Rabbitgoo's pet product line is improving fast: lately, they come out with a few different dog harnesses and they started to sell other dog/cat products as well. There aren't many companies selling this type of hiking harness so we were excited to test it over the summer!
This harness was made for hiking and has a few great features that one can appreciate out on the trails. Besides helping your dog on hikes, this harness can be also a great pick if you have an escape artist since harnesses with three straps tend to be the only truly escape-proof ones.
The photo below is from the product's Amazon site and shows the unusual design perfectly. The harness has two straps around the chest, one around the neck and one which goes between the front legs to connect the neck strap with the first chest strap. All of these are adjustable to accommodate different medium-large dogs which is important because the harness only comes in one size at the moment.
The top part of the harness is padded with a breathable mesh material - similar to the other Rabbitgoo and Truelove harnesses that we tested before. Imagine a thicker but lightweight and soft material which keeps its shape well.
The details of the harness are impressive: there are reflective trims for visibility, metal clip on the back, a large lifting handle, a webbing loop at the back, strong-looking sewing, two quick-release buckles and it looks like a durable harness in general.
Another nice detail is the small flexible part attached to the chest straps. This gives a little more flexibility to the adjustment and provides some extra room when the dog moves without the harness being loose.
The only complaint we heard about this harness is that a few buckles broke after 2-3 months. We haven't experienced any issues so far so hopefully that was an early quality problem that's solved by now.
The first thing we have to mention regarding this harness is the adjustment. It's always important to adjust a harness properly but this tends to be a harder task with five adjustment points.
It's a good rule of thumb that you want to have the Y part of the neck-straps above the chest bone. If you set the neck-straps shorter, it will put pressure on the lower neck when the dog pulls or when you lift them by the handle. If you leave them looser, the harness will not stay in place, slide more, rubbing the dog and can also restrict the shoulders if the dog pulls.
For the chest strap between and behind the front legs, you want to adjust them until there is enough room for the legs to move freely, without having the straps in the armpits. You want to leave room for two or three fingers under the harness. This is especially important if you will use it for long hikes since the dog will pant, jump, etc. and you do not want to restrict or interrupt any of these.
The second chest strap seems easy to adjust but it is just as important as the previous ones. This strap can prevent a dog to slide out from the harness but if you set it too tight, it will put pressure on the stomach or lower ribs and restrict breathing.
Once you think you are done with adjusting the straps, let the dog walk around, ask them to lie down, sit, turn, etc. and check the straps in different positions. Watch for any signs of discomfort and if you have any doubt, loosen it.
On these photos below you see the harness properly adjusted. The last strap looks tight since it's pushing up her hair which makes it tricky to see but it's fine in real life :)
On the other photo below you see the strap between the legs being too short. This pulls the chest strap forward making trotting or running uncomfortable. You DO NOT want the chest strap to be this close to the armpits.
Same setup as above. You see how the strap cuts into the back of the shoulder when the dog moves. Again, this is an example of how NOT TO adjust the harness. We wanted to show why you want to leave room behind the legs even though it looks okay when the dog stands.
While having a thicker, sturdy harness is great, I feel there isn't much use for the padding on the top since there is no weight on the harness there that needs to be distributed. Probably this is a great feature for short hair dogs with sensitive skin to protect them from rubbing but for fluffier dogs, it is just some extra material to collect mud and hair.
The other tricky part with the top is that the outside material is waterproof. This works well in light rain but once the inside material gets wet, it takes longer to completely dry out while the dog is wearing it.
The straps have some padding on the parts where they distribute the most pressure. The paddings on the chest straps tend to slide a lot so I am not sure how helpful they are in practice but it's still better to have something there when you lift the dog. The padding on the part above the chest bone works well but it does collect hair and mud like a sponge (and Mia is not even a fluffy dog).
I couldn't find information on the webbing loop at the back of the harness so not sure if it was meant to be another handle or another leash attachment point. On a long hike, I ended up using the loop because I felt it distributes the weight of the dog much better when she pulls. The metal ring gives you much better control over the dog if you walk in a city or on busy trails but we preferred to use the back one on lightly trafficked trails.
• No-pull: While their Amazon page says it has a no-pull ring on the chest, it does not. I can imagine it would work well with this design so hopefully, that will be an addition in the future. :)
• Running/biking (as an irregular hobby, buy specific equipment if you want to get into it seriously): I would prefer a harness with a strong leash attachment point farther back and with more padding around the neck, but you can use it to give running/biking with your dog a try before deciding to buy a more suitable gear. I wouldn't trust the back webbing loop for pulling, but if that's strong enough, that would provide a better attachment point for pulling. As always, be sure it is a good fit for your dog and positioned as it should be.
• Hiking: Works well! The handle on the back allows you to help your dog on steep parts. We probably wouldn't use it for hot summer hikes since it only comes in black and it would make it harder for the dog to cool down. Be careful on off-leash hikes, the dog can get stuck on bushes easily with all those straps (happened with us).
• City walk: Great for dogs who can escape from other harnesses when they get scared. Otherwise, it seems overkill for a stroll in the city, especially on a hot day for the reasons above.
• Easy to put on/adjust: All straps are easily adjustable but it takes some time to set it up for the first time. It's not quick to put on either: Only the chest straps have buckles, so you have to pull the harness over the dog's head, lift one front leg and use both buckles on the chest straps.
• Visibility: It has reflective parts but at the moment it only comes in black so I wouldn't say it is highly visible.
Take your time to adjust and re-adjust the harness before and on your first hike. It's a great design but due to the bigger than average coverage and 5 straps, it can easily rub the hair/skin. We would prefer less padding on the top and a way to fix the padding on the chest straps so they are not sliding to the side but altogether, this is a great harness, especially for this price. We will definitely use it for more hikes because it provides a safe way to lift the dog.
You can purchase it through Amazon, here is the link. For now, it only comes in one size, therefore it is only suitable for a medium-large dog.
The collar on some of the photos is from Bloom Dog Design that we reviewed before.
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)