Truelove has good quality products at a reasonable price and also fantastic customer service! They only sell a few types of harnesses, leashes, collars, and shoes but those come in different sizes and colors.
Before jumping in the review of this harness, we have to stop for a second and talk about the common misconception that all harnesses going across the shoulders restrict the dog’s shoulder movement; therefore, they shouldn’t be used. To adequately address this topic, we wrote an article to discuss when this is true and when it is safe to use. We also discuss the proper adjustment and position of these harnesses on the link above, so check it out if you are interested.
To summarize the article, if these harnesses are correctly fitted and not used for a dog who pulls, they are safe to use and do not restrict movement.
They should have better naming conventions for their products, so instead of remembering TLH5753, let’s just say this is their only Norwegian style harness.
Overall it has sturdy materials, durable buckles, a metal ring on the back, and has highly visible reflective parts all over. There are velcro patches on both sides of the harness that you can replace with your custom one from other sellers if you want to.
The inside material is a breathable mesh. It is soft and makes the harness padded on the back, but on the other hand, it does collect a lot of mud, hair, and dirt.
This harness comes in 6 colors and six sizes.
The sturdy, soft-plastic handle on the back is practical if you have to help your dog out of a pound or go up to a rock on an outdoor adventure but can also be a risk if your dog runs through bushes and there is a possibility that she/he would get stuck on something.
Both the neck part and the chest part is adjustable; the only fix part is the chest pad that goes between the legs if you decide to use that. The chest pad is connected to the straps with velcro, which only stayed in place in the first few weeks for us. Once the dirt starts to build up, it doesn’t hold as much anymore.
The functionality of the chest pad is to give a little more stability to the harness and also move the neck part lower in case it would put pressure on the neck. It can also make the harness safer if your dog would try to get out of the harness. There is no general guideline when the chest pad should or shouldn’t be used; it depends on how the harness is positioned on your dog, how the size fits etc. We ended up removing the chest pad, which made it much easier to put the harness on the dog and reduce the amount of mud collected by the harness.
Our biggest issue with this harness was the significant sliding/turning of the back part. Even when walking off-leash and not pulling the harness sideways with the leash, the harness will slide left/right when the dog moves around. This is probably due to the weight of the sturdy handle on the back, and it will also be more significant if the “saddle” part of the harness gets wet and heavy.
How it should be positioned:
How it is most of the time:
Mia was in the size ranges of both the medium and the large harness; therefore, after a discussion with Truelove, we received both to test them and review the differences to help other people pick the right size. The red one is Medium size, and the grey is the Large on the pictures. As you see it on their size chart below, the overlapping size ranges give the option to choose a bigger harness and tighten it a lot, or go with a smaller and loosen it unless your dog is in the middle of that range.
As you can see in the photo below, there are no significant differences between the two sizes, but looking at them closely and switching them around for a few weeks made me realize that they are different.
The grey (L) has a slightly bigger “saddle,” which seems to make it stay in place better. It also means that the bottom part of the saddle will be lower on the dog; therefore, the neck strap will also be positioned lower. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on the body type of your dog. If you have a muscular, wide-chested dog, a bigger saddle will probably help to position the front strap while on a skinny dog, it will cause it to hang too low. You can hopefully see this slight difference on the pictures below: the neck strap of the grey one (large) is lower than the strap of the red (medium). You want to find the right height for your dog since if the strap sits too high, it puts pressure on the neck, but if it hangs low, it can go across the shoulders a lot more.
The length of the part between the front legs are different for the two sizes: 10 inches (~26 cm) for the medium and 11.5 inches (29 cm) for the large - knowing this you can get a sense how far back it would be on your dog (if you are planning to keep that part attached). This bottom part makes it a little harder to adjust the harness because if you leave the front strap longer, the front of the harness can sit too low since the chest pad will pull the two straps closer.
Besides these small differences, the two harnesses look the same: the same width of the straps, same rings, equal-sized “Truelove” velcro text (13.5 cm x 3 cm) that you can replace with a custom one. It would be nice to order a custom velcro text from Truelove when ordering the harness but this is not in their product line at the moment.
You can see on the photos below that the front strap on the right side sometimes overlaps the velcro text unless adjusted correctly, which is not that easy. Ordering a smaller patch might be a better idea because the end of the patch can get stuck on things, and you can lose them when they got dirty and stick less.
We did go back to this harness a few times to compare it to other harnesses or just use it for quick walks because it is so quick to put on the dog. It is still in good shape, the mesh inside material looks a little worn, but there is no sign of a tear or wear on the outside material of the saddle. The buckles and the ring still hold up well, with no quality issues.
The TLH5753 is a good quality harness for its price. If you already decided to go with a Norwegian style harness, there are no serious issues that should hold you back from this, although you will feel the difference compared to a more expensive one. The sliding of the harness would be the biggest con for me, but this might not be a significant issue on a wider dog.
If your dog would fit into different sizes, and especially if he/she has a broad chest (like boxers), we would generally suggest ordering the bigger one; it feels more stable, and you have a higher chance that you will have enough room behind the front legs. In case of this harness, the body type of your dog and understanding how the harness will be and should be positioned on it is crucial to pick the right fit.
• No-pull: The harness does not have a front clip - it’s not a no-pull-harness as the description on Amazon implies. Don’t use this if your dog pulls - it will not help to teach better leash manners, and it can also hurt the dog’s shoulders.
• Running/Biking (as an occasional hobby, buy specific equipment if you want to get into it seriously) Only use it if your dog is perfectly trained and only runs next to you without putting ANY pressure on the leash (see the previous comment) and be sure the harness leaves enough room behind the front legs. No bikejoring, sledding, etc. with this harness!
• Hiking: The handle is a big help to help your dog in the mountains or lift him/her if needed. Keep in mind that the harness has to be correctly adjusted to be sure the dog is not sliding out when lifting. The sponge-like material of the saddle has the disadvantage of soaking the water in, and it takes quite a long time to dry (sometimes half a day). The wet saddle also makes it heavier, which is something to consider on a longer hike/on smaller dogs and would probably slide more to one side as well. Be sure the dog can run, jump comfortably in it without any restriction!
• City walk: If your dog gets scared easily, use the chest pad to make it safer. The custom velcro text can be a big plus in a busy neighborhood to let other people know if your dog is reactive/shy/friendly etc. or to put your contact information on it in case your dog would run away.
• Easy to put on/adjust: Easy to put on - especially without the chest pad: you just have to put it over the head and use one buckle on the chest strap. It is excellent for big-headed dogs or for those who are afraid of putting a tight harness over their head. We found it useful for walking up to agility training (where you remove it for the training and putting it back after) or for a quick walk when you want to put something on the dog quickly and be able to remove it with one (or two) clicks.
• Visibility: great! It has bright colors and reflective parts all over - I think that the visibility and the custom velcro text are the most significant features of this harness.
You can purchase this Truelove harness through Amazon, here is the link to their site where you can check out the sizes and colors.
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)