One thing about Whizbee that I was excited to discover is she makes a great jogging buddy! Unlike Severus, who is a nose-to-the-ground-zig-zagging-everywhere-stop-and-go kind of explorer, Whizbee maintains a steady trot that matches my jog. The rescue from which I adopted her is having a 5K fundraiser at the end of May, and I want to enter it with her. I’ve only done one other 5K in my life. Let’s just say… it was an uninspiring performance. However, I feel really good about doing a 5K with Whizbee because there’s zero pressure on me to run a fast race. I will inevitably need to pause for things like peeing, pooping, water breaks, and other dogs passing us by. Therefore, I am confident that I will not pass out trying to save face despite my dismal lack of stamina.
I decided to purchase a good sport harness for her since her only other harnesses are a Freedom No-Pull harness, generously lent to me by a friend, and a Ruffwear dog backpack. I could have purchased a larger size of one of Severus’s many (and I mean, many) harnesses, but I decided to try out a new brand. I’ve known about Hurtta since Severus was a puppy, but I never purchased one of their harnesses for Severus because they never come in the green color that matches all of his other gear. I am not joking. Color coordination matters to me. Fortunately, they do make their harnesses in a lovely hot pink color, which does match Whizbee’s gear so it was the perfect opportunity to try out this brand, which has a wonderful reputation. As an FYI – Hurtta is a Finnish brand so it’s almost impossible find their products in stores in the US. I needed to comb through online reviews and videos for sizing information.
I chose the Updated Y-Harness because I prefer the additional freedom of shoulder movement that it offers compared to their other Padded Harness, which is an across-the-chest style. For sports harnesses, I always aim for light-weight, non-restrictive, and non-chafing. I plan to use the back D-ring exclusively and I don’t mind if she pulls into it a little bit. The price of a new Updated Y-Harness is about $30 from most online retailers, but I found a used one on Amazon that was in “like new, with damaged packaging” condition for $14. Deal!
The harness is constructed from neoprene and nylon webbing. The rings for leash attachment are metal and all the nylon is woven with some seriously effective 3M reflective thread. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more reflective dog harness! Because the reflectors are woven into the nylon as opposed to painted on the surface, I expect it to last. Overall, the harness feels sturdy while remaining lightweight. I prefer the neoprene lining over fleece lining because it doesn’t attract fur and it has a more polished aesthetic.
Overall, I like the shape and style of the harness. Like I mentioned earlier, Y-style harnesses are my favorite, and, while I wish that more of the straps were adjustable, it hugs Whizbee’s body properly and it doesn’t ride up in her armpits.
My biggest regret is that the girth strap is not lined with neoprene. Considering many dogs chafe in the armpits, lining the girth strap seems like an obvious choice to me. My guess is that lining might negatively impact the adjustability of the girth strap so the product developers left it as bare nylon. Another minor gripe is that the reflective words “Hurtta Collection” are woven into the nylon that goes down the center of the chest. I prefer a more stripped-down, minimalist aesthetic so large logos and brand names plastered all over clothing (human or canine) is not my ideal.
The sizing was a nail-biter for me because a reliable source, the owner of Euro Dog Designs, had stated that the larger sizes (32 and above) ran large. With a girth measurement of 28”, Whizbee is at the upper end of the size 28 but at the lower end of the size 32, theoretically. Given that the size 32 also runs large, I worried that she would drown in it. So I purchased a size 28. The girth strap is a little bit snug. I can’t loosen it much more without feeling very worried that the tail end will accidentally slip through the three-bar slide and the whole thing will come undone. I would be very interested in trying out the size 32, but all sources seem to say it will be too large around the neck. The size 28 actually fits her neck perfectly. The other thing that doesn’t help is Whizbee is a little bit underweight right now. So if she gains weight around her girth, the size 28 will definitely be too snug. Anybody who knows me well also knows that I like to keep my dogs in very lean shape (it’s an obsession of mine) so I don’t expect her to gain much in her girth. All that being said, she doesn’t seem to mind wearing the harness at all. Here is a video of the harness in action.
Other Facts Worth Mentioning:
- The only adjustable dimension of this harness is the girth strap. The center chest strap and the neck straps are lined with neoprene and not adjustable. If you have an oddly shaped dog, this is probably not the best option for you.
- There is an extra D-ring at the base of the center chest strap. It’s meant for tracking, but I don’t think I’ll ever use it.
- The ring that connects the center chest strap to the neck straps (essentially, the intersection of the Y on the chest) lays flat against the body. Therefore, it is not ideal for leash attachment. While it is possible, the clasp of the leash will be jabbing into the dog’s chest. If you want a front-clip option, you need to find a way to securely attach another D-ring that doesn’t lay against the body.
- The girth strap is not sewn to the center chest strap or the center back strap. That means the center back strap can fall to the left or right without affecting the girth strap. I thought it was a little odd at first, but I actually think I prefer it this way. Severus’s Balance Harness is the opposite (girth strap sewn to both center chest strap and center back strap) and I feel like the twisting is more annoying for him. This also means that this harness does not necessarily need to be a step-in harness if your dog does not like threading his paw through the arm hole. You can unthread the girth strap from one of the center straps, put the harness over the dog’s head, and then re-thread the girth strap before buckling it up.
If that last bullet point made no sense, watch this video. Also if you just want to be entertained by how cute Whizbee is and how ridiculous Severus is.
To sum it up, I would recommend this harness despite the areas for improvement I mentioned. I expect to get a lot of use out of it! You can purchase Hurtta products on Amazon and from other online retailers such as Euro Dog Designs.
I own about, oh… infinity or so, more harnesses so I am considering doing reviews of my others. Or perhaps just one big overview of my entire collection thus far. My husband really wishes I would stop collecting them, but he just doesn’t understand that every harness has a different purpose! Let me know what your favorite harnesses are and why. Dog gear is one of my favorite things to discuss! #crazydoglady