Julius-K9 started as a small, Hungarian family business in 1997, and since then, they sold more than 7 million products - many to police units and for service dogs. They are also one of the few companies that do extensive testing on their products and conduct researches to understand better what works best for the dogs.
Julius-K9 is well known for their Norwegian-style IDC Powerharness, so we were excited to be one of the first to test their first Y-harness before it was available on the market. Since we got an early version, the neon yellow harness has the original “Guard Your Joints” name instead of “IDC Longwalk.” We later received the new version (red harness), but the only difference between the two is the texts; the designs are the same.
The quality and the attention to detail are excellent with this harness. It has strong sewings, durable materials and was designed to be comfortable for long walks and hikes. It is also an aesthetically pleasing, beautifully designed product that won the Red Dot Design Award award in 2019 and the German Design Award in 2020.
Julius-K9 did extensive research before coming up with this design. Their goal was to design a comfortable harness, which included ensuring that the neck part doesn't put any pressure on the lower neck.
This harness is much lighter than the IDC Powerharness, and the panels are thinner. The back panel has some padding but much less than the Powerharness, while the chest pad is even thinner without any soft padding. This way, the chest part of the harness doesn't collect much mud, and it doesn't soak the water in either.
The harness has four adjustment points, two strong plastic buckles on the chest straps, and one leash attachment point on the back.
Strong velcros are used for the adjustment of the neck straps. This is a unique solution to Julius-K9; at least, we haven't seen any other company using velcro for adjustable straps. It worked great on their IDC Powerharness, so why change it. It holds strong and can be easily adjusted.
The downside of the velcro straps is that they can collect all kinds of plants, flowers, etc., but the upside is that you can actually place a small velcro patch on it with a text if the adjustment on your dog leaves room for that.
I appreciate that Julius-K9 design their products in a way that the same size velcro patch fits the same sized IDC Powerharness, the neoprene coat, or this new harness as well, so you don't have to order new ones for the same sized dog. As you see in the picture below, the velcro part is a little wider on this harness (not the exact size of the patch), so it is easy to put on.
Having the text on the back makes it a little less visible than in the case of their IDC Powerharness unless you have a small dog and you are looking at the harness from above anyways.
And last but not least, we arrived at the most impressive feature of this harness. It has elastic properties, called the DuoFlex® system, which reduces the micro-vibrations, thus significantly increasing the comfort of both the dog and the dog walker. This is done by using elastic attachments, which absorb micro-vibrations when walking on a leash.
The elastic parts are hidden under the chest pad's material and on the top of the harness, under the see-through plastic cover. If you look at the picture above and below, you will see that the leash attachment point is connected to all these straps. When the dog pulls, it reduces the micro-vibrations through the elastic sections connecting these pieces. It basically works like a built-in bungee leash.
We used this harness for many walks and hikes and were quite happy with it. The back panel has a flat laying handle that's easy to grab when the dog needs a lift on steep hikes, but otherwise, it lays flat, not risking it getting caught on something in a forest.
I really like the materials of this harness. Since the chest panel isn't padded, it doesn't soak in any water, and I can quickly rinse it when needed. It dries fast, doesn't get stinky, and doesn't slide around on the dog like other harnesses after getting heavy from water.
The section between the front legs is also nicely narrowing to ensure it doesn't rubs the inside of the legs.
The plastic cover over the top straps is an interesting solution. I assume it's there to ensure that no one would try to attach the leash to that ring, but as a result, there is a see-through part on the top where moisture and mud can get stuck, and it's just impossible to clean under it. If you have a dog who loves to roll into some stinky stuff, I wouldn't recommend going with this harness because you will never be able to get rid of the smell from under the plastic cover.
The other weird thing with the back panel is that when the dog lowers their head to sniff, it tends to stick up on the back. This is more visible on short-haired, bigger dogs, and it doesn't cause any issues; it just looks weird. The same happens if you pull the dog forward with the leash: it will make the back panel tilt up.
While the handle is easy to grab, the elastic elements make it a little awkward to lift the dog with this harness. The chest straps are static, so in theory, it should be as good not letting the dog slide out as other harnesses, but having the elasticity still makes it feel less secure when lifting. Besides this, the DuoFlex® system is very neat, and it does adapt to the tugging reasonably well. If your big dog pulls with all its strengths, it will not make a big difference, but it's very nice for a more sensitive or small dog tugging a little here and there.
Since reviewing this harness, we have used it for many more adventures. After running through some dense forests, using it for swims, getting muddy, the material still looks perfectly new; there is no sign of tear and wear on it anywhere.
I especially like to use it for warmer but muddy days because it is thin and it doesn't cover much from the dog's back, and it's super easy to clean. I also used it during Search and Rescue training and enjoyed that I don't have to deal with the mud dripping from it in the car once we are done with searching.
I wondered if the DuoFlex parts would eventually give up being elastic, but they still go strong after many adventures. It is a very cool feeling and can make hiking on rough terrain much more enjoyable for both parties.
• No-pull: It does not have a no-pull front ring. It can help with pulling in the sense that the elastic parts reduce micro-vibrations, so at least it helps protect your and the dog's joints, but it's not going to help you change this behavior.
• Running/biking (as an irregular hobby, buy specific equipment if you want to get into it seriously): I would prefer a harness with the back ring attached farther back on the dog, but I guess you can use it to give running/biking with your dog a try before investing into a more suitable gear. The elastic attachments are also helpful for these activities; they will make it much more comfortable for both of you, but they were not meant to handle pulling sports in the long run. As always, be sure the harness is a good fit for your dog and is positioned as it should be.
• Hiking: It doesn't restrict the dog's movement, and it's visible. The handle on the back allows you to help your dog, but it lays flat, so it will not get stuck on something in the forest. I also appreciate that the harness doesn't soak the water and mud in as much as other harnesses. It's also practical that the part between the front legs is not too broad; it never rubbed Mia even on long hikes.
• City walk: works pretty well for city walks for the same reason I describe above.
• Easy to put on/adjust: All straps are easily adjustable, but only the chest straps have buckles, so you have to pull the harness over the dog's head and use both buckles on the chest straps.
• Visibility: Comes in visible colors, and it has reflective sewing on the back. It's easier to see from the front or when you look down at the dog - there is only a small part of the back panel visible from the side. It would be nice if the chest straps would also have reflective sewing.
The Long Walk harness is an innovative harness with excellent quality. It does not restrict the dog's movement; it is lightweight and durable. The elastic attachments are great additions, and the design itself is unique.
The only issues we can mention are the plastic cover on the back and that the harness is a little less visible when viewed from the side.
You can buy all Julius-K9 products on their website and can probably also find retailers and stores in your country. This harness comes in a few lovely colors and in many sizes to fit all dogs!
As always, be sure the harness is a good fit for YOUR dog. If you need help deciding, read our article on harness fitting.
The leash on some of the pictures is also from Julius-K9 - you can find our review on the Color & Grey leash and collar set here.
Many of you asked Mia's measurements to better understand the different products’ fit. Your best chance of finding a good fitting gear is always to measure (and remeasure) your dog. Even we grab the measuring tape before getting a new product - even though we tested a lot of them, and have a good feeling of her size by now.
I share her measurements below, but don't go ahead and order the same size just because your dog is similar to Mia ;)
• Shoulder height: 19.5 inches (50 cm)
• Weight: 37-44 pounds (17-20 kg)
• Widest chest circumference (where the most harness would have the chest strap): 25-26 inches (63-65 cm)
• Neck circumference for collars: 15-16 inches (38-40 cm)
• Back lengths: 22 inches (56 cm)