Glia and I are big fans of Ruffwear products. For those of you have not heard of Ruffwear, they are a company that makes performance dog gear for outdoor adventures. Glia and I ordered our first Ruffwear product in 2017, the front range harness. While we loved the color and quality, the front range harness had a habit of sliding onto her neck when she walked behind me and the leash tugged her forward. So this year, we purchased the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness.
Features of the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness
This harness currently comes in 3 different colors: red currant, twilight gray, and blue dusk. We chose the blue dusk, because I love bright colors against Glia’s dark fur.
The Webmaster was designed with security in mind. When compared with the Front Range, it features an extra strap that is buckled around the waist of the dog. This extra strap effectively prevents a dog from backing out of the harness. For me, the simplicity of having this extra strap provides a lot more security when out hiking with Glia. It is a great feeling not having to worry about Glia slipping her harness in the middle of an unfamiliar trail.
Here are three images of the Front Range harness for comparison.
As an added bonus, the extra strap also allows me to use the handle on the harness to help lift and assist her across difficult terrain. This is rarely something Glia needs, but it is still a handy feature.
It should be noted that unlike the Front Range harness, there is no front/chest leash attachment to help reduce pulling. Nor are there buckles on both side of the harness. This requires that Glia does step one of her front legs through the harness when putting it on. This shouldn’t be a problem for most dogs who are already used to wearing any type of harness or clothing, but it is a consideration for some dogs and their humans.
Unfortunately for us, Glia’s chest circumference is 27 inches, which is just on the line of Ruffwear’s cut-off for sizing between a small and a medium. For the front range harness, the recommendation was to choose the larger size, which worked out okay. However, the fact that it is on the medium is on larger size for her might contribute to the way it slides forward. For the Webmaster harness, Ruffwear recommends choosing the smaller size when dogs are in between sizes.
The small fits Glia pretty well. The straps around her chest and waist have plenty of room for adjustment and easily accomodate her winter sweater.
The yoke/collar straps around her neck, however, are maxed out. As is the adjustment that extends the distance from the the front triangle of the collar to the strap that sits just behind her armpits. Even with this strap maxed out, the strap around her chest does pull towards her armpits a little more than I would like. In certain positions, there is some contact with the thin skin of her armpits. In good news, despite this contact, I have had no issues with rubbing or pressure sores on short 1-2 hour hikes. We will update this section if any of our longer hikes this spring/summer change that assessment.
I will note that I also ordered this harness for Sasha, our King Charles Cavalier Spaniel mix. Her chest circumference measured in at 16cm, which was within the sizing for an XXS. However, when we fit the XXS to her, the straps were all almost fully maxed out. So we ordered the XS and it fits great.
So far both Ruffwear harness have stood up very well to Glia’s abusive use of them. Every time she wears a harness, there is at least one point during the walk when she rolls around in the dirt, mud, grass, or snow. The front range harness has gone through the wash a couple of times without adverse effect. And so far, all buckles and straps have held up wonderfully to normal wear and tear. (Our normal wear and tear includes the above rolling, occasional darts at squirrels while on leash, etc.)
Although the Ruffwear Webmaster harness is a little more expensive than most of the harnesses you will find at the average pet store (priced at $59.95), it is worth the price. Between the quality/durability and secure fit, I would recommend this harness for any outdoor adventure dog. This is Glia’s go-to harness for all of our day hikes. It is right up there on the list with a leash and poop bags. Check out our other hiking essentials recommendations.
Does your dog wear a harness when hiking? What is your favorite brand and why?