As with any new equipment or brand that comes through the our shop, I am always keen to give it a thorough test out in the field. This time however I needed a glamourous assistant to give me a hand, so please met our tester Boo:
The Ruffwear brand was established in the 90s as a way to help bring our faithful companions on our adventures with us, starting from collapsible bowls but quickly growing into harnesses, leads and many other ingenious items to make you and your dogs life easier. The product I got my hands on to test was the Ruffwear Webmaster Harness which is one of their most advanced harnesses in their range. The multi strap design is fully adjustable using standard webbing straps (like you would find on a rucksack), with adjustment along the 2 stomach straps and 3 point adjustment on the chest pad at the front. I found it took around 5 minutes to get it adjusted to a comfortable fit following Ruffwear’s handy video guide on YouTube that you can see here.
Once the harness was on Boo seemed to quickly get used to it, however she is used to wearing a normal basic harness so if your dog is not used to wearing one then it may take longer for them to get used to it. The place we chose for our test was Malham Cove, with a good mixture of landscape it felt like a good place to give the harness a good chance to prove itself. Once we got on the move I found that the harness needed to be tightened just a bit as it was starting to slip slightly to one side but once this one done it was fine. It quickly became clear that the ample padding and general soft construction made it comfortable and none restrictive for Boo to wear, but the thick and tough feeling straps should be very durable. During our outing the harness went swimming, over boulders and through mud but cleaned up to nearly pristine condition afterwards.
The top handle on the harness proved to be useful on a few occasions for helping to lift the dog over awkward rocks, walls and stiles with out having to get my arms mucky from grabbing under her stomach.
So without giving the harness a full few months’ worth of hiking and general abuse I cant give it a full review however after a days worth of use I feel it is a strong product that I wouldn’t have any issue recommending. It is also worth noting that it isn’t just for adventuring dogs, the large surface area on the top of the harness gives room for signage for working dogs and the handle is also useful for assisting less able dogs if they need a hand from time to time.