Harness Guide 2024
HARNESS GEAR GUIDE
**Written in collaboration with Ruffwear**
We went through various harnesses with Bob when he was a puppy, until we found Ruffwear, and we've never used another brand since.
Whatever the adventure, a good dog harness offers solutions for everyday wear, training/lead pulling, or lift-and-assist - all built from a dog’s perspective.
Struggling to know where to begin? We are going to give you a rundown of each Ruffwear harness to help you make the best decision for your pup’s needs. In this gear guide we’ll cover the following:
- Do I even need a harness for my dog?
- The importance of harness quality and fit
- Why choose a Ruffwear harness?
- Which Ruffwear harness is right for my dog?
- How to measure and fit your Ruffwear harness
Do I even need a harness for my dog?
A dog harness is a great piece of gear for assisting in training, providing support to elderly or disabled canines, handling working or service dogs, or keeping your best friend safe from the beginning to the end of your adventures.
Harnesses offer the ability to control and keep your dog safe when out on your daily adventures. It can easily distribute pressure from a lead throughout the dog’s body, rather than through the dog’s airways.
Bob's tip: a harness is not a silver bullet to stop your dog from pulling, but it is a fantastic tool to help you train and control your dog safely.
The importance of quality and fit
Choosing a comfortable, yet reliable harness is key.
Select a harness that allows free front leg movement without rubbing or chaffing of a dog’s chest or armpits.
Harnesses should fit snugly - a finger should be able to slide between the harness and the dog’s body.
Loose harnesses will rotate and shift during a walk, which not only causes chafing, but also means it’s easier for your dog to escape.
Comfortable harnesses should offer a minimum of four adjustable straps for a perfect, snug fit.
Bob's tip: the biggest issue we see with dog's that come in store with a previous harness, is that it is too loose. A 'snug' fit will keep your harness from shifting around and being uncomfortable.
Why choose a Ruffwear harness?
Many no-pull harnesses are very restrictive across the front legs. They often have a strap that sits lower and horizontal across the front legs where the lead attachment point is also lower.
A y-shaped harness such a Ruffwear goes through the front legs, but sits below their neck and above the shoulders meaning they don’t restrict your dog’s shoulder movements in the same way that some horizontal chest harnesses can.
Some Ruffwear harnesses also feature a chest loop attachment which sits at a higher point on the chest over the sternum. This allows dogs to have a full range of motion and enables them to move much more naturally, whilst you still have control over pulling.
Choosing a good quality harness is also important as your harness will accompany your dog on their many adventures. Crawling through bushes, climbing between rocks - your harness needs to be tough and withstand wear and tear. A harness that lasts years is also more sustainable and saves you money in the long run.
The quality of Ruffwear products is paramount.
They choose fabrics and hardware that have been tested in the field, are environmentally friendly, and last the test of time. They have been partners with very skilled factories for decades, with a team in Vietnam dedicated to ensuring their manufacturing is on point.
Ruffwear are so confident in the quality of their gear that in the unlikely event that something does go wrong with your product, they will work to make it right by offering a guarantee against defects in materials and craftsmanship.
Bob's tip: buy well and buy fewer. There's no saying better than 'you get what you pay for' and in the case of a Ruffwear harness, we believe this couldn't be more accurate. However, we also think that Ruffwear harnesses are very reasonably priced, considering the quality, durability and safety that you will enjoy.
Which Ruffwear harness is right for my dog?
Front Range Harness
A padded harness dogs can wear all day, every day
- Great for explorers looking for a padded everyday harness
- Lead attachment points on the dog’s back and at the chest - great for redirecting dogs when they pull on lead
- Side-release buckles for easy on/off
For all-day, everyday wear, Ruffwear’s most popular and fastest selling harness is the Front Range.
A great choice for everyday dog walks, it features two lead attachment points: One is an aluminium V-ring centered on the dog’s back for everyday walks and the other a reinforced webbing loop at the dog’s chest for teaching polite lead manners.
With four points of adjustment and elasticated webbing straps which move with your dog meaning the Front Range Harness fits a range of dog shapes and sizes.
Bob's tip: The Front Range is a brilliant harness for nearly all dogs, all sizes and all ages. However, for Sighthounds, see the Flagline.
Web Master Harness
A structured, multi-use harness with a handle and belly strap
- Great for hiking, scrambling, or offering mobility assistance
- Foam-padded construction for comfortable extended wear
- Five points of adjustment and a belly strap for a secure fit
If adventures with your canine companion take you into challenging terrain or your dog can benefit from mobility assistance - Ruffwear’s Web Master Harness is the solution.
It’s a supportive, multi-use harness built for manoeuvring and assisting dogs up and over obstacles.
It’s also the harness of choice for many working dogs. It has a handle on the back and five points of adjustment for a secure fit, and the padded chest and belly straps make the Web Master comfortable for all-day use.
Perfect for dogs that are escape artists as the Web Master is very difficult to wriggle out of if fitted correctly.
A lightweight, multi-use harness with a handle and chest/belly panel
- Great for hiking, scrambling, mobility assistance, and fast and light pursuits
- Six points of adjustment for easy on/off design
- Three points of lead attachment - including one at the chest, good for redirecting dogs that pull on lead.
- Great for 'long' dogs like sighthounds
The Flagline Harness is a fast, light, and comfortable harness that keeps dogs in their flow, from scrambling in the hills to conquering everyday obstacles.
A handle and load-dispersing chest/belly panel make for easy life-and-assist in a nimble design good for all-day wear.
High adjustability and easy on/off make the Flagline secure and accessible, giving dogs a little boost and a lot of freedom when the path ahead is anything but flat.
If fitted correctly, it's very difficult indeed to get out of a Flagline, as the third set of straps sit behind the ribcage and won't come forward.
Hi & Light Harness
Minimal, low-profile chest harness for fast and light pursuits
- Great for explorers looking for a lightweight running or everyday harness
- Fur- and debris-resistant liner
- Side-release buckles for easy on/off
The Hi & Light Harness is Ruffwear’s minimalist, low-profile harness option.
This lightweight harness has a lead attachment point on the back and front and offers four points of adjustment for a sleek, comfortable fit.
The Hi & Light is scaled to fit even the smallest of canine companions, with size offerings ranging from XXXS to L/XL. And the debris-resistant liner will shed dirt and fur, making the Hi & Light Harness a great option for any adventure, from a local walk to running trails.
How to measure and fit your dog for a Ruffwear harness
Do not underestimate the importance of correct fitting when buying a harness for your dog. If you don’t measure or try and guess your dog’s measurements, it could result in you buying the wrong size causing your harness to be too tight, too big and rub causing chafing for your dog.
Bob's tip: don't guess your size!! Measure, measure, measure.
To measure your pooch for a Ruffwear harness, take a tape measure and measure the widest part of their girth, which is the area behind their front legs approximately 3-4 finger spaces back from their leg. You can measure in cms or inches and then find the correct size on our chart below.
If your dog is at the very upper end of the size chart or between sizes then it is best to size up rather than down.
|9 - 13 in (23 - 33 cm)
|13 - 17 in (33 - 43 cm)
|17 - 22 in (43 - 56 cm)
|22 - 27 in (56 - 69 cm)
|27 - 32 in (69 - 81 cm)
|32 - 42 in (81 - 107 cm)
Bob's tip: still not sure which harness is right for you? Drop me a line and I will help!