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Gear guide: dog harnesses

By Ruffwear

Published on 4 min read


Choosing the right harness for your dog

Our friends at Ruffwear share their expertise on choosing the right harness for your dog in this comprehensive gear guide. Find out why having the right harness makes all the difference and how to correctly fit one, so you can enjoy many adventures with your four-legged friend.

Ruffwear dog harness
Ruffwear Swamp Cooler harness

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
  • Which Ruffwear harness is right for my dog?
  • How to find out which size you need
  • How to correctly fit your harness
Ruffwear Web Master harness

Ruffwear Web Master 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 furry 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.

dog and harness 

Ruffwear Flagline harness

The importance of harness 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 pinky 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.

dog harness pack

Ruffwear Approach Pack

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 goes through the front legs, but sits below their neck and above the shoulders. This means they don’t restrict your dog’s shoulder movements in the same way that some horizontal chest harnesses can. Some 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 off-trail 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.

Which Ruffwear harness is right for my dog?

For canine explorers looking for a padded everyday harness

Try the Front Range Harness

  • A padded harness dogs can wear all day, every day
  • Leash 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 dogs who love hiking, scrambling, or offer mobility assistance

Try the Ruffwear Web Master Harness

  • A structured, multi-use harness with a handle and belly strap
  • Foam-padded construction for comfortable extended wear
  • Five points of adjustment and a belly strap for a secure fit

cute dogs and harness

Ruffwear Approach Pack (left) and Ruffwear Front Range Harness (right)

For pups who also love fast and light pursuits

Try the Ruffwear Flagline Harness

  • A lightweight, multi-use harness with a handle and chest/belly panel
  • 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

For hot dogs who like to keep cool

Try the Ruffwear Swamp Cooler Harness

  • It has a three-layer construction and evaporative cooling technology which absorbs water and helps to keep dogs cool
  • Balanced and comfortable lifting and assisting with a padded handle and load-dispersing chest/belly panel
  • Two lead connection points: an aluminium V-ring and reinforced webbing loop on the back

For dogs who love long hikes and overnight trips

Try the Ruffwear Approach Pack

  • Five points of adjustment for an optimal fit
  • Vertical stash pocket for organising gear
  • Padded handle and girth straps offer even load dispersion for controlled and comfortable lifting

How to measure 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.

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.

Ruffwear dog harness size guide

Ruffwear dog harness size guide

How to fit your dog harness

Whatever the adventure, a good dog harness offers solutions for everyday wear, training/leash pulling, or lift-and-assist – all built from a dog’s perspective. For more information on Ruffwear harnesses visit the OS Shop.

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