OneTigris is a tactical-style outdoor gear store, selling all kinds of products from airsoft gear to affordable military-style dog harnesses.
About the Fire Watcher harness in general
The Fire Watcher harness is made of 1000D Nylon material which makes it water resistant. The harness is lightweight, more like a vest than a padded harness but the stitchings are strong and hold up well so far.
All the straps are adjustable and have plastic quick release buckles. The straps provide a wide range of adjustment, but this also means that you will end up with a lot of extra straps hanging from the harness if your dog is not on the higher end of that measurement range. I tried to tuck it back which made following adjustments a pain so I just have to face that the hanging straps are part of the design.
One of the biggest features of this harness is the large velcro patch space which can be important for service dogs or if you want to warn people that you have a reactive/ anxious dog. The M sized harness has an approximately 2" x 2" (5 x 5 cm) patch panel on the chest, 6" x 3" (14 x 7 cm) on the sides and 8" x 2" (20 x 5 cm) on the top.
The harness has a handle and one metal leash attachment ring on the back. It’s also equipped with X-bungee cords on the top for holding a water bottle or carrying other weight. The bungee cords are strong and they are sewed under parts of the harness so it seems that it would hold in the long run.
Fire Watcher Harness Review
This harness comes in three sizes and four colors: black, ranger green, coyote brown and gray. It was definitely designed for bigger dogs with wider chest - Mia supposed to fit in their smallest harness by measurement but it ended up being just a bit too big for her.
You can see on the photo below how the chest part sits a little too low and that the front straps are slightly going across the shoulders instead of being around the neck. While it seems it sits a little low on other dogs as well, keep in mind that it would fit Mia better if we would have ordered a custom size for her that OneTigris also offers for smaller dogs.
Both the handle, and the leash attachment point are positioned on the front part on the back (close to the neck). After doing a questionnaire among 100+ people, it seems that many people feel that this provides them a better steering power and more precise control over the dog during training.
While this is probably true, I found that having the attachment point farther back is much better for hiking and to ensure that the harness distributes the weight of the dog evenly on the chest instead of behaving like an oversized collar and putting pressure on the lower neck. There are just different priorities for everyone so it’s usually a good idea to determine yours first before buying any harness.
I think it is better to think about this harness as a vest which can also be used as a harness and not the other way around. If I would have a service dog or for whatever reason I would need to display text on the dog - this harness is great for that. It probably also works well if you do IPO or other sports where you want to grab the dog easily which is I think the original motivation behind this harness.
While I find it useful that the harness is water resistant and light, this wouldn’t be my first pick for hiking. It’s not visible and would probably get stuck on bushes - especially the handle standing on the top. I wouldn’t suggest using it for daily walks with a dog who pulls because it’s just much harder to distribute the weight on the chest plate properly with attaching the leash closer to the neck. My experience is that the chest part of the harnesses with the same attachment points are usually sliding up when the dog pulls and they put too much pressure on the lower neck but this can be different on a wide chested, big dog.
Long story short, I would be interested to check out the same harness with leash attachment options closer to the neck and also on the far back of the top part.
There is always a tradeoff when the chest straps are sitting farther behind the dog’s front legs: while this ensures the free movement of the front legs and not rubbing the armpits, it will slide up when you are pulling the dog forward by the leash. This isn’t really an issue but can look weird if your dog is usually behind you or stops sniffing on every corner and you have to pull the leash to keep moving.
As always, be sure the harness is a good fit for YOUR dog. If you need help deciding, read our article on harness fitting.
Functionality Review of the harness
• No-pull correction: There isn’t a no-pull front ring on this harness.
• Running/Biking: I wouldn’t use it for pulling sports. If the leash is attached to you or to a bike, it will pull the harness up in an angle which will probably move the chest plate part higher up and put too much pressure on the lower neck.
• Hiking: I would use a more visible harness for hiking and would also prefer one with the leash attachment point farther back. It doesn’t really fit into the product line of OneTigris but maybe it would be nice to come out with a visible version of this harness for people who hike in hunting season or for people with service dogs.
• City walk: Works well.
• Easy to put on/adjust: all the straps are adjustable and all of them has buckles.
• Visibility: This harness is the opposite of visible but that’s intentional.
UPDATE - Testing the newer version of the Firewatcher harness
OneTigris made changes on the Firewatcher harness based on customer feedback and we were lucky enough to test and compare the two versions in June-July 2019! ;) They are easy to distinguish in this post since the black one is the previous version while the green one is the new.
The first change that you would probably notice on the new version is the addition of the plastic front ring for no-pull training. They kept the velcro space on the front and placed the front ring right below that.
While the addition of the front ring is a great idea, it is positioned a little low to work effectively. As you see it on the photo below, it pulls the middle of the chest part to the side so it’s mostly turning the dog by pulling one of the front legs to the side which could cause different issues in the long run. This again could look different on a dog with a deeper chest, Mia is definitely on the skinnier side.
They also replaced the metal D-ring on the top of the Fire Watcher harness with a big, plastic one for better pull strength (tested at 330lb/150kg)
As you read above the biggest issue with the previous version of the Fire Watcher harness was the limited adjustability of the neck-straps which caused the harness to slide around the dog a lot. If you picked the right sized harness based on the chest size, it probably ended up being a little too loose around the neck which resulted the harness sliding down on the shoulders.
OneTigris contacted owners of different breeds to measure their dogs to come up with a chest and neck straps length that would fit most dogs. You can see on the photos that the same (medium) size harness fits Mia much better now.
Having the leash attachment close to the neck still has the same pros and cons: while the better neck circumference of this harness provides a better steering power and control, the harness still turns and puts some (although less) pressure on the lower neck when the dog pulls.
To summarize, I really appreciate that OneTigris went back to the designer board and come up with these changes. The new version is a better fit which is the most important factor for a harness.
Where to buy
You can buy all their products on their website. You can also find sizing examples, videos and detailed descriptions of each product on their website. Don’t forget to check back on their sizing chart since they keep comiong out with sizes to fit tiny and large dogs as well.
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)