Looking for the best dog harness? Read our Ruffwear Front Range dog harness review and see why we love this front clipping, everyday dog harness.
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Read on for our full product review.
We have never known Ruffwear put a 'paw' wrong and the Ruffwear Front Range dog harness is no exception.
Our product review was done with the new 2017 Ruffwear Front Range Harness which is available in six stunning colour choices and with features that we consider mean we can rate this as one of the very dog harnesses available to buy right now.
This harness is a superb addition to the Ruffwear range which not only brought a smile to our faces but also got Albie's & Kizzie's tails wagging too. At the first opportunity we put our walking shoes on and headed out for an adventure, we were even lucky enough to have a beautifully sunny day.
Albie and Kizzie have been using front and back clipping harnesses for a few years now and they have become our harness style of choice. Knowing the incredible quality of Ruffwear products we knew that this was going to be great and we certainly haven't been disappointed.
Albie was first to try his harness out, he has a medium Blue Dusk harness which we chose because it looked incredible against his snowy white golden fur. Albie measured right on the boreder of a medium and large and when we initially placed the medium over his head and fastened the side buckles, we thought it was too small. However we quickly realised that we had come to that conclusion in haste and after some further adjustments using the two neck straps AND the side straps/buckles around his belly (AKA girth) it was actually a fantastic fit.
For a dog lead we used the Ruffwear Front Range Leash in matching Blue Dusk.
The four point adjustment system on the harness gave us much more customisation when sizing to get a good fit which is over and above that available on many other dog harnesses.
When in a standing position the rear straps came straight up in a perfect vertical line on each side of his rib cage so we shouldn't need to worry about the straps rubbing him at the top of his legs and the front straps appeared to fit comfortably around the side of his chest and neck.
Next it was Kizzie's turn. Previously Kizzie had used the Front Range Harness in pink but we felt it was time for a change and so for our 2017 review she is wearing Tillandsia Purple which is rich and warm against her honey coloured fur.
Kizzie is quite a different shape to Albie, her girth measurement is nearly the same but her neck measurement is much less, she has such a small neck that at the age of almost 18 months she is still able to wear her junior puppy collar. Why is this important? The four point adjustment of the Ruffwear Front Range harness really shone through when fitting Kizzie giving us a fully customised and perfect fit which we have struggled to achieve with other dog harnesses.
One of the things we really love about this harness is the fact that the top padded section narrows over the shoulders allowing both Albie & Kizzie their full range of motion. We think this is an excellent design feature and good attention to detail.
We aren't ashamed to say that Albie pulls on lead, not all the time but when he does, well let's just say he really pulls!
So when out on walks we need a harness that is made with strong clips, webbing and lead attachment points. We experienced no issues with the harness moving, slipping or struggling to cope when Albie pulled out to sniff the next exciting thing.
Initially we had some reservations about the front clip; while the back clip is made from pressed aluminium the front clip is formed from webbing which has been passed through a 'black tube', and we weren't sure how it would stand up under the level of pressure Albie can apply in a real life situation!
We didn't have to wait long to find out as the excitement of seeing a neighbours cat when out on a road walk was more than enough distraction for Albie to pull forward with all his might! Our reservations and concerns were immediately put to rest, the clips passed the 'Albie Strength Test' with flying colours and both the front and back clips coped easily under the strain.
The Ruffwear Front Range Harness has two lead attachment points which allows us to use it with either a double ended dog lead or the matching Ruffwear Front Range Leash.
We love this lead. When we first saw it we were perhaps a little skeptical, we weren't sure that the handle would be padded enough and because we are so used to using double ended dog leads the Front Range Leash seemed really long in comparison, we also didn't really understand the point of the traffic handle.
But it would be fair to say that we have to eat our words (or thoughts!) because in the right circumstances we think it's excellent.
Albie is super strong, he pulls a lot of the time and can be very unpredictable at times. In contrast, Kizzie walks on lead wonderfully almost all of the time and our choice of lead for Kizzie is much more straightforward. So we felt it fair to try it with Albie so we could really get an idea of how it functions.
Firstly, the handle which features the little Ruffwear logo in yellow (pictured in my right hand above) was perfectly padded, just the right amount so that it was comfortable in our hand without being too bulky but gave us enough grip to feel in control.
While the lead felt longer than using a double ended lead we quickly found the Traffic Handle (pictured in my left hand above) to be invaluable and the times that we would find it useful were limitless.
With the Traffic Handle being located so close to the attachement point on the back of the harness it gave us a significant amount of control and grip at times when we needed to keep Albie close to our side whether at a roadside crossing or when passing a difficult situation.
We found it easy to slip our spare hand through the Traffic Handle meaning we could hold the lead handle as usual in one hand and then when needed our 'free' hand could quickly and effectively locate the traffic handle. In many ways when using the traffic handle on it's own in an unexpected situation we found we were able to keep him closer to us and under more control than our double-ended leads provide simply because we could keep him so close. However for general walking a double ended lead for Albie is still a necessary piece of kit because he doesn't just pull in unexpected situations!
Alternatively, we could use a double ended dog lead because using the back and front attachment point can provide added security and control. When attaching a double ended lead to both the front and back of a dog harness it can help influence their posture allowing them to find their own natural balance. For many dogs, this can assist in the prevention of pulling because they cannot pull forward in a straight line (pictured below with Kizzie in her previous harness).
The Ruffwear Front Range Harness is currently available in six colours Meadow Green, Twilight Grey, Blue Dusk, Tilandsia Purple, Wild Berry, Orange Poppy and five sizes so whatever the colour or size of your dog there is something for everyone.
This is the most stylish harness that our golden retrievers Albie and Kizzie have ever had, in fact the harnesses look so great that we almost don't want to let them wear them out in case they get dirty! Thankfully there are washing instructions for real adventurers!
Both Albie and Kizzie have been really happy wearing their Front Range harnesses, neither one has shown any signs of discomfort and the colours we chose are bright so stand out well in normal daylight conditions (ideal for our two explorers!).
We tested the harnesses in daylight hours so we haven't had a dark night walk yet. However, there is reflective piping on the edges of the harness which is well detailed and distributed across the front and back of the harness to provide some extra low light safety.
Kizzie also has a Rufffwear Fernie dog coat and so as we approach winter she will benefit from the additional reflective properties as the Front Range Harness is designed to be worn over this thick fleece winter coat.
For really dark winter walks or situations where we want to know he has increased visibility we will attach the Ruffwear Beacon Light, although surprisingly there is no dedicated light loop on the harness so we will have to customise a way of attaching it, perhaps to the straps.
After several days testing we believe that the Front Range is without question a fantastic, high quality, everyday dog harness that is perfect for town or street walks but durable and tough enough to take off-road for something a bit more adventurous.
Ruffwear have long been praised for another of their dog harnesses, the Web Master, but having used the Ruffwear Front Range Harness for a few weeks we are sure that it is going to be equally well received.
The fully customisable fit, fantastic colour choices, size range, and price, rivals other everyday dog harnesses and to be honest we can't ever imagine Albie or Kizzie using another harness now.
It would be great to see the addition of a designated Beacon light loop or add-on attachment to modify the harnesses, along with a double ended dog lead in colours to match the harness. For those dogs who don't like things going over their head perhaps the neck adjustment could have side clips added, but these are just minor points on what is a great harness and will see your dog through many fun and happy walks and adventures.