Ruffwear is an outdoor dog gear brand based in Bend, Oregon, founded in 1994. The company is dedicated to creating gear for outdoor adventures and is guided by performance, adventure, and sustainability principles. They are committed to conducting business to maximize the good they can do in the world while being conscious of their impact on the planet.
About the Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness
The Ruffwear Web Master Harness is a versatile and reliable three-strap harness designed for outdoor adventures.
First and foremost, the Web Master Harness provides a secure and adjustable fit. It is equipped with five points of adjustment, including setting the length of the part between the front legs that help to customize the armpit clearance of the chest strap for free shoulder movement.
Durability is a key feature of this harness. Constructed with 150 denier polyester ripstop, closed-cell foam, and Polyester knit mesh lining ensures that it can withstand outdoor conditions and resist wear and tear well.
The large and padded back panel adds comfort and stability to the harness since it keeps it in place well and minimizes rotation. The design also includes a handle on the back, allowing for easy control and lifting on steep terrain.
The Web Master Harness features a reflective trim and a loop for attaching a safety light (on the handle), ensuring high visibility in low-light conditions. It is also equipped with two leash attachment points: one Anodized 6061-T6 aluminum V-ring on the middle of the back and a reinforced webbing loop behind the handle.
While the left side of the straps features two ITW Nexus Airloc buckles, the right side of the straps (right at the top where you see a little bulk of straps) has a small elastic section that’s bunching up the straps when not in use but allowing it to extend a bit as the dog moves to create an even better fit without being tight.
Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness Review
The Web Master harness is one of Ruffwear’s best-known products. In 2022, they gave it a makeover by swapping out the outer material and the foam padding, making it lighter, more flexible, and breathable.
The last strap is positioned to sit behind the rib cage, preventing escape artists from backing out of the harnesses. To prevent unnecesaily pressure over soft tissue, it is recommended to leave the last strap significantly looser than the first chest strap.
For example, when using the Web Master Harness on Zulu, the first strap is adjusted to allow space for 2-3 fingers, while the strap around her waist allows my entire palm to fit comfortably. It’s worth noting that the somewhat rigid back panel of the harness needs some time to conform to the dog’s shape and mold accordingly. During this period, the back panel may stick out to the sides, giving the impression that the last strap is tighter than it is.
While the Web Master fits most dogs nicely after adjustment, Zulu’s deep chest and narrow neck caused the Web Master to sit fairly close to her armpits even when the strap between the front legs was fully extended.
Ruffwear cleverly positioned the buckles on the top of the harness to minimize any potential chafing. However, the plastic sliders that hold the straps in place (as well as the straps themselves) could rub against the back of the dog’s shoulders or legs during running.
We have yet to take the harness on extended hikes, and Zulu isn’t particularly sensitive to skin irritation, so we haven’t encountered any issues with the fit so far. However, it’s something to remember when assessing how well the harness will suit and fit your dog.
The front of the harness is very well-designed. The padded chest piece ensures comfort and helps distribute pressure when the dog pulls into the harness, while there is only one strap going back between the front legs making adjustment possible (unlike when a padded chest piece is used).
This particular design feature is especially beneficial as it minimizes the risk of chafing on the inside of the front legs, which can occur when wide chest panels are used on dogs with narrower bodies.
Service dogs and other working dogs widely use the Ruffwear harness due to its high visibility and the large panel that allows you to sew on patches. Some of the photos don’t do justice to its color, but this “Blaze Orange” is incredibly bright and visible even from a distance.
Even though the new version has a lighter and supposedly more breathable back panel, it still provides large coverage on the dog, potentially making it hard for them to cool down over the summer.
Brush Guard and its Effect on the Web Master’s Fit
The Brush Guard is a belly panel that can be added to Ruffwear’s Web Master Harness, Approach Pack, and Palisades Pack. It’s a supportive panel that easily attaches to the straps on the underside of these products by velcro and helps protect the dog’s chest and belly when running through the woods.
On the Webmaster (and on most three-strap harnesses), the last strap is positioned to sit behind the rib cage, which prevents escape artists from sliding out since most dogs are narrower around their waist than around their ribcage.
An interesting “side effect” of adding the Brush Guard to the underside of the harness is that it brings the last strap forward - especially on dogs with a deep chest and very narrow waist (like Zu). This can make it easier for wider dogs to back out of the harness or slide out when lifted, but it distributes the weight/leash pressure more evenly over the ribcage instead of the soft tissue of the stomach.
This is especially important if the leash is attached to the very end of the harness, in which case more of the leash pressure would apply to the belly area instead of mainly distributing over the ribcage area when the leash is attached to the Aluminum ring.
However, if the lack of armpit clearance was already a problem for the dog, the Brush Guard will only further minimize that. It is made of a soft material, so it doesn’t chafe much, but it constantly rubs against Zu’s armpits as she walks, which might cause issues over an extended time.
Ruffwear Webmaster without the Brush Guard
Ruffwear Webmaster WITH the Brush Guard
Web Master vs. Flagline
Two popular three-strap dog harnesses on the market today are the Flagline and the Web Master, both made by Ruffwear. We received many questions on how to choose between them and how they compare, so we wrote a separate article discussing that in detail.
In the photo below, you see the Web Master pictured with the Brush Guard, which makes its fit more similar to the Flagline’s.
Functionality Review of the Ruffwear Web Master Dog Harness
No-pull correction: Does not have a no-pull ring.
Running/Biking: This is not a pulling harness. The minimal padding of the neck straps and the large back panel makes it unsuitable for pulling sports. It can be used if the dog just runs next to you if it provides a comfortable armpit clearance for your dog, but it is not ideal to use on warm days due to the large back panel.
Hiking: It’s a highly-visible and durable harness that’s great for hikes when you need to help the dog up steep sections. In addition, the harness dries fast and doesn’t soak in much water, so it’s a low-maintenance option for muddy hikes. However, be careful with summer hikes when a large back coverage can contribute to the dog overheating.
City walk: Works well; the visibility is excellent for evening walks and provides security since dogs cannot slide out when scared of something.
Easy to put on/adjust: It has two buckles on the chest straps, so it needs to go over the dog’s head, and you need to lift one leg to put it on the dog.
Visibility: This color, the reflective rim, and the light loop ensure high visibility!
In summary, the Ruffwear Web Master Harness is a well-made, versatile, and durable product. It doesn’t have a velcro panel to attach patches but has plenty of surfaces to sew them on. The five points of adjustment make the harness fit most dogs very well. I only wish the section between the front legs would provide a wider range of adjustment to move the first chest strap out of the armpit area for deep-chested dogs.
The back panel not only provides visibility but is also designed to “hug” the line of the neck, which helps keep the harness in place and minimizes rotation both on and off-leash. It provides unbeatable visibility and a secure fit for dogs who tend to slide out of everything.
Where to buy
For reference, Zulu is wearing the small Web Master in Blaze Orange.
As always, be sure the harness is a good fit for YOUR dog. If you need help deciding, read our article on harness fitting.
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Many of you asked for the dog’s measurements in reviews to better understand the different products’ fit, so I’m sharing Zulu’s below for reference.
Shoulder height: 19 inches (50 cm)
Weight: 29 pounds (13 kg)
Widest chest circumference: 24 inches (60 cm)
Neck circumference for collars: 13 inches (33 cm)
Back lengths: 17 inches (44 cm)