Choosing a Harness for Your Dog | The Cornish Dog

I’m a huge fan of dog harnesses. They’re incredibly practical, especially for our outdoor lifestyle here in Cornwall and I would be lost without them! It’s taken me a while to find the right harness for us but through a lot of trial and error I think we’re there. Today I thought I’d share with you some of the adventure dog harnesses we’ve used, the reasons I bought them and whether they’ve stood the test of time!

DOGSCLOSURE: I purchased all of these harnesses myself. I purchased the majority of these harnesses new over the past year, however I also found some secondhand.

First thing’s first, it’s important to think about the fit and shape of your dog harness. I try my best to stick to Y shaped harnesses that don’t impede shoulder movement or affect their gait. I also try to ensure straps sit further back on my dogs’ bodies, so they don’t rub or irritate their skin. There are plenty of options when it comes to harnesses and after a little trial and error, I think I’ve found the brands best suited to us!

Ruffwear Web Master | Small £69.95

Up until recently, Ruffwear was one of the only outdoor dog brands I knew. They’re a US based company but have been rapidly expanding in the UK over the past few years. They’re fast becoming a household name and you can purchase their products through Cotswold Outdoor, both online and in person, or via the Ruffwear website. Their products are raved about on social media, so understandably they were my first port of call when looking for a harness for Woody. The Ruffwear Web Master was one of the first harnesses I bought for Woody. We’ve got the modified version, as I purchased it alongside his Palisades Pack last summer.

The original Web Master harnesses are available in 3 colours, however the Palisades Pack is only available in red, so we were restricted in colour. The harness itself (colour aside, I’m not a huge fan of red!) was just what I was looking for. There’s a handle on the back, which is useful for helping your dog over stiles, steep steps or even in and out the car. I was slightly disappointed though, as after just a few adventures in Cardinham Woods and the South West Coast Path, the harness already started showing signs of wear. The fabric is fraying and it’s not looking its best. Woody had only been his usual spaniel self, running through brambles, swimming in the sea and exploring his favourite paths. After spending so much money on the product (£150+ for the whole Palisades Pack,) I’d hoped it’d be more durable! Ruffwear do operate a Trail Tested Guarantee, however unfortunately it doesn’t cover ‘Damage caused by or resulting from normal wear and tear,’ which is a shame.

Ruffwear Webmaster Harness | The Cornish DogRuffwear Webmaster | The Cornish Dog

Ruffwear Front Range | Small £44.95

In order to preserve Woody’s Web Master Harness, I decided to purchase another Ruffwear product to lighten the load. I now keep the Web Master Harness solely for Coast Path adventures, as the handle, extra body strap and overall fit are perfect for hikes there. For general, day to day adventures, I decided to purchase a second hand Front Range Harness, which is another popular choice from Ruffwear. It’s available in 6 colours online, however I was reluctant to buy one new. Instead, I searched Facebook Marketplace and found a grey one in Woody’s size, for a fraction of the cost. I think I paid around £20-£25 including postage and had only been lightly used!

I was impressed with the harness, it seemed perfect for Woody. It was great to have something more substantial to hold onto if he got himself stuck in mud. I purchased the harness in December 2018 and Woody definitely put it through its paces. When our first foster dog Jasper arrived, I managed to find a free Front Range Harness for him in a local Facebook Group. Albeit it was pink, however we didn’t mind, it was in pretty much brand new condition! In the two months Jasper came to stay with us, both harnesses were wrecked. They didn’t handle salt water well at all, Woody’s turned green and Jasper’s faded completely. They were ripped and torn by daily walks in the woods too, I’m just glad I didn’t buy either of them brand new.

Ruffwear Front Range Harness | The Cornish DogRuffwear Front Range | The Cornish Dog

Hurtta Active Harness | 24-32″ £29.86

My search for an outdoor harness continued! With some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, I headed to Natural Cornish Pet GIFTED to pick up a Hurtta Active Harness, another brand I’d heard lots about. You can also purchase their Active Harnesses on Amazon and they’re available in 6 colours. Hurtta have recently brought out an ‘eco’ version of the same design, which uses 100% recycled polyester. It’s a little cheaper than the Ruffwear Front Range harness but far more substantial.

This harness was a great fit for our lifestyle. The handle on top was great for grabbing hold of Woody if he was misbehaving on walks and I loved the colour on him. We’ve been using it for around the same amount of time as the Front Range harnesses, on similar walks. It’s definitely in better condition. The logo is fading and  there are a few snags from brambles but overall it’s stood the test of time. The sizing allows plenty of room too, which is perfect for fostering. I did have to swap Woody out of it so our third foster dog Hen could use it, as he was a little bit chubby when he arrived! Hen used it for a few weeks, however I noticed it was rubbing on his shoulders so have since purchased him a new harness (more on that later!)

Hurtta Active Harness | The Cornish DogHurtta Active | The Cornish Dog

Embark Pets Adventure Harness | Small £22.84

The Embark Pets Adventure Harness is the one Woody is using currently. He’s been wearing it for just over a month now and it’s still standing strong. It sits flatter on his body compared to the Ruffwear and Hurtta harnesses. I think this helps keep it snag free! I bought this harness intending to use it for our foster dogs, however the sizing isn’t as variable as the Hurtta. I’ve since swapped them over and I’m sure our next foster will enjoy their Hurtta harness. Woody is certainly enjoying his Embark Pets one!

The Embark Pets Adventure Harness is so similar to the Ruffwear Front Range but at a fraction of the price. Part of me accepts that I will be regularly replacing damaged harnesses throughout Woody’s life. He’s just so rough and excited when adventuring outdoors. He definitely puts harnesses through their paces! I’ll definitely be repurchasing the Embark Pets Adventure Harness when our current one bites the dust. I’m so impressed with both the design, aesthetics and price point of their products. I assumed the more expensive pet products would be the best investment for our lifestyle. However, I’ve been proven wrong – at least in this department!

Embark Adventure Harness | The Cornish DogEmbark Adventure | The Cornish Dog

3 Peaks Excursion | Medium £22.00

The last harness we’ve road tested is my most recent purchase, the 3 Peaks Excursion Harness from Pets at Home. 3 Peaks are Pets at Home’s own outdoor/adventure brand. We already use and enjoy their collapsible bowls and a few toys from the range. I purchased this harness for Hen when I realised the Hurtta one was rubbing against his shoulders. The Excursion Harness is a very similar design to the Ruffwear Web Master Harness, with the extra strap on the body and handle on the back. Again, it’s a fraction of the price but I haven’t noticed a difference in quality!

Hen uses this harness every day at the moment, mostly because he doesn’t have an alternative. He was a little chubby when he arrived, so I’m reluctant to purchase new harnesses or drying coats for him until I know what his ‘proper’ weight will be. He’s already lost some since being with us, so I’m sure he won’t have to wait that long! Nevertheless the Excursion Harness has suited him perfectly and aside from occasional mud stains, it’s in great condition. The handle is perfect for lifting him in and out the car. It’s also helped him out of a couple of sticky situations since being with us. The harness is only available in one design. The colours are totally up our street, so we’re more than happy with the aesthetics!

3 Peaks Excursion Harness | The Cornish Dog3 Peaks Excursion | The Cornish Dog

Do you use harnesses for your dogs? What are your favourite brands?

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