. There are harnesses that have been designed to curb this pulling behavior.
  • Makes It Easy For You To Control Your Dog – A harness will help you to guide your dog to prevent straining. With a harness, you can walk your dog without being concerned about inflicting injuries.
  • Easier Travelling – Driving with your dog can be challenging since the dog has to be restricted. Using a harness will come with a strap that shall enable you to restrain your dog on the car seat for a smooth drive. This will enhance both your security and that of your dog.
  • Helps Avoid Damage That Can Be Caused By A Collar – A harness is gentle on your dog’s skin and fur as opposed to the collar. Collars are usually attached to the leash at the neck. This predisposes your dog to neck injuries in case the dog pulls hard. The collar is capable of causing injuries to the dog such as a broken trachea, choking, and breathing problems. The harness helps prevent this since the leash connects to the harness at the back of the dog between the shoulders.
  • It Helps Prevent Tangling – When your dog is excited or jumping up and down, he may get tangled in the leash along with the person walking them. This might cause an injury. Luckily, a harness with the leash attached at the back cannot cause tangling.
  • Makes Training Easier – While good leash behavior can be achieved when training your dog using the collar, it is easier to achieve the same using a harness. A collar may be hard to fit especially if your dog is anxious, but a harness is easier to put on. By making it easy to train, the dog will love the harness and anticipate to wear it when going for outings.


What Are The Risks Of Using A Collar On A Shih Tzu?


Apart from their delicate necks, Shih Tzu’s are very active and will jump unexpectedly even from high places. You should, therefore, avoid using collars on them because they pose more risks including:


  • Possible Breathing Problems – Collars put a lot of pressure on your dog’s neck. And some small dogs have hereditary respiratory issues, so any added pressure on their neck means difficulties in breathing.
  • Increased Risk Of Neurological Issues And Disc Disease – When walking your dog, they might suddenly stop or jump which might result in you pulling them unknowingly. If you are using a collar, this will mean direct pressure on your dog’s vertebral discs and spinal cord thus increasing the risk of neurological problems and disc disease.
  • Possible Eye Problems (thin/weakened corneas) – Studies have shown a correlation between weakening corneas in dogs and dog collars.
  • Collapsed Trachea – As mentioned above, small dogs have delicate necks, and any sudden pressure might cause lifetime damage. You might argue that you’re always careful when walking your dog, but at times you might have to pull them suddenly to save them from danger and you don’t want that to be the cause of irreversible damage.
  • Hypothyroidism And Front Limb Nerve Damage – Another study has shown a correlation between pressure from the collar on the dog’s thyroid gland and hypothyroidism. This might take time to manifest, but it might eventually happen if one continues to use a collar for a long time. Again, you risk causing nerve damage to your dog’s front limbs every time you pull the leash, and the long-term results are them licking their paws excessively.


To avoid these risks, it is recommended to use a harness rather than a collar for small dogs. Harnesses distribute pressure more evenly across the dog’s body, reducing the risk of injury to the neck and spine.


Additionally, it is important to choose a well-fitting collar or harness to ensure your Shih Tzu’s comfort and safety.


Types Of Harnesses For Dogs


There are several types of harnesses available for your Shih Tzu, each with its own unique design and purpose. Choosing the right harness for your dog can depend on their size, behavior, and activity level. Here are some of the most common types of dog harnesses:


  • Standard Harness: This is the most common type of harness and is designed to wrap around the dog’s chest and stomach, with straps that connect around the shoulders and back. This type of harness is suitable for most dogs and provides good control and comfort for everyday use.
  • Back-clip Harness: The leash attachment is located on the back of the harness. This is a good option for dogs that are well-behaved and do not pull on the leash. It also provides some support to the back of the dog.
  • Front-clip Harness: The leash attachment is located on the front of the harness. This type of harness is good for dogs that pull on the leash and need more control. When the dog pulls, the front-clip harness will turn the dog back towards the owner, encouraging them to walk beside their owner.
  • Head Harness: This type of harness is also called a head collar or gentle leader. It fits over the dog’s muzzle and neck, providing control over the dog’s head and reducing their ability to pull on the leash. This type of harness requires some training to use properly and is not suitable for all dogs.
  • No-pull Harness: This type of harness is designed to discourage dogs from pulling on the leash. It typically has a front clip and a back clip, with the leash attached to both. When the dog pulls, the front clip will tighten, discouraging the behavior.
  • Step-in Harness: This type of harness is designed to be easy to put on and take off. It has two holes for the dog’s legs to step into and usually has a clip on the back. This is a good option for dogs that do not like having things put over their heads.


Overall, there are many different types of harnesses available for dogs, and choosing the right one will depend on your dog’s needs and behavior. It is important to choose a well-fitting harness to ensure your dog’s comfort and safety.



What To Look For In A Good Harness


A good dog harness can make a big difference in the safety, comfort, and overall well-being of your Shih Tzu. When choosing a harness, there are a few key factors to consider to ensure you get the best fit and functionality for your pup. Here are some things to look for in a good dog harness:


  • Comfort and Fit: A good harness should fit your dog comfortably without rubbing or chafing their skin. Look for a harness that is adjustable and allows you to customize the fit for your dog’s body shape and size. Some harnesses may have padded straps or a breathable mesh lining for added comfort.
  • Durability and Quality: A good harness should be made with high-quality materials that can withstand wear and tear. Look for a harness with strong and sturdy hardware that won’t break or bend easily, and a material that won’t fray or rip over time.
  • Security and Control: A good harness should provide secure and reliable control of your dog. Look for a harness with a sturdy D-ring for leash attachment and consider the type of clip or buckle used to secure the harness. Some harnesses may also have a handle on the back for added control in certain situations.
  • Safety Features: A good harness should have safety features that can help keep your dog safe. Look for a harness with reflective stitching or other visibility features for walking in low-light conditions. Some harnesses may also have a chest strap that can help distribute pressure and prevent choking.
  • Easy to Use: A good harness should be easy to put on and take off your dog. Look for a harness with adjustable straps or a step-in design that can make it easier to get your dog into and out of the harness. Some harnesses may also be machine washable for easy cleaning.


By considering these factors, you can find a good dog harness that meets your Shih Tzu’s needs and provides comfort, safety, and control for both you and your dog.



Best Harness for Shih Tzu – Reviews


Many manufacturers make small-sized harnesses that are perfect for a Shih Tzu. However, they vary greatly in terms of quality. While it is important to find a harness that fits your dog correctly, it is also necessary for the harness to be durable, secure, and good-looking on your dog.


Below we will review the best harnesses we have found on the market that we think tick all these boxes.


RabbitGoo Dog Harness


rabitgoo dog harness


best choiceThe Rabbitgoo Dog Harness is another great harness choice for your Shih Tzu and gets out best choice award. It’s designed to allow easy putting on and taking off. It features easily adjustable slide straps that make it possible to create a comfortable fit, thus enjoyable walks. 


Again, if your dog is the active type and you need to have better control of them, this harness makes it possible as it features back and chest attachment points. They are sturdy and given their design, you won’t be worried about choking or any other risks that come with excessive pulling because it will be distributed over a large area of their body.


When it comes to the material, this harness is made of super soft and breathable material. This makes it a good option for long walks and overly active dogs. Again, it is heavily padded to keep any pressure away and make it comfortable for small dogs that might need a harness for long hours. 


rabitgoo dog harness


And, when it comes to your Shih Tzu’s safety, this harness features reflective straps that help to improve visibility while in the dark. It’s a very versatile harness hence suitable for activities like daily walking, outdoor activities, training, hiking, and hunting. It is recommended to measure your dog’s girth using a measuring tape before buying.


This harness has an excellent 4.5 out of 5 star rating on Amazon from over 164,000 reviews! 





  • Prevents pulling and choking.
  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • It is comfortable since it is made of breathable and padded material.
  • Adjustable straps make it easy to fit on the dog.
  • Reflective in the dark.


Check The Price On Amazon


Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness


voyager dog harness


The Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness is another good choice for a harness. One of the best features of this harness is its step-in design. This makes it incredibly easy to put on and take off your Shih Tzu, especially if they are squirmy or don’t like having things put over their head. The harness slips over your dog’s head and then they simply step their paws into the leg holes, making it a hassle-free experience.


Another great benefit of this harness is its soft and breathable air mesh material. This makes it comfortable for your dog to wear, even for extended periods of time. The mesh fabric also provides excellent ventilation, which is especially important on hot and humid days.


voyager dog harness


The Voyager Step-In Air Dog Harness also provides excellent support and security for your Shih Tzu. It has a sturdy D-ring on the back for leash attachment, which allows for better control and handling. The harness also has double-layered mesh and reflective strips for added visibility and safety.


Finally, this harness is extremely adjustable, which ensures a custom fit for your dog. It has four adjustable straps, which can be easily adjusted to fit your dog’s body shape and size. This is important for ensuring your dog is comfortable and secure in the harness.





  • Soft, breathable air mesh.
  • Lightweight.
  • Suitable for all weather.
  • Reflective bands.
  • Hook & loop fastener.
  • Easy to use step-in design.


Check The Price On Amazon


Comfort Fit Metric USA


comfort fit shih tzu harness


The Comfort Fit Metric USA Harness is among the most comfortable dog harnesses on the market. The metric 66 material that it is made from provides a comfortable hugging effect on the dog which helps to reduce tension and stress during walks with their owners. The interior parts of the harness are padded to reduce the strain on the neck and trachea that is caused by pulling.


comfort fit shih tzu harness


This harness is easy to put on and take off to prevent straining. The x-small size has a girth size of 12” – 14”. Also, it has a quick-release clip for the ease of putting on and taking off. It has two reinforced D-rings that lock the leash securely and ensures that the dog does not escape. The front leash attachment point enables you to control the dog easily while discouraging pulling.


It comes in a variety of colors thus giving you multiple choices to choose from. Weighing 2 Ounces, it is incredibly light and easy to care for.


comfort fit metric dog harness




  • It is easy to put on.
  • Perfect and comfortable fit for small dogs.
  • Soft yet high-quality material.
  • Well-made with durable fasteners.
  • Very stylish and lightweight.
  • Great customer care services.


Check The Price On Amazon


Chai’s Choice Dog Harness


chais choice shih tzu harness1 


Another great choice for a harness for your Shih Tzu is the Chai’s Choice Dog Harness. It has been specially designed to remove pressure from your dog’s neck and disperse it down the back and body. It’s made from lightweight, padded material providing maximum comfort for your dog. It also has reflective material making it perfect for nighttime walks.


It comes with adjustable straps and in a variety of sizes so you’ll have no problem with this harness fitting your dog perfectly. It also comes in a variety of colors.


chais choice shih tzu harness1




  • Great for nighttime walks with reflective material.
  • Fits comfortably and easily.
  • Well-designed and well-constructed with high-quality materials.
  • The Padding is perfect for sensitive dog skin.
  • Easy to connect to a car seat.
  • Variety of sizes and colors.


Check The Price On Amazon


EcoBark Control Dog Harness


ecobark shih tzu dog harness


The EcoBark Dog Harness is an environmentally friendly harness and another excellent choice for your Shih Tzu. Made by making use of environmentally friendly recycled water bottles, this product supports the conservation of the environment. It comes in various bright colors and fun patterns thus enhancing style and fashion. It features two styles which are the adjustable comfort harness and the velcro step-in harness. The styles make the harness to fit perfectly while preventing pulling and choking.


ecobark small dog harness


While the double-layered mesh is strong and durable, it is soft and breathable. It features a custom stitched cover that is designed to protect your dog from cuts that result from straps rubbing against its legs. The harness straps are made from recycled materials and dyed to match the harness color.


Furthermore, its buckles are custom-built to ensure high strength. It also fits perfectly and your little furry friend will look adorable running around in one.




  • Curbs pulling hence preventing choking.
  • It is easy to put on and take off.
  • Great breathable and comfortable material.
  • Perfect fit for small dogs.
  • Multiple Sizes & Colors.


Check The Price On Amazon


Pawmingo Reversible Dog Harness


pawming shih tzu harness1 


For a bit of fun, we’ve added the stylish Pawmingo Reversible Dog Harness. This fabulous reversible harness is made from padded neoprene and has a breathable mesh providing comfort for your dog on hot days. It’s easy to attach and take off with 4 quick-release buckles and can be washed in a washing machine. The Pawmingo harness comes in a variety of sizes and designs.




  • Two designs in one.
  • It is easy to put on and take off.
  • Great breathable and comfortable material.
  • Perfect fit for small dogs.
  • Multiple Sizes & Colors.


Check The Price On Amazon


How To Measure Your Shih Tzu For A Harness


Measuring your Shih Tzu for a harness is an important step in ensuring a proper fit and comfort. Here are the steps to correctly measure your dog for a harness:


  • Use a Flexible Tape Measure: Use a flexible tape measure to measure your dog’s girth, which is the widest part of their chest just behind their front legs. If you don’t have a flexible tape measure, you can use a piece of string or a ribbon to wrap around your dog’s chest and then measure the length with a ruler.
  • Take the Measurement Snugly: Wrap the tape measure or string snugly around your dog’s chest, but not too tight. You want to take a snug measurement, but not one that is too tight or too loose. If the measurement is too loose, the harness may slip off, and if it is too tight, it may restrict your dog’s movement or breathing.
  • Write Down the Measurement: Once you have the measurement, write it down so that you can refer to it when purchasing a harness. Some manufacturers have different sizing charts, so it’s important to refer to the specific manufacturer’s chart for accurate sizing.
  • Consider Your Dog’s Breed and Body Shape: Some breeds have unique body shapes that may require a specific type of harness. For example, Greyhounds have deep chests and long, narrow bodies, so they may require a harness designed for their body type.
  • Regularly Check the Fit: As your dog grows or gains or loses weight, the harness may need to be readjusted. It’s important to regularly check the fit of the harness to ensure it remains comfortable and secure for your dog.



How To Fit A Harness On Your Shih Tzu


Properly fitting a harness on your Shih Tzu is essential for their comfort, safety, and well-being. Here are the steps to correctly fit a harness on your dog:


  1. Measure Your Dog: Before purchasing a harness, measure your dog’s girth, which is the widest part of their chest behind their front legs. Use a flexible measuring tape and take the measurement snugly but not too tight. Write down the measurement and refer to the manufacturer’s sizing chart to find the right size harness for your dog.
  2. Adjust the Harness: Once you have the harness, loosen all the straps and unbuckle any buckles. Place the harness on your dog’s back with the D-ring at the top and the harness centered on their chest. Adjust the straps to ensure a snug but comfortable fit. The harness should be snug enough that it can’t slip off your dog’s head, but not so tight that it restricts their movement or breathing.
  3. Check the Fit: After adjusting the harness, check the fit by placing your fingers between the harness and your dog’s skin. You should be able to fit a few fingers between the harness and your dog’s skin without the harness feeling too tight or too loose. Also, check that the harness isn’t rubbing or chafing your dog’s skin.
  4. Test the Harness: Once you have adjusted the harness and checked the fit, test the harness by attaching a leash to the D-ring and walking your dog. Observe your dog’s movement and behavior to ensure the harness is comfortable and secure. If your dog seems uncomfortable or the harness slips or twists, adjust the fit or try a different harness.
  5. Regularly Check the Fit: As your dog grows or gains or loses weight, the harness may need to be readjusted. It’s important to regularly check the fit of the harness to ensure it remains comfortable and secure for your dog.


By following these steps, you can correctly fit a harness on your Shih Tzu and ensure their comfort, safety, and well-being.



Further Reading


If you would like to dig deeper into all areas of caring for your Shih Tzu we recommend you check out the book below.


shih tzu complete guide book cover


Using interviews with 17 top Shih Tzu breeders, author and experienced Shih Tzu owner Molly Weinfurter has created an in-depth look at what it takes to successfully live with, raise, and train a Shih Tzu.


This book has a 4.5 out of 5 rating on Amazon with over 220 reviews.


Buy On Amazon




In conclusion, choosing the best harness for your Shih Tzu is an important decision that can have a significant impact on your dog’s comfort, safety, and well-being.


When selecting a harness, consider your dog’s size, breed, and body shape, as well as the harness’s design, material, and adjustability. A well-designed harness should provide excellent support, security, and comfort for your dog, while also allowing for better control and handling.


With so many options available on the market, take the time to research and compare different harnesses to find the best one for your Shih Tzu’s needs. By choosing the right harness, you can ensure that your dog enjoys a comfortable and safe walking experience every time.

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