Kurgo, Ruffwear, Truelove, Rabbitgoo and Perfect Fit are the most recognised y-shaped harnesses on the market. I’m also throwing in the Blue-9 Balance harness & the Haqihana harness because they’re undervalued in the harness world.
I’ve been testing harnesses out ever since getting Indie home. As a large, reactive dog, with whom I go hiking, exploring and other things – he the perfect dog to put harnesses through their paces.
But there’s also a little explaining that needs to be done in regards to materials, and understanding what these harnesses offer in order to give you everything you need to make a decision!
Why This Selection
Well, these harnesses vary from $20 to $70, they come in sizes from smallest to largest, and they’re some of the quickest recommended harnesses online. But it’s really hard to review them and compare them without going seriously deep.
So that’s what I’m going to do right here.
Please note that the perfect fit, ruffwear front range, kurgo, haqihana and blue-9 harnesses were supplied by their manufacturer to me for free. The others were paid for. This in no way colours my opinion of these creations, these are facts and recommendations based on how they truly compare for a truly independent review.
I’ve tried to choose the heaviest reasons that anyone might buy a harness, but if you have something else you want compared, please just let me know! This is what I’ve considered and I’ve thought of. I’m always happy to hear from you!
1 – Materials
Materials here are really interesting.
The big one that I want you to pay attention to? Is the column on the right. This refers to what material is used for the attachment points – and this is a real kicker. But let’s roll through this slowly.
Harnesses are all secured by plastic quick release buckles. They’re all essentially the same, some minor differences between them, but the significant difference is that the perfect fit has larger buckles. Which I love.
The other variance is how many buckles they have – because this changes whether the harness has to go overhead or can be put on around your dog which may be a consideration for you! If it is? Rule out the Ribbitgoo, Truelove, Haqihana, Ruffwear and Kurgo.
Other than this? the nylon is all quite similar in strength, though the broader material there is, the stronger it is. So that does mean that the Perfect fit is best positioned for containing a dog – without a doubt.
Two of them have reflective strapping, but we’ll get into that more later!
All of these harnesses have 2 attachment points, one at the front on the chest, and one on the back, the only interesting thing is that the truelove and rabbitgoo both have the back attachment between the shoulder blades as opposed to behind the shoulder blades.
And the Truelove has the front attachment off center – which was a really weird one.
Attachment point materials
First some context, Stainless steel is the strongest of all of these materials, it’s also weatherproof, meaning no rust, no deterioration. It is heavy, but it’s not significantly heavy.
Steel is the next best option in terms of strength, the only reservation on this one, is that it isn’t weatherproof.
Alumium is light, it’s weatherproof – but it’s also the weakest of the materials
Stainless steel is only used on two harnesses. Steel on one, and all the others are aluminium.
For me? For any dog of significant size, I wouldn’t want anything but steel or up. And I have to say, Indie’s bent one of the stainless steel D-rings – I dread what would have happened if Indie had been in a lesser harness at the time!
2 – Quality
With this I’m looking at the strength that is lended to the whole affair by the stitching – or sometimes the lack of. The Rabbitgoo and truelove have a little weakness, for example the rabbitgoo is only single stitched at the attachment point (which is an interesting choice given this is the riskiest place to scrimp on stitching). Whilst the Perfect fit has ample stitching to ensure security.
Every single one of these is perfect – except one. The Truelove is not lined up, like at all. The centre front attachment
3 – Fit
I’ve had to measure these with ‘relativity’, because I can only try this verses Indie. Indie has a fairly standard body shape for most dogs, so, he works really well as a comparison. So this is about the fit relative to Indie and having properly measured him to the harness’ standards and purchasing a harness that is supposed to fit.
It’s good to note that if you do have a dog with a different shape, like a severe sports body, or a bullty breed who doesn’t have a pronounced waist or shape, you will have to take that into account when thinking of this assessment.
Please also do check out How To Fit A Harness For Your Dog
Because of the nature of this, you get a harness that is true to size, and that’s quite rare. It has adjustments on both shoulders and on the chest. The only static part is the back piece. The only comment is that the 40mm sizing is a little chunky on the chest, so if your dog is narrow? Maybe reconsider!
Ruffwear Front Range, Rabbitgoo, Kurgo & Truelove
All of these harnesses are very similarly based. chest and back are of fixed length on this harness, it’s adjustments are based around the neck and around the chest. They have different fasteners, but they’re not really problematic because those small securing fixtures aren’t really load bearing.
Similar to the Perfect fit, this one has 5 points of adjustment, the same as the perfect fit with the back part being longer. This one is built to sit a little further back on the chest? This is done so that your dog has a lot of shoulder movement and that it doesn’t inhibit their movement in the slightest. Which is wonderful.
The fit on this is wonderful, it’s truly adaptable, it’s the only one with an adjustable back? Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever had need of it amongst my three? They’re a good bit different in size and shape, but the back part has never been an issue.
4 – Weight
Again, please remember these are all the harnesses equally sized for Indie so they are at a ‘level’ playing field as possible. Ruffwear is considerably the lightest of these harnesses, whilst the perfect fit is the heaviest, followed by Kurgo, but given the variance is 177g, for a 40kg german shepherd is 0.4% variance and is seriously not significant.
5 – Reflectors
The reflectors! If you’re doing a lot of road walking you probably should consider this. The truelove and the rabbitgoo have reflectors on their straps, but part of it is ill considered? For some reason on the girth strap, the reflectors end up on the inside – which seems really strange.
Good to note that the Blue-9, Haqihana and Perfect-fit do not have reflectors.
6 – Handles
I will say it again – I do not understand why you might want a handle? I just slip my hand into the harness straps themselves if I need to. But, I know you may want them, so the shortlist is literally that:
Has Handles: Rabbitgoo, Kurgo and Truelove have handles, whilst the other 4 don’t.
The best of these handles? Is the Kurgo. Significantly. Because the kurgo is the only one to have a length-ways handle that goes with your dogs spine and creating less of a snag risk than the truelove or rabbitgoo.
7 – Price
The variance here is big enough, but it’s also not that huge, and given the difference in quality? This to me justifies the prices entirely.
|Ruffwear Front Range||$50|
|Kurgo Air Journey||$40|
If you’re looking for security? You’re looking at the Perfect Fit or the Haqihana.
If you want a sturdy, adaptable, comfortable mid-range harness? The Ruffwear front range
And if you want cheap? The Truelove is the best, but I still wouldn’t recommend it, it doesn’t have the same longevity as the others. Stretch a little more and go for the ruffwear, it’s worth it! 3
If you want the full low down of my love for these harnesses? Head over to 11 Best Dog Harnesses 2022 – Tried & Tested for these and more!
Author, Ali Smith
Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.
Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!