There is a lot to choose from, but we have tried several and feel strongly about our selections as they are described below.
As mentioned just about everywhere else on this site, we run a dog rescue and have dogs ranging from extremely large down to our diminutive (but very much in charge) Dachshund. These are the dogs we test this out on. They have about 7 acres to run on, lots of hills, streams, trees, and swamps to romp in, every feasible fetch toy, and, oh yeah, they also have each other.
So the harnesses we have evaluated have been put through the test.
As mentioned previously, both my wife and I are former Marines. So when I see “tactical” anything, my ears perk up.
When it comes to tactical dog gear, I’m a fan. What can I say? I spent 16 years as a Marine, crawling through the muck, so I have a strong appreciation for gear that works well in this space.
These harnesses fall into that category and even stretch a good bit beyond by also enabling a large variety of customizations, which we’ll discuss in more detail later in the article.
I’ve also mentioned quite a few times that we do not think of our dogs as just “dogs”, but rather as long time friends, the best companions, and trusted advisors on home security issues, so we think it’s in our own best interest as well as theirs to ensure they are kept safe and have tough, durable, and useful “clothing” to wear.
Hence, the tactical dog harness. It provides safety for your four-legged friend, will last just about forever, and has enough accessories to keep you busy for a long time.
You can spend a lot of time researching the various ratings of each, what kind of accessories, how strong it is, what sizes are offered, etc. Or you can read below. We’ve done the grunt work for you.
Grunt work. See what I did there?
Dog harnesses are extremely comfortable – they are made to be so.
Usually made out of nylon or other tough material, they are also crafted to be breathable and lightweight. Most dogs can wear these harnesses all day long with no rubbing, no chafing, and in complete comfort.
There may be a bit of a period to get used to it, but chalk that up to unfamiliarity, not discomfort.
Most likely, after a short period of time, it’ll be like they forgot they’re even wearing it. And when they aren’t wearing it and take it out, and they see it, they’ll be excited to put it back on.
Our dogs do the crazy run every time they see us getting the harnesses out because they know it’s playtime.
Just about every harness you see will make a point of mentioning that it is “escape proof”, which, in reality, they pretty much are.
With a solid fitting harness, reinforced stitching, and strong buckles at all of the attachment points, the harnesses are made to keep your dog safe and under control, and they do a great job of it.
Another aspect of many tactical dog harnesses is what you’ll see as “MOLLE”.
MOLLE is an acronym that stands for Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment. As a Marine, I’m familiar with the military’s need for acronyms, so this one didn’t surprise me a bit. But, within that acronym is a good explanation of what it is.
Basically, it’s velcro everywhere so that you can attach any number of items from personalization patches to detachable pouches for snacks to water bottles. Your imagination is the only limit.
You’ll often see “COBRA” type buckles on both harnesses and collars.
These buckles are industry standard and ensure not only the safest buckle but also offer a quick-release capability.
Because of how the COBRA buckles are made, the stronger the force to pull them apart, the more “locked-in” the buckle becomes.
Fighter jets and astronauts use this COBRA buckle.
You can read more about COBRA buckles on the AustriAlpin website. It’s actually pretty interesting!
Tactical dog harnesses take the idea of velcro attachments a bit further than the dog collars do.
The typical dog vest has a lot of velcro space, often will offer detachable items, and of course, a myriad of patches and personalization areas.
One item of note is that the harness, by necessity, has more buckles than a collar, so the buckle ratings on the harnesses are important to look into.
A single weak buckle can cause the entire harness to be unusable.
The three dog harnesses below are our pick of the pack. Really, when you see what the Icefang offers for the price, there’s almost no reason to look any further.
The Vivoi is an excellent alternative and comes with some nice special features. Although both of these offer various sizes, neither are built specifically for the small dog, so that’s where our final pick comes in – the Beast Mojo.
I love the name.
The Icefang harness is far and away the most popular due to it’s features and price.
You can’t go wrong.
With two 1,000 pound tested metal buckles, a no-pull front clip leash attachment, MOLLE ready, this escape-proof harness has it all.
Quite frankly, if the price is in your range (and the price is excellent), then there is no reason to look any further.
This Vivoi dog harness looks a bit different than others and has detachable pouches.
Made with nylon and breathable mesh, your dog will stay cool.
The reinforced stitching ensures this vest can withstand the activities of your pooch.
This vest comes with 3 detachable pouches, 5 moral patches, a USA Flag patch, and 4 reflective patches.
Just because your dog is small doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a tactical harness.
And calling this one “Beast Mojo” will ensure your little dog’s self-esteem is intact.
This vest has most of the others’ features, with the likely exception that you can actually use the carrying handle on this one.
A lot of the fun with these tactical dog harnesses and vests is deciding what kind of patches you’d like to add.
Whereas dog collars allow a patch or two, the harnesses give you the freedom to add many items and not only patches but things like water bottles, first aid kits, etc. The sky’s the limit. Below are a few examples to get the ball rolling. As you look around, you are bound to find many others to suit your particular needs.
The typical tactical dog harness provides the ability to add a lot of items. An attachment pack such as this ensures you have all the necessary attachment points, so you can attach just about anything you want. Note that this actually a MOLLE Backpack kit, but its beauty is that it works great for dog harnesses and vests as well.
This lightweight attachment will let your dog carry his own food and water dish. It expands to provide ample drinking and eating while on the trail and, when collapsed, is easily snapped onto the dog’s vest. This is easily attached to your dog’s vest at 5.5 inches X 5.5 inches and very light.
This pouch is great for carrying food or perhaps medical supplies. It measures 4.5 inches high, 7 inches long, and 1.5 inches deep. It is probably not a great pouch to have your toy poodle carry, but if you have a larger dog, this can easily be attached to a vest and become indispensable as you venture into the woods (or wherever).
Along with the attachments above, there is also a dizzying array of personalization patches you can find. A few are shown below to whet your whistle. Clicking any of the items below will take you to Amazon, where you can see how to personalize them further.
There are many other tactical dog harnesses on the market, and of course, we recommend doing your due diligence. Your dog’s safety is important so take the time to read this article, other articles, and the reviews for the items you are considering. A bit of extra time here can save you a lot of grief later on.
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