Best Tactical Dog Harnesses
In This Article:
- 1 Our Top Pick
- 2 The 5 Top-Rated Tactical Dog Harnesses
- 3 Why a Tactical Dog Harness?
- 4 What Am I Looking For?
- 5 Top Tactical Dog Harnesses
- 6 Finding the Right Tactical Dog Vest Accessories
- 7 Dog Tactical Harness FAQ
- 8 Right Harness, Right Fit, Right Accessories!
Many of our dogs do much more than just provide us with companionship. They’re beloved hunting buddies, help handle livestock, or even find themselves in military and police work. Depending on the breed and trainer, it sometimes makes sense for our dogs to be outfitted with a bit more than just a collar.
That’s where tactical dog vests come in. Regardless of your canine’s line of work, there’s something out there to suit them. Read on, and we’ll show you how to pick the best tactical dog harness for you and your dog.
Our Top Pick
For those looking into a serious pack for serious “missions,” OneTigris is a brand that can’t be overlooked. This pack features extensive MOLLE webbing, high-grade nylon construction, and a wide variety of sizes. It’s the way to go if you’re not sure which is the perfect fit for your dog.
The 5 Top-Rated Tactical Dog Harnesses
|Best Overall||OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Vest||4.9|
|Runner Up||ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness||4.7|
|Best Police Dog Harness||OneTigris Tactical Dog Harness||4.6|
|Best for Service Dogs||FIVEWOODY Tactical Service Dog Harness||4.4|
|Best MOLLE Webbing and Accessories||OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest Harness Training Dog Vest with Detachable Pouches||4.1|
Why a Tactical Dog Harness?
Tactical dog vests are primarily used in police work when someone is looking to buy one. That said, guard dogs of all stripes can use a great vest, and hunting dogs may be able to help carry some of the burdens on hunting trips when you’re out in the field.
They’re not really necessary in many cases, but even service dogs used to help those with disabilities may be able to benefit from the right vest.
What Am I Looking For?
That largely depends upon the dog and their job. While some people just need a stylish, strong harness that allows their dog to be easily controlled and look professional, others may need functional webbing for pouches and a tough exterior for long outdoor treks.
The biggest things that we found out when looking for these harnesses were the following.
Quality of Stitching
This is where a lot of harnesses fail the test. A good tactical harness needs both a firmly attached handle (which we’ll get to in a moment) and strong leash attachment points. It really doesn’t matter if the D-ring for a leash is made of adamantium if it’s not going to stay attached when your dog pulls.
Most working dogs that need a vest for control are large, powerful animals. Many of them have a decent prey drive as well, so pulling is something that’ll eventually happen.
Double stitching is the best, and it’s pretty much a requirement for working dogs. If the handle breaks free at a vital moment, someone can end up getting hurt pretty easily.
It’s also necessary to take a look at any of the other features and where the stitching is. Some seemingly useful features can actually be pretty much cosmetic if they’re not going to hold up under real-world usage.
The handle of the harness is extremely important. It’s also a place where many of these “tactical” vests cheap out.
The handle should be attached strongly enough that your dog won’t be able to separate it from the harness just by pulling. That usually means double stitching in tough material like nylon.
You also want to be able to hold onto the handle easily. Rubberized handles with some sort of help with the grip are ideal. The entire point of the handle is to be able to pull the animal under control if something bad happens or you need to restrain them.
Indeed, for police vests, that’s almost the entire point of the handle. The dog needs to be under control at all times, especially if it has some sort of attack training. The handle is the last resort, but it’s also a critical piece that can’t be overlooked for working dogs.
Webbing or Storage
If you want your dog to hike some of their stuff, or yours, while you’re out then, you need MOLLE webbing or some kind of storage. More than that, it needs to be reinforced.
MOLLE webbing is used by the military on vests and backpacks to create a modular system that allows for individual components to be added or removed as needed. Unfortunately, many of the vests that we looked at had webbing, which was less than functional.
For the webbing to be actually useful, it needs to be reinforced and low on the vest to avoid interfering with the leash. We’ll discuss uses for MOLLE webbing after showing you some of the best vests around.
There’s one other big thing that you should look for: many service dogs and working dog owners want patches to identify their animals according to their function. Look for velcro patches along the top or side of the tactical harness that you choose if you want to identify them. Patches are readily available from anywhere you choose to get your harness.
Top Tactical Dog Harnesses
OneTigris Tactical Dog Training Vest
OneTigris is a name that’ll come up often on our list. For a good reason as well: outside of custom-made harnesses, you’re not going to find much better. This one stuck out as an actual “tactical” harness rather than simply having cosmetic features that made it look a bit military.
In addition to the webbing, there’s plenty of velcro up top for patches. That’s a great bid if you’ve got a service dog or another sort of working animal, especially when they’re in training, and approach by unknown individuals may not be the best idea.
The MOLLE webbing is functional enough, and it has a decent front handle. It may not be what police officers are looking for, as the handle is fairly far forward and doesn’t have a rubberized grip, but it’s well-attached and can be depended on in a pinch.
It runs a bit expensive, however, but you’re paying for quality here. It’s also not the best for control, so it’s not suitable for dogs with serious attack or guard dog training who may pull a bit. For the usual efforts, it’ll be just fine, however.
ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness
It’s a bit less pack and a lot more harness than our favorite, but this one may be better for dogs that have a serious pulling problem. With a great handle up-top and a decent array of velcro on the side just waiting for patches, you’re in good hands with this harness from IceFang.
We’ll be blunt about one thing: the MOLLE here is mostly cosmetic. It’s covered in velcro, single-stitched, and probably won’t hold up to any serious weight. It looks great, however, especially if you decide to pick it up in a military color or black.
There are a ton of colors available for this one as well. These range from the usual military fare that you find with most tactical harnesses all the way to red and green, which is generally more suited for clearly labeling service dogs. The options are pretty extensive compared to most tactical dog vests.
You’ll want to take a close look at your dog’s build compared to the vest. It may not fit some right, and that can lead to some serious discomfort in the end.
Best Police Dog Harness
OneTigris Tactical Dog Harness
K9 units, and professional guard/attack dogs, have different needs than a hunting or service dog. Chief among them is the fact that they’ll need a stout handle and a minimal harness that won’t get caught while they’re in pursuit.
This one from OneTigris fits the bill perfectly. With a grip that can be used to control even the largest dogs and stout nylon construction, it may be one of the best police dog harnesses currently on the market. It just works for what’s needed.
In this case, the MOLLE webbing is… well, it may as well not be there. Just stick your patches on the velcro and forget they’re there for the best results. There’s only a single line of them, and they could be more durable.
It’s a relatively minimalist vest, but it’s an excellent option, and there are sizes available for most breeds of dog.
Best for Service Dogs
FIVEWOODY Tactical Service Dog Harness
For service dogs, a tactical harness is a great idea, but it will have some different requirements than guard dogs, hunting dogs, or even K9s. This is a great harness for service dog use from top to bottom, and the low price makes it even more attractive.
This is a relatively minimalist harness. There’s not as much cover as most tactical harnesses, but the entire top has a good amount of velcro to attach patches in any way you may need to. It’s also highly adjustable, which makes fitting it to a wide variety of breeds much easier.
It also has reflective strips along the sides, making even the darkest dog visible in the night-time. Many tactical harnesses skip this, which is reasonable considering their intended use, but for a service dog, it’s pretty much a requirement.
Once again, we run into the issue of subpar webbing. You may be able to attach a pouch or two, particularly with light objects like a pill bottle, but you don’t want to use this one for hiking in the woods with your dog carrying their share of the food and water for instance.
Best MOLLE Webbing and Accessories
OneTigris Tactical Dog Molle Vest Harness Training Dog Vest with Detachable Pouches
For those who want the whole package in one product, this is the way to go. It comes with our favorite vest and enough pouches to keep you occupied; think of it as the start of a modular system for your dog.
The kit’s expensive. We won’t make any excuses for that, and for those with time, it may be better to buy the vest and your own personalized accessories.
That said, not everyone has the time to search out exactly what they need, and the kit comes with a good variety of pouches. There are three that come with it, and they’re made of the same high-quality material as the vest itself.
Finding the Right Tactical Dog Vest Accessories
When it comes to a tactical dog harness or vest… well, most people are concerned with what they can attach. Provided that you’re careful about the placement of your pouches, your dog can carry a surprising amount of stuff when you’re both out and about.
Just remember that placing pouches can create snag points for your leash, so test these out thoroughly before you get going.
Some of the more useful that we’ve seen are the following.
A good medical kit can be a lifesaver for outdoorsmen. Having your dog carry it gives you the advantage of being able to call them over if you set down your pack and managed to get hurt.
Most simple first aid kits can also be adopted for canine needs as long as you’ve got some knowledge about pet first aid. They’re a great addition to a dog’s gear for any outdoorsman, although most packs are a bit bulky for smaller canines.
Water Bottle Bags
You’ll need a stout vest to carry one, but a good MOLLE compatible water bottle bag can cut down on the weight in your pack while allowing you to carry water for your dog.
Hunters, hikers, and anyone who likes to enjoy longer treks with their canine companions will find them useful. They aren’t just situational either; they’ll see use pretty much any time you end up going out.
Hunters know that ammunition is a big part of the day’s loadout. For hunting dogs, a bit of extra ammo carrying capacity is welcome. Even better, there are specialty pouches made so you can get ahold of the next magazine or shell quickly.
Most are adopted for STANAG mags or pistol magazines. The latter aren’t useful for most hunters, and high caliber hunters may want to just go with a general storage pouch for a few loose rounds. Shotgun shell holders, on the other hand, give quick access to shells on your dog’s back and can make it easy to reload for the next flush of birds.
For general storage of food, loose ammunition, or anything else you might need, there are a ton of pouches available. Just make sure that you pick out something of a realistic size for your dog to carry.
Depending on the weight in the bag, you may need two of them and then balance out what’s contained in each. They can be a godsend on long hikes, however, where every ounce begins to matter.
Dog Tactical Harness FAQ
As always here at PawGear Lab, we’ve anticipated your questions. There’s a lot to answer for in this world depending on what you believe you need out of one of these harnesses so read on, and if you’ve got a question we haven’t answered then drop us a line in the comments, and we’ll see what we can do about getting you the information you need.
What about military dog vests?
While there are armored vests available, they’re usually a custom made item and not generally available through normal retail channels. As a general rule, kevlar armor is a bit much for anything that a civilian’s dog will encounter. Those hunting dangerous animals, like boar, don’t opt for tactical harnesses and instead use armor, which is designed for the task and has protection points specifically for the animal being hunted. These, too, are most often custom fitted.
Why is the MOLLE system on most harnesses so bad?
Unfortunately, “tactical” often means “OD Green with military features and a jacked-up price.” It’s common across equipment for humans as well. It’s just a sad reality that many people will pay more for a cosmetic feature that looks “tough” rather than making sure the equipment can actually stand up to it’s intended use. Single stitched MOLLE isn’t completely unusable, but you should expect problems if you load it heavily, and it’s best used for very light items and bags.
There’s nowhere for patches on the tactical harness I want, can I do anything about that?
Many people just sew patches on. While a lot of service dogs aren’t “on the job” constantly but often are still wearing vests, so velcro patches are just easier to use, there’s no problem with finding a patch that can be sewn on.
Why do most tactical dog harnesses not have reflective lighting?
As a general rule, these harnesses are originally designed for stealth as well as utility. In practice? Mostly because of the fact that a lot of the companies that make them cut corners. Any service dog needs some sort of reflective lighting, and if you’re not hunting or using your dog in a capacity where stealth is required, a bit of reflective tape can go a long way.
How hard is it to attach things to MOLLE webbing?
As long as the item is MOLLE compatible and is made with the right dimensions, it’s extremely easy. The modular system was originally developed to be used in combat and other high-stress situations, so mil-spec MOLLE items are very intuitive and easy to use.
Right Harness, Right Fit, Right Accessories!
There are some great tactical dog harnesses out there; you just need to make sure that you go through the effort to sort the bad stuff from the good. We hope that we’ve helped you along with that mission and given you an idea of how to accessorize your working dog’s vest.
If you’re ready to get a high-grade vest for your dog, then there’s no time like the present. Just make sure it’s up to standards, and you and your dog are ready for your next adventure!