From Chaos to Order: Thank Goodness for Ruffwear’s Flagline Dog Harness

When the pandemic started, and the final decision was getting made to get a “COVID puppy“ my hope was to create a little running buddy. Now, we are two years into our life with Winston, and not only was he not a “running puppy“, our Golden Retriever has not matured into a running dog either. Now with Ruffwear, we are getting a little closer.

I understand that retrievers are not necessarily the best long-distance running dogs in the world. I don’t blame him for not taking it to the sport that I love, honestly because the reasons primarily lie with me – one of them being having inappropriate running dog gear. So as we are in the middle of another summer, trying out the Flagline Harness has been a shocking Godsend.

Ruffwear has a measurement guide and video on their website about how to measure your canine friend for optimal fit. Winston is a robust 70 pounds and, while he’s not fat, he is definitely heftier than many of the others of his breed. In measuring him according to the website, and finding it between between a small and medium, this sizing just sounded crazy to me. I may have been doing it incorrectly, but my wife double checked and got the same results.

We elected to go with the medium and it surprisingly does fit him. I will say that the straps are mostly at their capacity length, so if you find yourself in a middle ground of sizing after measuring, I probably recommend going up. The fit on him seems to work quite well. He does not seem constricted or hampered in anyway. It does provide a more snug fit on him, but I believe that is by design and it’s not like he doesn’t have a range of motion.

The harness fits over his head and then has four straps and buckles that connect the stomach part to the clips on the back. On the back, there is one handle that can be used to pick up your dog went out and about, but most likely I will be using this just to make sure he doesn’t “attack“ all the kids in the neighborhood with kisses. There is also a sturdy leash clip on the back as well as one on the chest area that is specifically designed for dogs that pull a significant amount.

Speaking of pulling, that has been our major issue for the first few years of his life. We did not embark on any training upfront – though it was COVID so I’m not sure how much was available. He’s just such a happy guy around people (not as much around dogs) that anytime we are out and about he wants to get to where the people are as fast as possible. I am not lying when I say that this harness has completely changed our dog walking abilities. Even with the leash attached to the standard clip on top (not even the one on the chest designed for this) he is hardly pulling at all. For the first few walks I kept waiting for this to change, but it still hasn’t. Honestly, I’m stunned at this and continue to be amazed.

Though a golden retriever is never going to be a breed that runs with me for a ton of miles, I can actually run in short bursts with him now without it turning into a disaster. Previously, we couldn’t go more than a few feet without him lovingly charging into my legs or thinking it’s a game. This harness has changed all that.

Ruffwear also has an accompanying leash that looks and operates pretty simplistically. It is made from ultra high molecular-weight Polyethylene and stretches out to a length of just over 6 feet. It has a tiny bit of stretch to it, but nothing major. It also has a lockable clip near the hand so that it can be utilized as a hands-free option by wrapping around the waist. There is also a small little pocket for 1 to 2 poop bags as well.

Much like humans and our different make up and personalities when it comes to running gear, your results may vary. But the Ruffwear Flagline dog harness has been a life changer.

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For Ruffwear founder Patrick Kruse, exploring the outdoors has been a way of life since the beginning, whether by foot, bike, flying machine, or boat. And he has always searched for ways to include his canine sidekicks in all of his adventures.

Today, the performance dog gear company Patrick launched from his garage, Ruffwear, is present around the globe. Throughout our journey, we’ve remained true to our passion for enhancing and inspiring exploration for outdoor adventurers and their human companions.


Thank you to Ruffwear for providing us with samples. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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