Golden Retriever wearing a tactical dog harness

The Tactical Dog Harness - A Canine Military Vest Review

Tactical harnesses are made to be as functional as possible, comfortable for the dog, and customizable at the same time. These harnesses work great for seeing eye dogs and service dogs, but it doesn’t stop there.

Getting a tactical dog harness is a great way to start enjoying some serious outdoor activity with your pooch! That’s why you’ll find suggestions for tactical harnesses for dogs of all sizes in this guide.

Dr. Sara Redding Ochoa | Doctor Of Veterinary Medicine


Sara is Wileypup’s Veterinarian Adviser and helped compose this article to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. For more information on Sara click here


The Military Dog Harness - Overview

IMAGE

PRODUCT

FEATURES

Onetigris Tactical Service Dog Vest

OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness

  • Lightweight and water-resistant
  • Fully adjustable
  • 3 neutral colors to choose from
OneTigris Apollo 09 Tactical Dog Harness

OneTigris Apollo 09 Tactical Dog Harness

  • Built-pockets with zippers
  • Easy to put on
  • Plenty of space for patches
Chai's Choice Rover Scout Tactical Military Backpack Dog Harness

Chai's Choice Rover Scout Tactical Military Backpack Dog Harness

  • Reflective piping
  • Weather-resistant
  • 2 detachable utility pouches
OneTigris Tactical Training Molle Vest Dog Harness

OneTigris Tactical Training Molle Vest Dog Harness

  • Breathable mesh padding
  • Plenty of molle webbing
  • Lightweight and durable
OneTigris Beast Mojo Tactical Dog Harness, Extra Small

OneTigris Beast Mojo Tactical Dog Harness

  • Durable and weather-resistant
  • Fits snuggly
  • Easy to put on

How to Choose A Tactical Harness for Your Dog?

Talking about tactical gear might make us think about the military, but there is actually no reason why any dog can’t wear something like a tactical K9 harness. A well-made tactical harness can be so practical and comfortable, that you find yourself using it all the time instead of a standard harness. But how do you choose the right tactical harness for your dog? These are some tips to keep in mind:

Durability and Weather-Resistance

Tactical harnesses are made to be worn outdoors for longer periods of time, which is why they are usually made durable, lightweight, and weather-resistant. However, it’s definitely worth checking out what the harness is made of before buying it. Durable nylon fabric, canvas, and oxford fabric are all viable options.

Comfort and Security

Just like any other harness, a tactical harness is worth nothing if it’s not comfortable. Look for harnesses with soft mesh padding (like all of those on our top 5 list below), and for designs that fit your dog’s body type. Besides being comfortable, a tactical harness needs to fit snuggly and stay in place no matter what happens. This is why you can find tactical harnesses with 2 belly straps for extra security.

If you are unsure what is the right type of harness for your pet’s breed, check out this guide on types of harnesses.

The MOLLE System

The word MOLLE refers to Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, a system that’s widely used by armed forces today. Modularity is key here, and the MOLLE system basically represents equipment that offers a lot of options for attaching little pouches and gear as needed. This system has proven perfect for dogs too, which is why probably every tactical dog harness has attachment points for MOLLE pouches.

There is probably no better companion for outdoor activities like running, hiking, and camping, that your canine buddy. In fact, participating in these activities together can be healthy and beneficial for both you and your pooch (1). While not every dog is a natural-born long-distance hiker, if your pooch is strong enough hiking together can be a really enjoyable experience. If you have the right gear and follow hiking etiquette, that is (2).

And if you are doing this, you can also let your pooch carry his own snacks or some lighter gear using your tactical harness. It’s perfectly fine for dogs to carry some weight, but always start slowly and make sure you don’t put too much weight on the pup.

The total load shouldn't exceed a third of your dog's total body weight. Before you go on your hiking trip, weigh the bag to make sure it’s balanced and not too heavy. - Angele Sionna & Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, Backpacker

Besides starting slow, though, it’s important to pay attention to your dog for any signs of exhaustion. Having detachable pouches on your dog’s tactical harness is great for this, as you can remove the pouches and carry them yourself if the dog is too tired. For more harnesses with storage compartments, check out our guide to best dog harnesses for hiking.

Brown lab wearing a military harness vest

Best Tactical Dog Harness: The Top 5

Now that we’ve established that a military dog harness vest can actually be a very useful and versatile piece of gear even in everyday situations, now it's time to look at some concrete recommendations. Here are 5 best tactical dog harnesses on the market.

#1: Best Tactical Harness Overall: OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness

  • Lightweight and water-resistant
  • Fully adjustable
  • Plenty of opportunities for attaching gear
  • 3 neutral colors to choose from

Overall, the OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness is the most convenient and versatile tactical dog harness we have found. No matter what kind of activity you’re gonna be doing with your pooch, there is a good chance that this harness will fit perfectly.

The only downside is that OneTigris only makes this harness in two sizes - medium and large. Both the chest strap and the belly strap are adjustable, though, so there is a lot of space to work with even with these two sizes. However, this harness will definitely not fit small and tiny dogs.

Other than that, this is a great harness, but it’s not just about the harness itself, but what you can do with it. This harness has plenty of MOLLE webbing on the sides as well velcro strips for patches. In addition to all of this, there is a crisscrossed bungee cord across the back of the harness that allows you to attach small pieces of gear easily.

The leash attachment is on the back which is the perfect position for comfortable long walks. There is also a handle on the back of the harness for taking control in the case of an emergency.

Pros
Cons
  • Lightweight and water-resistant
  • Not suitable for small breeds
  • Fully adjustable for a perfect fit
  • Covers a large surface on the back which can trap in heat in warm weather
  • Plenty of opportunities for attaching gear and customization
Cell
  • 3 neutral colors to choose from
Cell

#2: Best Military Dog Harness With Built-in Pockets: OneTigris Apollo 09 Tactical Dog Harness

  • Built-pockets with zippers
  • Easy to put on
  • Plenty of space for patches
  • Lightweight and durable

The OneTigris Apollo 09 Tactical Dog Harness is a really convenient military-style dog harness. This one actually has built-in pockets with zippers that are perfect for storing small items or treats. There is also a detachable ID window and lots of space for patches.

This harness has a belly strap that’s completely adjustable. Thanks to the large quick-release buckle, the harness can be put on in no time. Besides the belly strap, there is also a chest strap that’s detachable. When you remove the chest strap and take off the harness, it turns into a little bag you can attach elsewhere. This is perfect for long hikes with your dog. If your pet gets tired, you can take the harness off and carry it yourself.

This harness from OneTigris is made only in one size. The size is called “medium”, but it should fit breeds like German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, and Golden Retrievers.

Finally, for this harness to work well, the dog wearing it needs to be really well-trained. The design is not really suitable for intense physical activity or dogs who tend to pull. Even though it’s padded, the chest strap sits quite high on the neck and if the dog would pull it could be dangerous. On the other hand, if you don’t use this removable strap, it would be easy for the harness to slide right off.

Pros
Cons
  • Built-pockets with zippers
  • Only comes in one size for medium-large breeds
  • Easy to put on
Cell
  • Plenty of space for patches
Cell
  • Lightweight and durable
Cell

#3: Best Tactical Dog Harness Vest For Hiking: Chai's Choice Rover Scout Tactical Military Backpack Dog Harness

  • Reflective piping for visibility at night
  • Weather-resistant
  • 2 detachable utility pouches included
  • Available in 3 different colors

The Rover Scout Tactical Dog Harness from Chai’s Choice is a great choice for those who have never tried using a tactical harness before. This harness is super easy to set up, very secure and comfortable, and it comes with everything you need to start an outdoor adventure with your pooch.

Let’s start with the design of the harness. This one is a little different than most standard models. This is because it actually has two straps around the belly as well as a chest strap. Don’t worry though, this doesn’t make it too complicated to put the harness on. Thanks to the large quick-release buckles, it’s really not a problem. What you do get is stability. Even if you let your pooch run around free, you can rest assured that the harness will not slip off!

Another great thing about this harness from Chai’s Choice is the fact that two detachable pouches are included. They are 7 inches high and 5 inches wide, which is just about as much space as you need for letting your pet carry their own supplies. The harness also comes in 3 different color schemes. If you don’t like military green, you can go with purple instead!

Pros
Cons
  • Reflective piping for visibility at night
  • Only made in sizes for medium and large breeds
  • Weather-resistant
Cell
  • 2 detachable utility pouches included
Cell
  • Available in 3 different colors
Cell

#4: Best Military Working Dog Harness: OneTigris Tactical Training Molle Vest Dog Harness

  • Breathable mesh padding
  • Two leash attachments on the back
  • Two handles on the back
  • Plenty of molle webbing on both sides
  • Lightweight and durable

The OneTigris Tactical Training Molle Vest Dog Harness is definitely a harness made for large dogs. The harness covers practically the whole back of the dog - this is why it is called a vest. This is not a problem in itself, though. The harness is made of quality nylon that is strong and durable at the same time. Combined with soft mesh padding on the inside, the result is quite comfortable to wear for most dogs. The only issue is that since it has such a large surface, the harness could trap in heat during the summer months if worn for long periods of time.

This harness is also very secure and practical. To make it secure and stable, OneTigris included two belly straps on this harness - one at the front and one at the back. There is also a neck strap with soft padding. This harness also features two leash attachments and two handles on the back. One is at the end close to the head, and one completely at the back. This configuration makes this harness perfect for guide dogs and service dogs.

Finally, practically the whole exterior surface of the OneTigris Tactical Training Molle Vest Dog Harness is covered in MOLLE webbing which allows you to customize this harness to your heart’s desire.

Pros
Cons
  • Breathable mesh padding on the inside
  • Not for small breed
  • Two leash attachments on the back of the harness
  • Covers the whole back of the dog
  • Two handles on the back
Cell
  • Plenty of molle webbing on both sides of the harness
Cell
  • Lightweight and durable
Cell

#5: Best Tactical Harness For Small Breeds: OneTigris Beast Mojo Tactical Dog Harness, Extra Small 

  • Made of durable and weather-resistant material
  • Fits snuggly 
  • Easy to put on
  • Chest strap padded with fleece for comfort

This is one of the few tactical harnesses that are made for small and tiny breeds. As you might have noticed, OneTigris makes several different harness models. Most of them are available only in one or two sizes because they are made for dogs of a certain size. This is not a bad thing, though. There is a different model for different dogs, and all of them are made so they fit properly.

Like all OneTigris tactical harnesses, this one is made with strong but lightweight fabric. The harness fit really snuggly thanks to two belly straps and a chest strap with soft padding. In reality, small dogs can’t carry that much weight, but this harness still offers plenty of space for MOLLE pouches.

If you are looking for a tactical dog harness with a handle that fits small dogs, you are in the right place. The OneTigris Beast Mojo Tactical Dog Harness is designed for dogs like Chihuahuas, Pugs, and Dachshunds. For more harness recommendations by Wileypup specifically for these small breeds, click on their names. There is also a large, comfortable handle on the back of the harness.

Pros
Cons
  • Made of durable and weather-resistant material
  • Not suitable for large breeds
  • Fits snuggly thanks to the two belly straps
Cell
  • Easy to put on
Cell
  • Chest strap padded with fleece for comfort
Cell

Choosing A Tactical Dog Vest: Final Thoughts  

When it comes to tactical harnesses, what model you choose will depend on the breed of your dog and what kind of activities your pooch will be involved in. If you need a quick suggestion, though, the OneTigris Tactical Service Vest Dog Harness is amazingly versatile and totally customizable. You really can’t go wrong with it. However, it’s not made in sizes smaller than medium. If this one is too big for your pooch, check out the OneTigris Beast Mojo Tactical Dog Harness.


FAQ

How do I know which size of harness to get?

Some tactical harnesses are recommended for certain breeds, but the truth is, there are really no rules. The most certain way to find the right size is by measuring your dog and comparing the measurements with the harness sizing chart. You can find detailed instructions on how to measure your dog for a harness here.

What is the best harness for hiking?

The best harness for hiking is a harness that is comfortable for your pooch, but also as lightweight and durable as possible. It’s also advisable to find a harness made of fabric that’s weather-resistant. Tactical harnesses actually check all of these boxes.

What items can a dog carry?

A dog can carry anything that is not too heavy inside a tactical harness. For example, you can place the dog’s baggies, some snacks, and a collapsible water bowl in there. However, always make sure to measure the weight beforehand. Never let a dog carry more than ⅓ of his weight, but it’s advisable to start with as little as possible and see how it goes.

References
  1. “Jogging with Your Dog Improves Overall Fitness and Health”. Whole Dog Journal. Retrieved April 1, 2020. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/lifestyle/jogging-with-your-dog-improves-overall-fitness-and-health/
  2. Hipp, Charissa. “Hiking with a dog”. Everyday Dog Magazine. Retrieved April 22, 2020. http://everydaydogmagazine.com/hiking-with-your-dog/
  3. Angele Sionna & Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, September 20, 2018. “How to Safely Hike, Camp, and Backpack with Your Dog”. Backpacker. Retrieved April 21, 2020. https://www.backpacker.com/skills/the-manual-take-your-dog-hiking

Vedrana Nikolić (B.A. in Cultural Anthropology) - Professional Writer.

Vedrana is a writer, anthropologist & dog lover. Currently pursuing a Masters degree in Semiotics studying, among other things, the communication between animals and humans.

For more info on Vedrana click here

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