Tactical Dog Harnesses Simply Explained

Tactical harnesses are often seen on military and police dogs. This makes people wonder if getting their pup a tactical harness is excessive or unnecessary. Are they uncomfortable for dogs? What is a tactical dog harness really for?

A tactical harness is great for more advanced walking experiences such as hikes as well as everyday walks. It allows you to pick your dog up safely by the harness, store items in the many pouches and is great at keeping them covered from the elements.

Continue reading to discover everything there is to know about a tactical dog harness. What’s it used for, who mostly used them, who can & should use them and much more.

Let’s dive in!

what are tactical dog harnesses for

How Are Tactical Dog Harnesses Different From Regular Harnesses?

While harnesses are known for increased control when walking a dog, a tactical harness takes control capabilities one step further. Usually they come with dual leash attachments and have places where you can grab to either better direct your dog’s movement or pick them up entirely (without harming them).

Tactical dog harnesses also have quite a noticeably different design and structure. These types of harnesses cover your dog’s back, neck, and underbelly giving you better control of your dog while keeping them safe.

In a way, it looks more like your dog is wearing a vest with pockets and areas to add attachments. They have much more fabric used and cover more of your dog’s body than a regular harness.

Why Would Someone Get Their Dog a Tactical Harness?

Here are a few reasons why someone would get a tactical dog harness for their dog.

  1. Tactical dog harnesses are better equipped for more extravagant adventures than regular harnesses. If you’re an avid camper or hiker and love to bring your pup along for the journey, you should look into getting a tactical harness for your doggo.
  2. Since a tactical harness covers more of a dog’s body, if you live in an area where the weather can get quite cold, this type of harness would help keep them warmer.
  3. Simply liking the style of it! If you like getting yourself a new jacket every once and a while to keep things fresh, you might like the look a tactical dog vest gives your furry friend.
  4. You have a strong dog on your hands. If you find yourself feeling like a regular harness isn’t durable enough to contain your strong pup a tactical dog harness would likely be a better choice.
  5. You’d like help carrying certain things when you’re out with your dog. The pockets on a tactical dog harness can be very useful in having your dog help you carry certain items wherever you’re going.

Are Tactical Dog Harnesses Safe for Dogs?

Yes, tactical dog harnesses are absolutely safe for dogs.

The same rule applies to them as with any harness. You need to make sure it’s the right size and fit. If it’s not able to be adjusted for a snug fit it will likely be irritating for your dog to wear, rub their skin uncomfortably, or choke them because it’s too loose or too tight.

Dogs are much less likely to escape from a tactical harness and they’re built to be as durable as possible so leash attachments won’t break.

In addition, the design and material of many tactical dog harnesses are meant to keep your dog comfortable. The best brands of tactical harnesses use military-grade materials that are durable and won’t harm your dog’s skin with continuous use.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Tactical Dog Harness?

Tactical dog harnesses have numerous benefits, let’s take a quick look at some of the top qualities of a tactical harness:

Maximum Control

Tactical harnesses have multiple leash attachments as well as handles for your to grab ahold of. This makes it easier for you to control their movements and handle them in a way that you feel is best.

The moment you venture outside with your dog, you have to make sure you have control at all times. The last thing you want is them running free on the road or a busy street. Tactical harnesses help make sure you stay in control at all times.

In fact, there are actually some areas that don’t allow dogs without a harness.

Better Exercise

Tactical harnesses come equipped with multiple pockets. And just as people get in better shape by lifting weights, when you add items to their pockets you’ll be increasing the weight they’re carrying.

The extra load makes their walks even more beneficial for your doggo to help them gain strength or lose additional pounds.

But, always consider your dog’s weight, age, and pre-existing conditions before adding additional weight to the harness.

Ample Protection

All tactical dog harnesses cover the majority of their chest/torso.

That offers their body more protection against potentially harmful things on their adventures. For instance, if you go on a hike, your dog’s body is protected from shrubs, thorns, or bushes that might scratch them.

In addition, the harness keeps your dog safer from bites. If you come across an aggressive dog or your dog gets into a fight (hopefully that never happens), they’re better protected when wearing tactical dog harnesses.

A tactical dog vest isn’t bite-proof, but it’s better protection than none.

Additional Attachments

The different compartments of a tactical dog harness are quite beneficial. Not only can you pack some items to use along the way, but you can also attach things like lights. This makes your dog more visible.

The lights attached to a tactical dog harness make it easy to walk in the evening or night. Also, they come in handy when exploring dark places like caves on a hike.

You could also attach items like a bell so you can hear them walking and know they’re getting too far away when the sound gets quieter.

Less Pulling

A tactical dog harness helps discourage pulling.

Because they’re more often than not dual clipped, using the front clip when you need them to behave better on their walk will discourage them to pull. They’ll quickly learn that pulling isn’t comfortable and won’t get them where they want to go any faster.

Who Typically Uses Tactical Dog Harnesses?

Tactical dog harnesses are most commonly seen worn by military or police dogs. This is because they can then help carry supplies, can be picked up and maneuvered easily by grabbing the harness and offers a layer of protection around their chest and upper back.

Service dogs can also be seen wearing tactical harnesses because there are many places to hold on to to be guided. As well as carrying important items for their handler such as an EpiPen.

For more recreational reasons, hikers and campers are two common groups of people who would use a tactical dog harness. For similar reasons that the military and police use these types of harnesses, people who like to adventure with their dog enjoy the added capabilities of a tactical harness.

What Tactical Dog Harnesses Does The Military Use?

Unfortunately we were able to find a specific brand of tactical harnesses that the military use for their dogs.

However, it’s safe to say that they’re looking for extremely durable material.

The portion that covers a dog’s body will be made of a strong denim or nylon material to ensure it stays intact through any environment. Also, all the metal on the harness would need to be of the best quality and be able to handle large amounts of weight attaching to them.

For instance, lifting the dog with items attached to the various metal rings and not having them break or tear from the fabric.

Also, they’d need to have lots of pockets to help carry supplies for their handler.

If the tactical harness you’re looking to get covers these components, you’re looking at a military-grade harness.

What Is The Best Tactical Dog Harness?

ICEFANG Tactical Dog Harness


  • Brand: ICEFANG
  • Size: Large
  • Pattern: Solid
  • Color: Coyote Brown
  • Material: Nylon

The ICEFANG tactical dog harness is among the best that you can get for your doggo. It’s had 10s of thousands of people buy it and use it and over 17,000 of those people felt compelled to leave a review on Amazon for it. Over 80% giving it a 5 out of 5 stars and being extremely happy with it.

As always when purchasing a harness, ensure you check the dog size chart provided by the manufacturer. This will make sure you’re getting the perfect fitting harness for your pup.

Final Thoughts

So what are tactical harnesses for? Well they’re for increased utility if you love to adventure with your pup, increased style or control for your daily walks, or to help keep your pup warm if you live in a colder area.

While some people might see them as excessive for everyday uses, they can be a super valuable item to have your pup wear.

Other posts you might find interesting:

Dog Harnesses Fully Explained (Are They Cruel?)

Do Harnesses Encourage Pulling? (The Truth..)

Top 15 Dog Harnesses: What Makes Them the Best of the Bunch

Alec Littlejohn

Founder and Reviewer at Pawscessories. He is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! He grew up in a family of vets and to this day he helps out around the family clinic and shares his learnings on Pawscessories. Learn more about Alec's story here

Recent Posts