Update: We ended up passing along our original Padded and Padded Y harnesses, because they were on the stiffer side and Robin kept being mistaken for a girl. But we recently upgraded to the brand new Casual Padded Harness in River Blue, and I love it. The new webbing is softer, and the monochrome look with matching nylon and neoprene looks more chic than the previous bright logo look. Updated review is here.
Hurtta sent over a bunch of goodies, including three of their padded harnesses (and matching leashes) for us to try out!
Price: $30.00 – $39.00 depending on color
Sizing and colors: Sizes are by girth in a range of colors. We received their new “Bolete Yellow” Padded Harness and the Limited Edition Spring 2015 Padded Y-Harness and Padded Harness in “Ocean/Orange”, all in size 22″ (for 18-22″ girths).
I LOVE bright colors, so I got pretty excited about the neon colored Padded Y-Harness Hurtta sent from their 2015 Spring Edition. Unfortunately, the Y-Harnesses in this edition apparently run large, and it was huge on Robin. They were out of the next size down, so they sent out another 22″ in the regular style and I altered the original Y-Harness down to fit him. Because I just did the alteration recently, most of these photos are of the standard harness, but see the featured image for the fit of the Y-harness.
Note: Both styles are padded, but Hurtta calls one the Padded Y-Harness and one the Padded Harness, so to differentiate them I’ll be referring to the latter as the “standard” harness.
These sturdy harnesses are thickly padded with a neoprene lining. They’re structured, maybe a bit stiff, and keep their shape, making them easy to put on (though the standard style is a little less flexible). While most Hurtta harnesses have high-contrast “HURTTA LIFEGUARD” text along the length of the webbing, both of our colors are a bit subtler, which I prefer.
So which design is better? I’ll discuss this more below, but the standard style may be easier for foot-shy dogs and wriggly puppies, since it’s just popped over the head and fastened around the belly. It also features a unique padded buckle guard to keep the dog’s coat from being pinched in the side-release buckle. The Y-harness is just a tiny bit more complicated to put on since one front foot has to be fed through. However, if your dog’s breed is prone to trachea issues or your dog is a puller, the Y-harness may be a better option since it fits further down over the sternum.
My only gripe with either design is the leash attachment ring- on the standard harness, it falls to one side or the other of the grab handle, and on the Y-harness it’s free to slide underneath the girth strap. A fixed attachment point is easier to clip on the fly.
The size 22 standard harnesses are exactly Robin’s size, and the altered-down Y-harness obviously fits great as well. When buying one of these, bear in mind that the harnesses are only adjustable at the girth, so it’s important to get the closest size. Fortunately, they come in ten sizes so chances are you’ll get a good fit. Also make sure to consult the size charts- while most Hurtta items come in numbered sizes, the numbers don’t refer to the same measurement across products (Robin’s a 12″ collar, 22″ harness and 14″ coat).
At first, I greatly preferred the Y style because the standard harnesses stuck out in the chest, but as he’s worn them more, they’ve softened up a bit. The standard harnesses are more structured and stay in place better during movement, while the back section of the Y-harness tends to slide to one side or the other with the leash. However, the standard harness tends to ride forward a bit on Robin, who’s very slim. I have a nebulous feeling that his range of motion is better with the Y-harness, but clearly from the photo above the standard harness doesn’t cramp his style! All in all, they’re both great designs and I haven’t yet decided which is my favorite- over time, we’ll probably reach for one more and I’ll pass the other one along.
It’s worth noting that Euro Dog Designs, the big Hurtta retailer in the US, indicates on their harness page that small and slim dogs often fit the Y-harness best, while larger and broader dogs do better in the standard harness.
I’ll be honest here – I like these harnesses a lot for errands and walks but not so much for hiking aside from a light evening hike. I generally regret it when I take Robin hiking without an assistance handle- his spirit is bigger than his body and I sometimes need to lift him down from heights of questionable safety. Since they’re obviously not designed for trail assistance, this isn’t a shortcoming, but it’s important to consider your needs when choosing a harness.
With that said, Hurtta harnesses are my go-to for shopping trips, walks, and errands. For safety reasons, I don’t like to clip to Robin’s collar unless I’m focused on him, especially with a waist leash. On the other end of the gear spectrum, when he’s worn a harness with a handle on errands, other shoppers have actually grabbed him, which makes me very uncomfortable. The Hurtta harnesses are a perfect middle ground – secure, comfortable, and stylish!
Build quality: 5/5
These are made to last. I spent a long time picking out the stitches when I altered the Y-harness down to Robin’s size – it was REALLY sewn together. The simple design means relatively few moving parts, so the weakest links are the stitching (all joints are box or X-stitched) and the buckles, which are sturdy and smooth-acting. You’ll get tired of the color before one of these wears out.
A bit about the matching leashes:
Hurtta included a matching Bolete Yellow Soft Grip Stretch leash and an orange and blue braided rope leash. I only used the yellow leash once. It’s 6′ length feels too long for errands, and the webbing is too stiff to fit into a pocket. The elastic section is a nice feature, but it’s joined to the webbing with a square ring, which creates a flex point that drags on the ground with a small dog. It’s a very nice leash for a more leash-oriented dog owner, but when your dog is leashed only 5-10% of the time you tend to prefer a less cumbersome leash!
I do, however, use the rope leash frequently- it’s 5′, packs fairly small, and is perfect for shopping and park trips. It’s comfortable to hold folded up and has a little ring on the handle for attaching a poop bag carrier or clipping around an object at the park or restaurant. I do wish the wrap was leather rather than metal to make it a little less clunky, but at least I know it’s durable!
A reliable, durable and stylish harness with padding to keep your dog comfortable, in two style options. Measure the girth carefully or consult Hurtta about sizing before buying since the harnesses aren’t very adjustable.
Best for: Errands, walks, short hikes, nights on the town, hard-to-fit dogs (many sizes and two styles available).
Not ideal for: Serious hikes or scrambling where an assistance handle would keep the dog safer; escape artists.