Ruffwear Web Master Harness Review

The Ruffwear Web Master Harness is built for taking dogs on terrain where they may need a helping hand. We've tested it on a labrador and a spaniel, two dogs with a significant weight difference, and we're pretty impressed with the fit and overall quality. Whether it's for a day at the crag or a scrambly hill walk, this harness would be a great option for more adventurous dog owners.

A robust, comfy and adjustable option for your dog  © Nick Brown - UKC
A robust, comfy and adjustable option for your dog
© Nick Brown - UKC

Design

I've always used a harness on our labrador, particularly when in the hills, as it gives us much more control over him than a collar when he needs to be on the lead.

Our lab has always pulled on the lead and we've always been poor at training him! I've been wary of stopping him pulling on the lead using methods that restrict his breathing, so I was pleased to see the harness uses a comfortable attachment point around the chest. I was surprised to find that due to the distribution of the harness when he was pulling on the lead, it instantly had a positive effect and he gave up trying to pull as hard nearly straight away – something I didn't expect.

One of the main design features of the harness is the robust handle on top. It's ideal for giving your dog an extra helping hand when they're struggling to jump up or down. It's particularly handy on easy scrambles or helping your dog over stiles. For older dogs, it will even be useful for helping them into cars. We took our lab on easy scrambles such as Striding Edge on which there are some big steps up and down. He needed some assistance on certain sections and while he is quite heavy (around 30kg), we were able to lift him up and down with relative ease thanks to the sturdiness of the handle.

A sturdy handle on top for giving a bit of assistance when needed  © Martin McKenna
A sturdy handle on top for giving a bit of assistance when needed
© Martin McKenna

There is sufficient foam padding on the two straps underneath the belly and the one on the chest and although he's not been able to communicate how comfy the harness is, he certainly doesn't communicate any discomfort!

Build Quality

We've had this harness for several months now. It's been in lakes and rivers, up mountains and through washing machines. The harness shows no signs of wear and tear; it has bomb-proof material on the main section of the harness and a strong metal clip for a lead. Baloo is a strong labrador and can pull a great deal (especially when faced with a squirrel) and the strength of the harness has more than adequately coped.

Who's a good boy?  © Nick Brown - UKC
Who's a good boy?
© Nick Brown - UKC

Bomb proof metal clips, handle and resistant material  © Martin McKenna
Bomb proof metal clips, handle and resistant material
© Martin McKenna

Fit

There are five separate adjustment points on the harness, so fit is never an issue. The one fault I could find with it is that it's not easily adjusted when being worn, which means that fitting the harness involves a process of trial and error as you take the harness on and off.

Ruffwear have a handy sizing guide for the Web Master on their website.

Overall

The Web Master Harness has been a real step up from products we've used in the past. Its comfort and fit give you a great deal of control over your dog; from stopping pulling when on the lead, to allowing access to easy scrambling terrain. Our dog spends most of his day wearing the harness, and he never scratches or chews, or indeed shows any sign that he's bothered by its presence; indeed he regularly falls asleep wearing the thing. We don't always walk dogs on the lead, instead favouring areas where they can be let off, but on moorland or near livestock the harness has revolutionised our experience of walking with a lead.

Ruffwear say:

The Web Master Harness is a secure, supportive, multi-use harness built for maneuvering and assisting dogs up and over obstacles as well as for designated working dogs. Thin, durable foam provides support without hindering range of motion and a platform for attaching patches and signage for working dogs. Five points of adjustment create a secure fit, while padded chest and belly straps make the Web Master comfortable for all-day wear. The preferred harness of many avalanche rescue dog programs, service dog handlers, and amputee dogs, the Web Master is a great collar alternative and ideal for hiking, scrambling, and mobility assistance.

  • Customizable fit
  • Padded chest and belly panel
  • Foam-padded straps for comfortable, extended wear
  • Low-light visibility with reflective trim and light loop for attaching The Beacon™
  • Made in Vietnam

For more info see ruffwear.co.uk

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25 Sep

I think this is a brilliant piece of kit. Life changing in fact. Stiles, fences, scrambly bits are all massively easier. And if you feel the need to secure your dog either for safety reasons on ridges or because of livestock it works brilliantly with the stretchy bungee waist worn leads. Because you can secure it to the top and it doesn't then fall down below the dogs feet, which is what happens if you attach such leads to a collar and the weight of the bungee pulls the collar round. I wouldn't be without it