Ruffwear Flagline Dog Harness – An Honest Review

April 12, 2022
April 12, 2022

The ruffwear flagline is a unique harness. A Harness with a tummy strap? Of high quality? Is something that doesn’t get seen much.

I wanted to review the Ruffwear Flagline for you because I know this harness is such wonderful quality, and not only is it quality? I’ve seen it in a number of practical, real-life situations where it thrives. It’s a tool I recommend regularly to my clients based on these experiences.

But I’d actually yet to test it for myself. So, I got in touch with ruffwear, and asked if I could get one for review. They said yes, and I’ve been testing it out on my hikes and wanders with Indie to see how it stands up to it’s design purpose and what you may be able to do with it.

But let’s start with addressing it’s slightly unusual structure…

This is not a sponsored post, however, this harness was provided free of charge by Ruffwear in order for me to review!

Why Does It Have A Tummy strap?

The tummy strap is actually put in there to give extra length and spread the weight of your dog more evenly across the harness, so that lifting and moving is much more reliable and much less painful (or creates less pressure points). The design is specifically made for that – but the tummy strap is massively helpful for a lot of things, but primarily? The tummy strap grants a virtually inescapable containment.

Introducing The Ruffwear Flagline

ruffwear flagline honest review


Tummy Strap
Three Points Of Attachment
6 Points Of Adjustment
Great Quality


Not crash-tested
Plastic buckles
Handwash (?)

In Detail

The ruffwear flagline works almost identically to their front range, fitting over the head and secured around the chest, with the attachment points on the front and between the shoulders – what separates it is the length of the body, it goes further down the body, and the rib cage, putting a strap in behind your dogs floating rib – making this (for a dog of healthy weight – excl. some bull breeds) a harness your dog cannot escape from when properly fitted. It also includes a handle and a rear attachment point that’s perfect for tracking!

How It Works

Ruffwear Flagline rear attachment point dog harness meltwater teal ruffwear review
This is a really good display of the rear attachment point for the ruffwear flagline harness, it’s really nice for things like scentwork? And it’s surprisingly strong too.

Favourite Feature Of The Ruffwear Flagline

The tummy strap

Without doubt? This will be my favourite feature of this harness. Having the safety and security that this harness offers? Is just something that I cannot place enough value on.

Other Useful Features Of The Ruffwear Flagline


The padded chest and back means that there is minimal stress-bearing nylon in contact with your dog – which means that the chance of chaffing is minimum.

Multiple Attachment Points

There’s actually three attachment points on a harness, the usual one behind the shoulders, the one on the chest and then one at the back of the harness that’s usually used for scentwork. But this sort of flexibility? Is really great for you and your dog.

I’m a firm believer in having one thing that can do everything. I guess that makes the flagline the swiss army knife of harnesses, huh?


At 277g, this harness? Is lighter than my go to harness for Indie (the perfect fit), which doesn’t have as much containment as this one does. It doesn’t offer these features. For Ruffwear to have achieved this within this weight? Is pretty darn impressive.

I will say, that this on it’s own will not change what I use every day.

Lift & Assist Capability

If you’re doing parkour, or if you’re hiking generally, having the ability to assist your dog down from a tree, up a rock, or similar is always a good thing. I love that about this harness. To be honest with Indie and I, it means that Indie can help me in certain situations (I’m kidding, I promise!).

Indie the German Shepherd Ali Smith's original reactive dog
Indie the German Shepherd Ali Smith’s original reactive dog, the flagline is absolutely perfect for him. The front attachment point that you can see in this image is one of my favourite tools for teaching a loose leash walk.

Who Needs The Flagline?

The Security Conscious

Because of the structure of this harness, the long body and the tummy strap at the back? For a dog who has a traditional shape (aka a tucked waist), this means that your dog cannot back out of this. The strap at the back goes in behind the floating rib of your dog, and that won’t slip over their chest, and consequently getting out is impossible. Or – at least – I’ve never seen it. Ever.
So, if you’re worried about your escape artist husky or your hound-ini (yeah, Shelby’s come close before and scared us witless!) – then this is the right harness for you.

Reactive Dogs

I love this harness for reactive dogs, it’s the worst fear of a lot of people that their dog should escape, and cause damage, or flee. And well, this one seriously takes the biscuit for control & containment. The long design means that you have support, it means that you have the knowledge your dog isn’t going to escape.

Dog Families Who Hike

This harness is solid. The fabric doesn’t snag easy. The base plate (chest plate? Whatever you want to call it underneath your dog!) is not only great protection, but it’s also wonderfully effective for spreading and containing your dog if you need to lift them.

Dog Sports Dogs

Lifting and stuff happens in a lot of dog sports – like parkour or aspects of agility – the handle and it’s weight-spreading design means that your dog sports dog is less likely to injure themselves if you have to help bear their weight during a jump or dismount.

Indie ready for our hike together, wearing the ruffwear flagline harness
Indie ready for our hike together, wearing the ruffwear flagline harness. It’s such a wonderful harness, particularly for hiking

Who the Flagline’s Not For.

Not all harnesses are suitable for all dogs, or all conditions. So, here’s a few things that I see as being potentially problematic in regards to the flagline.

Dirt dwellers

This harness says it’s handwash only. I mean, this seems like one of the most ludicrous statements to make about a harness, especially a harness that’s made for hiking – but I will be totally honest. I’ve washed it in the machine, and it’s absolutely fine. So… I’m really not sure why it’s apparently not washable?

Do I Recommend The Ruffwear Flagline? 

Yes! This harness is wonderful.

It’s strong, and reliable, the handle is flush too, which I really appreciate. It’s not the cheapest harness, but it is definitely worth every penny. I love that it’s sturdy, and when it comes to an escape artist dog? This is the only piece of equipment that I would trust.

The Ruffwear flagline was tested in L/XL which fits true to size. It was tested mainly on hikes and in rivers and similar to give evidence to what it was designed for.

Not sure the Flagline is for you, or would you like to find the perfect leash to go with this? Why not go see our other reviews or check the Best Dog Harnesses to find it!

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to for the images!


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