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Best Harnesses For Shih Tzus: Ratings, Reviews & Top Picks


Last Updated: April 10, 2024 | 9 min read | Leave a Comment

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Here at Canine Journal, we love purebred Shih Tzus as well as their mixes.  They are an extremely popular breed because of their size, laid back attitude and cuddle factor.  Their size makes them great to pick up and carry along for any adventures, be it outdoor or indoor.  They respond well to walking on a leash, but even better when in a harness due to their size.  If you are trying to find the best harness for your Shih Tzu, you have come to the right place.

While Shih Tzus can walk with a collar, it’s not recommended due to their smaller size and stature. One jerk of a collar can mean damage to your pup’s windpipe if there’s too much pressure, which is why we recommend a harness. Harnesses will always be a better choice for the Shih Tzu’s little body, especially if they decide to pull.  If your Shih Tzu has made a habit of consistently pulling (which isn’t too typical), there are always no-pull harness options available.

The following list of harnesses will be perfect for the Shih Tzu breed, and most other small dogs. Since this is specific to the Shih Tzu though, keep in mind that these harnesses may not work for other breeds, like a Chihuahua or Papillon. Below you’ll find a buying guide, as well as common questions we get here on our site about which brands are best.

At a Glance: Our Favorite Shih Tzu Harnesses

Frisco Small Breed Dog Vest
Our Rating

Best Overall

Frisco Small Breed Harness

Mighty Paw Padded Harness
Our Rating

Popular Pick

Rabbitgoo Dog Harness

Frisco Harness For Small Dogs
Our Rating

Budget Pick

Voyager Dog Harness

Buyer’s Guide

Shih Tzus in Harness
Harnesses can have several different features for your Shih Tzu.

Usually you’ll want to look for a feature friendly & feature full harness, especially because the cost from higher end models isn’t significantly more than budget-friendly versions.  Higher quality harnesses will also last longer than those made for tighter budgets. Below are some features you’ll want to look for.

Comfort & Fit

Buying a dog harness that’s uncomfortable will only make your pup dread the time they are going to be using them. Finding a harness with plenty of padding makes a difference.  Size also makes a difference, so don’t purchase a harness that’s too tight, or it will put undue pressure on their ribs.


We’d recommend picking up a dog harness that’s made from material that’s flexible.  This could be nylon or other type of breathable material that’s equipped with padding. Washing machine friendliness is also a plus.


Buying a cheaper dog harness will almost ensure that your pup is going to beat it to shreds in a year or less. If you want a durable harness that will last for several years time, expect to spend a little more for a harness that can withstand some abuse.


Budget is extremely important for every dog product, harnesses included. Shih Tzus aren’t the cheapest dogs to buy from a breeder. On top of your initial investment, you’ll need to save money so you can afford the proper gear that your pup will need. Shih Tzus will need an assortment of smaller toys, a comfortable dog bed, the right dog food, along with money in reserve for unexpected veterinary bills.

Harness Types

Shih Tzu Harness Types
Shih Tzus will do will with many different harness types.

harnesses are alike. This is why it’s important to do your research ahead of time so you know what type of harness is recommended for your specific dog breed.  While there are some specialty harnesses better for other activities like running, most harnesses will fall into four different categories.

Back Buckle: This is the most common type of harness, no matter what breed or activity you are doing. They make it easier to put on and take off, which makes a difference when getting your pup acclimated to harness training.

Front Buckle: Front buckle harnesses are pretty common.  They are easy to assemble and often make it less likely that your dog is going to try to pull you down the street.

Double Clip: More costly than the rest, these are usually the option that people choose when they want the “best” bang for their buck.  It gives you an option to hook the harness together in the way that’s the easiest for your dog, instead of only having one way to put it on.

Step-in: Step-ins are what many people will use due to ease of use.  It’s unlikely that your pup will have too many problems with a Step-in harness and you aren’t sure if the Front or Back buckle will work.

Best Harnesses for Shih Tzus

Top Shih Tzu Harness on Dog
Below are our favorite harnesses for your Shih Tzu.

While there are many different models on the market, below you will find our favorites. Most of them have been around for quite some time, meaning they have been through the rigors of testing and can withstand a beating.

While Shih Tzus aren’t the most active breeds, you’ll still want to make sure your pup is secure when you head out for a stroll. If your dog loves to walk, any of the picks below we have hand-picked should make walking them as easy as a leisurely stroll through the park.

Rabbitgoo Dog Harness

BabyTRL Harness Husky
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Four different sizes.
  • Twelve different colors.
  • Four adjustment points.
  • Front and rear leash connection points.
  • Anti-pull design.
  • Padded for comfort.

The Rabbitgoo Reflective dog harness is one of our top picks for smaller breeds, including Corgis and the top Pug harnesses.  This harness comes in 4 different sizes, and is a rear clasp harness.

It comes equipped with two metal leash rings. This means it’s easy to attach your leash on the top or bottom. It makes it easier to pick the route that your pup displays the least amount of resistance to during walks.

The Harness is adjustable, making it convenient to work with, especially because most dogs are not one-size-fits-all.  The Nylon material with padding make it extremely comfortable for your pup to stay in for longer periods of time.  It’s also reflective, making it perfect for later night walks.

We love that the Rabbitgoo does such a good job of incorporating comfort along with budget, which is why it’s our favorite all around harness for Shih Tzus.

Chai’s Choice Reflective Harness

Kurgo Dog Harness Black
  • Five different sizes.
  • Great combination of quality & cost.
  • Durable nylon construction.
  • Front and rear attachment points.
  • Reflective material for low-light conditions.
  • Rear handle for maximum control.
  • Padded chest for additional comfort.

The Chai’s choice reflective harness is available in multiple sizes. You’ll want to get the smallest size for your Shih Tzu. It’s also available in nine different bright and reflective colors. This harness is also highly recommended for dogs that have issues with pulling on a leash without choking.

The durable nylon design is crafted to withstand significant wear and tear. The padded chest area will keep your little pup comfortable during long walks. It has two different attachment rings for you to attach to your leash depending on what’s most comfortable for your dog.

The built-in handle at the rear of the harness offers maximum control, which is an added benefit. This is important when managing any type of smaller dog breed. If you ever need to get your pup out of a tight spot, you can just lift them with the handle and pick them up on the go.

We love the Chai’s Choice harness and it’s one of our top picks for many different breeds. The reflective stitching makes it a perfect harness for people that enjoy walking their Shih Tzu in low light conditions.

Frisco Small Breed Soft Vest

  • Budget-friendly.
  • Step-in design is ideal for small dogs.
  • Vest is soft and comfortable.
  • Five different sizes.
  • Four different color options.
  • Made with breathable mesh.
  • Fast-release buckles & two D-rings.

Walk with your Shih Tzu in style by adding this harness to your shopping cart. Not only does the harness look nice, but it also functions well. The Frisco Small Breed Soft vest comes in four different stylish colors that are perfect for any Shih Tzu. The step in design makes it perfect for smaller dogs.

The harness can be adjusted to fit your pet perfectly. The two D-rings are located on the top for easy attachment and detachment. What you’ll notice first is the bright colors of the harness. You’ll also notice the additional padding around the chest area to keep your dog comfortable.

Although this doesn’t necessarily train your pup to not pull, it won’t choke them if they decide to start running. You can also gently pull the harness yourself and your pet will be comfortable, and won’t unintentionally injure themselves.

We love that this harness is machine washable and easy to clean. You won’t have to separate it from other items either. Just use cold water and a gentle cycle.

Puppia RiteFit Harness

Gooby Dog Harness For Smaller Dogs
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Five different sizes.
  • Five different color options.
  • Soft inner padding for comfort.
  • Cotton & Polyester construction.
  • Lightweight and breathable.
  • Quick-release chest belt.

Puppia RiteFit is great for daily walks and made specifically made for small dogs or puppies. This harness comes in multiple colors, including black, green, pink, red and blue. If you have another dog that’s larger at 25 inches, they do stock that size.

The quick release buckles, along with the loop and hook straps for the neck are 100% adjustable and can be fit to your pets needs. Included are an easy snap buckle, and an adjustable chest belt.

Since RiteFit is specifically made for smaller dogs, this brand has in between sizes. This ensures a better fit when compared to the other harnesses on the list. A better fit for your Shih Tzu means they won’t be able to escape once they pull on their leash. This will be more comfortable for you pet, and the harness will last longer due to less rubbing.

We love that when sized correctly, the harness won’t break or tear. The light-weight, breathable material with the soft edges around the underside ensure long-lasting comfort for your pup.

EcoBark Classic Dog Harness

Embark Adventure Harness
  • Budget-friendly.
  • No-pull design.
  • Made to be practically escape-proof.
  • Anti-rub technology to prevent chafing.
  • Padded chest area for comfort.
  • Made with breathable mesh.
  • Made from recycled water bottles.

EcoBark is a no choke, no pull harness that is made of double layered breathable mesh fabric. The fabric is made from non-toxic ROSH tested mesh fabric and is incredibly durable. The custom stitched cover is designed to not chafe and rub around your Shih Tzus legs. This is also a great option for other smaller breeds, like seen here for the Beagle.

A wide range of colors are available, including black, green, red, pink, blue, yellow and comes in different patterns. EcoBark harnesses are completely recyclable, durable, and disperse your dogs weight into their chest to not choke them when pulled.

We love that the EcoBark has a high safety standard, and considers their harness escape proof. The safety buckle is custom built to ensure the highest level of strength, with long-lasting safety. It’s easy to put on, and take off for us humans but really difficult for your pet.

Voyager Step-In Harness

Puppia Harness Camo
  • Lowest-cost option on our list.
  • Five different colors.
  • Five different sizes.
  • Breathable mesh construction.
  • Two sturdy D-rings for leash attachment.
  • Step-in design.
  • Quick-release buckles.

This model is recommended for leash training. The Voyager step in harness is also great to use as a no pull harness because of its unique design. The double D ring design on the back will ensure that you have a firm hold on your pup when they decide to pull. This makes the behavior less desirable.

It has reflective bands, making it a perfect harness to use later at night or in early dusk hours. This is important if these are the times of day when you are most likely to be out walking your Shih Tzu. The step-in and clip design makes it extremely quick to use.

This harness is easy to fit and use, and it all connects to one leash. The all-weather mesh is perfect for being out and about, no matter the weather conditions. That is if you enjoy walking your pup in the rain, snow or muddy conditions.

We love this harness combines budget, with fit and ease of use.  This is one of the easier harnesses that your pup can get used to wearing when out and about due to the design.

Kurgo Tru-Fit Harness

Easy Walk by PetSafe Blue
  • Designed with car travel in mind.
  • Six different size options.
  • Designed by rock climbing engineers.
  • Great for walks and running.
  • Crash-tested for dogs up to 75 pounds.
  • Five adjustment points.
  • Rear handle for maximum control.

If you’re looking for a harness for transporting your Shih Tzu, this is the best in its class. We often forget about the safety of our pets when we put them in the car for a road trip. If you make a sudden stop, your valued family member could get seriously hurt.

Not only will it protect them if you have to suddenly break, but it will also prevent them from jumping out the window. It’s easy to use, and easy to take on and take off. The straps are adjustable, and can attach to the seat belt of your car with the carabiner that’s included.

We love that the Kurgo Tru-fit harness is designed for walking, but traveling as well. The extra small size option makes this harness perfect for Shih Tzus that are more adventurous than other smaller breeds.

Puppia Polyester Dog Harness

Corgi Standing at Sunset
  • Budget-friendly.
  • Eight different color options.
  • Four different sizes.
  • Made from breathable polyester.
  • Two D-ring attachment points.
  • Soft mesh padding for comfort.
  • Vest style harness provides a secure fit.

Puppia is a great brand known for their durable harnesses, and that’s why two of them are on this list. This easy-to-use harness promises to provide the ultimate support and comfort to your pet. Made for convenience, as well as function, this lightweight harness will even impress dog owners who have used them all.

Unique to the rest of the products on this list, this harness has a comfortable neck opening with a quick-release, adjustable chest belt and a D-ring located at the top-back. Soft air-mesh padding is used throughout the harness for maximum comfort.

The Puppia rubber label ensures that their products are high-quality, and are made of cotton and polyester. Comes in 5 colors, including black, grey, green, pink and blue. There are multiple sizes available, with the straps being adjustable for any pup in an inbetween size.

We love that the Puppia Polyester Dog Harness is rated highly, and is often recommended when it comes to harnesses for small dogs. Specifically for the Shih Tzu, there’s one other harness that ranks higher and better than this one.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is the best harness for a Shih Tzu?

    This will depend on your overall goal. As noted above, if budget is a limitation, you should be considering our budget pick. If budget isn’t a problem, then the Rabbitgoo harness is our top choice.

  • Are harnesses better than collars?

    This largely depends on the dog. Larger dogs may be more difficult to control on a harness, making a collar a more reliable option. No pull harnesses can also be explored.

  • How can I make sure I pick the right size?

    Measure the harness to the manufacturer’s specifications. There really isn’t any secret trick here. Each harness is going to fit differently, so once you decide on a model, measure your pup to get the best fit.

  • Which are easiest to put on?

    Dual clip harnesses will make it easiest for you to test with your dog. Once you can figure out the way that scares your Shih Tzu the least, you can proceed to continue equipping them that way before each walk.

  • Will these work if my dog is old?

    Yes. Although if your dog has hip issues and is older, you’ll likely want a lift harness to pair it with.

Final Thoughts

This breed can be a picky bunch. This is why it’s important to find the best harness for your Shih Tzu the first time around. The last thing you want to do is play the send back and exchange game.  Any of the models we’ve recommended in this guide will suit your Shih Tzu just fine, depending on your budget and overall goals.

If your Shih Tzu is somehow an escape artist, there are escape-proof harnesses available to stop them from continuing that behavior. Outside of that, anything you see here should do the trick. With that being said, if you feel we’ve forgotten your favorite harness, feel free to drop us a line in the comments!

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The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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